Most gamblers dream of spending their vacation under the blazing Nevada sun. The vast outdoor recreational activities pair well with the opulent casino resorts.
Stressed vacationers can play a round of golf in the morning, gamble all day in the casino, enjoy a cuisine dinner overlooking the desert, and top it off with a world-class concert.
So, they head to Las Vegas. What about Reno?
Here are 10 facts you didn’t know about the other gambling town.
1 – Tallest Climbing Wall in the World
Head to downtown Reno, and you can’t miss the soaring climbing wall at BaseCamp.
Towering over the casinos below, the climbing wall measures an impressive 164 feet high. The climber’s dream doesn’t stop there.
BaseCamp offers several competitions throughout the year. Many of the events take place right on their expansive climbing wall for all below to enjoy.
However, the massive area dedicated to bouldering and the 50-foot high-speed wall is always at the ready.
If you enjoy climbing when you’re not playing poker pro, Reno may be an ideal gambling destination.
2 – National Bowling Stadium
Fans of the cult classic “Kingpin” will recognize this massive Reno landmark. The nearly 400,000 square foot bowling center was the backdrop for some of the movie’s iconic scenes.
The five story structure has almost 80 gorgeous lanes for you to play. If your game isn’t where you’d like it to be, the enormous complex has on-site teaching pros to tweak your form.
Looking for a little inspiration before you hit the lanes?
No problem, spend a little time in the museum dedicated to the sport.
For all things involving ten pins, don’t skip Reno’s impressive bowling attraction.
3 – Birthplace of Blue Jeans
All of the blue jeans enthusiasts owe a debt of gratitude to Reno. Jacob Davis, a Reno tailor, was approached and asked about a sturdier pant option.
Davis came up with the idea of adding copper rivets to his new pants to increase the durability. His pants became a hit locally, and Davis decided to expand his small operation.
He began searching for business partners and settled on a name you may have heard, Levi Strauss. The pair patent Davis’ design, and the rest is history.
501s, boyfriend fit, acid wash, and even skinny jeans may not exist if it weren’t for Davis. Generations of style have been dominated by the little idea that grew into a cultural icon.
The next time you’re in Reno, “button fly” into the Red Rock Bar, where Davis’ shop originally stood and check out this piece of Americana.
4 – Seismic Activity
The biggest little city in the world has thousands of earthquakes annually. It doesn’t come as much surprise if you understand Reno’s geological situation.
Reno sits squarely atop a series of fault lines below the Nevada Desert. Fortunately, the seismic shifts are so minute that they can hardly be perceived by humans.
A couple hundred of these small earthquakes can be felt if you’re paying close attention. It remains unclear if these small tremors are ever responsible for shifting anyone’s luck in the casinos.
You may have noticed a slight tremor, but likely write it off to the excitement of your big win. I have no evidence that this has ever happened, and many of the earthquakes are possibly too small to have the slightest impact on any casino games.
However, it’s a lot of fun to imagine Mother Nature cutting you a break and getting one over on the casino.
5 – All You Can Eat and More
Each August, as the summer sun kisses the desert landscape, Reno transforms into the barbecue rib capitol of the world.
The Nugget Casino Resort hosts its famous annual rib cookoff, and over one hundred thousand attend. Bring your appetite because these pitmasters mean business.
Hundreds of culinary assassins prepare over 240,000 pounds of ribs each year. Hungry BBQ fans descend on Reno in masses to try their smoked offerings.
The festival has something for everyone. Face painters set up, and bouncy castles are erected for the kids to enjoy.
Even vegetarians can find a delicious treat at a huge event. Of course, going to a rib festival for vegetarian cuisine is akin to going to NYC to get away from the big city. It doesn’t make much sense.
Nevertheless, Victoria Square is a beautiful piece of Reno history, and you’ll have a hard time finding anybody that’s not having a great time.
6 – Reno Residents Love to Drink
Reno’s citizens definitely enjoy their alcohol. Reno consistently ranks among the Top 10 lists of “drunkest cities.”
Nearly 20% of Reno residents are considered binge drinkers. This doesn’t mean that they are staying loaded 24/7.
Drinking 14.5 alcoholic beverages per month qualify you as a binge drinker. That could be any given weekend for some college students.
If you visit Reno in the summer, you’re going to get thirsty quick. Maybe the heat is contributing to the high numbers of heavy drinkers.
While I suggest sticking with water to stave off the effects of dehydration. You can take comfort that if you’re in the mood for breakfast beers, you won’t be alone in Reno.
As much fun as Reno is, it may be easy to lose track of how much you’re drinking.
7 – Reno 911!
The popular and absolutely hysterical tv show Reno 911! paints the humble town as eccentric and a bit wacky.
You may be familiar with the show and its characters. My wife and I enjoy the light-hearted show, especially after a stressful day or watching something serious on the television.
The show is a spoof on COPS and follows the cast of fake sheriff’s deputies as they fight crime and each other for the Reno County Sheriff’s Department.
The funny thing is that it’s all satire. A comedy in which not only do the characters not exist in real life, but neither does the sheriff’s department.
I mean this in the most literal sense. There is no Reno Sheriff’s Department.
Reno and its surrounding area actually fall under the jurisdiction of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department.
If you are stopped by a Lieutenant Dangle with the Reno Sheriff’s Department, you probably want to call the legitimate law enforcement.
8 – Famous Farewell
The final completed film of two Hollywood icons, Marilyn Monroe & Clark Gable, was shot on Reno’s location.
The Misfits is a wonderful cinematic piece. Even Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 98%.
Most movies of today can’t crack 75%. Monroe and Gable are flawless.
If you’ve never seen The Misfits, I recommend giving it a watch. You’ll find it an easy way to spend just over two hours on a rainy day.
9 – Tasty Hydration
Reno Tahoe has been named the best tasting tap water in the United States.
In fact, Glenbrook, NV (Reno’s neighbor), was awarded a Gold Medal by the Great American Water Taste Test.
The Waterboy himself, Robert Boucher, Jr., would proudly serve up the crisp Alpine water to any player or coach on his team.
10 – Casino Party
Reno, NV is home to over 20 casinos. The first casinos began springing up in the 1930s.
For several years Reno actually stood out as the premier gambling destination in Nevada — a title that Reno would ultimately lose to Las Vegas.
Eldorado Resort Casino stands out as my go-to stop whenever I’m in town. The games have fantastic rules with friendly dealers.
Most importantly, my nanny, a.k.a. my mother-in-law, swears they have the best slots in Nevada. Possibly the world.
The next time one of your know-it-all friends starts spouting off about planning a Vegas trip. Remember my question, “What about Reno?”
Throw some of the 10 facts you didn’t know about the other gambling town. Maybe you can sway their vote to checking out the biggest little town in the world.