Casinos are still drawing crowds to Reno, Nev., but the city’s expanding non-gaming offerings and entertainment are adding to the destination’s variety and diversity.

“We know Reno has been known as a gaming community, but we are so much more than that now,” said Mike Larragueta, vice president, sales for Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority. “Yes, we have gaming resorts, but we now have a range of product, from non-gaming, non-smoking properties to fully integrated resorts, and it’s nice to offer a variety.”

Newer non-gaming properties downtown and in outlying neighborhoods are growing in popularity and setting a new tone for city.

Engaged in Art

The city’s Midtown neighborhood is undergoing a revitalization that is showcasing public art and bringing independent businesses to the area.

“We have seen a complete resurrection of our Midtown area,” Larragueta said. “Off the downtown corridor, there has been a massive emergence of breweries, restaurants and businesses, bringing investors to the market. It has become a desirable place to patronize for both locals and visitors.”

Reno’s art scene is even merging with its food scene via Reno Food Tours. Founded and led by Melissa Smith, the Midtown and Murals Tour incorporates the cultural highlights of the neighborhood. Between stops at Midtown eateries, groups learn about the murals, the artists and their inspiration. While the Downtown Tour focuses more on the history of Reno itself, included is a stop at the Nevada Museum of Art.

“Our partners are independent, usually husband and wife teams, and we tour a variety of types of food in each neighborhood,” Smith explained. “As we are walking to the tasting destinations, it’s an opportunity to explore historical, architectural or cultural points of interest. So in the Midtown neighborhood, the cultural relevance are the murals.”

Private tours can include groups of 16, or for larger parties, the group begins and ends together, but is divided into smaller groups during the 2.5-hour tour.  

Art Spot Reno, a company that supports local arts and businesses, helps integrate all types of art into the community. The team coordinates a monthly art walk, workshops and special events, such as the first Reno Mural Expo this fall. Art Spot Reno is partnering with Whitney Peak Hotel, Orchard House Foundation and the City of Reno to bring 20 artists, including international, national and local artists, to the city to create new murals. Across 20,000 square feet of wall space, the artists will incorporate different mural styles, including abstract, photo realistic, graffiti, paintbrush, airbrush and stencil.

“Reno is a city full of hidden gems, but still has large pockets of abandoned buildings and blight,” said Eric Brooks, festival organizer. “The inaugural Reno Mural Expo will brighten and revitalize areas of downtown washing walls with color and positive messaging.”

The festival will also include artist lectures, a film screening, workshops, mural tours and entertainment in local art, music and theater venues.

Another public art program is the Rotary Club of Reno Sculpture Park, featuring a rotating outdoor exhibition run by the Reno Arts & Culture Commission and Public Art Committee. Six sculptures were selected to be on display for a year at Bicentennial Park, along the Truckee River, and can be purchased directly from the artists.