"The Biggest Little City in the World" proclaims the Reno Arch, dating from 1926.
Growing up alongside the Lake's Crossing Bridge that connected gold rich Virginia City to the California Trail, the city prospered with the coming of the Union Pacific Railroad, eventually overtaking the fading gold and silver towns of the region.
The 1931 legalization of casino gambling in Nevada, along with liberal state divorce laws, profited Reno, and added to it's reputation: "Going to Reno" euphemistically meant getting a divorce. But gambling proved to be of more lasting benefit, making Reno, by the 1950s, the gaming capital of the USA. Competition from Las Vegas and California tribal casinos have caused many older casinos to close, but downtown now booms with condos, bars, nightclubs, and new resort casinos in their wake.
Recreational activities are both seasonal and year-round. In summer, Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River, and Pyramid Lake provide visitors and locals with fishing, and water sports. Skiing and snowboarding top the winter sports activities here, with many ski resorts around Lake Tahoe -- including Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl and Diamond Peak. Mt Rose is just 25 minutes from Reno.
In the shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Reno doesn't get a lot of precipitation, but there's plenty of forest. That's not true a hundred plus miles to the north, at the hot springs of Gerlach, Nevada, gateway to the Black Rock Desert. This wonder of nature has blue skies, sage sprinkled dunes and purple mountain majesty; a landscape lit as if from within, with colors that change dramatically as light shifts by the hour. It is here the annual Burning Man Festival takes place, each Labor Day weekend. A number of gay camps are erected within this instant city of 50,000 that disappears with hardly a trace soon after the event.
The Reno area is an easy fit for a gay traveler. Besides gambling there is plenty to do at the bars, and clubs here, to relax after spending time in the great outdoors. Gay annual hightlights include Northern Nevada Pride in late July. Reno Vanity Entertainment promotes local gay events from fashion shows to dance events. Reno Artown presents a series of July summer nights of live music performances under the stars.
For local stage performances check what's on at the Bruka Theatre (99 N Virginia St) with its lineup of "contemporary award winning plays, culture crossing melodrama, musicals and comedy that explore social questions about class, love, and existence."
The Reno-Tahoe International Airport has RTC Ride bus service on route 19 between the airport (just outside baggage claim) and downtown Reno (RDC Center). Taxis and limos are to be found nearby, with trips taking just ten minutes into downtown.
From their Station Building (280 North Center St) Amtrak California Zephyr trains connect Reno with Sacramento, and San Francisco to the west and Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago to the east. They also have bus service (route 20a) from Sparks to Sacramento with stops in Reno and Truckee, among others.
Greyhound, from their bus station at 155 Stevenson Street, provides service to over 3100 North American destinations.
RTC operates bus routes around Reno, and to neighboring Sparks, but a rental car will provide freedom to explore the area far more easily.
Media & Resources
Doyles List has local Reno LGBTQ event listings and website links.
The Reno News & Review is the local alternative weekly with events and entertainment listings.
OUR Center (1745 S Wells Ave), LGBTQ community center provides programs, resources, and services, and sponsors events such as the Pride Parade & Festival in late July, and Harvey Milk Day in May. They also have an online page of local listings.
Reno’s Biggest Little Sisters is the local chapter of the international group "dedicated to the promulgation of universal joy and the expiation of stigmatic guilt" - The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Visit Reno is a mainstream tourism website with information about area hotels, restaurants, nightlife and casinos, events and activities, shopping and sports activities. WhereTraveler also lists local attractions and activites, nightlife and entertainment.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Reno listings pages.
Reno has a lively, active gay community, but no “gayborhood.” The bars, not all strictly gay, are scattered in all parts of town and Northern Nevada LGBTIQA folk manage just fine.
Circus Circus (500 North Sierra St; 800-648-5010), the official host hotel of Reno Pride held the Friday night party in the ballroom and had special rates for Pride visitors. Besides a gambling casino they have six restaurants, dancing, nightly cabaret and special events entertainment.
Harrah's Reno Hotel (219 North Center St; 800-427-7247) over 900 downtown guest rooms, spa, seven restaurants, large casino, golf and ski packages.
Silver Legacy (407 N. Virginia St; 800-687-8733) six restaurants, huge 24-hour gaming area, top-name entertainment, health spa, dance club and rum bar, boutique shops, antique mining rig, world's largest composite dome with laser and light shows.
Down the road a bit, the Cobb Mansion B&B (18 South A St) is Virginia City's most regal Victorian, built in 1876. Right by Piper's Opera House, they have six guest rooms, each with king, queen, or double beds.
5 Star Saloon (132 West St) open 24 hours, sassy welcoming crowd for all comers, gay-straight-whatever. Live shows, DJs, dance floor, pool tables, internet jukebox, free WiFi, smoking area, and a monthly artist showcase on stage.
Carl's, The Saloon (3310 S Viriginia St) gay men's leather/Levi/cowboy bar, Comstock Grizzlies bears home & High Sierra Rodeo Association boosters. Underwear, leather & bare chest nights, Lockdown parties. Internet jukebox, slots, video games, patio, pool table, fireplace, darts.
Faces NV (239 W 2nd St), gay/mixed nightclub, drag shows, DJs, dancing, go-go boys, karaoke, theme parties.
The Patio Bar (600 W 5th), gay neighborhood bar, video poker, TV sports, pool tables, darts, shuffleboard, patio deck, barbeques, bocce ball, sunbathing, karaoke, mixed men & women.
Spectrum, a social organization, sponsors outside the bars get-togethers, from outdoors activities to readings.
The Fourth Street Bar (1114 E 4th St), for many years a gay mainstay in a buiding dating from the late 1800s, is still friendly and welcoming to all, with karaoke nights, an internet jukebox, pool table, video poker, large smoker-friendly patio, and a mix of all kinds of people.
CLOSED: Cadillac Lounge (1114 E 4th St), neighborhood gay bar; Neutron dance club; Tronix (340 Kietzke Lane), video bar, karaoke, games, 18+ dance crowd.
Steves' Bathhouse (1030 W 2nd St) since 1962, oldest men's sauna/steam club in USA, open 24/7 with glory holes, sling, gay porn theater, private rooms, dark room for group action, outdoor patio, snacks, internet. Sundays are mixed, men and women, from noon until 6am the next morning.