San Francisco | August 31, 2016 9:00 am

The 4-Hour Rule: Reno

World-class outdoor pursuits. Fancy boutique hotel. And more.

It’s that time of the year. All eyes are turned toward a temporary community tucked into a tiny corner of Nevada.

But we’d like you to consider shifting your gaze slightly south. 

To an underrated big/little city with a sharp boutique hotel, world-class outdoor pursuits at the ready, and Lake Tahoe within spitting distance. 

Friends, welcome to Reno. 

Don’t want to stay in a casino? Nor us. Ever. Which is why the Whitney Peak is such a boon for the city: The 600-square-foot suites have terrific views of the Sierras, free wifi and a rich design scheme that’s just this side of overexuberant. Massive bonus: There’s no smoking, anywhere, in the entire place — which, if you’ve been to Reno, is extremely notable. 

Locals compare the Truckee Riverwalk to the better-known but similarly picturesque version in San Antonio. It’s a good place for dinner, and our favorite meal was right along it, at the buzzy, bustling Campo. Modern Italian with a strong bar game. Get the Enzo; it’s delicious. 

Reno is a terrific jumping-off point for various adventures along the American River, famous for its whitewater rafting. Why not schedule a three-day trip down the river, with three nights of camping? If you’d prefer to stay dry, consider exploring Davis Creek Regional Park, with the lung-busting Ophir Creek Trail. It’s short (under eight miles) but brings the pain with nearly 3,400 feet of elevation gain. 

It’s an hour by car to the lake’s north shore — and once you get there, please avail yourself of all the recreational activities it has to offer. Or skip (most of) the cab ride and just … walk there. Twenty miles south of Reno, also within Davis Creek, is access to the Tahoe Rim Trail. It’s a big, beautiful adventure, and it starts in Reno. 

Main image via Flickr