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.
SLIP DOWN TO TAHOE
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