It should come as no surprise to any of you that we both – absolutely – love where we live. I (Emily) talk about it all the time on our stories.
It’s so funny. Whenever I travel for work, inevitably people end up asking where I am from. I always brace myself. Whenever I tell anyone that I am from Reno, their faces always do the talking. I can always see the disdain and confusion set in. Then, once they realize they’re being offensive, they always ask,
“Oh… cool… how far is that from Vegas?”
I always feel a little pang of anger. But then I come to my senses.
I realize, THANK GOD people don’t know (and don’t care to find out for themselves) how TRULY amazing Reno is. Reno is still (in my humble and extremely biased opinion) one of the best small towns in the country. We sit at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and from my door to Lake Tahoe – it’s just 30 minutes. It’s gorgeous here. You can get outside with your family whenever you want. We have all 4 seasons. We don’t have traffic. Our restaurants are amazing. The people here are incredible. We have a true sense of community.
Truly, what more could you want?
I feel so lucky to love where I live SO much. I hope in this post we share some of Reno’s best kept secrets with you. I hope you come visit and give our little town more of a chance than just the airport and the downtown strip. Reno is SO much more than that. We hope this post becomes a resource on our blog for everyone who comes to visit Reno, and we hope to give our Reno locals a few recommendations as well!
Reno Travel Guide
We will be sharing the details on who does all of our glam, the best places to eat, our favorite places to stay, and some fun activities you can do while you are here. We are planning a full Tahoe post just like this that will come out in the spring as well. Until then, we will put a few Tahoe recs at the very end of this post to hold you over if that’s what you’re looking for!
Ashley was born and raised in Reno, and Emily has been here for 16 years – so, between us, we pretty much know everything there is to know about Reno! We’re excited to share a little piece of our home with you today!
*** We want Reno to be front and center on our blog from now on. We are so excited to add to this list and to highlight SO many more local businesses on our channels! If you own a local business and want us to check it out – feel free to DM us or send us an email!***
Where to Eat In Reno:
Squeeze-In: Squeeze-In is a Reno staple and we love the ladies who own this diner feeling breakfast spot. They have SO many different breakfast options and your kids will LOVE the eclectic decor. The service is always fantastic, the kitchen is quick, and the food is delicious!
Stone House Cafe: If you know, you know. Stone House is located in the Old Southwest neighborhood and you’re sure to see someone you know when you’re eating here. In the summer it is SO FUN to enjoy your meal outside in their garden! The food is also second to none. We love the brussel sprout hash and the blueberry french toast is delectable!
Perenn Bakery: This is more of a grab n go kind of place – it is located downtown and their pastries are TO DIE FOR!
Truckee Bagel: The best place to grab an easy bagel sandwich with your kids – or to pick up breakfast before you hit the slopes. They have 4 tables so we usually call ahead, pick up, and head to a local park nearby!
Doughboys Doughnuts: This Reno staple doughnut shop is known for their light pink boxes and DELICIOUS doughnuts! It is owned by one of Emily’s Joe’s friends from college, and William always says he wants to work there with Jay, “when he grows up”. The BEST!
Yosh’s Unique Deli: This little eat-in deli is SO wonderful and convenient. You order at their counter, take a number, and wait for your sandwich, soup, or salad. We really love that their dressings are 100% homemade – the salmon Caesar is Emily’s favorite!
Cheeseboard and Wine Cellar: We have been eating lunch here for YEARS! It is 100% a Reno staple and HANDS DOWN has the best salads for lunch. Emily always gets a large house salad with chicken (add an extra side of the balsamic vinaigrette – it is SOOO GOOD) and Ashley gets the Smoked Turkey Focaccia with a cup of the soup. This is a MUST try if you are in town!
Napa Sonoma: Napa Sonoma has something for everyone… and is ALWAYS packed. If you are looking for a casual lunch, a HUGE menu, and a glass of wine… Napa Sonoma is your place. We love the cheese platter. The orzo salad is always good, and Emily always gets the Ahi Napoleon!
Chez Louie: This is a beautiful little restaurant inside the Nevada Museum of Art and the food is top notch. It is one of Mark Estee’s restaurants, so you know it’s going to be good. We love that you can have the BEST lunch and then go browse the gorgeous galleries.
Great Full Gardens: Great Full Gardens is THE best for healthy salads and protein bowls! I always get the warm kale salad! LOVE IT! Their hummus plate is super fresh and delicious as well!
Manhattan Deli: I am a huge sucker for a good Jewish deli. Growing up on the East Coast I feel like there was one on every corner. Moving to Nevada changed that – until I found Manhattan Deli located inside the Atlantis. Their Matzah Ball soup is incredible and I love that you can park in the back (right by the sportsbook) and run in and out easily.
Dinner With Kids:
Twisted Fork: Twisted Fork is south of town. I love that they have HUGE salads for Joe and I, and then great options for the kids as well. We always ask for grilled chicken for the kids instead of chicken fingers. I love that we can all get an easy and healthy meal here.
South Creek Pizza: South Creek Pizza is some of my favorite Pizza in Reno. Noble Pie is also on the list… (their wings are insane) and once their Summit location opens, we will probably take out from there all the time. But as far as “craft” pizza is concerned, South Creek is my favorite. They have build your own pizzas, kids pizzas, and they also have an amazing array of house specialty pizzas. The Nomad is unreal – with egg yolk drizzled over the top. The Paulie G is my favorite – a salty sausage pizza with fresh basil, and then topped with spicy honey. I mean the place is to die for.
Los Compadres & El Adobe: Two of my favorite Mexican food places in Reno. Los C’s as we affectionately call it, is down south. El Adobe is midtown. They’re both amazing and the service is excellent at both.
Lulou’s: Gah – I could talk about Lulou’s forever. It is my favorite restaurant in Reno, hands down. Whenever Joe asks me – “Where do you want to go for date night?” The answer is always the same. Lulou’s is essentially Reno restaurant royalty. I have been going there since high school, with my family for special occasions, and it has always been impeccable. The decor hasn’t changed much in 15+ years, and it still is one of the most beautiful and modern restaurants I have ever seen. The owners, Colleen and Troy, have incredible taste – in food and interior design – and every detail is perfection. Lulou’s just feels like home to me. It’s where we go to celebrate every family occasion, it’s where we go on date night, it’s where we go whenever we have friends in town. It is truly…. my place. We celebrated Ashley’s bachelorette there. My 30th was there. I could go on and on and on. It’s also the place I have Joe pick up appetizers for me when I’m 9 months pregnant. Just go. Thank me later. What to order: The fried calamari. It’s unlike any other fried calamari you have ever had. The steak tartare. The Pork Buns. The spicy duck soup is my Joe’s favorite. The scallops are always perfect. The short ribs – also ALWAYS a win.
Roxy: Roxy is a martini bar and amazing old fashioned steak house. The food is tremendous. They have this bacon cheese bread. Oh. MY. LAWWWD. My girlfriend used to work there, and one year for christmas she asked what I wanted… and I literally said, “The bacon cheese bread”. This is not a joke. Ok… more than the bacon cheese bread… the steaks are tremendous, their beet salad comes with frisee which is my FAVORITE lettuce, and they have made to order souffles. Need I say more? Last but not least – the sushi bar outside Roxy also has THE BEST SUSHI IN RENO. There. I said it. The sushi bar in the Eldorado is SO good. They fly their fish in fresh daily and you can tell.
Zepplin: Zepplin is a great south of town location for small plates. They have a killer spicy marg, and I LOVE their taco plates. I highly recommend it!
4th Street Bistro: 4th Street is another Reno staple, and for me is a close second to Lulou’s. They have amazing vegetarian and gluten free options, and their food is world class. I haven’t been there in quite some time because it is a little further from us, and more homey feeling than Lulou’s but now that I’m writing about it…. I want to make a reservation ASAP!
The Shore Room: The Shore Room at the Renaissance hotel is excellent. I highly recommend doing the Pipp’s Pass tasting menu!
Kauboi: Kauboi features Asian fusion small plates. It is owned by Colleen and Troy of Lulou’s, and – just like Lulou’s – it is fantastic every time.
The Grill: The Grill has been one of Ashley and my staples FOR YEARS! Everything here is good. I don’t know why but Rombauer always tastes especially good here. Their fried Mozzarella appetizer is my FAVORITE. Their bread basket is hard to beat. They always give you a plain loaf and then a loaf with poppyseeds on it as well – I LOVE their poppyseed bread. I also LOVE getting the steak frites. The Grill is one of those restaurants in Reno where you will know someone the second you step foot in the door – I LOVE that about it.
Estella: I featured Estella on our instagram stories earlier in the year and it was truly some of the best food I have ever had in Reno. Their tacos were OUT OF THIS WORLD. It is located in the brand new Jesse Hotel – and it is definitely worth the trip.
Califuria: Califuria is some of the best Italian food in Reno. They make their pasta fresh daily, and it is just DELICIOUS food. When I worked downtown – this is where I would always choose to go for lunches. Now that I am not as close… it’s a place I would go with my girlfriends to cozy up over an amazing bowl of pesto gnocchi. yummmm.
Brewer’s Cabinet: I love Brewers Cabinet for SO many reasons. The ambience is amazing, the food is great, and I love that the owners of this restaurant are transforming their little corner of the block into a culinary fortress. In the summer they have gorgeous biergarten – we shoot some of our photos there – and their indoor/outdoor space is just incredible. They are just opening an amazing event space… and I am so excited to see everything come to life!
Louis Basque Corner: Here’s the deal – Louis to many people is not earth shattering food. But for this Connecticut girl – Basuqe style dining – was a thing of novelty. I first went with my boyfriend’s family in high school, and I had never seen anything like it. Food served in plastic bowls, family style, with people you might not know at your table? WILD. EVERYONE drinking these really strong drinks called Picons? It was like this secret society I had never been inducted into… and finally I was in on the secret. It was SO loud, everyone was having fun, and anywhere I can put tabasco in my soup and not get stared at…. is MY KINDA PLACE. Say what you want. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I think it is AMAZING. I will always have so many fond memories at Louis. If you want to have a good meal and get rowdy — this is the place to do it.
My Favorite Muffin: My favorite muffin will ALWAYS remind me of hungover mornings with Ashley. I could repeat her order to you – because it hasn’t changed in 16 years. 🙂 This is also the place where Joe and I would walk to breakfast most weekend mornings when we were first dating, so it will always have a special place in my heart.
The Depot: Great food mixed with amazing craft beer.
Death and Taxes: Death and Taxes is great if you go early on a weeknight. Does that make sense? As in… the drinks are SO good that if you go at peak hours on the weekend – you’re definitely going to wait at the bar, and you’re definitely not going to get a seat. Death and Taxes features stunning cocktails where mixology and art collide. Truly the best cocktails in Reno. They are strong, they are delicious, and they are absolutely worth waiting for. But if you really want to enjoy yourself at this bar- go early and don’t go on a Saturday. 🙂
Where To Stay In Reno:
The Jesse was opened earlier this year and in a word… it is STUNNING. The new owners of the space kept the historical integrity of the building and updated the interior with chic, simple, midcentury modern decor. It is beautiful. It is new to Reno. It is such a fun place to stay.
This is where we had Ashley’s bachelorette party (see more here). It was perfect, convenient and so nice! We barely left! No matter what you’re coming to town for, The Row is perfect!
Located right on the Riverwalk, The Renaissance is super modern and glam looking! If you’re here in the spring or the summer they have a really fun Bocce area! The restaurant, The Shore Room is incredible, and the bar is gorgeous! We love it because you can walk pretty much anywhere Downtown or Midtown from here.
What To Do In Reno:
We are obsessed. See more info and photos here. Whatever you do, plan to spend a whole day. Nick is Emily’s favorite massage therapist.
The Nevada Museum of Art is incredible. It is located in downtown Reno, it features an adorable restaurant, and they always fantastic exhibits!
Such a fun museum for kids! You can spend a LONG time in here – so be careful. Once you enter, your kids never want to leave!
This is Ashley’s husbands’ favorite place on earth. Whenever we have out of town guests, this is where we go. It’s a huge sporting goods store, which is super impressive. They have everything. And it’s located at Legends which has lots of outlets and an iMax theater if you are looking to shop around.
Day trip to Virginia City:
There is so much history in Virginia City – it’s truly like traveling to another time. It’s about 20-30 minutes outside of town, and just something different to do!
Take A Hike:
We recommend the Galena Creek Trail hike especially if you have kids!
Tan: Mist Me Mel
Lashes: Vanity Lash Studio
Nails: Jeannette Scholz
Hair: Hair By Roxy Marin
Cosmelan: Injection Gal
Massage: Tiffany at Renovation
Realtor: Joseph Wieczorek
Caterer: Blend Catering
Meal Delivery: Blend Catering
Doula: Ashley Maas
Post Partum Doula: Jessica, The Tiny Human Tamer
The Lone Eagle
The West Shore Cafe
Bite – in Incline