bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

One night in Reno, NV–Big Trip #4

We stayed in Reno in early October 2022 as part of Big Trip #4.

Our friends moved to Reno several years ago for many reasons: they loved the climate, they loved that it’s an easy flight to all sorts of cool locations out West, they loved the proximity to Lake Tahoe (our previous location), they loved the up-and-coming food and drink scene, and they loved the reasonable cost of living. We visited Reno not knowing much of anything about it other than our buddies loved it, and we let them dictate the itinerary. We had a super fun time, and now agree that Reno is awesome!

a phone booth
Bugsy had never seen a phone booth before

Reno first saw a boom time starting in the 1930s with the legalization of gambling and the passage of liberal divorce laws. Until the 1960s and the rise of Las Vegas, Reno was the gambling capital of the US. Now the Reno metro area is booming again, in part due to a slew of big-tech companies moving to town: Amazon, Google, Tesla, Microsoft, and Apple, to name some names. The Tesla Gigafactory just outside Reno is the largest building in the world! The Reno-Sparks area has a lot going on right now and we can see why our friends are excited to live there.


Our friends lived up the hill from a big shopping center with a Home Depot, and the internet says sometimes Home Depots will let you overnight in their parking lot, so we asked the manager if we could park the Airstream there. He very politely said no.

the Airstream at River West RV Park
the Airstream parked at River West Resort

Looking online, the reviews for the campgrounds south of town weren’t stellar, so we chose River West Resort, on the banks of the Truckee River, close to downtown. It’s a big RV park with a mix of permanent and temporary spots; the company also operates a tiny house rental service across the street, and an events venue next to that. It’s a pretty neat area, and it’s always a good sign when a campground office has a bowl of dog biscuits.

Bugsy and the Truckee River
the Truckee River runs along one side of the campground; Idlewild Park is across the river

If we hadn’t been in a hurry to get to Yosemite, we would have gone for a run along the Truckee River. Just across the river from the campground in Idlewild Park you can pick up a branch of the Truckee River Bike Path and run for miles through the city.

hanging at the Airstream at River West RV
we invited our friends over to our house at River West

Another place we didn’t hit in our rush to get on the road: our friend said Gloria’s Cafe just down the street from the campground has the best breakfast in town.

Eating and drinking

Lead Dog Brewing patio
a beer on the patio at Lead Dog Brewing

We started the evening with a beer at Lead Dog Brewing, the perfect place for us because they had several IPAs and sours to choose from. They have a small outdoor space near downtown in the Brewery District, home to a collection of breweries, distilleries, meaderies, restaurants, and bars along East Fourth Street.

Brasserie St James facade
outside Brasserie Saint James

Dinner was at our friends’ favorite restaurant in Reno, Brasserie Saint James–and it’s also a brewery. Their beer and food menus both lean Belgian, and everything was delicious. The brewpub is housed in a historic ice and water building, with a warm brick-and-fireplace pub feel inside, a side patio, and a rooftop deck.

a cocktail at the bar at The Whisky Lounge
a cocktail at The Whisky Lounge

One last stop: a nightcap at The Whisky Lounge, a dangerous spot for a whiskey lover. I am not a whiskey lover, but the rest of my party is. They carry over 800 whiskies and build unique cocktails with creative homemade ingredients. It was a fantastic way to end a whirlwind trip to Reno.

Bugsy enjoying the grass at River West RV

We were pretty excited to leave in the morning, though… next stop, Yosemite!


2 responses to “One night in Reno, NV–Big Trip #4”

  1. […] Reno, it was a long (and expensive! gas prices in California!) 4.5-hour drive to our next campground […]

  2. […] because we’re 15 years older. Having to be in a car so much is a chafe too. Our friends in Reno told us all the good stuff–restaurants, bars, and better blackjack odds–is now in […]

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