Reno from a Hometown Girl's Perspective

Home sweet home is the biggest little city in the world which is highly underrated.  Reno was recently listed as one of the top 12 worst places to live video here.  I am normally a very positive person but when it comes to defending my hometown I will always go to battle.  The people who made that video from Destination Tips have clearly never been to Reno or Nevada in general because they pronounced Nevada incorrectly.  It is Nev-ad-da not Nev-ahhh-duh.  Each time I hear someone pronounce Nevada incorrectly it has become an automatic response to roll my eyes and cringe to where I have to bite my tongue until it hurts.  I would suggest actually visiting a place before you make a claim that it is on a list of the worst places to live.  These are probably the same people that think RENO 911 is actually filmed in Reno and that Reno and Las Vegas are right next to each other when it is actually an hour flight and an 8 hour drive to get to Las Vegas from Reno.  Reno is only a two hour drive to Sacramento and a four hour drive to San Francisco.  Also Reno is in quite the opposite of an economic downturn right now.  They are running out of housing inventory due to massive companies like Amazon and Tesla choosing Reno as their main distribution and factory locations.  This is causing the rent to skyrocket.  I was able to justify moving to San Diego because my rent price with a roommate in San Diego is the same as it would have been if I would've moved into a one bedroom for myself in Reno.  Just a couple of years ago a one bedroom would've cost less than $1000 now it is up to $1300 or more.  Now let me share all the wonderful things Reno has to offer (see bottom of this page for all my Reno recommendations).  

 University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno

Renoites are the friendliest and most genuine community that I have ever had the pleasure of being surrounded by.  My theory for Renoites happiness is that it comes from the abundant opportunities to get outside and explore.  I think this is also partially why I have such a wanderlust adventurous spirit.  The mountainous terrain that surrounds Reno makes for the best hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, dirtbiking, snow shoeing, etc.  The landscape of the area encourages people to stay active and by staying active you release endorphins and stay healthy which increases happiness levels.  I am going to go all Legally Blonde on you but just like Elle Woods said "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." -Elle Woods, Legally Blonde. 

 Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

Then the magic gem and real life fountain of youth, Lake Tahoe is right in Reno's backyard.  Tahome as the locals call it, will hold a large part of my heart as long as I live.  I am in an everlasting mad passionate love affair with Tahoe but I will get to more of that later in a different post.  Growing up in Reno, my weekends were always filled with excursions.  In the winter you could always find my squad and I sledding or on the slopes since we were lucky enough to have some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world at our fingertips.  My high school even had a ski program where if you signed up they would let you leave school early on fridays to go take ski lessons because it was counted as a P.E. class, I'll take ski class with my friends over regular class any day!  When I was a freshman in college at University of Nevada, Reno I remember some of the Las Vegas and California kids who have never really experienced snow running out and starting a giant snow ball fight since most of them had never had an opportunity to do so before.  I watched and smiled with nostalgia of feeling like a child again from my dorm window but I enjoyed watching this time more than partaking because I got to witness the pure joy that consumed their faces.  There were also the Vegas and California kids that had already experienced snow and thought they knew how to snowboard or ski because they constantly brag about how totally tubular they are on the mini baby slope that is known as Big Bear.  Well kids, welcome to the big leagues.  I had a friend that lived on my floor in the dorms that was from Las Vegas who wouldn't stop boasting about how he is an expert snowboarder because he goes to Big Bear all the time. YAWNNNNN, BOREEEE, EYEE ROLLL.  I wanted to put his extraordinary skills to the test.  I invited him to come with my squad, I think the experience humbled him to say the least.  We took him to our favorite Ski Resort Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe where we began with a warm up run on the slope called around the world.  This is the bunny hill of the largest lift they have and is meant for beginners.  He fell alllll theeee wayyyy downnnnn, which felt like the longest run of my life and my patience was being tried.  Although, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was somewhat smiling on the inside that I was successful at humbling him when it comes to his snowboarding skills.  In the words of Kendrick Lamar "sit down, be humble."  There is a reason that there are 8 Olympians representing this year's 2018 Winter Olympics that are from the Reno/Tahoe area as they have grown up on these slopes that build greatness.  With two of them coming home with the gold medal including David Wise and Jamie Anderson.

 Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe

Living in San Diego is amazing as there is always something going on but I can't deny that I do get FOMO for certain events that happen in the 775.  So much so that I have definitely contemplated going back to the NO town for some of those events.  My personal favorites include the monthly Wine Walk, Food Truck Friday, The Zombie Crawl and The Santa Crawl.  The Wine Walk occurs on the 3rd Saturday of every month.  You pay $20 and then are given a map with all the bars and vendors that are participating then you have from 2pm-5pm to make it to as many of these locations as possible or you can go at your leisure if making it to every place isn't on your agenda.  You can pay, pick up your map and your wine glass in front of Silver Peak on the River which is also a great lunch spot if you want to eat before you go on the wine walk, I highly recommend the 5 Cheese Grilled Cheese.  Food Truck Friday only happens in the summer at Idle Wild Park but if you find yourself in Reno between May-Sept it is a must.

 Reno Wine Walk

Reno Wine Walk

Reno is known for being a 24 hour non stop city and is well known for its famous bar crawls!  Crawl Reno puts on epic events regularly that keep the party going all year round.  Watch the Black Rock City All Stars take on it, they will show you just how much Reno turns up at the Zombie Crawl each October.  Everyone goes all out for these crawls and 40,000 or more people show up to downtown with their creative take on their outfits, especially for the Santa crawl.  You will find candy canes, snowmen, santas, presents, light up trees, the grinch and any other christmas related outfits you can think of while you are out dancing the night away with the best crawl drink specials.  Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to go all out for these, you don't want to be the only one at the party that shows up underdressed.  Plus if you need your hair done for any of these events, head to Meko's Manes for fabulous hair for any occasion!  If you visit Reno and are going to miss a crawl then the Reno Brew Bike is always a wonderful alternative to still get the lively bar crawl feel and to try bars you may not have known about otherwise.

 Zombie Crawl 

Zombie Crawl 

If you're in the market for which University to attend, Wolf Pack Party is where it's at!  As a Reno native, I will be honest and say that I was not ecstatic about going to college in my hometown as I thought it was going to be a continuation of high school but I couldn't have been more wrong.  Going to school at N-E-V-A-D-A, you say!  Was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I am especially thankful now as I don't have nearly as much student debt to pay off as I know many of my friends are having to deal with for going to UC schools.  Plus Nevada is an amazing campus and I met more people from more places than I could ever have imagined.  The library at the University of Nevada, Reno is state of the art and the campus is drop dead gorgeous.  You will get the full college experience by attending Nevada, we have great sports teams, greek row and a student body from all over the United States that has more school spirit than the spirit fingers cheerleaders in the movie Bring It On.  I highly recommend joining the Wolf Pack if you are from anywhere on the west coast.  Just be aware that UNLV is our huge rival and it is completely unacceptable on this campus to wear red or anything associated with those rebels.  Better dead than red is the saying around this campus.

 The Quad at the University of Nevada, Reno Campus

The Quad at the University of Nevada, Reno Campus

Of course I couldn't talk about Reno without including Burning Man, although I have never been out to the playa (upsetting I know, I'll make it eventually) I have asked my wonderful friend and Burning Man expert @meganfr3sh to give me the inside scoop.  Here is Megan's description of Burning Man which has me yearning to go to the desert this year.  "One of my favorite memories from burning man is my first year I went because I had no idea what to expect.  It was sunset when we arrived at the playa and I remember hearing music get louder and the place start to light up.  Seeing the playa at night for the first time changed my life, it was the craziest thing to see.  Another one of my favorite memories is me in my pink tutu (see the photo below) on a f**king yacht in the desert driving all around during the day and it was something I had never seen or experienced which made me feel so happy.  My favorite part about burning man is you get to forget about your real problems for a week.  You don't care about the time or have a schedule you just do whatever, it's so carefree.  I love the playa itself because it is so beautiful and peaceful.  The sunrises and sunsets are unreal and the dust storms make you feel like you're in a dream.  Every time I have watched the man burn I feel at peace and feel like it is a reset in my life and a new year.  Each year at burning man is different and I feel like I change so much each year I go.  Burning man doesn't give you what you want, it gives you what you need."  I have heard the term the playa provides before from my friends and social media but after hearing Megan's story I think I have a better understanding of what that actually means and I'm ready to experience it first hand for myself.  Also if pass you through Reno during Labor Day weekend when Burning Man occurs each year, I highly recommend stopping by the Nugget Rib Cook Off to get your BBQ on!  My favorite of all time is Lick My Ribs aka Desperado's BBQ.   

 @meganfr3sh at the front of the yacht at Burning Man

@meganfr3sh at the front of the yacht at Burning Man

Being the foodie at heart that I am I have to share my favorite places to dine in my hometown and just thinking about them is making my cravings run wild.  The famous Awful Awful burger resides at the Little Nugget Diner and is the best drunk food ever but be aware that it is massive and can definitely be shared.  The other absolute best drunk food is Noble Pie Parlor!  They have the most delicious pizza and my personal favorite is on their secret menu.  Pro Tip: Order the franchos here they are nacho fries that come with srancha which is ranch mixed with sriracha and it is an explosion of delicious flavor.  If you prefer pho when intoxicated then Golden Flower is your place, it is in the heart of downtown and is open late to welcome the debauchery.  For the best lunch spots you absolutely have to try Süp and Greatful Gardens.  At Sup I recommend either the broccoli cheddar or the tomato bisque as they are both fire!  Their club sandwich is also out of this world.  At Greatful Gardens I recommend the jack fruit tacos, yes you heard me JACK FRUIT TACOS, this is the best vegan option ever as you literally can't tell it isn't meat.  Their teriyaki chicken bowl is another one of my personal favorites.  If you are looking to get a brewski while at lunch then check out Great Basin Brewery  Their Bitchin' Berry and Wheeler Peak Wheat beers are a beer lover's fantasy but bitchin' berry is seasonal so get it while it's hot.  They also have a gooey beer cheese bread bowl appetizer that is making me salivate as I write about it.  If you are looking for a fancier dinner restaurant I recommend Jazmine Chinese & Sushi, Hiroba Sushi, Ichiban, Miguel's, La Familgia or Wild River Grille.  If you are looking for a coffee shop the two best in town are BiBo Coffee and Hub Coffee Roasters.  Bibo has multiple locations around town and Hub has a quaint location along the river that is very enjoyable to relax outside on their patio.  Lastly, if you are hankering for a quick breakfast Jüs has a kale-pineapple acai bowl that is healthy and delicious or stop by Truckee Bagel Co on the fly.  If you are looking for a hearty sit down breakfast I recommend Peg's Glorified Ham n Eggs, they're famous for their huevos rancheros.  Squeeze In is also a local breakfast spot that you can't go wrong with plus they have the best damn bloody mary I've ever tasted.  

 Post by:  @erica_taylor92