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Reno, Nevada

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Reno in Nevada.

 

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Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. The city has a population of about 220,500 and is the fourth most populous city in Nevada, after Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas. It sits in a high desert valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada.

Reno, known as "The Biggest Little City in the World", is famous for its casinos, and is the birthplace of the gaming corporation Harrah's Entertainment. City residents are called "Renoites". Reno borders Sparks, a city of approximately 100,000 population. Most call the metropolitan area "Truckee Meadows"; the metropolitan area including Sparks and Reno has a combined population of about 420,000.

Before the late 1950s, Reno was the gambling capital of the United States, but in the last twenty years Las Vegas' rapid growth, American Airlines' 2000 buyout of Reno Air and the growth of Indian gambling gaming in California have somewhat reduced its business. Older casinos were either torn down (Mapes Hotel, Fitzgerald's Nevada Club, Primadonna, Horseshoe Club, Harold's Club, Palace Club) and smaller casinos like the Comstock, Sundowner, Golden Phoenix, Kings Inn, Money Tree, Virginian, and Riverboat closed, and some converted to condos. Reno and Sparks has 3 Malls: The Summit Sierra, Meadowood, and Legends at the Sparks Marina.

Because of geographical proximity, Reno has traditionally drawn the majority of its California tourists and gamblers from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, while Las Vegas has historically served more tourists from Southern California and the Phoenix area.

Reno casinos experience some slow days during the week, especially during winter, when mountain passes can be closed to some traffic from Northern California. The train service from California and the airline service is almost never interrupted. During weekends, holidays and special events Reno does see an increase in business. Large special events such as Hot August Nights and The Great Reno Balloon Race pack the area hotels to 100% occupancy.

Several local large hotel casinos have shown significant growth and have moved gaming further away from the Virginia Street core. These larger hotel casinos are the Atlantis, the Peppermill and the Grand Sierra Resort. The Peppermill was chosen as the most outstanding Reno gaming/hotel property by Casino Player and Nevada magazines. In 2005, the Peppermill Hotel Casino began a $300 million dollar Tuscan-themed expansion.

In an effort to bring more tourism to the area, Reno holds several events throughout the year, most of which have been extremely successful. They include Hot August Nights (a classic car convention), Street Vibrations (a motorcycle fan gathering and rally), The Great Reno Balloon Race, the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off (held in Sparks), a Cinco de Mayo celebration, bowling tournaments (held in the National Bowling Stadium), and the Reno Air Races.

Several large commercial developments were constructed during the mid-2000s boom, such as The Summit in 2007 and Legends at Sparks Marina in 2008.

Reno is the location of the corporate headquarters for numerous companies, including Braeburn Capital, Hamilton, Port of Subs, PC-Doctor, and International Game Technology, which manufactures slot machines. Bally Technologies and GameTech have development and manufacturing presence in Reno.

Downtown revitalization

The closure of many downtown casinos has sparked a movement to turn them into condominiums. Out-of-state developers have purchased the Comstock and the Sundowner, amongst others, in hopes of turning them into upscale condos. In addition to converting old properties, these developers are building new structures on formerly-vacant lots. The Comstock was redeveloped and is now home to The Residences at Riverwalk Towers.

The Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor (ReTRAC) was undertaken to solve noise pollution and traffic congestion on Virginia Street by lowering the train tracks below street level. This has added to the city's efforts to make the downtown area friendlier to tourists. The trench was listed as completed on November 22, 2005. In 2008, the city council approved spending on creating a trench cover between Virginia Street and West Street essentially creating a two-block tunnel. This cover is slated to become a plaza with proposed retail and art fixtures.

Nightlife

Reno has recently seen the opening of many businesses that cater to socializing and after-work activities, as new and old Reno locals have slowly reclaimed parts of downtown from the waning glut of casino-bound tourists of yore. Many bars and nightclubs have moved into the area on West 1st and 2nd Streets between Arlington and Sierra in downtown Reno. In addition, various downtown casinos host lounges and nightclubs.

Downtown Reno is Reno's most popular area for bars and clubs. However, there are a few other hotspots including East Fourth Street, Wells Avenue, the UNR area, Kietzke Lane, and all along South Virginia St. Most neighborhoods have local bars, sports bars, or breweries, primarily in strip malls.

The casinos, Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, BrĂ¼ka Theatre, La Bussola, Sierra Arts, and the Reno Events Center provide concerts, art events, plays, and shows.

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