What would you do if you had an unexpected 10 hours in Reno? Take yourself on a photo tour, duh! I found myself in this exact situation about a week ago. Already checked out of my hotel and a rental car full of gas, I had a full day to burn up before my flight and I wasn’t about to waste it. Let’s talk adventure. I started the morning at a little place called Hub Coffee. I found this gem on Yelp and was immediately hooked when they said they roasted their own beans. They had a great vibe and super friendly employees. Also, they serve cold brew decaf (I know I’m in the minority here, but I love when I can find this! Caffeine seriously jacks up my sleep schedule). Since my day was completely open, I asked the locals what to do next. The employees recommended Idlewild Park, perched beautifully along the Truckee River. I parked my car and went for a beautiful walk.
If you’ve ever seen Twin Peaks, you know the story of the Douglas Firs. Agent Cooper has a fascination with them and can’t stop talking about the smell. I felt the same way in this park (they didn’t have Douglas Firs in the park, but I did get to see them in Tahoe). The park had some sequoias that smelled like menthol lip balm – in the best of ways. I also saw this building and it reminded me of a Stephen King movie. ▼
A lot of the houses had a similar look and feel to the one below. I love the whole Nevada/dessert vibe.Next stop on the tour was Saint James in Midtown Reno. This was recommended by the Hub employees for some good craft beer. I sat up to the bar and immediately got a recommendation to order the Kolsch, which I did. And, because it felt right, I ordered the house burger. Now, I came for the beer, but let me tell you, I would come BACK for the burger. I do not use this term lightly, so believe me when I say the Brasserie Burger is a culinary ORGASM (yes! really!). A MUST try. Such a delightful surprise.
After watching an old Western on the TV and getting away from the 100 degree heat for a while, I was antsy to move on. Some friends at Saint James sent me on my way to the next few stops: Ace Tattoo Parlor, Recycled Records, Junkee Thrift Store, and the Stremmel Art Gallery. I didn’t get a tattoo but I did stop in for a chat and to check out the scene. I also did a lot of exploring at the record shop, found some 8-tracks (cool!) and felt like I was in high school again. The thrift stores in Reno are super cool. Lots of old stuff, well maintained, and at a much more reasonable price than you would find in Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to snag a pretty unique gift for my friend’s upcoming wedding (I can’t say what it is in case she reads). But it’s one of a kind and I’m excited. :)
Next I walked over to the Stremmel Gallery. I was originally going to check out the Nevada Museum of Art but they are closed on Mondays. The Stremmel Gallery did not disappoint though. First off, it’s FREE. Did I mention, FREE? FREE! Much appreciated indeed. You walk in and get a blast of air conditioning, a great open white space and your eyes immediately go to the art. They have a little Jack Russell Terrier wandering around which I smothered profusely.
That’s me after a little too much sun but still enjoying myself. The final stop on the tour was none other than the Reno Rodeo! A local told me this was happening and it only happens once a year. How could I resist? Good cheap fun. It was very old school. The half-time “show” was low-fi and priceless. Think American flags flapping in the breeze and horses running in circles. I guess I grew up in the world of huge basketball arenas with intense t-shirt canon launchers and extremely flexible traveling gymnasts. This was not that. It was wild west, American pride at its finest, and wild mustangs that had the power to be tamed (only by the right cowboy of course). It was quite entertaining and I’m glad I got to experience it.
Seriously, do yourself a favor and check out Reno if you get a chance. There’s a lot of good stuff, a lot of nice people, and a laid-back atmosphere. It surprised me how much I loved it, and it might surprise you too.