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Located on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Reno metropolitan area has a population of 425,000.  Situated in a high desert environment, the climate in Reno is ideal--crisp mornings, sunny and sometimes breezy days, clear and cool evenings, and starry nights.  Seasons are distinct, and weather during the summer is hot (but not scorching) during the day, and much cooler in the evenings.  Winter weather is typically cold, occasionally snowy, with beautiful views of the snow-capped Sierras.  Reno's pleasant climate, superb outdoor recreation, and affordable housing are some reasons why Yahoo! Real Estate chose Reno as one of the Ten Best Places to Live.

As a community, Reno offers a number of distinct advantages, including convenient access to scenic areas, such as Lake Tahoe and the Black Rock Desert.  Local residents enjoy a remarkable range of outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing, kayaking, and camping.  Residents enjoy music at the Nevada Opera, the Reno Chamber Orchestra, and the Reno Philharmonic, the latter featuring one of the most popular conductors in the country.  The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival performs plays on the outdoor stage at beautiful Sand Harbor.  In town, choose from any one of several local playhouses, and visit the Nevada Museum of Art, which is in the top 5% of museums in the US.  On campus, public lectures and readings, chamber music, a performing arts series, and college sports bring the university and the community together.

Tahoe Trees

For those looking to travel, Reno is a two-hour drive to Sacramento and four hours to San Francisco, with easy access to the California coast.  Flights are readily available through the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, located only two miles from Downtown Reno.

The Biggest Little City

Reno Living:

Reno is an ideal city for college students, families, and tourists.  Featuring a skyline framed by mountains and clean skies, the Reno-Tahoe area is one of the most beautiful places in the western US.  And most importantly, Reno offers a safe, small-city environment with big-city attractions.  For people interested in local history and culture, Reno is located only 30 minutes away from historic Virginia City, two hours away from the Black Rock Desert, and four hours away from San Francisco.

Finding places to hike and explore is even easier, as portions of the Mount Rose Wilderness Area run almost to the Reno city limits, and a number of hiking trails begin in the city, including Keystone Canyon, which is easily accessible from campus.  Local residents don’t even need to leave the city for a relaxing day at the river--they simply head over to the beautiful Riverwalk district located in the heart of downtown Reno, where they can swim, kayak, and picnic by the Truckee River.  More adventures can be found at Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas as the world’s largest concentration of ski and snow parks are all located within a 50-mile radius from the heart of the city.  Biking, fishing, rafting, kayaking, camping, and mountain climbing are all popular local activities.

As a tourist town, Reno offers plenty of opportunities for fine dining and indulging in the local arts and culture, whether at the Nevada Museum of Art, the Reno Philharmonic or the Nevada Opera. Or spend a fun day out with the kids at the National Automobile Museum or the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada.

History: Farmer's Market

Home to the Northern Paiute and Washoe people, the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada mountains were crossed by emigrants in large numbers during the California Gold Rush of 1849, which brought prospectors, speculators, and merchants out West.  But it wasn’t until 1859 with the discovery of the Comstock Lode, the greatest silver strike in American history, that settlers began arriving to Virginia City and the outlying areas in droves.  Small shanty towns quickly sprung up around the local mining industry, and five years later, in 1864, Reno officially became a crossroads city, supply center, and eventually a railroad hub.  Originally named “Lake’s Crossing” after a toll bridge which once spanned the Truckee River (near the present-day Virginia Street bridge), the city was renamed "Reno" in 1868 after a noted Union soldier in the Civil War, Major General Jesse Lee Reno.

The subsequent expansion of the transcontinental railroad in the 1870s, the legalization of gambling in the state of Nevada in 1869, and the establishment of the University of Nevada, Reno in 1885 all served as milestones in local history that kept the city alive and flourishing.  Unlike so many other settlements of the era, which faded away after the end of the mining rush, Reno’s population continued to grow, leading it to becoming the most populated city in Northern Nevada.  However, Reno’s claim to fame in the popular culture landscape didn’t come until 1927, when state officials changed residency requirements for divorce to three months.  Easily accessible via railroad, Reno became the favored destination of unhappy husbands and wives, who traveled to Nevada for “the cure” (an easy divorce).  Some of them decided to stay.

The railroad also spurred the creation of the “Reno Arch,” which was originally built in 1926 to promote the upcoming Transcontinental Highways Exposition of 1927.  After the exposition ended, town officials decided to keep the arch as a permanent downtown gateway and held a contest to determine the new slogan of the city.  “Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World” was chosen, and the rest, as they say, is history.