Reno is a prosperous gaming town, but you don't need to have a big budget to enjoy what this fun city has to offer. In fact, you'll find quite a few fun things to do that are entirely free, along with other affordable options that are easy to fit into your itinerary even if you're already reaching your budget's limit.

    Affordable activities in this city come in many different forms and cater to all sorts of travellers. You'll find outdoor adventures in abundance, but you can venture inside as well without breaking the bank. Take a look at some of the best things to do in Reno on a small budget.


    Reno Arch

    Visit the city's most iconic landmark

    • Budget

    The Reno Arch is one of the most notable spots in the entire city, and it's what first comes to mind when many people think of Reno. The arch covers the entirety of Virginia Street and features the name of the city in massive red letters with the city's motto displayed below, "The Biggest Little City in the World."

    Given that this arch is a public landmark crossing a street, it's free to visit. During the sunshine, you can see its detail and impressive construction, but the sign is illuminated with bright and inviting lights after dark. It's located where Virginia Street meets Commercial Row.

    Location: 345 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89501, USA

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 775-334-4636


    Midtown Street Art

    See public artworks

    • Budget

    Midtown street art is particularly impressive if you're interested in murals and sculptures displayed where everyone can see with opportunities for tours. The Midtown area is full of colourful murals on the sides of buildings, with some hidden in alleys that add a bit of adventure to the experience.

    The artworks on display can be explored at your own pace or on a professional tour. Getting a map of the street art is easy enough, but if you book a tour, you can be sure you won't miss anything. If you're really trying to be as budget-friendly as possible, however, a self-guided tour is your best bet.

    Location: Nevada, USA

    photo by Jay Galvin (CC BY 2.0) modified


    W.M. Keck Earth Science And Mineral Engineering Museum

    Dive into geological history

    • Budget

    The W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum is a geology museum where you can see a variety of ores, minerals, and other items on display. Mining had a huge role in the development of Nevada, and that history is shown here in detail along with the substances people were mining for.

    While several ore and mineral specimens are on display, you'll also find an impressive collection of fossils and photographs. Some of the collection features more unique minerals and fossils that have been sourced from around the world. The museum is located at the University of Nevada in Reno just north of city centre. Admittance is free.

    Location: Morrill Hall Ct, Reno, NV 89512, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed Saturday–Sunday)

    Phone: +1 775-784-4528


    photo by Tonywiki09 (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Nevada Historical Society

    Learn about Nevada's heritage

    • Budget
    • History

    The Nevada Historical Society is among the best locations you can visit to learn about the history of the state with plenty of artefacts on display from throughout history. The museum is primarily dedicated to preserving the heritage of the state with a vast library also available.

    The displays at the museum cover history from before Nevada was even a concept, detailing prehistory and the indigenous people of the region. A lot of the artefacts are organised into different sections covering various eras throughout history. Admission is just $5 for adults and free for anyone under 18. It's located in North Reno near the university.

    Location: 1650 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89503, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Friday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed Saturday–Tuesday)

    Phone: +1 775-688-1190


    photo by NPGallery (CC0 1.0) modified


    Hunter Creek Trail

    Walk a scenic hiking trail

    • Budget
    • Adventure

    The Hunter Creek Trail is a picturesque hiking trail you won't want to miss out on if you're looking for a free way to enjoy the scenic outdoors around Reno. The trail is about 6.4 miles long with an elevation gain of 1,240 feet. It's not a loop, so you'll be hiking out to its end and coming back.

    The route is moderately challenging, and it takes about 3 hours to complete on average. You can even bring your dog with you, as the trail is pet friendly. There are even off-leash areas you can enjoy along the trail. It's located a few miles west of city centre near Mogul.

    Location: Nevada, USA


    Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

    Visit Washoe County's largest park

    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is a thrilling park in Washoe County with plenty of space and free things to do. The park encompasses 580 acres of land in total, so you'll find plenty of land to explore.

    In this park, you'll find plenty of manicured lawns and pasture grasses, but there's also a bit of dusty sagebrush and wetland habitat to explore. Additionally, you'll find a pond, picnic pavilions, and special events like the Reno Balloon Race that occurs every year. You can check it out for yourself in the West University area north of city centre.

    Location: 1595 N Sierra St, Reno, NV 89503, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 775-785-4512


    Idlewild Park

    Relax in a lovely park

    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Idlewild Park is a great place to visit to relax with your family or your partner thanks to the tranquil natural surroundings and pristine paths. Plenty of grassland is available for walks, picnics, and games, but you'll also find lakes and ponds perfect for fishing. The ducks and other waterfowl are quite friendly as well.

    The paths throughout this park create a network you can traverse to take in the sights either on foot or on a bike. Plus, you can enjoy public art installations here as well as a skate park if you're looking to make your visit a bit more thrilling. You'll find it on the west side of town in Dickerson.

    Location: 2055 Idlewild Dr, Reno, NV 89509, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 775-334-2270


    El Rancho Public Market

    Shop at a local flea market

    El Rancho Public Market is a popular flea market where you'll find a variety of goods available covering just about anything you can imagine. You'll find fresh produce for sale in addition to apparel, home goods, and antiques.

    The vendors tend to be locals who are happy to talk to you about everything they have to offer in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Plus, the prices are some of the lowest you'll find compared with traditional stores. You can experience it all for yourself on the east side of town in Sparks.

    Location: 4172, 555 El Rancho Dr suite 2, Sparks, NV 89431, USA

    Open: Saturday–Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm (closed Monday–Friday)

    Phone: +1 775-331-3227


    Tahoe-Pyramid Trail

    Walk a scenic paved trail from Reno to Sparks

    • Budget
    • Adventure

    The Tahoe-Pyramid Trail is a popular trail stretching from city centre Reno to Sparks to the east that's paved and easy to traverse. The paved surface makes walking or biking along this trail a breeze, so you can focus solely on the picturesque surroundings, as it takes you through the Sierra Nevada.

    The trail is a point-to-point route that measures 7.6 miles in length with a meagre elevation gain of 101 feet. On average, it takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete, so plan accordingly. You'll find one end city centre and the other just outside of eastern Sparks.

    Location: Mystic Rd, Floriston, CA 96111, USA

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 775-825-9868


    photo by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Wilbur D. May Centre

    Visit a museum and botanical garden complex

    • Families
    • Budget
    • History

    The Wilbur D. May Centre is a museum complex with an arboretum and a botanical garden that's remarkably affordable to visit. Inside the museum, you'll be able to see a collection of antiques and artefacts from around the world including African masks, scarab figures from Egypt, and pottery from the Chinese Tang dynasty.

    At the arboretum and botanical garden, you'll find 13 acres of space with vibrant greenery where the Sierra Nevada meets the Great Basin Desert. It only costs a couple of bucks to enter, with admission getting cheaper the younger the guest is. You'll find it on the north side of town near West University.

    Location: 1595 N Sierra St, Reno, NV 89503, USA

    Open: Wedensday–Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday from noon to 4 pm (closed Monday–Tuesday)

    Phone: +1 775-785-5961


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