Fun Things to Do That Are Free in Reno, Nevada

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Find fun for free in downtown Reno.
Find fun for free in downtown Reno. (Image: sframephoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether you lost your last dime in a casino or you’re just looking to save a pretty penny, Reno, Nevada, is home to a flurry of free activities. From high-end cultural excursions to outdoor recreational adventures, “The Biggest Little City in the World” delivers fun at no cost.

Science and Nature

Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is on the University of Nevada, Reno, campus. Start your visit with a trip to the Science Center, where ever-changing exhibits explore a variety of topics pertaining to the solar system. The attached planetarium hosts free shows for the public in its 60-seat theater with a massive star projector. Truckee River Walk is a leisurely pathway along the waterway in the heart of downtown Reno. Sunbathe or picnic along the patches of grass tucked along the trail or take in the views of the rushing water from the numerous benches alongside the water. Take a break from nature and enjoy some window shopping at the casual storefronts in the surrounding region.

Park Place

Idlewild Park is tucked away in the city’s southwest region and along Truckee River. The park is home to two playgrounds, softball and baseball fields, volleyball courts and a paved bike path that travels around a lake. The park also has a 1-acre rose garden with more than 200 varieties of roses in bloom from early June through September. Set in southeast Reno, Mira Loma Park includes a variety of recreational facilities such as soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, horseshoe pits and a 1-mile walking trail. The park also has a large skate park outfitted with bowls, fun boxes and half-pipes. The park is open to skateboarders, roller skaters and BMXers.

Arts and Letters

On the second Saturday of each month, the Nevada Museum of Art hosts the "Hands On!" series, which provides free admission to all visitors. On this day, ages 3 to adult are encouraged to create pieces of art together during arts and crafts workshops. The museum showcases more than 2,000 works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Dennis Oppenheim sculptures and Carl Oskar Borg paintings. The Downtown Reno Library is the Washoe County Library System’s urban hub. The library hosts an array of free events throughout the year, including story-time sessions for children, movie nights, literary speakers and after-hour concerts.

Cash in on Some Fun

Circus Circus Reno is home to family friendly entertainment showcased at its carnival-themed midway. Housed under a big tent in the heart of the casino, the festive atmosphere includes live performances throughout the day and evening, including high-flying acrobats, jugglers and animal shows. The nearby Circus Cabaret stages free live musical acts, including classic rock, country and R&B musicians. Make your way past the clanging slot machines at Harrah’s Reno to the massive race and sports book. Relax in the plush lounge chairs and watch live sporting events on the 20 big-screen televisions and two enormous HD televisions hanging on the wall. The casino also is home to The Stage @ The Zone, an on-site nightclub with no cover charge, and DJs and dancing.

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