Similar to Las Vegas, situated some 440 miles to the south, Reno rises miragelike from the Nevada desert, a buzzing cluster of flashing lights and noise surrounded by long stretches of nothingness. For visitors, it’s an appropriately dramatic introduction to what’s known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” a moniker that Reno adopted in the late 1920s and which still adorns the city’s iconic arch. Just steps away from the Reno Arch is The Row, a four-block expanse of three interconnected casino resorts that recently wrapped up a two-year, $100 million renovation. For meetings and convention organizers, it’s the ultimate one-stop shop, with a dizzying array of meeting spaces, restaurants, bars, guest rooms and entertainment options all under one roof. The Row emerged as a newly branded destination after Eldorado Resorts Inc. acquired the Silver Legacy Resort Casino and Circus Circus Reno in 2015, uniting them with Eldorado Resort Casino. While the three resorts are all interconnected, each one has its own unique character and vibe. The Eldorado is a boutique resort-casino, with upscale shopping, fine dining, live shows, and an entrance marked by a series of ornate blue and gold statues and fountains. The Silver Legacy is known for its big, modern entertainment, featuring well-known musical acts and comedians. (Also look for the 130-foot mining rig, a towering structure of pulleys, gears, scaffolding and pipes once used to extract ore from the earth.) The family-friendly Circus Circus has the popular Carnival Midway, with circus acts, from jugglers and tumblers, along with dozens of games. But with this being Reno, you can still purchase a frozen 100-ounce Pina Colada or margarita served in a bong-shaped glass just steps away from the arcade. Combined, and with the completion of the recent renovation, The Row has about 130,000 square feet of meeting space, along with 14,000 square feet of prefunction space and a 500-seat theater. In addition, there are 25 restaurants (including the new Ruth’s Chris Steak House), 22 bars and lounges, 11 nightspots, more than 4,000 luxury rooms and suites, and some 227,000 square feet of gaming space, with 3,000 slot machines and 125 tables. There’s also the new Spa at Silver Legacy, which has a dozen treatment rooms, relaxation lounges, private hospitality suites, hydrotherapy soaking tubs, steam rooms, saunas, a swimming pool and an 8,000-sq.-ft. deck with a waterfall and fire feature. Adjacent to the spa is a state-of-the-art fitness center with cardio and strength-training equipment. “The Row showcases what we do best—bringing exceptional gaming, dining and entertainment experiences to one destination,” said Gregg Carano, general manager and senior vice president of Eldorado Resorts Inc. Navigating through The Row is an adventure in and of itself. The labyrinth, multilevel destination is a self-contained bubble of lights, noise and activity, with some of the best people-watching to be found, from raucous high-rollers to despondent chain-smokers working the quarter slot machines. After spending a day or so inside The Row, stepping outside into the sunlight can be a little disorienting. But it’s well worth it to check out nearby attractions, including the AAA baseball stadium, home to the Reno Aces, the Children's Discovery Museum, and the bustling Riverwalk district, a popular place to stroll along the Truckee River with scenic bridges and lots of shopping, restaurants, bars and taverns.
North Lake Tahoe
Embark on an outdoorsy getaway less than an hour from Reno. In addition to being smaller and easier to navigate, another distinction that separates Reno from Vegas is its easy proximity to a host of outdoor adventures. When convention and meeting attendees want a break from the hustle and bustle of the casinos, scenic North Lake Tahoe is less than an hour away. Based around the largest alpine lake in North America, North Lake Tahoe boasts two dozen beaches, twelve ski resorts, hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as the nine-hole Tahoe City Golf Course. There are plenty of resources available to help you start your outdoor adventure, including The Wild Society, which offers rental kayaks as well as guided tours of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding forests. For two-wheeled fun, rent a mountain bike from Tahoe Adventure Company and explore hundreds of miles of single-track trails along high alpine lakes, old growth conifers and colorful wildflowers at 8,000 to 10,000 feet in elevation. If you’re looking for an exciting team-building experience, Tahoe Treetop Adventures at the Granlibakken Resort has nine courses where you navigate rope swings, wobbly bridges, swinging logs, tightropes, cargo nets, climbing walls and zip lines, all in a scenic, rustic setting. For something a little more laid-back, check out the North Lake Tahoe Ale Trail, a map that connects the region’s best bars and eateries via diverse modes of transportation, including biking, boating or hiking. The interactive map and video series details the best places for finding a frosty brew and good times throughout North Lake Tahoe’s six mountain towns.