Things to do on a budget this Spring in Reno


Known historically for its gaming tourism industry, there’s no gamble in visiting Reno this spring, when you’ll find tons of great things going on across the city.

(Photo: Reno Jazz Festival)

Situated about 22 miles north of Lake Tahoe, the Nevada city has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, with burgeoning arts, culture and food scenes bringing with them mass tourism and a renewed energy. Nowhere is this more evident than in Reno’s cultural and entertainment calendar, which features a huge assortment of things to see and do throughout the year. Here are 7 of the best that won’t hit you hard in the pocket this spring.

Reno Jazz Festival

Since its inaugural edition in 1962, the Reno Jazz Festival has brought renowned jazz artists and educators to the University of Nevada’s Reno campus. During the festival, established jazz figures collaborate with up-and-coming students to put on a series of concerts, workshops and clinics covering a diverse range of topics in a vibrant exchange of creative ideas. Members of the public are invited to attend two full days of daytime performances and jazz clinics, with day tickets priced at $20.

University of Nevada / 25-27 April 2024

‘Sagebrush and Solitude: Maynard Dixon in Nevada’ exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art

1935_November in Nevada November in Nevada, 1935 Oil on canvas mounted on hardboard, 30 x 40 inches. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Bequest of E. Dixon Heise, 2006.33, (Photo: Randy Dodson /
Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Stop by the Nevada Museum of Art to experience an exhibition featuring artist Maynard Dixon. In the years 1901-1939, painter Maynard Dixon made several trips from his San Francisco home to paint and sketch the striking landscapes of the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada. This is the first comprehensive exhibition to document Dixon’s early wanderings and extended visits to Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and the Eastern Sierra. From Dixon’s first sketching trip on horseback with fellow artist Edward Borein in 1901, to his month-long commission documenting the construction of the Boulder Dam (now known as the Hoover Dam) in Las Vegas in 1934, Dixon captured the beauty of Nevada’s open spaces as well as its developing landscape. The exhibition can be visited with general admission museum tickets, priced at $15 for adults and $3 for children aged 6-12. Learn more at

Nevada Museum of Art, 160 West Liberty Street / Through 28 July 2024

To Kill A Mockingbird

One of the region’s most important cultural venues, the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts is playing host to another packed programme of live shows this year. Part of its spring line-up is an adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 masterwork, To Kill a Mockingbird. Written by Academy Award-winning playwright Aaron Sorkin and directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher, the production is expected to draw packed crowds to the Pioneer Center for its 5-day run. Ticket prices vary depending on seating.

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts / 18-23 June 2024

Big Reno Show

(Photo: Big Reno Show)

For more than three decades The Big Reno Show has been the premier event for buyers, sellers and collectors of antique and modern firearms, cowboy, Indian and western memorabilia, rare and hard-to-find collectibles including art, books, coins, knives, fishing rods and reels. Taking place at the Nugget Casino Resort, located a 5-minute drive east of Reno in the neighbouring city of Sparks, the event also offers attendees the opportunity to meet and engage with exhibitors and industry experts. Day passes are priced at $15.

Nugget Casino Resort, Sparks / 12-14 April 2024

Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival

Part barbecue block party, part microbrew tasting event, this is one of Reno’s most eagerly awaited summer events. Taking over the streets of downtown Reno, the festival rocks with live music across  two stages, along with top-notch BBQ food and beer from dozens of local, regional and international breweries, cornhole tournaments, camel rides, and more. The event is free to the public and festival-goers can purchase a wristband and tokens for unlimited barbecue tastings and beer samplings.

Downtown Reno / 14-15 June 2024

‘Mental Health: Mind Matters’ exhibition

(Photo: The Discovery)

A science and technology museum packed with interactive exhibits, The Discovery also plays host to a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Among its spring exhibits is one focussing on mental health, which has been created to help build understanding and awareness of how mental illness has been treated in the past, and what it’s like to live with. Several hands-on, multimedia activities allow visitors of all ages to explore all of these themes and to engage with the growing understanding of mental health in society today. Museum admission is priced at $16 for adults, $13 for children.

The Discovery / Through 8 September 2023

Festival of Colors

Deriving from a traditional Indian festival, this travelling celebration stops off in Reno this spring, with guests invited to come and enjoy the simple, joyful aspects of life. The multi-cultural event features live music, DJs, dancing, yoga, food and drink, a kids’ area, arts and crafts, and a whole lot more. A highlight each year is the kaleidoscopic powder throwing, which sees revellers create an eye-catching spectacle by throwing multi-coloured powders on each other – fully consensually, of course. Early Bird group tickets start at $13.

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park / 20 April 2024

By Paul Joseph