Nice! Reno makes the top ten places to live! Always a treat when Reno statistically matches up with my reasons for loving this city.
I thought I would create my own list of why I love this city, from a resident's perspective. A lot of peeps out there know I love this city, and have a passion for urban living, but I rarely delve deeper into WHY I love Reno. Check out my list below!
1. Access to Local Government
When I first moved back to Reno and moved into the West of Wells neighborhood, I had no idea what to expect when I walked into my then-councilwoman Jessica Sverrazza's office with a list of ideas to improve my neighborhood, the first one being turning it into something marketable, attractive, and stable....a bungalow district. I was pleasantly surprised when she connected me to a group of neighbors who had already contacted her about the same idea, and from that point forward we all worked together to transform this neighborhood into a registered historic conservation district. Access to local government, and the feeling I am actually a member of this community, and not just living here, is the first reason I love Reno. This wasn't some fluke or one-time occurrence, anyone who has an interest in improving their community can contact their council member and other govt representatives and they will listen with an open ear.
2. The Weather/Climate
I'm a big fan of seasons. The awe and wonder of nature fascinates me, I'm addicted to Earth Porn, and frolicking in nature is my escape from being stuck on a computer/iphone 13 hours a day. In my own personal experience, the bigger the city, the farther you have to go to 'get away.' For example, when I lived in both Los Angeles and NYC, the nearest ski resorts were two hours away. Wrightwood's ski resorts were my slopes of choice in Los Angeles, and Camelback/Hunter Mountain during my brief stint on the East Coast. While they were great ski resorts and provided fun-filled days of skiing and hanging with friends, they were far away and limited in variety. In Reno, I have three ski areas within an hour of me, one within 30 minutes of me, and 18 within and hour and a half drive, all with widely varying terrain, views, amenities and cost. And before you call Tahoe's resorts overpriced, make note it costs $62 for a lift ticket at Camelback Mountain in PA, and $60 for a lift ticket at Mountain High in SoCal. You can hit up Rose (on certain days), Diamond Peak, Boreal, Kirkwood and many more for under $60.
Summer, Spring and Fall in Reno are amazing as well; super-distinct seasons you can recognize and not have to look at a calendar to reference what season it is. Mountain biking, hiking, camping, swimming, desert-trekking, and amazing natural gems such as Lake Tahoe, Black Rock Desert, and even sand dunes are nearby. The weather here is tolerable. We don't have the 96" of yearly snow Buffalo NY has, or the ongoing temperature extremes of Vegas...Reno's temperature averages could not be a better suit for me.
Taken from my Porch
3. The Size
When I envision the perfect-sized city for me, Reno would be it. It's big enough to have a downtown and midtown, two very unique neighborhoods, yet small enough to have a fiercely dedicated local government and community. Community. That word is often lost in larger cities. Community to me, means seeing campaigns like The Biggest Little City become viral and adopted by local casinos and the University AND City of Reno all in the name of telling the world just how cool this city is. Community to me means local government working with residents and saying 'Hey, tell us what you'd like to do with your neighborhood' as was the case with the Wells Avenue corridor, midtown, Newlands, Powning District and countless others. Community to me is watching dozens of people coming together and planting trees in their neighborhood donated by the city. Sure, these things happen in other cities, but in my own personal experience, it happens more in this city.
I have a 2007 Subaru Forester with less than 20,000 miles on it, mainly because I can walk to nearly everything I need, with the exception of my dentist located up on 4th and west McCarran, but even that drive is less than 7 minutes. I can walk to nearly all the concerts I see downtown, walk to the amazing events we have, or hit up a multitude of grocery stores in just a few minutes. Recently my friend told me about an hour-and-a-half ordeal to drive across the LA Basin to see a concert at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. I'm sure I'll catch heat for comparing Reno to Los Angeles and NYC so often, but that's precisely the point of highlighting Reno's size. I have concerts, musicals, plays, bars, nightlife, great food and culture here on a much more affordable scale, without the hassles of excessive traffic.
Every marketing firm contracted by a city or town will say their people in their town are the most unique and cool in the country. No one's going to use 'Hey come to our city, we're mean and we'll treat you like crap' as a way to lure tourists to their turf. The difference with me is, I'm not employed by a marketing agency hired to promote Reno nor am I employed by the City of Reno, and I'm here to say that I really dig the people in Reno. Aside from the natural friendliness inherent in just about all humans across the board, if there's one trait that stands out more than any other in this community, it's that we're survivalists. From friends to acquaintances to random strangers I meet and have discussions with...we're all survivalists. We push forward regardless.
This city has been hit hard by the recession, harder than most. Over the course of the last five to seven years, Reno has had to reinvent itself, adapt, and change, as gambling went from the primary driver of our economy to being a secondary activity competing with Indian casinos in California. That, coupled with a massive real estate crash, and you'd think we'd all be quivering under rocks waiting for what the future beholds. Yet, we don't do that. We're not whiners or complainers, and we take offense and push back when media outlets put Reno on so many 'bad' bucket lists. We push forward, and do what needs to be done. It goes beyond just survival though. There's a willingness to recognize issues in the community and fix them. Also, the 'realness' of people in Reno never escapes me. Better watch out talking politics in this city, because we're equal parts Republican and Democrat, split nearly down the middle in Washoe County, and we tend to be passionate about our opinions, yet cross the aisle when necessary to get 'er done.
Whenever I meet someone who has recently moved here, my friends Matt and Chris for example who moved here from the east coast, are blown away at how nice people are in the community...from the people serving you food/drinks to the people who get out and help you when your car is stuck on an ice sheet in the middle of an intersection. From a non-native's perspective and someone who has called multiple cities home, I can see a general difference in attitude, and it's refreshing.
5. Opportunity Knocks
Reno began with an entrepreneurial spirit, with Charles Fuller building a log bridge across the Truckee River and charging a fee to those who passed over it on their way to Virginia City and the gold recently discovered there. He also saw the genius in providing gold-seekers with a place to rest and eat.
Fast-forward to today....and Reno is still small and compact enough that if you have an idea, a business plan, and you're good at what you do, you have a very high chance of succeeding in this community. Take my friend MJ for example. She moved back up to Reno from Los Angeles, struggled to find work here in her field, and then decided to take her passion for animals to a business level and opened her own pet-sitting and dog walking business. I have so many friends here that run their own business, it's impressive to think about. Most of our city-council members are small-business owners. It's easy and inexpensive to set up a business in Nevada.
I also don't want to paint a fairy-tale picture that no one in Reno is struggling...we have a lot of challenges to meet coming out of this recession. But when it comes to having an idea and seeing it to fruition, whether it's a hot dog cart stand downtown or a bio-fuel company, Reno, and Nevada, make it pretty easy. It's important not to mess that up or put more barriers in the way of entrepreneurs in Nevada. The business climate here has helped myself and countless others in their successes.
Midtown small business owners mingle and network.
I'm a West Coast dude at heart. Reno puts me four hours from the bay area, 8.5 hours from Los Angeles, about the same for Vegas and Portland. We're within three hours of Yosemite, three hours of Mammoth, four hours from the ocean, 40 minutes from two large lakes, two hours from Sacramento, I could go on and on. Reno's in a sweet spot, which is why so many distributors like Amazon have set up shop here.
That sums up why I dig Reno. Six basic reasons. Given the number of inquiries I get on this site from people wanting more information on relocating here, I'd say I'm not alone in seeing the perks of this city.