Sacramento is within easy driving distance of many great places, but few beat the fun of a weekend getaway to Reno, N.V. Boasting quick access to the great outdoors, legendary casinos, high desert beauty, fishing, hiking, and shopping can all be ticked off the list in this one little city, not far from Sacramento.

Getting There
Traveling east on I-80, Reno is 132 miles, and about 2.5 hours from Sacramento. Take a break when you get to Truckee, and grab a bite at the Pacific Crest Grill.

Stop Along the Way

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Pacific Crest Grill
10040 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 587-2626

The Pacific Crest Grill is great place to start, and offers a fine view onto Donner Pass Road, right in downtown Truckee. Plan on grabbing brunch here with banana custard French toast and Angel’s huevos rancheros sure to please any diner. Don’t miss out on the best desserts in the city, a pleasant surprise of everything from sorbet to heavenly, sticky toffee cake. After stretching your belt and your legs, head on down to Reno.

Main Events

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Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
3800 S. Virgina Street
Reno, NV 89503
(800) 723-6500

Price: rooms from $69.99

Expect world-class entertainment and accommodations at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. Enjoy unparalleled amenities including tons of natural light, laptop TV hookups, VIP check-in, butler service, complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon hors d’ oeuvres. Along with all of the opportunities to beat the house on the gaming floor, the resort features boxing and charity events, and a lively mix of bands. Chili Sauce, The Palmore Brothers, American Made Band and Hindsight headline the Cabaret Room. The music changes on a regular basis, with a mix of styles and presentations to keep the place hopping. The fun center is a beacon of the latest in video arcade games for the young ones. Work out in the fitness center, then head to the spa for a body tune up. Jump into the indoor or outdoor pool to top off your relaxing spa treatment. 

Related: Car Games for Your Next Road Trip

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Eldorado Hotel Casino
345 North Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 786-5700

Click here for hotel prices and availability

This 81,000 square-foot casino promise 24/7 entertainment with some of the area’s best slots — 1,300 of them — sports options and table games. Expect personalized service as you enjoy promos, parties and special events at this awesome area casino. Stay in-house for easy access to one of the best places to gamble in Reno. For the ultimate in luxury, book a spot in the spa tower and rest assured you’ll be pampered all weekend.

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Cabela’s Reno
8650 Boomtown Road
Verdi, NV 89439
(778) 829-4100

Shopping at Cabela’s could be a big part of a trip to Reno. After a day at the casino, wandering about in this giant outdoor gear emporium is a delight. Inside the 125,000 square feet of eye candy filled space is just about anything you might need for your next picnic or hunting expedition. Its restaurant’s extensive menu will keep you fueled up for the trek through the venues within the store. The decor is eclectic, with museum quality animal displays, aquariums bigger than a house and trophy animals posed in realistic illusions of their natural habitats. Hunting, camping, RV supplies, home and cabin goodies, boating, blowguns just start the list of gadgets and gear parked here.

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Mount Rose
Highway 431/Mount Rose Highway
Reno, NV 89503

Price: free

Reno isn’t limited to any one kind of activity. If the casino and shopping scenes aren’t on your list, head out of town and up the Mount Rose Highway. Park at the summit and head out on the trail head. Hiking in this area is simply spectacular. Either side of the highway offers a great day of putting the city out of your head for a bit. The summit is 9,300 feet, and the views out on the trails will put your camera to the test. From this one spot, you can reach the Tahoe Meadows Trail, Mount Rose Wilderness Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail and Mount Rose Summit Trail. The summit trail is a relatively easy hike for most of the way. At a little over half way to the summit, the terrain changes, and it becomes more of a challenge. Just short of the spot where the trail starts to hug the mountainside, and the trek gets more difficult, is a good place to stop if the summit is a bit too much. By this time, you will have crossed Galena Creek and seen a great waterfall. Enjoy extraordinary views of the mountain, the valley and the Galena Creek Drainage. Sit under huge trees, have a nice lunch, and relax before heading back to the parking area.

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Nevada Museum of Art
160 W. Liberty Street
Reno, Nevada 89501
(775) 329-3333

Price: $10 general admission/$8 students and seniors/$1 children ages 6 to 12

You’ve been to the Crocker in Sacramento and seen the amazing collection there. The Nevada Museum of Art is your next stop for a wonderful weekend getaway in Reno. The permanent collection consists of more than 2,000 works of 19th to 21st century art, divided into five focus areas unified by a pretty constant focus on natural, built and virtual environments. Works cover the spectrum from historical to whimsical along with modern paintings and sculptures. The Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin are well represented in the collection, as Reno sits on the eastern side of the Sierra, and is a gateway into the Great Basin. Coupled with a vibrant art community, not only in Reno but in nearby Carson City, Minden and Gardnerville, the collection is a must see. The museum bills itself as one of ideas. It is a vibrant and ever-evolving space for art, artists and art lovers. The café in the museum offers a fine spot to fuel up while exploring the collections.

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Campo Restaurant
50 N. Sierra Street
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 737-9555

Campo Restaurant features handmade pastas, organic, local, farm fresh produce and wood fired pizza, all to sate your taste for a bit of Italy. This amazing gathering place promises top-notch dining at reasonable prices. Enjoy weekly specials including movie and meatball Mondays, and discounted Thursday date nights.

Related: Prep for a Safe and Fun Road Trip

Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 37 years. He retired from teaching after 36 years in 2010. He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at