Is Reno a Good Place to Live? Here’s the Scoop on the City’s Best-Kept Secrets
Over the past decade, Reno has become one of the most sought-after cities in the American West, attracting a broad demographic. People attracted to the area include professionals, singles, families, and retirees. They come for a wide variety of reasons — natural beauty, exciting career opportunities, business-friendly taxes. But the fantastic amenities don’t end there.
Situated on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains at an average elevation of 4,500 feet, the “Biggest Little City” (BLC) enjoys 250+ days of sunshine annually. This places Reno among the ten sunniest cities in the US. And Lake Tahoe is just 30 minutes away! Outdoor activities abound. So do metropolitan ones, like visiting museums, savoring delectable local cuisine, and much more.
But is Reno a good place to live? Here are some thoughts from long-time residents and newbies.
Bye-Bye, State Income Tax
What’s one of Nevada’s best-kept secrets? No state income tax! The Silver State is one of seven out of 50 states with similar laws. This applies to individuals and corporations alike. As a result, money goes further during tax time.
Tax filings are simplified on the personal and corporate levels. And the state maintains a strong incentive for out-of-state companies to make a move. This translates into a robust economy with endless potential for continued growth.
Local writer Chris Murray declares, “I’ve never paid income tax in my life. That’s not because I dodge taxes.” Nope, it’s because he lives in the Truckee Meadows.
An Attractive Location for Business
For corporate entities, Nevada’s tax structure is ideal. No wonder brands like TESLA and Amazon have flocked to Northern Nevada in recent years. And startups are also making the move because of unrivaled tax breaks.
Coupled with other advantages of doing business in Nevada, like enhanced privacy, lawsuit and asset protection, and no residency or minimum capital requirements, it’s a win-win for everyone. This brings us to Reno’s next best-kept secret: career opportunity.
Exciting Career Opportunities
In 2019, Reno ranked number one in the nation for job growth. In March 2021 alone, the metropolitan area created 10,700 new jobs.
So, a move to Reno comes with the opportunity to continue growing professionally. The startup and tech scenes are especially hot these days.
Local companies to watch include Ormat Technologies, Microsoft, Panasonic, TESLA, Amazon, and Ridgeline. These companies represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the exciting career options available to those relocating to Reno-Tahoe. Here are some more urgently hiring companies in Reno-Sparks.
Smooth Sailing for Commuters
Traffic is a nightmare in urban areas around the country. Think Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver, Honolulu, California’s Bay Area, and SoCal. It’s not unheard of to spend one to two hours (or more) daily sitting on gridlocked freeways.
While Reno’s thoroughfares can back up temporarily during rush hour or when there’s an accident, they generally maintain flow. Even at the busiest times. Most residents report travel times of 25 minutes or less between home and work.
As for longer commutes, like those between Reno and Incline Village? Factor in about 45 minutes each way. That said, we’re talking 45 minutes of steady cruising through alpine scenery rather than snail-crawling in smoggy, bumper-to-bumper congestion.
Higher Education Matters
The University of Nevada, Reno, is the state’s flagship institution of higher education. Ranked a Tier 1 school nationally, it secured the prestigious “R1” (“very high research”) classification in December 2018.
Chancellor Melody Rose of the Nevada System of Higher Education explains, “Maintaining this status provides greater momentum for innovative research activity and workforce development opportunities which elevate NSHE’s role in supporting the economic diversification goals for Nevada.”
Not only does UNR rank at the top of the pack when it comes to education, but it also boasts a stunning campus. Celebrated for its lush landscaping and Ivy League-style historic brick buildings, nothing beats the university’s quad on a spring or autumn afternoon.
Downtown and Midtown Walkability
Gabbi Hall, a Boston transplant to Reno, documents her experiences in the BLC in her blog “Here Goes Gabbi.” What’s one of the perks she raves about? The walkability of Reno’s Downtown neighborhoods.
That’s not to say car ownership isn’t a great convenience. After all, the Reno metropolitan area spans more than 112 square miles. And it takes about 20 minutes to drive from North to South Reno via the freeway.
But that doesn’t mean you have to take a car everywhere. Reno’s Downtown and Midtown neighborhoods are not only charming and historic, but they also prove highly walkable.
Restaurants, cafes, bars, boutiques, art galleries, and bookstores abound. You’ll also find many museums, theaters, and picturesque parks in a concentrated area. In other words, you’ll never run out of great ways to get in your daily steps!
An Off-the-Hook Foodie Scene
What’s another of Reno’s best-kept secrets? The delish foodie scene. You’ll be amazed by the mouthwatering options available in the BLC. At the artisan eatery Liberty Food & Wine Exchange, dive into handcrafted, shareable plates made with regionally sourced ingredients.
Or head to Centro Bar & Restaurant in Midtown for refreshing cocktails and drool-worthy tapas served with an eclectic, hipster vibe. Locals agree Midtown’s Moo Dang serves the “best Thai food in Reno.”
And family-owned Cafe Capello, located in the Reno Riverwalk District, gets the thumbs-up from residents, too. Downtown’s “favorite neighborhood coffee hangout” cultivates a fun big city vibe. The café even inspired one visitor from the Big Apple to declare it “just like home in Brooklyn.”
Sabrina’s West Street Kitchen is another hidden gem that locals and tourists can’t stop raving about. Declared by many foodies “Reno’s best-kept secret,” the menu is vast and varied. From the chicken fajita sandwich to the pulled chicken and veggies, the restaurant garners a broad and loyal fanbase. But the hands-down fave is the veggie burger, considered by many the best in town.
No End to Arts, Entertainment, and Special Events
What else do long-time residents like Chris Murray have to say about Reno? “An event a day keeps the boredom away.” When it comes to events, Reno is booked year-round. Highlights include Artown, the Brews and Blues Festival, Food Truck Fridays, and this year’s newest event series Downtown Tuesdays.
Other events include Hot August Nights, Street Vibrations, the Reno Rodeo, and the Barracuda Championship. The list goes on and on. And that’s nothing to say of regional events like the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Black Rock’s Burning Man, Genoa’s Candy Dance, Virginia City’s International Camel Races …. You get the idea.
Apart from special events, Reno boasts a thriving arts scene. Classical and pop music lovers will fall head over heels for the Reno Philharmonic, a 60-strong professional orchestra with monthly engagements planned throughout the year. Most concerts happen at the iconic mid-century Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. (Locals refer to it fondly as the “Golden Turtle” because of its uber-recognizable metallic dome.)
The A.V.A. Ballet Theatre is the Pioneer’s resident ballet company. They feature the best local performers and nationally acclaimed principal dancers. The theater also hosts Broadway Comes to Reno. As the name suggests, the series transports the best of NYC to the West with performances like An American in Paris, Hamilton, and Jersey Boys.
Other local theaters include the Reno Little Theater, The Theater on Keystone Avenue, and the many performance venues of the University of Nevada, Reno.
As if clean air, perpetually blue skies, and stunning sunsets aren’t enough reasons to get outside, family-friendly parks add another dimension. Rancho San Rafael Regional Park encompasses an impressive expanse of land. It provides access to dog parks, hiking trails, special events, children’s playgrounds, and more.
Bartley Ranch Regional Park transports visitors back in time with its 19th-century schoolhouse, picturesque walking trails, and vantage points. And if you’re looking to get even closer to nature, head to Galena Creek Regional Park or Hunter Creek Trail for more challenging treks in a lovely forest setting.
Wingfield Park Amphitheater in Downtown Reno sits nestled along the Truckee River. Centrally located, it provides easy access to nearby restaurants, boutiques, and a movie theater. There’s also no better spot to scope out whitewater kayakers. A stage in the park offers live music and performances as well as movie nights throughout the summer. Learn more about why Reno, Nevada, is a great place for families.
Is Reno a Good Place to Live? Yes!
Long-time residents and newbies agree. Reno is the place to be! It’s got something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for career advancement opportunities, family-friendly parks, or weekend warrior outlets. You’ll also find a fantastic array of arts, entertainment, and special events.
A delectable foodie scene and highly walkable Downtown neighborhoods encourage exploration and community. And practical considerations like easy commutes, no state income tax, and access to top-notch higher ed make it one of the best places on the West Coast to work, live, and play.
Work Live Play Reno Tahoe is a community-wide initiative powered by EDAWN to recruit skilled workers with all levels of expertise to join the Northern Nevada workforce. Get started by submitting your resume, browse hiring companies, and connect directly with Lindsey, our Community Liaison who will help lead your quest for employment. Working Remotely? Check out our extensive list of Remote Worker Resources. Students can also participate! Visit our new Student Portal to start making connections for your future.
Engrid Barnett is an award-winning travel writer and digital content marketer based in Western Nevada. Recognized by the Nevada Press Association in 2019, her work has been featured in Nevada Magazine, Northern Nevada Business Weekly, Tahoe South, Rova, American Trails, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and more.
Follow along with us each month for Engrid’s special “Work-Life” review – featured exclusively on WorkLivePlayRenoTahoe.com