Looking for unique things to do in Reno? Although many people think of casinos or cowboys when they hear “Reno,” the area enjoys a vibrant arts scene. From ballet to theater, diverse musical groups to mural painting, the city devotes an entire month to celebrating creativity, Artown. In its 24th season, this summer arts festival brings together some of the world’s greatest artists and performers. It’s safe to say that Renoites love Shakespeare at Lake Tahoe as much as they enjoy cowboy poetry.

Recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the country, Artown features more than 500 events organized by 100 organizations and businesses across Northern Nevada. 

Many of the headline events happen at Wingfield Park, a historic and picturesque park located along the beautiful Truckee River. But as Reno’s Artown has expanded over the past two decades, the list of events has increased and expanded beyond this primary downtown location to include other venues in the Truckee Meadows including concert halls, churches, and parks.    

What to Know About Artown

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Yogapalooza – Artown.org

During the month of July, art takes Reno and its surrounding communities by storm. Every day, there are new performances and artistic events to enjoy and even participate in. This year’s festival will celebrate diversity through a celebration of different cultures, people of color, and members of the LGBT community. With this inclusive spirit, Artown hopes to bring the community closer together. 

Artown remains among the best things to do in Reno and the surrounding area, and 75 percent of its anchor events and concerts are free to the public. These cover a wide range of categories from music to dance, visual arts to local theater

Artown also offers a wide variety of kid-centered and family-friendly activities. These include a Discover Watercolor class at the Wilbur D. May Museum on July 26th and a Discover the Art of Automobiles workshop on July 31st at the McKinley Arts & Culture Center. The Artown Family Series offers evening performances for the whole family such as Yogapalooza on July 29th from 7 to 8 pm.

The “Biggest Little Artown in the World”

Since 1996, Artown has helped to reshape Reno’s reputation as a community who cares deeply about the arts. What’s more, it showcases some of the best local, national, and international talent out there. The “Biggest Little City in the World” has evolved over the past two decades into a sophisticated urban center with a vibrant artistic and cultural community.

Artown has been the past recipient of five consecutive National Endowment for the Arts grant awards. It also relies on strong community support to offer most of its events free or at a low ticket rate. It receives major funding from a variety of sponsors including NV Energy, IGT, Reno-Tahoe, Nevada State Bank, and more. Support also comes from the Nevada Arts Council. 

Events to Watch

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The Steeldrivers – Artown.org

This year’s events include a family series performance by the Mariachi Acero de Las Vegas, the Monday night music series with Sammy Miller and the Congregation, and a concert by Native Hip Hop sensation, Supaman. Tickets are also going fast for a much-anticipated performance by the Steeldrivers, known for their Nashville stylings and signature Bluegrass sound.

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The Squirrel Nut Zippers – Artown.org

Other highlights include a show by the Koresh Dance Company on July 26th and the swankiest swing concert of the summer by the Squirrel Nut Zippers on July 31st. To find out more about this year’s events and what to do in Reno, check out the Artown website. Besides events in July, Artown also presents a variety of concerts throughout the year including a can’t-miss performance by the Glenn Miller Orchestra on September 13th

Things to Do in Reno

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Native American Cultural Experience – Artown.org

When it comes to things to do in Reno and Northern Nevada, July’s Artown represents one of the must-see art festivals of the summer. It draws crowds from across the United States and with good reason. Featuring top-tier talent, it boasts some of the most spectacular locations in the American West, along the Truckee River nestled beneath the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

And Artown is just the beginning. Northern Nevada boasts many year-round professional performing arts groups such as the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the Sierra Nevada  Ballet Company, and the Reno Little Theater. Local artists, muralists, and galleries also contribute to the city’s landscape in numerous ways from art exhibits to outdoor sculptures. 

Interested in learning more about Northern Nevada’s vibrant art scene? Or, maybe you’ve got questions about relocating to Reno? Contact us today to find out what’s happening in Northern Nevada and why you want to be here.