The history of the arch in Downtown Reno predates legalized gambling in Nevada.
The current arch has stood since 1987, but the original Reno arch was erected in 1927 to commemorate the completion of the transcontinental highway system which ran through Reno.
The slogan “the biggest little city in the world” was adopted subsequent to the erection of the first arch but is incorporated into the most recent landmark.
Since the original arch wasn’t associated with the casinos, it’s no surprise that northern Reno is more than just casinos.
There are essentially two sections of northern Reno within walking distance of the arch. The Downtown section between the Truckee River and Interstate 80 includes the casinos and restaurants along with a few other attractions.
The University of Nevada facilities on the north side of I-80 also provide relaxation for those not trying to pass classes at the university or going through the process of applying for colleges.
The Downtown portion actually extends south of the Truckee River.
If you’ve already purchased stamps for postcards, the Post Office isn’t a necessary trip, but the south side of the river includes a promenade along with sculpture art south of the walkway.
The casinos, restaurants, and the famous arch are north of the Truckee River.
It has been said that Reno is what Las Vegas used to be. In reality, the buffets in Downtown Las Vegas are less expensive than the casino buffets in Downtown Reno, although some non-buffet specials in Reno casinos or nearby restaurants exist which rival those on Fremont Street.
There is, however, one buffet which is less expensive than the better Las Vegas opportunities.
Anyone who attended college in the early 1980s will likely be surprised at how the food at college dining halls has improved over the last 25 years, and the buffet at the University of Nevada’s Argenta Hall on Artemesia Street is open to the public as well as to students.
Those interested only in gambling might do just as well to take a shorter trip to the nearest Indian reservation, but Reno is more than casinos and inexpensive alcoholic beverages.
The Circus Circus has a children’s arcade and periodically provides a free five-minute show featuring Chinese or Russian acrobats or an American dog trainer.
The free shows in the arcade area are not contingent upon lodging accommodations at the Circus Circus.
In fact, a skyway seamlessly connects the Circus Circus, the Silver Legacy, and the Eldorado.
The boundaries between the hotels are marked by different color floor tiles rather than by signs or doors. The Silver Legacy references the fictional silver baron Sam Fairchild.
Since Sam Fairchild didn’t actually exist, he wasn’t actually friends with steel structure expert Gustave Eiffel and Monsieur Eiffel didn’t actually build the mining device underneath the dome of the Silver Legacy. But the mining device is still impressive to view, as is the silver houseware collection which allegedly belonged to Sam Fairchild.
A collection of silver items also exists at the University of Nevada. Silver baron John Mackay was not fictional, and the university’s school of mines is named after him, along with the school’s football stadium.
Mackay’s household silver is on display in the W.M. Keck Museum within the Mackay School of Mines, along with samples of various minerals.
As is the case with the Silver Legacy display, the W.M. Keck Museum does not charge admission.
The current Mackay Stadium is on a different part of the campus than the original football field, and the campus athletic facilities also include the Lawlor Events Center for basketball and William Peccole Park for baseball.
At one time the University of Nevada baseball team and the minor league Reno Silver Sox shared Moana Municipal Stadium – which is actually on the other side of Reno close to the Peppermill – but now the Wolf Pack play home games in Peccole Park and the Class AAA Reno Aces use Aces Ball Park just east of the Virginia Avenue casinos.
Downtown Reno’s sports facilities also include the National Bowling Stadium, which seats fans for bowling tournaments but doesn’t include alleys open to the public.
The domes of the bowling stadium and the Silver Legacy are matched by the Fleischmann Planetarium at the university.
The university library includes items unique to northern Nevada, and the Center for Basque Studies on the third floor pays tribute to northern Nevada’s significant Basque community (Nevada was the first state to elect a Basque governor, and Paul Laxalt subsequently also became the first Basque in the United States Senate).
Since the Basque have an indigenous language, the Basque land is in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, and the Basques in Nevada speak English, the Center for Basque Studies has documents, including information brochures, in four languages.
The Nevada Historical Society is also located on the University of Nevada campus, as is the Nevada Inventors Hall of Fame.
With a 2000 census population of 180,400, Reno still qualifies as a little city. Downtown Reno is still safe and numerous activities are available within walking distance of the arch.