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Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions!

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Happy 2015 Reno Tahoe! Every 365 days we take a few hours to celebrate the start of a new year, which brings promises of change and the chance to rebuild and reinvent ourselves. Many people embrace this opportunity by making New Year’s Resolutions, but the majority of resolutions are broken or forgotten soon after the celebration has died down. We searched for a few common resolutions and are here to help you stick to them!

  1. Exercise more. Fortunately, we are situated in the perfect area to keep up with this popular resolution. With such a beautiful environment right outside our homes, getting your heartrate up outdoors is easy! Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and take in the wonderful Nevada scenery. The trek up Mt. Rose is a popular one, and the 6 mile trail is tough but the view from the peak is worth it. For an easier hike, the Glacier Meadow Loop is a .5 mile trail through the Tahoe National Forest dotted with informational signs that explain the role of glaciers in shaping the landscape. Opt to hit the slopes for an exercise that makes you forget that you’re actually exercising. Skiing or snowboarding is the perfect way to get exercise in the colder months, and it’s so much fun that you won’t mind that its hard work. Head up with friends or family to make it even more enjoyable. Biking is another exercise option that allows you to take in the nature of our area. Cruise around the Riverwalk District and along the Truckee River for an easy and relaxing ride, or visit Northstar California for mountain biking trails, races, and clinics and camps for bikers of all levels.
  2. Eating healthy. With the recent shift in Reno’s focus from casino boom to small and local comes more healthy food options. In the past few years we’ve seen many local shops and restaurants that focus on locally sourced, organic, natural, and/or seasonal ingredients that make eating healthier deliciously simple. Great Full Gardens is an eatery that caters to those with specialized dietary needs (such as vegan or Paleo), and their menu features items from local vendors, farmers, and their own greenhouse. Their menus, which cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between, are made up of fresh, healthy food options that everyone will enjoy. Laughing Planet Café is a quick-service restaurant that offers nutritious food to “heal your body, mind, and spirit.” Their core principles focus on being environmentally conscious, eco-friendly, and obtaining organic products whenever possible. At The Studio yoga, massage, and wellness center you will find The Seed, which is a raw café that serves a purely organic and gluten free menu. They use local ingredients whenever possible to provide customers with organic juices, smoothies, salads and more.
  3. Learn/ try something new. Every year Reno Tahoe has an incredible lineup of events that will educate participants and inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on a specific subject or just to attempt something you have always wanted to do, there is always a way to discover something new in our area. The Nevada Museum of Art has guided tours throughout the year for groups and individuals led by trained docents who will educate visitors on permanent and temporary exhibits throughout the museum. The NMA also offers a number of talks given by scholars, writers, and artists on a variety of subjects, as well as workshops for seniors, and hands-on activities to encourage visitors to make art themselves. The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is not just for kids! They have seminars on various grown-up topics throughout the year like the science and technology that goes into creating our favorite movies (January 31, 2015). For those who are interested in something a little more out of this world, visit the Fleischmann Planetarium & Science Center for exhibits on various topics such as meteorites and NASA projects. They also show educational films such as Bad Astronomy: Myths and Misconceptions, Seasons of Light and Seasonal Stargazing, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall music and lights show.

For any ambitious resolution go-getters who are looking to make your resolution solution work double-duty (like getting more exercise AND learning something new at the same time), many of our local ski resorts are recognizing January as Learn to Ski & Snowboard month! To celebrate this movement resorts are offering great deals on first-timer ski and snowboard lessons all throughout the month of January, so its the perfect excuse to get out there and meet with an experienced trainer. With many different learning environments such as one-on-one or group lessons at a number of our unique resorts, Learn to Ski & Snowboard month will have something for everybody! For more information on resort offerings and what you can do to boost your snow skills, please head to our Ski & Board blog post!

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Snow Fun Around Tahoe

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Looking for some fun and snowy activities to do this winter? Skiing and snowboarding are always popular options, but we’ve come up with a few other ways to get out into the snow.

Sledding is always an exciting way to spend a winter day outside. With the snowy mountains just a short drive away, many sledding areas are accessible to almost anybody. Granlibakken is one of many local resorts that has a sledding area that is open daily, and they offer saucer rentals for those who do not have their own. Squaw Valley has snow tubing lanes at their SnoVentures activities center that are accessed by a new covered magic carpet surface lift. Soda Springs Resort is another option to fulfill all of your snow tubing desires. Their very own Tube Town has more than eight long runs and a 390′ surface lift! Northstar California’s tubing area is another place to go. The 200 yard tubing hill is accessed by tow lift and is sure to be a wild ride!

Snowshoeing is another awesome way to have fun in the snow and view some beautiful winter scenery. Mount Tallac Trail and Fallen Leaf Lake Trail are great options, with 5 and 10 miles of trails respectively. Tahoe Adventure Company offers customized snowshoe tours throughout the Lake Tahoe area that are lead by knowledgeable guides who will educate you on area history and facts. North Tahoe Adventures is another great group to get a snowshoe tour from. With four easy to moderate trails, ranging from .75 miles to 4.5 miles, their guides will give you the experience you’re looking for. Squaw Valley Resort also has options for every snowshoeing fan. All trails originate at the Resort at Squaw Creek (accessible by shuttle from the Squaw Valley parking lot), and they even offer night tours so you can snowshoe under the beautiful winter moon.

One more unique winter experience is dog sledding, and Sierra Adventures is a great place to go! Cruise through the high Sierra snow on your very own dog sled and bring the kids for their Family Dog Sled Excursion. Tahoe Dog Sled Tours offer tours seven days a week (weather permitting) pulled by a team of trained Huskies, that last about one hour through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Squaw Valley Resort is in on the dog sledding action with Wilderness Adventures, as well. They’re offering hour-long tours led by a racing guide and team of eight to ten Huskies through the Squaw Valley Meadow. Guests ride in a four-person sled and will move at speeds of about 13.5 mph.

These unique and unforgettable experiences are a great way to have some winter fun with the whole family. Visit each individual website for schedules, reservations, and more information to plan your trip. Remember to dress warm!

For more local holiday and winter activities check out our “Must Do” Holiday Events blog.

Exciting “Must Do” Holiday Events Around Town

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The holidays are here, and our area has tons of winter activities for you to participate in to keep you and your family happy and full of holiday cheer. This season is always a busy one, so to make things easy we’ve made a list of events going on around town and put a few of them here for you. All you have to do is have fun!

The Reno Ice Rink is always a favorite for this month. This year it will be hosted at the Reno Aces ballpark and will be open all the way through February. It’s definitely cold out on the ice, but skating is always fun regardless of your skill level. People and children of all ages head to the rink for some holiday fun, so be sure to join them! For more information visit our blog post dedicated to the Ice Rink.

The Eldorado is ringing in the holiday season with “Christmas Wonderland”, one of London’s biggest Christmas shows. The Eldorado is calling it “a holiday extravaganza of pure Christmas magic”. The show will be filled with dancing and singing of traditional Christmas carols, such as “Winter Wonderland” and “O Holy Night”, and the audience is encouraged to sing along. There will be beautiful costumes, a gorgeous set, a skilled and entertaining cast, and “the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole.” Performances will take place Tuesday through Sunday until December 27. Tickets are on sale now.

For some grown-up fun, the Santa Crawl will be taking place on Saturday, December 13. T’is the season to dress up in your best Santa costume and crawl to over 50 local bars with your friends! This crawl is expected to draw in a whopping 15,000 festive crawlers who will take over the streets of Reno for a night. Santa, reindeer, elves, and Ms. Claus will all come together for one giant holiday party! Be sure to buy your official Santa Crawl cup at participating retailers around town and get ready to have some fun!

Reno’s Wine Walk is holiday themed this month and is encouraging walkers to dress in their ugliest Christmas sweaters for the event. Head down to the Riverwalk District on Saturday, December 20 and enjoy wine from nearly 30 local businesses in the downtown area. For $20 you will get a wine glass and access to some delicious wines and a great time, and on the 20th a portion of the proceeds will benefit Cancer Awareness of Nevada.

For some holiday fun up in Tahoe, visit the Resort at Squaw Creek for A Star Spangled Christmas where the Truckee Tahoe Community Chrous will be singing for all to hear. They will be commemorating the bicentennial of our national anthem by performing the Star Spangled Banner, a Star Medley and Star Carol. The Chorus will also perform Schubert’s Mass in G, Gaudete!, a Jolly Jingle Christmas Medley and a sing along to get in the holiday spirit. They will be performing December 13 at 7:00 pm and December 14 at 2:00 pm. Get your tickets now!

December 20 through January 3 Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will be hosting Holiday Celebrations up on the slopes! Santa will be skiing along with Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley throughout the month, so keep an eye out for them! In the Village carolers will be singing your favorite holiday songs, so cozy up to the fire and listen while you sip on some hot chocolate. Sqauw’s Olympic Ice Pavilion and SnoVentures Activity Zone are also great spots for some family holiday fun. There will also be a kids scavenger hunt during the month-long celebration to go along with the other holiday festivities. Head up to the mountain to be a part of this winter celebration!

Reno Aces Will Host Reno’s Ice Rink This Winter

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Reno’s popular ice skating rink is moving to a new location this winter: Reno Ace’s Ballpark! This new “Ace Skating” spot should be a positive change, as it gives skaters a fun place to go and allows the Reno Aces to stay connected to fans and locals during their off season. With 20 downtown area lots within walking distance from the ballpark, parking should be hassle-free for anybody who is heading to the rink. For pre- and post-skating indulgences, the Aces Ballpark has options such as Arroyo Mexican Grill and the Freight House District, along with the abundance of dining spots throughout Downtown Reno. The rink will open on November 25 and is said to be open through February with special times for holiday sessions. The Aces are hosting a Family Skate Day on November 28, so bring all of your relatives to the rink to continue your Thanksgiving family fun! Session prices vary by age, but you can also purchase a 10-Visit Punch Pass if you know you’ll be doing a lot of skating this winter!  Ice skating is the perfect activity for the winter/holiday season. It’s reasonably priced, convenient, and fun for people of every age, so don’t miss out on this Reno winter tradition!

Skating rink hours will vary during the week but are set for 10 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Sundays.

Admission to the skating rink is $7.50 for ages 13-54. For children 3-12 and seniors 55 and older, the cost is $5.50. Skates can be rented for $2.50 per session.

Also, Christmas-themed movies are planned in the 250 lounge at the stadium, in addition to other special happenings.

If you’re excited about ice skating but aren’t able to to brave the cold, check out the LIVE STREAM on the City of Reno website!

For information on hours, ticket pricing, and any other stuff you can think of head to the Reno Aces website to find the answers to all of your questions!

Thanksgiving Fun For Everyone!

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Thanksgiving is a time for family and close friends, and the long weekend gives us all plenty of time to relax and have some fun. The Reno area has quite a few events to celebrate the holiday, and whether you’re looking to bring your family along or trying to escape them for a little while, there will definitely be something that you can look forward to!

Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary will be open during Thanksgiving Weekend, both Friday and Saturday, from 11:00 to 3:00. The park is typically closed during the colder months, but they are opening during the holiday weekend to give visitors a chance to see their predators in their thick winter coats. Animal Ark staff encourages visitors to bring raw turkey necks, gizzards, and any leftover uncooked low-sodium turkey mean for the animals. The predators love raw poultry, and donations will really help the Ark throughout the winter. Be sure to layer your warm clothing because the weather this time of year tends to be fickle! Tickets are as follow: Adult $12, Seniors $11, Children $10, and children 2 and under are free.

Scheels Turkey Trot takes place on Thanksgiving morning beginning at 8:30 am. The Trot starts and ends in the Scheels parking lot at Legends. Participants have the choice between either a 10K timed race, which will take runners through city streets and bike paths or a 2-mile walk/run that will circle around the Sparks Marina Park and is not timed. Both courses are great for both runners and walkers, so participants are able to take their chosen course and their own pace. Registration costs vary between $25 and $60 depending on how and when you sign up for the race. Every participant will receive a Turkey Trot sweatshirt, fruit, and refreshments at the race. Ticket proceeds benefit Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful and the City of Sparks Scholarship Fund. For more information and how to register for the run, visit the Scheels website or call (775) 353-7898.

Grand Sierra Resort will host a Vietnamese Thanksgiving concert on Saturday, November 29. The show will take place in the Grand Theater at 8 pm and will feature 12 Vietnamese performers including: Tuan Ngoc, Huong Thoy, Manh Quynh, MC. Giang Ngoc, Hoang Thug Linh, Baovy-Boa Liem, Andy Quach, Lilian, Thien Kim, Nugyen Hong Nhung, and Mai Thanh Son. The evening will be filled with song and dance to celebrate Thanksgiving. Tickets are on sale on GSR’s events website.

Skiing is also a popular Thanksgiving event, and a great way to burn off some of those extra turkey-related calories! A few ski resorts, such as Mt. Rose, Northstar, and Heavenly Lake Tahoe are scheduled to open before Thanksgiving. Check out our ski blog to see which resorts will be open and running during the holiday weekend.

Reno Aces Ballpark is the new home of Reno’s ice rink! The rink is set to open on November 25, but they will have holiday hours for Thanksgiving (10 am to 10 pm). Admission prices are as follows: $7.50 for teens and adults (ages 13-54) and $5.50 for children (ages 3-12) and seniors (ages 55+). Skate rental costs each guest $2.50, but the rink is offering a discount for groups of 20 or more who make reservations in advance, so bring the whole family! Ice skating is perfect for family members of (almost) all ages, and it’s a great way to spend some time together during the holiday!

For special Thanksgiving menus and deals around town, read our blog on eating out for Thanksgiving 2014.

Happy Thanksgiving, Reno. We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

ULTRA4 National Championships

More than 100 of the same vehicles that compete at King of The Hammers will be rolling into Reno Tahoe, October 17-18! The course combines technical rock obstacles with short course racing, showcasing the four-wheel drive capabilities of all the ULTRA4 classes. Seating provides excellent views of the entire course to enjoy the dynamic race action.

20141014_134854Friday and Saturday, Oct. 17 and 18, for the very first time, northern Nevada will play host to the Nitto Tires ULTRA4 National Championships. Over 100 pro race drivers from all over the country will be competing in the ultimate off-road race for a $10,000 purse and to be crowned the ULTRA4 National Champion. The event will take place at the Wild West Motorsports Park just east of Sparks. The event is expected to be packed with fans!

Be sure to bring remote controlled cars for your young ones! Track designers have created a mini-track for kids to race their own remote controlled cars against one other. The track is similar to the real thing – with rocks, jumps and tight turns.

View the complete event schedule and buy tickets here.

Fantasies in Chocolate celebrates 30th year with black-tie, costumed event

Indulge in your dark side… Dress in your finest villainous black-tie wardrobe, and head to the 30th annual Fantasies in Chocolate, wine tasting and chocolate sampling fundraiser, benefiting the RGJ Foundation on Saturday, Oct. 25. This year’s black-tie, costumed event includes a villainous theme incorporating the spooky season and is being held at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, in the Summit Pavilion.

10557446_574380852685455_2472632868531929463_nSample chocolate and wine, and give back to one of your favorite local entities, such as High Sierra Industries, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum and Reno Philharmonic.

The evening begins with a VIP portion, including early access, reserved table seating for the evening, a sit-down dinner prepared by Grand Sierra, a live band, champagne and wine. For general admission attendees, the evening includes tastings of chocolate confections, creations and savory dishes presented by some of the region’s top chefs and paired with champagne, wine, beer and spirits. Entertainment includes a live DJ, dance floor, silent auction and more.

Vendors to look for at this year’s event, include: 1864 Tavern, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Batch Cupcakery, Cherry Bomb Catering, Delicious Designs, Dorinda’s Chocolates, Dough Catering, Dreamer’s Coffeehouse, Edible Arrangements, Famous Dave’s, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Great Basin Brewery, Kimmie Candy, Mari & Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen, Men Wielding Fire, My Scandinavia, Pretty in Pink Macaron, Reef Sushi, Reno Local Food Group, Rounds Bakery, Scheels, Southern Wine & Spirits, Stoneyhead Brewery, The Chocolate Bar, Tahoe Blue Vodka, Tournant Pop-Up Restaurant and Whole Foods Market.

General admission tickets cost $70 in advance or $80 at the door. VIP single tickets cost $175 or a VIP table of 10 costs $1,500. All VIP tickets must be purchased in advance. Additionally, LEX Nightclub, inside Grand Sierra, is throwing an after party with a discounted entry fee of $15, if you purchase in advance. All Fantasies in Chocolate tickets can be purchased at www.fantasiesinchocolate.com.

Generous sponsors of Fantasies in Chocolate 2014, include: Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Southern Wine & Spirits, Jaguar Land Rover Reno, Galaxy Theaters, Reno Dodge, Creative Coverings and Jones West Ford.

Reno’s luck – and local scene – looking up

Originally on SFGATE written by Spud Hilton

Downtown Reno Arch - Jeff Dow 2013For too long it was difficult to see Reno as anything but that guy. The weary longtime gambler on a decade-long losing streak who knows that, someday, his luck will change and life will turn around.

It’s a good bet that Reno’s luck (and life) is looking up.

It’s not because the city went after the “big score” — a giant, glitzy attraction solely to bring in tourists. It started taking care of itself. Having recognized that the California gamblers diverted by Indian casinos are never coming back, Reno and its people have spent the past decade making minor adjustments and improvements that make life better for locals — and they’re starting to pay off.

The result: a downtown with more outdoorsy diversions and an increasingly sophisticated dining and drinking scene; a fledgling Midtown district with hip cafes, wine bars and brewpubs that would have seemed unthinkable not that long ago; and an attempt by one resort to bring Vegas-style (and Vegas-size) nightlife to a town that never really had it before.

Lucky or not, the city seems to be on a streak and might be worth a trip over the hills — if only to be surprised by, well, Reno.

Why now? Summer heat is retreating and the bleakness of winter in Reno (and the wretched drive through snow) is still months away.

Backstory: Reno was sucker-punched by the sudden boom of Indian casinos in California 20 years ago, and visitors have declined steadily ever since. Previously strong casinos went belly-up, the buildings turned into condos or just unused shells.

reno riverwalkIn the 1990s, the city created the Riverwalk district scenic corridor and focused on outdoorsy diversions, but it wasn’t until the past 10 years that new businesses really took hold in downtown. Now the focus seems to be on Midtown, a short walk from downtown and Riverwalk, where new starter shops and cafes — most of them independent — are taking root, in some cases inside very old venues.

Checking in: The downtown casinos (Silver Legacy, El Dorado, Harrah’s) are an easy walk to the Riverwalk and to Midtown, although if you plan to partake in nightlife at Lex Nightclub, the city’s first venue comparable to Vegas clubs, consider staying at Sierra Grand Resort. (It isn’t particularly walkable from downtown, but the drive is short and the parking is free at most downtown casinos.)

At Grand Sierra, the style and upkeep are a little more upscale than in downtown, but in most cases the rooms and rates are comparable (especially if you sign up for discount alerts at the website). Along with the new $15 million Lex, Grand Sierra has one of the better lineups of in-casino restaurants, including the Reserve wine bar (80 different bottles for sampling) and Charlie Palmer Steak. Tip: Higher floors offer great views of downtown at night.

Spend your day: In a town full of casino breakfast buffets, Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs in Midtown is a popular alternative (if only because it’s not inside a casino). The menu offers standard breakfast dishes, as well as Tex-Mex and Hawaiian plates. It’s part of a small chain, but the vibe is down home. Another alternative is Little House on Center Street (725 S. Center St.).

To work off breakfast, rent a bike for a morning ride on the Truckee River Path, a paved trail along the river that west of downtown winds into the hills. (The trail east crosses town toward Sparks, passing a few small parks and greenbelt on the way, although it can attract a dodgy crowd.)

boulders_799Another option for getting the heart pumping is BaseCamp, the climbing wall and gym (a 7,000-square foot “bouldering park”) connected to the Whitney Peak hotel, inside the former Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel. The 164-foot climbing wall on the outside of the tower has been there a few years, but Whitney Peak just opened, offering boutique lodging without a casino. Not into climbing? You can still sit by the Reno Arch and watch others burn off breakfast.

From the Riverwalk area, follow Virginia Street south across the river and past a block of office and government buildings. Once you pass Liberty Street (and a white bunker-like strip club), you’ve entered Midtown, a commercial district trying to revamp what was once one of Reno’s more unremarkable neighborhoods.

Do a little window shopping now, making sure to top at artisan cheese shop Wedge (16 St. Lawrence Ave.), PolyEsther’s Costume Boutique (655 S. Virginia St.), Recycled Records (822 S. Virginia St.) and at secondhand palace Junkee Clothing Exchange (960 S. Virginia St.) for sensory overload.

Along the way, grab lunch and an excellent margarita at Mari & Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen, one of three newish restaurants in the Sticks Project. The food is great, but a meal here is also a window seat to most of the revitalization and shaping of Midtown. The Sticks Project is a modern complex that includes UnCork’d Eatery at Midtown, and across the street are Shea’s Tavern and Midtown Eats taking up older brick storefronts on Virginia Street.

For a better example of reuse, walk a block on East Taylor Street to Brasserie Saint James, a hulking, airy restaurant, pub and brewery in what was once the Crystal Springs water plant and ice house. Saint James specializes mostly in Belgian styles, so ask for a row of sampler glasses and study up on the styles. Tours of the brewery are available with advance notice.

If, after all the community-oriented places, you need a dose of Vegas, head to Lex nightclub at Grand Sierra. The $15 million club is the first of its kind in Reno, patterned after the giant, over-the-top megaclubs in Las Vegas, with a swimming pool, private booths, drink service and go-go dancers. And while tourists are a big part of the business, owners have said it will rely also on locals spending plenty of time (and cash) there.

cpDining: If you stay around Midtown, try Midtown Eats, a boutique restaurant where the menu has a surprising amount of variety — from pork belly to elk burgers — despite being really short. If you’re up for the splurge, head back to Grand Sierra Resort and get a table at Charlie Palmer Steak.

Don’t miss: A plate of mortadella, gruyere, asiago and moronga (Spanish blood sausage), washed down with a nice Malbec, at the brand new UnCork’d Eatery at Midtown, a hybrid cafe and wine bar that serves up fine meats and cheeses to go with the healthy, worldly wine list.

Don’t bother: South Virginia Street loses some of its charm past Mary Street. Pick up one of the Midtown district maps available at most businesses, although be aware it’s not entirely up to date (see below).

Word to the wise: The Midtown district map lists the Chocolate Walrus (1278 S. Virginia St.) as “specializing in handmade chocolate products” — which might be true, but the current business is a quirky adult boutique with sex toys and lingerie.

If you go

Where to stay

Grand Sierra Resort: 2500 E. Second St., (775) 789-2000, www.grandsierraresort.com. Polished casino resort with spa and range of restaurants. Rates start at $60 per night midweek.

Whitney Peak: 255 N. Virginia St., (775) 398-5400, www.whitneypeakhotel.com. Recently opened chic makeover of the old Fitzgeralds hotel. Rates starting at $109 per night.

Where to eat

Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs: 420 S Sierra St., (775) 329-2600, www.eatatpegs.com. Open daily for breakfast and lunch only. Entrees: $7-$14

Mari & Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen: 764 S Virginia St., (775) 322-6866, www.chuysmexicankitchen.com. Mexican and Tex-Mex staples with full bar. Entrees: $7-$16

UnCork’d Eatery at Midtown: 760 S. Virgina St., (775) 360-3082, www.760uncorkd.com. Cafe and wine bar specializing in fine meats, cheeses and wines.

Midtown Eats: 719 South Virginia St., (775) 324-3287, www.midtowneatsreno.com. Open daily for lunch and dinner (and brunch on Sunday). Entrees: $10-$34.

Charlie Palmer Steak: (inside Sierra Grand Resort) , (775) 789-2458, www.charliepalmer.com. Uber-upscale steak and seafood — and a really famous name. Entrees: $28-$68.

What to do

Sierra Adventures: 11 N. Sierra St., (866) 323-8928, www.wildsierra.com. Bike rentals (call ahead) run $19-$49 per 24-hour day.

Brasserie Saint James: 901 S. Center St., (775) 348-8888, www.brasseriesaintjames.com. Taster glasses $3

Lex Nightclub: (inside Sierra Grand Resort), (775) 789-5399, www.lexnightclub.com. A 25,00-square-foot nightclub with celebrity DJs, VIP tables and bottle service.

Base Camp: (Second floor of Whitney Peak hotel), (775) 398-5443, www.basecampreno.com. Indoor “bouldering park” and climbing wall outside. Day passes are $17-$22 per day including gear rental.

More information

Midtown district:www.midtowndistrictreno.com.

Spud Hilton is the editor of The San Francisco Chronicle’s Travel section. E-mail: travel@sfchronicle.com Twitter and Instagram: @spudhilton

IRONMAN Lake Tahoe Spectator’s Guide 2014

Lake Tahoe is considered one of the toughest courses! Watch 2,500 of the strongest athletes from around the globe compete in the iconic 2nd annual IRONMAN Lake Tahoe. The setting alone is remarkable!

Here are some tidbits to help you get the most out of being a spectator at this year’s event.

DATE:
September 22, 2013
DISTANCES:
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run
LOCATION:
Swim Start: 8318 North Lake Blvd State Route 28 Kings Beach, CA 96143
Finish Line: The Village at Squaw Valley 1985 Squaw Valley Rd Squaw Valley, CA 96146
COURSE CUT-OFF TIMES:
SWIM: The swim course will close 2 hours and 20 minutes after the last age
group athlete starts the swim. Each athlete will get the full 2 hours and
20 minutes to complete the 2.4 mile swim regardless of what time they
enter the water. Athletes who take longer than 2 hours and 20 minutes
to complete the swim will receive a DNF.
BIKE: 5:30 p..m.
RUN: Midnight
FINISH LINE CUT-OFF: 17 hours (or 12 midnight)

DATE:

September 21, 2014

DISTANCES:

2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run

LOCATION:

Swim Start: 8318 North Lake Blvd State Route 28 Kings Beach, CA 96143

Finish Line: The Village at Squaw Valley 1985 Squaw Valley Rd Squaw Valley, CA 96146

COURSE CUT-OFF TIMES:

SWIM: The swim course will close 2 hours and 20 minutes after the last age group athlete starts the swim. Each athlete will get the full 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the 2.4 mile swim regardless of what time they enter the water. Athletes who take longer than 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the swim will receive a DNF.

BIKE: 5:30 p..m.

RUN: Midnight

FINISH LINE CUT-OFF: 17 hours (or 12 midnight)

WHERE DO I PARK?

Athletes are encouraged to park at Squaw Valley and ride the shuttle busses to Kings Beach. Spectators will be allowed to ride the bus with athletes, but priority will be given to athletes. Busses will take approximately 20-30 minutes to travel from Squaw Valley to Kings Beach, please plan accordingly. Athlete busses will operate from 4:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Spectator buses will operate until 6 a.m. Shuttle buses are free. Return buses from Kings Beach to Squaw Valley for spectators will operate from 9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Due to traffic impacts, anticipate the return trip to Squaw Valley taking 60 minutes.

BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE SWIM:

Kings Beach State Park, athletes will enter the swim from Kings Beach State Park, and Transition is in the parking lot adjacent to the beach. The best place to park will be at Kings Beach Elementary School, a few short blocks from the beach off Steelhead Ave.

BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE BIKE:

Spectators have a number of great places to watch athletes on the bike course. Spectators can watch athletes at two “hot corners” where athletes will pass multiple times. One is at the entrance to Squaw Valley under the Olympic flame where you can see your athlete pass three times. The second will be in Kings Beach at the Corner of 267 and 28 where athletes will be starting their day on the bike, and then passing 3 additional times. The Town of Truckee will also be having a street celebration closing down Donner Pass Road through old town Truckee with the athletes racing down the middle of the street. There will be live music, activities for kids and adults, and food at restaurants adjacent to the course.

BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE RUN:

The run course has a number of lively spots to catch your athlete multiple times. The Squaw Valley Village will be an ideal location, close to the finish line, with food, music, the Ironman Village expo, and athletes making multiple passes in the area before finishing. Easy parking also makes this an ideal location to spend the day. The “hot corner” under the Olympic flame will also be a location where athletes can be cheered on three times on the bike and 4 times on the run.

Things to do Labor Day Weekend in Reno Tahoe

It’s time for one last summer trip over Labor Day Weekend! Skip the neighborhood barbecue, and tell Siri to direct you to Reno Tahoe where a full list of events is heating up!

handful ribsPig out at Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off

We’re not saying skip all barbecues Labor Day weekend, we’re just saying GO BIG, with 230,000+ pounds of ribs at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off at Victorian Square in Sparks!  From August, 27- September 1, JA Nugget will be holding their 26th annual Rib Cook-off.  The aromas will collide in the air to conjure a perfume of mouthwatering desire, and the hundreds of fully-packed grills will call out for you to stop at every vendor.  There will be 24 rib vendors from all around the world coming prepared to feed an expected crowd of 500,000 people. Watch in awe as rib-eating champions devour multiple pounds of savory sauce covered swine during the Nugget Rib Cook-off World Rib Eating Championship.  Last year’s 1st place prize went to the record holding Joey Jaws Chestnut with 13.76 pounds of ribs devoured in just 12 minutes. Pig out, then dance the food comas away.  The main stage will have LIT on stage Aug. 27, Eric Hutchinson on Aug. 28, Joan Osborne on Aug. 29, Joe Diffie on Aug. 30, Jefferson Starship on Aug. 31, and Robert Randolph & The Family Band on Sept. 1.  Admission and parking is free, with shuttles running to the overflow parking at Legends every half hour.  For more information, visit the Nugget Rib Cook-Off Website.

Take your pack to watch The Pack

Head to University of Nevada’s Homecoming Game with Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Southern Utah, on August 30.  Take a selfie with the Pack mascots, or grab a beer at one of the only university stadiums with a liquor license.  The University of Nevada students make every game fun for the family. All will enjoy the howl of the wolves. Tickets range in price but start around $20 for general admission.

Re-enact the Civil War Days (safely)

Historic Virginia City will be holding its 150th anniversary of defending the Comstock as part of Virginia City Civil War Days.  The Comstock Civil War re-enactors will bring Virginia City back into the days of the Nevada’s creation.  In conjunction with the V&T Railroad, more than 100 costumed re-enactors from across the United States will battle for the Comstock.  Gunfire, smoke, screams and fear will resonate through the valley. There will be a wide array of events, parades, dances and re-enactments going on from Aug. 30 until Sept. 1, to learn more about the historic happenings visit the event’s website

Sand Harbor 2If beating the heat is in the agenda, then head to Lake Tahoe for some alpine lake relaxation.  Lake Tahoe always boasts fun for all ages with SUP and other water adventures, mountain hikes, beach relaxation, luxurious accommodations and great restaurants – it is hard to resist the great getaway. On Aug. 31, the 21st Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race will churn some blue water between the Nevadan Dixie Queen and California’s Tahoe Queen.  The 4-mile race will have the paddles spinning to the max as the two battle for bragging rights. Have a family picnic on August 31 at one of the many parks and beaches on the lake, and bring some blankets with to enjoy Labor Day fireworks of Tahoe North or South.