Posted by: acooksca | 07/28/2014

Reno’s River Walk

Reno River Walk

Reno River Walk

I am sitting at the bar of Campo Restaurant on the newly renovated River Walk in Reno. A skillet of sautéed Shishito peppers is set before me. “Excuse me, but what are those?” ask Kim and Andrea, two young women sitting next to me. I hand them some peppers to taste. Behind them a chalk board displays names of local producers that supply Campo’s contemporary farm-to-table kitchen. Kim tells me that Campo is one of a half dozen market-inspired independent restaurants and craft bars that opened in Reno the last few years within blocks of the river. An uptick in tech and outdoor sports industries is fueling the market, the latest reversal of Reno’s fortunes.

Homes along the river

Homes along the river

Snug against the dry eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Range, Reno exists because of the river that runs through it. The Truckee River flows from Lake Tahoe taking a 121 mile course through the mountains to Pyramid lake in the parched Great Basin of Nevada. Pioneers on the early California Trail paused here to restock before pushing over the formidable Donner Pass. With gold  found in nearby Virginia City (1850) and silver in the Comstock Lode (1859) the mining rush streamed through Reno to San Francisco. By the mid-1870’s Reno was the main settlement between Salt Lake City and San Francisco on the Transcontinental Railroad.

A required stop along the river

A required stop along the river

Early in the next century Reno beckoned travelers as the gaming capital of the U.S. and was called “Neon Babylon.” In 1931 you could establish residency in Reno and get a divorce six-weeks later. By the 1950’s the new interstate highway system made “The Biggest Little City in the World” accessible to everyone looking for a bit of adult fun in a lenient atmosphere. Today, just two blocks over from Campo’s sprawling riverside deck, the once thriving North Virginia Street is a mid-century relic, the gamblers lured away to Las Vegas and Native American-owned casinos in California.

Now people are more likely to visit for events: the Reno Air Show, Reno Rodeo, Burning Man, Reno Balloon Races, golf and ski events shared with nearby Lake Tahoe, the National Automobile Museum, National Bowling Stadium or Stewie, (deemed world’s longest domestic cat in 2010). Or maybe they are looking for the last place of refreshment before driving east through Nevada’s arid Great Basin. If so, they will find that the river still flows through town and the Reno River Walk beckons with miles of deeply shaded strolling paths, specialty shops and restaurants, such as Campo, that are worthy of a stop.

Campo Restaurant –

More about the River Walk district-





  1. Your article makes me want to visit Reno again, although after Hot August Nights and all the people are gone!

    • DiAnn: Isn’t Hot August Nights where you got into some trouble last year? Maybe a quieter weekend this time!

  2. Well done article

    Sent from Samsung tablet

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