What's it like to live in Reno, NV?

Doresa Banning

Profile written by local expert:

Doresa Banning

Although it often plays second fiddle to Las Vegas, Reno, Nevada, may be the more attractive option for those considering a move to the Southwest for a number of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, there's much less sin associated with this city: Despite the fact that Reno was built on the gaming industry, it's very easy for residents to completely avoid the casinos. Reno residents have a wealth of cultural events and outdoor activities at their fingertips.

America's Biggest Little City is without a doubt a tourist town, and locals benefit from the area's status as a vacation destination. Reno and the towns surrounding it are home to a number of highly rated restaurants, and the event calendar is always full. Meanwhile, there's plenty to satisfy outdoorsy residents. The Truckee River, which snakes through downtown, is a popular open space where people can kayak, tube, swim and more. Outside Reno proper, the Sierra Nevada range provides hiking and biking, while Lake Tahoe, with several ski resorts dotting its perimeter, is about an hour's drive away.

Tourism has also opened up a wide variety of jobs in the restaurant, hospitality and, of course, gambling industries. But people who live here will find opportunities across a variety of sectors, from education to technology. As a result, Reno caters to people of all ages and stages of life. The region is home to several highly rated K-12 schools, which is a perk for families, and the University of Nevada-Reno draws a new group of young residents every year.


U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Reno, Nevada is ranked:

#33 in Best Places to Live




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Reno, NV Quick Stats

  • 443,855

    Metro Population

  • $45,210

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 38.1

    Median Age

  • $279,631

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.1%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $917

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 21.4 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Reno, NV?

Home prices vary widely across the metro area; those looking to live in downtown Reno will find significantly lower prices than they would in areas closer to Lake Tahoe, like Incline Village. Still, residents benefit from Nevada's lack of income tax – both corporate and personal. As a result, Reno and many other Nevada metro areas continue to attract companies looking for a tax break, which brings more employment opportunities. 

Value Index

Index Score: 6.3 /10

How we calculate this.

Reno offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Reno, NV.


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What's the weather like in Reno, NV?

At an elevation of 4,500 feet, Reno experiences a high desert climate with four distinct seasons. It reaches high temperatures in the summer, and in the cooler months, Reno often sees significant snowfall – though it tends to melt quickly.

What's the best way to get around Reno, NV?

Anyone who doesn't live and work in downtown Reno – which is very pedestrian-friendly – will need a car to get around. Navigating the city is relatively easy, and traffic is minimal.

The Regional Transportation Commission operates public bus routes throughout the Reno metro area, servicing downtown Reno and the nearby communities of Sparks, Lakeridge, Lemmon Valley and South Meadows. The Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit system runs bus routes in the Lake Tahoe area to areas like Incline Village, and Tahoma and Truckee, California, but public transit is much more limited outside Reno proper.

For travel in and out of the city, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, located a few miles southeast of downtown Reno, offers daily nonstop flights to and from more than 20 destinations in the U.S., including Phoenix, Dallas and Los Angeles, and is serviced by major airlines like American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Ground transportation options include Amtrak, Greyhound and Megabus.

Commuting in Reno, NV

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

21.4 minutes

4.7 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Reno, NV?

The University of Nevada-Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College draw young people, many of whom stay and find work in the area. Reno also attracts families and retirees. For people who need to work, the strong economy and ample job opportunities are key. 

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Reno as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Reno, NV?

Reno is known for its year-round outdoor recreation opportunities. In the warmer months, residents spend their free time biking, kayaking, fishing and playing golf. Tubing on the Truckee River is a popular summer pastime, and the shores of Lake Tahoe are peppered with beaches. When winter arrives, locals head to the mountains for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and sledding.

At least one major community event is held every month, including the monthlong Artown arts and cultural festival in July, the Hot August Nights classic car rally and September's Great Reno Balloon Race. All the while, sports fans can spend their evenings cheering on the Reno Aces baseball team, the Reno Bighorns basketball team and the University of Nevada's Wolf Pack football team. Residents also can enjoy local performances, including classical music concerts at the university, Broadway musicals at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts and shows at the many hotels and casinos.

Reno's arts and culture scene is burgeoning. Art walks, gallery showcases and Nevada Museum of Art exhibits are a sampling. There are also a number of family-friendly activities, including the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery), the Animal Ark wildlife sanctuary and the area's many parks.

Reno is a foodie town where all cuisine types – from Ethiopian to Korean barbecue – can be found. New restaurants pop up all the time, and special wine dinners, food tastings and the like are ongoing. The area celebrates its love of flavor at the annual culinary event, Reno Bites.