With a full month of winter left, many of Reno's outdoor activities start looking a little chilly, especially for visitors not used to ice and snow. There's always skiing, but even the closest resorts are miles from town and can break the bank in a hurry. So for a winter tourist done gambling and carousing, what's left to do?
Reno has its share of chain stores, but is also home to some unique local shops that sell everything from wine to souvenir t-shirts. Here are some high points, sorted by neighborhood.
Reno's newest mall, The Summit (intersection of Highways 395 and 431, www.thesummitonline.com) is located at the extreme south end of town, along the road to historic Virginia City and the state capital, Carson City. Billed as "an open-air, lifestyle shopping center," the center features more than 70 shops as well as sleigh rides on some winter days. Shops such as Williams-Sonoma, Chico's and New York & Company are interspersed with BJ's Brewhouse, The Chocolate Bar and other restaurants. There's also a Century movie theater.
This is by far the biggest shopping area in town, but we have one gripe: None of the stores are connected, meaning you have to hike back and forth across the parking lot. In an area that hovers around 40 degrees in the winter and 90 in the summer, al fresco shopping is often not as much fun as one would hope.
Ten years ago, Meadowood Mall (5000 Meadowood Mall Circle, www.shopmeadowood.com) was the big shopping center on the south end of town. Though development has overtaken it, Meadowood still offers the same big-name stores (Sears, Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie and Fitch) in an enclosed building. Arguably a better choice than The Summit for those more concerned with saving money and staying indoors than making the scene.
The Truckee River Arts District (Near First Street and Arlington Ave., www.visitrenotahoe.com) sits near the Truckee River Whitewater Park. Plan to visit both the CalAve and Riverwalk sections of the district to see unique specialty shops, antique stores, boutiques, galleries and unique culinary attractions. Some independent shops include:
Be Abundant Home Accessories - richly detailed and elegant home decor, 46 West First St.
Parasols On The Riverwalk - a stylish women's boutique, 11 N. Sierra St., Suite 104
Sasha's Boutique - styles from classic to cutting-edge, 250 West First St.
La Terre Verte - eco-friendly boutique specializing in recycled and handmade products, 100 N. Arlington Ave., Suite 105
As noted in our other guides, the riverwalk area also offers many interesting restaurants and bars.
A few blocks south, the California Avenue corridor hosts many professional offices and bistros, as well as shops including:
Shoe - High-end European footwear, 104 California Ave.
KJB (Kalifornia Jean Bar) – An unmatched selection of designer denim, 290 California Ave.
Clay Nichols - Art, jewelry, home décor and more, 106 California Ave.
Baboo Children’s Clothing - Unique, pricey children's clothing, 121 California Ave.
iMeMine - Handbags, accessories and creative clothing, 102 California Ave.
A few blocks south of California Avenue, the Plumgate center (W. Plumb Lane and S. Arlington Avenue) houses a potter's shop, Great Harvest Bakery and a number of specialized gift stores.
The Patagonia Outlet Store (8550 White Fir St., www.patagonia.com) lives up to the reputation of its parent company in every way. Located near a park and a complex of riverside trails, the 171,000-square-foot building has received numerous awards for green design and energy efficiency. In addition to hosting meetings of outdoor and environmentalist groups, the shop offers substantial discounts on quality gear ranging from ski boots to fishing waders.
The Mayberry Landing Center (3886 Mayberry Drive) houses longtime Reno coffee house Walden's as well as several independent boutiques such as Whispering Vine kitchen decor, the Pilates Lounge studio, Utopia Spa and Healthy Tails dog bakery.
West of Reno on Interstate 80, Cabela's (8650 Boomtown Road, www.cabelas.com) is a staggering monument to hunting and fishing. The outdoor equipment store includes taxidermy exhibits, massive aquariums, a wild game restaurant and 125,00 0 square feet of outdoor clothing and gear. Planners recommend that visitors schedule at least three hours to see it all.
At the other end of the region, the Scheels complex (near the Sparks Marina, 1200 Scheels Dr., Sparks, www.scheelssports.com) may be even more impressive than Cabela's. Essentially a mall in and of itself, Scheel's may trail Cabela's a bit when it comes to bows and guns, but trumps virtually any store in the West for general athletic equipment selection. You can also visit in-store restaurants and a full-sized Ferris wheel.
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Article written by Matt Farley. Farley is a Nevada native who has worked for the Reno Gazette-Journal and Nevada Magazine and been syndicated by The Associated Press, Gannett News Service and the Las Vegas Review Journal.