Transitioning into the college lifestyle can be one of the most stressful experiences. You have to deal with moving into the dorms, meeting new people and your class schedule while trying not to walk into the wrong classroom. On top of that, many of you have been affected by the Argenta Hall explosion and are the first incoming freshmen to ever live in a downtown Reno residence hall. 

The Downtown Reno Partnership understands that it can be stressful going to college in a new city or different environment for people who grew up in Reno as well. To ease this process, we have created a student guide to get you the inside scoop on the best hangout spots and things to do in your downtown backyard. 

Every downtown destination is in walking distance from the new Wolf Pack Tower and there’s a lot of places to eat, get coffee and study that may not be immediately apparent if you’ve been taking the bus to campus each day.

The Downtown Reno Partnership ambassadors climb the BaseCamp Big Wall at Whitney Peak Hotel. Photos by Brian Sweeney, Mike Higdon and Rachel Zunino


If you’re looking for an adventure and to get your adrenaline pumping, then the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall should suffice. The massive wall at the Whitney Peak Hotel and soars up to 164 feet on the side of the building. Your $50 pays for gear and a staff member to belay you.

The hotel also has an indoor climbing facility called BaseCamp that features three, curved birchwood bouldering walls and an indoor gym. Maybe start here and work your way up to the Big Wall.

Basecamp offers student discounts that are valid with a student ID If you are just looking for a day pass, Basecamp charges students $12 with an inclusive deal of just $5 to rent climbing gear. 

If you thoroughly enjoy the climbing experience, BaseCamp also offers special student discounts for monthly or yearly memberships. 

White Rater Park at Wingfield Park in downtown Reno. Janis Knight, Home Planet Images

The Truckee River runs through the center of downtown and offers numerous parks around it, including Wingfield Park for events our chilling in the grass or playing in the river. Or Barbara Bennett Park has basketball and tennis courts for activities.

Get your swing on and visit Topgolf Swing Suite at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino, which is a new, innovative virtual reality experience in downtown Reno. It is located on the mezzanine level between Rum Bullions Island Bar and El Jefe’s Cantina in the hotel. 

Topgolf has a Swing Suite Student Special on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You must provide a valid school ID to get the deal of $35 per hour for a bay rental from 6 to 9 p.m. The rental price covers up to eight people in one suite but for an additional charge of $10 per person a suite can hold a max of 12 guests.

Acro Enso, an acrobatic, dance and cyr wheel gym on East Fourth Street, is offering a 10% student discount on memberships. They also have free WiFi and offer a great place to study in between classes and fitness activities.


The closest place to enjoy some fun and games is across the street inside the main Circus Circus tower. The Carnival Midway on the second floor of the hotel is full of timeless carnival games and shows for all ages.

The Century Riverside 12 movie theatre is just a 10-minute walk from Wolf Pack Tower or a fast drive from campus. Not only is the location convenient for students, but the movie theatre offers $5 movie tickets any day and time with a student ID. 

If you enjoy music and looking to have some fun in the upcoming semester then you must go to the Cargo Concert Hall. Cargo is notorious for hosting major headliners and great concerts. 

For a group activity brain teaser, students should head over to Puzzle Room Reno. Solve puzzles, escape a themed room with the help of your friends (or despite unhelpful friends). For $23 per person, students will find a new hobby and reprieve from class.

Across the street, look for Reno Axe and Dark Pursuit. We’ll let you read more about the scary maze here. But with Reno Axe, it’s easy to find a new league activity centered around rugged outdoorsmanship and throwing sharp things at the wall. 

Food and drink

We’ve written extensively about coffee shops and restaurants in downtown (see list below), but what students will find more useful is the Urban Market on Third and West streets, just a few blocks south of Wolf Pack Tower.

Urban Market will most closely simulate the DC Store in Argenta Hall. Urban Market, or UM, sells great pantry foods, snacks, drinks and produce in a small market on the ground floor of 3rd Street Flats. They are also adding a deli for sandwiches and hot foods, which they plan to make to order and deliver to downtown residents.

Students will receive 5% off all purchases with valid student ID at UM.

101 Taiwanese on Fifth Street.

Other food and drink places you should check out for casual dining:

Study areas and quiet time

While Wolf Pack Tower has study areas and campus has plenty of nooks and crannies, it might be fun to try some of the more non-traditional locations to get away from roommates and the stress of campus life. Afterall, you’re urban explorers now.

“Built in 1966, the The Downtown Reno Library is a unique architectural gem serving as the urban hub of the Library System,” according to Washoe County. “Architect Hewitt Wells couldn’t put the library in a park as he wished, so the library was made as park-like as possible, featuring hundreds of plants, several full-grown trees, and a pond with a fountain. The curved flowing lines of our building make it a delightful place to browse or sit down with a good book.”

Students can use their WolfCard to sign up for a Washoe County Library Card. There is of course, WiFi, DVD rentals, access to databases and research materials.

Check out The Basement underneath West Elm for a community space to work away from your peers. Mingle with the downtown professionals, grab a coffee, a crepe or chocolate for the afternoon and settle in on one of the powered tables or on one of the couches.

Millies24 restaurant inside the Eldorado Resort Casino. Photo by Eldorado.

For a really hidden corner, go to the Eldorado Roasting Co. coffee shop next to Millies24 on the second floor of the Eldorado Resort Casino. There’s WiFi, comfortable seats and immediate access to 24-hour coffee and 24-hour dining and an outlet.

We hope you enjoy your stay in downtown this school year!