[personal profile] dmaze
I spent last week at the North American Bridge Championship in Reno. Most of the week was spent at the hotel hosting the NABC, but we did manage a trip into the city proper. Reno was originally settled on the Truckee River coming out of Lake Tahoe, and the central city is still built around the river, with the casino district a couple of blocks north.

The city did put a lot of visible effort into making the river area accessible. There are walking paths on both sides of the river, and fishing spots, and little rapids downtown. (A kayaker was either practicing tricks or unsuccessfully trying to go upstream.) There's little shops and restaurants that face out on to the river walk, and when we were wandering around there were a fair number of people. If you look hard it does feel a little manufactured, but it's still a much better job of integrating the river into the city than many other places have done.

The casino area seems to have grown up around the train station, though that's a secondary feature now. There weren't a whole lot of people on the street there, maybe by design. A few of the casinos had second-floor connections to each other so across those few blocks the better way to go is indoors, both more interesting and more populated. The city pretty recently submerged the train tracks through downtown (Wikipedia claims the project finished in 2008) but no development ever happened there; now there's blank concrete pads adjacent to a closed casino/hotel. In that area there's just not a whole lot of attractions besides the casinos, with typical businesses being sub shops and pawn shops.

Further out the city seems typically sprawly. The various abandoned lots are kind of reminiscent of Palm Springs, except that the populated lots aren't nearly as irrigated. Our hotel was in the middle of a giant parking lot, to the tune of an extra couple of dollars of taxi fare to orbit it coming back. The combined Reno/Sparks area has some definite physical limits by the boundary of its valley which helps keep it a little under control.
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