We found a play we wanted to see being performed in downtown Reno, so we waited until today's performance to drive to the central city to see it and the rest of downtown. Reno calls itself a city, but it feels small, especially when you compare it to Las Vegas. The central casino area was easily explored in less than an hour and has 5% of the casinos and hotels LV has. Some of them have seen better days, but the city is trying hard to keep up appearances and attract visitors, both local and international. This weekend about twenty mural artists were brought in, some from as far away as South Africa to bring color and art to some of the blank walls that disguise some empty or deteriorating spaces. Since neither of us can draw a straight line, we admire artistic ability, especially on such a large scale.
Two wedding chapels definitely reminded us of Las Vegas both in their look and the look of their clientele. Things were really hopping at Circus Circus. Casinos here and in LV struggle with their identities. Do they want to be "no holds bared" adult playgrounds or places for the entire family to have fun? CC definitely went in the family fun direction. The circus level of the casino was full of every carnival and midway game you've ever seen, patronized by large, mostly Hispanic families. It was fun to see how much joy and laughter they were getting out of a few dollars spent to throw whiffle balls at bottles or hurl rubber chickens into cooking pots. We ate lunch at the Golden Nugget so Ken could have the Awful Awful, so named because this burger was awful big and awful good. It had won some sort of challenge on the Food Network. My calamari sandwich was tasty, too.
The Truckee River flows through the middle of Reno and the city has built an attractive river walk, which attracted buskers who played guitars, made animals out of balloons, or danced. People kayak and tube down the river in the summer and the current was still flowing strongly. We arrived downtown just as a breast cancer race was ending. I put on my pink sun visor and tried to fit in.