When we think of Nevada, it is safe to assume that the vast majority of us think of Las Vegas. After all, Vegas tends to get the most attention, even being the focal point of hundreds of popular movies throughout the years.
But there are plenty of other great cities to live in outside of Las Vegas. As a matter of fact, Reno, also known as “the biggest little city in the world”, is proving to be a great place to live. Though housing prices are higher than the national average, they are still reasonable compared to other areas of Nevada. There is also beautiful scenery, tax benefits, and a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from.
Table of Contents
Why Reno Is A Good Place To Live
The Housing Market
The median home price in Reno is $396,521, which puts it quite a bit higher than the national average. That said, it is still in the reasonable range given the rest of the state, Las Vegas in particular. The latter is one of the hottest housing markets in the United States right now.
With so much real estate competition in Las Vegas, buyers are turning their attention to Reno. There are a plethora of options for housing, with apartments, luxury homes, condos, and more splashing the market every day.
Despite the growing demand for housing, the traffic in Reno is highly manageable thanks to a low population. Compared to the bigger cities – like Las Vegas – there is little traffic. For people who want to commute to work or activities without having to fight traffic, that can be a major selling point.
Cost of Living
Try moving into one of the major cities in the country. It is not uncommon to pay $2,000-plus for a one-bedroom apartment that is barely bigger than a closet. Parking at major events can run well over $100 for a spot. While there is a charm in being in the heart of that city, that charm comes at a major cost.
Buying and renting in Reno is reasonably affordable, especially compared to their major city counterparts. Even living in the heart of downtown can be achieved for about $1,500 on a 2-bedroom, 2-bath house. Good luck finding a home – not an apartment – in a trendy neighborhood in, say, San Francisco for that price.
The Tax Climate
A major selling point for Reno as a destination is its highly favorable tax climate. Simply put it is one of the most tax-friendly places in all of the United States. That is partially why the housing market is in such demand; to get in on the favorable taxes.
There is no personal or corporate income tax in Nevada. That simply means more money in your pocket, whether you are an individual or a business. That means more money to go out, more money to enjoy all the offerings that Reno has, or more money to go back into the business.
The State of Nevada also provides a series of tax incentives to businesses around the area. The goal is to foster expansion and investment for these businesses by relocating to Reno. Those tax benefits also extend to individuals as well, making the Reno tax climate highly attractive.
The Great Outdoors
Located in the desert, Reno is becoming a destination for retirees and those who are simply tired of managing the cold. The summers can get quite hot, facilitating the need for a dream home to help provide greater comfort.
Reno was built near several mountains and a lake (Lake Tahoe). From the city to the lake, which many consider to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, it takes just an hour to drive. For those who enjoy having fun on the lake, it is an ideal setting with the Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop.
If that weren’t enough, the Truckee River provides some of the same beautiful scenery that you will find at Lake Tahoe. Reno’s natural beauty is one of the more underrated aspects of living there.
If the beautiful scenery weren’t enough of an attraction to Reno, there are plenty of outdoor activities to partake in as well. Kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboards, sailing, and so much more can all be done on Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River.
There are plenty of other outdoor activities, too. Go golfing, explore the miles, horseback ride, walk the trails, and so much more. And that’s not all. During the winter, there are plenty of snowboarding activities, too. The Diamond Peak and NorthStar ski resort, located on Lake Tahoe, is world-renowned.
Given the nearly endless amount of outdoor activities that there are, it only makes sense that so many are flocking to Reno to purchase a home.
Another major reason that so many are trying to buy homes in Reno is education in the city. Reno city has a plethora of public and private schools. The offerings cover elementary, grade schools, and higher education.
There are 63 schools in total in Reno, with 41 in the private sector while 22 are public institutions. There is also the University of Nevada, which is located right there in the city. The college has a wide array of programs, ranging from undergraduate up to the doctorate level.
The University of Nevada is considered to be a Tier 1 learning institution and has a great background in research. The university is also a part of the Mountain West Conference, providing the opportunity for division-I athletics.
Because of its desert locale and proximity to the American southwest, Reno has access to a wide array of cultural events throughout the year. These cultural events are held year-round and present opportunities for residents regardless of age.
The art life is robust thanks to a wide array of galleries. The Nevada Museum of Art and Discovery Museum are also a great place to see some of the showcased work of up-and-coming artists in the city.
The number of festivals and cultural events can actually be quite mind-blowing. Of the most famous festivals that visit Reno each year:
- National Championship Air Races
- The Reno Rodeo
- The Best West Nugget Rib Cook-Off
- Burning Man
- The Great Reno Balloon Race
- Barracuda Championship
- Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
- Hot August Nights
There is no shortage of things to see in Reno, keeping residents entertained all year long.
A Surprising Sports Scene
Even with the addition of the NFL’s Raiders and NHL’s Golden Knights, Las Vegas is not exactly known for its sports scene. Furthermore, it is nearly 7 hours to Sin City. So, for the sports enthusiast in Reno, what is there, really?
The National Bowling Stadium is a destination for bowlers from across the counter, for starters. There is also Greater Nevada Field, home to the Reno Aces. The Aces are the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamonbacks, offering a preview to some of the stars of tomorrow.
Location and Low Crime Rate
Another major appeal to Reno is its proximity in relation to other cities in Nevada. Carson City, the capital of the state, is just 30 miles away. Las Vegas is 450 miles away, making it a hefty drive. Still, it is possible to drive to San Francisco (4 hours) and Los Angeles (8 hours) in a day, giving it reasonable proximity to some of the biggest cities in the country.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for Reno is its low crime rate, especially compared to other cities of its size. Buying a house and making it home comes with peace of mind in knowing that it is a safe place to be.
When you get out to the suburbs of Reno, the crime rates are even lower. Those seeking to purchase a house in Reno are heading to the suburbs in droves for a reason.
A Surprising Food Scene
Being related to Vegas as often as it is, there are some unfair comparisons that Reno has to face. One of which has to do with its restaurant scene. Contrary to popular belief, there is more to Reno than just casino buffets.
Bars, wine exchanges, and local restaurants deliver a plethora of quality cuisines to the city. Because of its proximity to the southwest, there is also a sizable Mexican flavor to the town. Reno is also home to a rapidly growing distillery and brewery scene.
Reno is proving to be an up-and-coming food scene with a little something for everyone, particularly beer enthusiasts.
Large Tech and Startup Scene
While finding a great house in a safe neighborhood is at the top of the list for many, what good is that if the local job market is weak? Thankfully, the Reno tech and startup scene is one of the strongest in the western United States.
Elon Musk, tech giant, started with his Gigafactory just a short drive away from Reno. Because of his success, there have been a ton of people from Silicon Valley drawn to the area. That means tech startups growing at a rapid pace and all of them are hiring.
There is a high-energy buzz in Reno, which leads to rapid expansion and innovation. For young professionals, in particular, Reno is becoming quite an attractive destination.
Is Reno a Good Place to Live?
Reno is somewhat forgotten in the shadow of Sin City. Every tourist talks about wanting to go to Las Vegas for their next big gathering, but those looking to settle down are turning to Nevada instead.
The cost of living is reasonable given the size of the city. Despite the above-average median housing prices, they are still competitive especially compared to the outrageous prices that can be seen in Las Vegas.
The lack of state income tax is also a huge plus. In addition to the growing tech scene, it is possible to make a great living in Reno. It also means getting more of the money that you make compared to other states, especially those with higher tax rates (like California).
Most importantly, Reno is safe. Low crime rates make it appealing to those looking to settle down and establish roots. Combined with the wonderful outdoor life, cultural events, and prevalence of startups, Reno is becoming a destination moving from underrated to popular overnight.