Labor Day Holiday Weekend in Reno and Lake Tahoe

End the summer with a last blast of holiday fun

Summer holiday fun at Lake Tahoe beaches and picnic areas.
••• Summer holiday fun at Lake Tahoe beaches and picnic areas. Photo © Stan White

The Labor Day holiday is a three-day weekend that falls at the beginning of September and marks the unofficial end to summer. But the fun doesn't have to end—there are lots of ways to celebrate if you're in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area over the holiday weekend.

See a Fireworks Show

The north shore of Lake Tahoe puts on its own Labor Day fireworks show at Gar Woods Grill and Pier in Carnelian Bay on the California side, just west of Kings Beach.The show starts at 8:15 p.m. and it's free to watch.If you want to dine at Gar Woods that night, you will be helping benefit local school sports programs.

Although not technically fireworks, catch the 30-minute laser show billed as Labor Day Lasers at Lakeview in Carson City. This modern show of lights is projected across the lake with the surrounding trees as a backdrop. The best views can be had from out on the lake. The family-friendly event includes food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and music.

Eat a Little (or a Lot)

The annual Nugget Rib Cook-Off on Labor Day weekend takes place at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, just outside of Reno. Billed as the best grilling competition in the U.S., the event hosts two dozen top barbeque competitors who serve up more than 240,000 pounds of ribs. Come for the ribs and stay for the music; performances are free and open to the public. Parking is free but limited, so use the free shuttle service.

The annual Sample the Sierra festival takes place over Labor Day weekend at Bijou Community Park in South Lake Tahoe.Regional chefs compete in the Sierra Chefs Challenge to create fabulous meals using local ingredients, and area chefs and restaurants join with local growers and food producers to make jams, olive oil, soaps, and crafts.

Ride the Rails

Twenty-five miles south of Reno, the historic town of Virginia City is the site of the scenic Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Ride the short-line railroad from the historic 1870 Virginia City depot to Gold Hill, a 35-minute round-trip ride that takes you back to the Gold Rush days with narrated stories of the Comstock Bonanza.Reservations are not required.

While in Virginia City, don't miss the Labor Day parade, BBQ and dance, and the Civil War re-enactments.

From Carson City, 30 miles south of Reno, ride the steam train to Virginia City through the Virginia Range mining country. The 24-mile round trip narrated tour takes you through a 566-foot-long tunnel and to the site of a once-thriving mining town. While in Carson City, don't miss the chance to ride a historic steam locomotive at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. Trains run Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on each day of the Labor Day Weekend.

Cheer the Home Team

The first week of the football season for the UNR Wolf Pack football team at the University of Nevada at Reno falls over the Labor Day weekend each year. Check University of Nevada Wolf Pack Welcome for the scheduled home games.