New Year's Eve in Reno is likely to involve gambling and all-you-can-eat specials at casino buffets, but that's not all the Nevada city has to offer. You can celebrate with a cirque performance, for instance, or attend a multi-faith service at the Reno Buddhist Center for something tamer. Even those with kids in tow will find late-night fun at Wild Island. The Reno Transportation Commission (RTC) provides free rides around Reno and Sparks from 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve to 2 a.m. on New Year's Day and AAA offers a free "Tipsy Tow" until 6 a.m., though neither service will be operating in 2020.
Keep in mind that many New Year's Eve events have been altered or canceled this season. Check the websites of event organizers for up-to-date information.
Spending New Year's Eve with kids? Coconut Bowl, Wild Island's own 32-lane, neon-lit bowling alley, typically provides special, all-inclusive holiday packages including pizza, champagne, drawings for water park tickets, and more. Wild Island is located off I-80 near the Scheels Complex in Sparks. Coconut Bowl will be open from 11 a.m. December 31, 2020, to 1 a.m. January 1, 2021.
Participate in a Multi-Faith New Year's Eve Service
Each year, representatives from various religions participate in a multi-faith New Year's Eve service at the Reno Buddhist Center. It typically includes prayers by Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha'i, and Native American leaders. Traditionally, a bell is rang 108 times to release of the 108 impediments to enlightenment and to welcome the 108 Joys Abiding. The event is free and lasts from 10 p.m. to midnight; however, in 2020, all services at the Reno Buddhist Center are being held virtually.
See Holiday Dreams at the Grand Sierra Resort
For several years, the Grand Sierra Resort has presented Holiday Dreams, an awe-inspiring cirque show that uses cutting-edge technology and computer animation. The production includes holographic techniques, acrobats, performers, and more, all set to lively music. While the Grand Sierra Resort will not be hosting Holiday Dreams over the New Year's Eve holiday this year, it will hold a champagne-filled party in the LEX Lounge. Reservations are required.
Celebrate at the Nugget Casino Resort
New Year's calls for several days of nonstop entertainment at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks. Past events have featured music by rapper Ice Cube and The Temptations, and comedy by The Dan Band. Hotel guests would normally also receive food and drink specials, party favors, and free entertainment throughout multiple areas of the resort; however, all New Year's Eve events have been canceled in 2020. Nugget Casino's upscale restaurants, Anthony's Chophouse and Rosie's Cafe, will offer special menus for the holiday.
Watch the Fireworks
Reno's New Year's fireworks show is sponsored by the downtown hotel-casinos and the City of Reno. It's usually supplemented by a massive street party centered around the Reno Arch, running from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The fireworks show lasts about 15 minutes and is launched from casino rooftops, giving partiers spectacular views from every angle. In 2020, the fireworks and street party have been canceled.
Party at the Depot
Reno's Depot Craft Brewery and Distillery had its grand opening on New Year's Eve in 2014 and since, it's thrown one of the best annual NYE parties in the city. Think: hors d’oeuvres, unlimited drinks until midnight, and champagne served on the hour. In the past, patrons have been encouraged to dress in flapper attire to adhere to a Great Gatsby theme, but in 2020, though its restaurant will remain open, The Depot's December 31 revelries have been canceled.