Wingfield Park in Reno, Nevada, is partly on an island in the Truckee River (Belle Isle). It's where residents and visitors come to enjoy the Truckee River and Parkway in downtown Reno. Together with the Truckee River Whitewater Park, this urban park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including relaxing by the water, picnicking, whitewater rafting and kayaking, swimming, river tubing, and walking and biking. Wingfield Park and vicinity is the site of the Reno River Festival, many Artown events, and other events throughout the year.
Things to Do in Wingfield Park
Wingfield Park is mainly an events place. There is an amphitheater fronted by a large grassy area for spectators. Surrounding areas provide space for vendors and other activities during several annual events. That isn't all, however, Since the opening of the Truckee River Whitewater Park in the river around Belle Isle, Wingfield Park has become a big free water park. It is literally packed out on hot summer days and has become one of Reno's most successful redevelopment projects. During quieter times, the park provides a relaxing oasis in the middle of the city.
For traditional park facilities, try adjacent Barbara Bennett Park, at the southwest corner of Arlington Avenue and the Truckee River. There you'll find basketball and tennis courts, a playground for kids, and restrooms. During the summer, there is a vendor here, and another next to the Century Theatre, renting tubes, rafts, and other water play equipment.
Parking and Visiting Wingfield Park
The east end of Belle Isle in Wingfield Park is just upstream from the Virginia Street Bridge. You can stroll along either side of the river next to Wingfield Park along Reno's Riverwalk. The path on the north side of the river continues all the way to Idlewild Park and beyond. The south side walkway takes you to Barbara Bennett Park and stops there. Along the way, there are several pedestrian/bicycle bridges crossing the river to the park.
Arlington Avenue cuts across the western end of the Belle Isle in Wingfield Park. There are marked pedestrian crossings on both north and south sides and an under-crossing for traffic-free passage from one end of the park to the other. There is limited free parking on the south side next to Barbara Bennett Park. The north side of 1st Street also has some parking places, but they are metered. Your best parking bet is Reno's Parking Gallery structure less than a block away on 1st Street. On weekends, parking in the Washoe County lot at Virginia and Court Streets is free, but you'll have to walk a couple of blocks to reach Wingfield Park.
Short History of Wingfield Park
The land for the park was donated to Reno by George Wingfield, a Nevada banker, hotel owner, and political power in the first half of the 20th century. He was influential in developing Reno's gambling and divorce-related tourism. The Riverside Hotel, still standing at the south end of the Virginia Street Bridge as the Riverside Artist Lofts, was one of his projects. Also still in existence is Wingfield's old Reno National Bank building at the corner of 2nd and Virginia Streets. It has been absorbed into the Harrah's casino complex and houses an Asian restaurant.
Before Wingfield, the piece of land was home to an amusement park and acquired the name of Belle Isle.