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Your complete guide to a Reno Fourth of July

Maggie O’Neill  |

Fireworks, food and fun — Reno offers plenty to do for visitors coming to town for the Fourth of July weekend. The holiday is right around the corner, so it’s important to make your plans now ensuring hotel accommodations and compiling your ‘must-do’ list of things for the weekend.

Whether you spend time in Reno, Sparks or both, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. The area is full of sundry escapes, shopping opportunities, restaurant options, including in downtown and midtown and outdoors adventures, too. And since the Fourth falls on a Tuesday, reservations may need to be made for an extended weekend or just come into town at the start of the week. Below find some suggestions for Fourth of July activities, as well as ideas for dining, accommodations and other things to do while visiting.

What to do on the Fourth

Check out the Star Spangled Sparks, now in its 17th year and sponsored by the Nugget Casino. Scheduled for July 4, the fun actually begins earlier that day along Victorian Avenue. Vendor booths featuring arts, crafts and patriotic items for sale open at 10 a.m. and a patriotic bike ride takes place at 11 a.m. The fun continues throughout the day with fireworks anticipated to start at 9:45 p.m. that night.

Enjoy the free Reno Phil concert, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Wingfield Park on the Fourth of July. Concert selections should include the “1812 Overture,” “Star Wars Main Theme,” “America the Beautiful” and more. The concert is, of course, part of the Artown lineup that goes on through July. Just be sure to take blankets and chairs to enjoy the concert from the field and to arrive early to grab seating. Food vendors also will be on hand.

The Reno Aces are in town on the Fourth and play the Tacoma Rainers at 6:35 p.m. After the game, catch a fireworks show. And, if you’re still in town on Wednesday and Thursday, you also can catch the Aces playing the Rainers at the stadium again.

Even a little farther are the Virginia City fireworks, scheduled to go off on July Fourth in Virginia City. The day’s events start earlier at noon with a parade that goes through C Street right downtown. The fireworks will start from the city’s arena and fairgrounds at 6,200 feet, but will be able to be seen from all around town. No time given for the start of the show — just expect things to light up after dark!

Other fun things over the weekend

Artown is ongoing for the full month of July and chock-full of activities for locals and visitors alike.

Anyone wanting to get their beach on but hoping to stay in town can head to the Sparks Marina. This 77-acre lake can be walked or biked around, but a roped-off area provides space for swimming and sitting along the shoreline. Nearby volleyball courts attract others wanting to enjoy the sand and bathrooms and rinsing stations are close by. Hungry? Check out the food vendor permanently onsite, and find options including drinks, snacks and more. There also is a dog park, playgrounds and a fishing pier.

Where to eat

The Great Basin Brewery Company is always hit, particularly for those heading to Sparks over the Fourth of July weekend and wanting to enjoy the view and activities along Victorian Avenue. Try any of the restaurant’s brews ranging from Nevada Gold to Wild Horse Ale or enjoy anything on the Great Basin Brewery Company’s menu, including beer burgers, brewery melts, sausage sandwiches and more.

Feeling extra hungry? Whether you are staying at the Grand Sierra Resort or not, its buffet is a  culinary delight well worth the money.  The buffet has an expanded dessert station – bonus! -- featuring a doughnut maker and nine flavors of gelato.

The Wild River Grille is a hopping place to visit while out and about in downtown Reno. Part of the RiverWalk District, it features a range of menu items including the Wild River Salad, house specialties, seafood, steak and more. Reno Magazine designated it “Reno’s Best Restaurant” and Reno News & Review identified it as “Reno’s Best Patio.” However, consider making reservations online in advance to ensure seating.

Where to stay

The Nugget Casino is a prime location for catching all of the fun going on in downtown Sparks on July 4 and even for heading out for that night’s fireworks. Plus, the Nugget now offers a VIP Viewing Party from Victorian Square that includes all-you-can-eat desserts and beverages.

The Grand Sierra Resort is always a great place to stay, because of its variety of amenities including a pool, putting range, in-house theater, bowling and more. It has a daily buffet and other places at which to eat and enjoy.

When all is said and done, your adventure to Reno/Sparks can be a blast. With a little bit of advance planning, you can expert a terrific weekend and holiday in Northern Nevada over the Fourth.