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Why Reno, Nevada, Is a Great Place To Raise a Family

Great schools, a welcoming community and incredible access to the outdoors are just a few of the reasons.

By Trista Ridge on July 31, 2022

Family playing at San Rafael Park in Reno, NV
EDAWN

It’s no secret that many American families have been shuffling around the country, finding the perfect place to raise kids and set them up for a successful future. Reno, Nevada, is one of many cities that has seen migration into its welcoming community.

You may be asking, “What’s so great about Reno?” Well, we’re happy to answer that for you and have you ready to pack your bags by the end of this read.

Reno is warm, relaxed and welcoming, with a tight-knit community that is quick to lend a hand. Renoites enjoy 300+ days of sunshine and all four seasons without extreme temperatures. There are tons of activities for families with kids of any age and flexible school choices (with an incredible public school system!). Zoning laws are lax and the land is wide open, so families often will have backyard chickens or recreation equipment like zip lines.

Nevada’s zero state income tax policy is another huge reason families are flocking to Reno. The extra money in a paycheck makes a huge difference, and the job opportunities are also phenomenal as Reno grows into a tech city.

We spoke with a fourth generation Reno resident, Kara Harris, about why she is raising her fifth-generation kids in the same city she grew up in, and she had nothing but praise for the Biggest Little City in the World.

Schools are top-notch.

Harris has three children in the public school system, and she spoke highly of the quality education they’re receiving from Washoe County Schools. “You don’t feel the need to send your kids to private school here like many people do in cities like New York. I really like our public school system, and you really do have an opportunity to have a say here,” Harris said.

She mentioned how she’ll often run into her local school board officials in the grocery store and she’s able to have a conversation with them then and there and actually feel heard.

“If you don’t like something, you certainly have the ability to change it,” she added.

There is also a great mix of school choices, from Montessori to private and charter establishments.

The top-notch education doesn’t stop at high school. The professors, staff and alumni networks at local colleges and universities strive to keep graduates in the community by connecting them with helpful resources and support systems.

“It’s important for me that my kids feel community and support,” Harris said. And, within the Reno school systems, she knows that’s exactly what their experience is and will continue to be.

‘It takes a village’ — and you’ll find it in Reno.

A strong sense of community is crucial to raising a family.

One reason for Reno’s welcoming reputation is that hospitality is built into the city’s history of tourism, explained Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).

“I constantly have people say they can’t believe how friendly people are in Reno.”

That friendliness is deeply rooted in the Reno community, making it a great place for kids to grow up and feel supported.

And there’s no shortage of fun, educational things for families to do in Reno.

The Discovery Museum has various weekly events to enrich your child’s mind, plus there’s a summer camp with financial assistance for families who cannot afford the fees. The museum’s Family Science Nights bring kids, parents and teachers together with hands-on activities that are fun for all ages.

There also are a variety of summer camps for every varying interest a kid could have, from arts and crafts and musical theater to gymnastics, comedy and geology camps, and that’s just naming a few.

Families interested in gardening should check out Urban Roots, a nonprofit that’s working hard to change the way communities eat and learn using garden-based education. Urban Roots offers educational programming from farm school and garden programs for schools to camps, where a leading principle is “You can never plant enough garlic.” So true!

For the locomotive lovers in the family, the Virginia & Truckee Railroad is a must-do. Rides are loaded with the area’s history, so you can have fun and learn more about your city at the same time.

The next generation of your family might love Reno so much they decide to stay, too. Kazmierski has a daughter in her 20s who has done exactly that — she lives downtown and feels safe and supported in her city, something many young professionals are seeking when they look for a place to call home.

Getting around is a breeze.

Forget about the stress of sitting in traffic on the way to drop the kids off at school or leaving extra early just to make sure you aren’t late to dance rehearsals and birthday parties.

“A 3-mile drive across the city is just that — a 3-mile drive that takes only a few minutes,” Harris said. “If you don’t live in the same neighborhood as the grocery store you like to shop in, it’s no problem because mobility is so easy no matter where you are in Reno.”

This is super helpful for families who need to be at soccer practice, ballet class and daycare, and pick up dinner all in one afternoon.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Nevada
VisitRenoTahoe.com

The great outdoors is greater than great.

We can’t talk about Reno without mentioning the incredible access to the outdoors. In less than an hour you can be at Lake Tahoe, hiking the Virginia Peak or skiing at Donner Ski Ranch, plus so much more.

And if you’re looking for family-friendly outdoor activities in Reno, you’re in luck. The Truckee River runs through the city, and kayaking is huge. There are also multiple parks for walking, cycling or throwing frisbee, and the weather is outstanding. And, for all the dads out there, golf is a huge year-long sport in Reno.

Check out visitrenotahoe.com for comprehensive information about outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, water activities and more.

It’s easy to get outta town.

If vacation’s all you (and the kids) ever wanted, then it doesn’t get much better than Reno, which is only about two hours from California’s capital, Sacramento, and just a little over three hours from San Francisco. There’s also a well-connected airport that’s small enough to easily navigate with your kids in tow and big enough to have some great direct flight options for unforgettable family trips, like Santa Ana, CA (Disneyland is a must-do), Austin, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and many more.

The airport parking garage is mere steps away from the terminals, so you also don’t have to leave hours early just to find parking and shuttle to your terminal. The Reno Airport website even has real-time parking updates, making it super easy to find a place to park that minivan with little to no hassle.

Packing your bags yet? We’ll leave you with this quote from Mike Kazmierski: “We’re pretty proud of what’s happened here in the last 10 years — this is a place where you can have a balanced lifestyle with great wages, and you’re 20-30 minutes from skiing and a lot of outdoor activities.”

Sounds like a dream to us.

This article was sponsored by EDAWN.

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