Best Places to Live

Reno, NV

Population: 260,427

An assortment of bars and casinos create a real party scene in Reno, NV, but it's the city's proximity to ski resorts and other recreational areas that also make it a top winter vacation spot.

Kicking off the winter parties, the Reno Santa Pub Crawl on Dec. 15, 2012, is expected to draw more than 7,000 people dressed as Santa Claus or other holiday characters. More than 200 bars and pubs provide drinks, music and dancing. Visitors try their luck at a variety of tables and card games at Reno's more than 20 casinos, but this city is not just for adults. Families can explore nature, science and art exhibits in the Nevada Discovery Museum, play hundreds of video and arcade games at the 40,000-square-foot FunQuest at Grand Sierra Resort, and watch aerialists, jugglers, magicians and clowns at Circus Circus Reno. Other kid-friendly destinations include the Nevada Museum of Art and the National Automobile Museum.

Reno's location at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range makes it a gateway to many winter recreation activities, particularly skiing. Eighteen ski resorts in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area provide the opportunity to swish down the slopes, and most can be reached within an hour's drive from downtown Reno. A collection of snowmobile rentals and tour groups lead visitors through thousands of miles of groomed trails. For horse power in the literal sense, guests can take a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, while other prefer to ride sleds pulled by dogs – both experiences offered by several tour operators in the area.

Activities: Downhill and cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, ice skating, dog sledding, snow tubing, snowmobiling

Average Annual Snowfall: 24 inches

Winter Temps: 23 to 51

Must Try: Snowmobile tour around Lake Tahoe