The state of Nevada is famous worldwide as the home of Las Vegas, the glittery neon-lit city of casinos, lavish hotels and desert landscapes. But there is far more to this southeastern state than card games. Nevada is filled with incredible, rugged, harsh desert landscapes with towering red stone cliffs and canyons ascending into the abyss. Inside these unique landscapes are equally unique plant and animal life. Aside from its natural wonders, there are many interesting, cultural and exciting cities in Nevada.
In some of Nevada’s cities, you will be welcomed by some of the last cowboys in America at traditional saloons, experience skiing on snowcapped mountains followed by driving through the desert on dune buggies, and end your day at a world-class music venue. Nevada’s cities also offer a wealth of food, from traditional American dishes to Tex-Mex and more international flavours. There is something for everyone to enjoy. So, here are 20 of the best cities in Nevada to explore on your next visit to this southwestern state.
Cities in Nevada
20 Nevada Cities To Visit
1- Las Vegas
Home of glittering lights, casinos aplenty and entertainment lasting all night long, the most famous city in Nevada is Las Vegas.
If you are heading to Vegas to gamble, visit some of its most iconic hotels and casinos, including landmarks in Las Vegas like the gigantic Caesars Palace and impressive Bellagio.
One of the things to do in Las Vegas at night is to catch the frequent fountain show at the Bellagio, which sends gallons of water skyward in a coordinated show every 30 minutes.
To fully appreciate the bright lights of Vegas, explore the Neon Museum, founded to preserve the heritage of Las Vegas as older casinos were being torn down.
This museum in Las Vegas is predominately outside and has some great old signs worth snapping a photo of.
These are the top tours:
- Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour & Hoover Dam Photo Stop with Optional Skywalk
- Las Vegas Helicopter Night Flight with Optional VIP Transportation
- Big Bus Las Vegas Open Top Night Tour
Reno is the ‘biggest little city in the world’, making it a great city break destination in Nevada.
Explore the city’s waterside and take a stroll along the Truckee River where the riverbanks have plenty of benches and there are a wide variety of cafes, bars and restaurants.
Fans of bowling or the 90s film Kingpin should visit the National Bowling Stadium, standing unmistakably on the Reno skyline thanks to its giant bowling ball architecture.
Inside is a bowling museum and the bowling hall of fame, with more than 70 lanes for you to try out.
3- Carson City
The great outdoors surrounds Carson City and is the perfect Nevada city destination if you want to combine time in the city with mountain exploration.
Take to the rails on a canyon rail bike tour for something unusual to do in Carson City.
This unique contraption fits onto old train tracks and allows you to peddle your way through magnificent natural surroundings.
To learn more about the state’s history, visit the Nevada State Museum.
There are many exhibits on Nevada and its human history, including artefacts from American Indians and a wide selection of rocks and minerals from across the state.
Henderson is only a short drive from the bright lights and vibrancy of Las Vegas and is the perfect city to spend a few days in to escape the business and noise.
Enjoy a whisky-tasting experience at the Las Vegas Distillery, which will teach you the full whisky-making process and, of course, offers a range of whiskies to sample throughout.
Spend some time in nature and wander the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden grounds filled with hardy and native plants from the American Southwest, including a range of cacti, succulents and desert trees.
When spending some time in Reno, take a short drive to the neighbouring city of Sparks.
Cool off by the water at Sparks Marina, where you can sail, explore the waters from a kayak, or go for a swim.
Window-shop or splash out and buy something new at a significant discount at The Outlets at Legends, an outlet mall with big-name brands like Nike, Gap, Forever 21 and much more.
The mall also has a huge outdoor and sporting goods shop called Scheels, where everything for every adventure can be purchased.
Mesquite is in the staggeringly beautiful Virgin River Valley and is the perfect blend of a cosy town atmosphere with everything a big city has to offer.
Learn more about the first pioneers to make Mesquite their home at the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum. If you prefer learning about the arts, explore a wide range of cultural, fine art and locally crafted items at Mesquite Fine Arts Centre.
The centre also has regular maker sessions where locals and tourists can develop their skills in painting to wood carving.
Enjoy some time on the greens at one of Mesquite’s excellent golf courses.
One of the best is Wolf Creek Golf Club, its pristine green grassy fields and white sandy bunkers broken up by large desert boulders.
7- Boulder City
Boulder City is on the fringes of the Mojave Desert and is the perfect city destination for those looking for a base to explore the desert and the surrounding canyons.
Boulder City was built to house the workers of the Hoover Dam, so be sure to stop by this iconic piece of modern American history and to get some great views of the landscape.
Continue your discovery of American history at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
The museum houses many trains, rail equipment and artefacts from its days as a railroad to connect the town, workers, and equipment with the Hoover Dam project.
Many trains are still operational and can be boarded on a short journey along the Boulder Branch Line.
8- North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas is often overlooked as it is right next to the glittering lights of Las Vegas itself, however, this smaller city is still a great Nevada city to visit and one that is free from the price hikes and crowds of Vegas.
North Las Vegas is home to the famous Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
If you are a fan of NASCAR, this track is a must-visit, so check their events calendar before travelling to see if there is anything on during your stay.
Aliante Nature Discovery Park is ideal for spending an afternoon with children.
The park is extensive and includes volleyball courts, a boating lake and dinosaur-themed attractions.
Play inside the large triceratops skeleton or dig for fossils at the Dino Dig Sandbox.
Enterprise is relatively small and is surrounded by desert and mountainous peaks, making it the ideal city destination to get out and explore the wilderness.
Those looking for a slice of the countryside without lengthy hikes will enjoy the gentle trails of Cougar Creek Park.
The park has 12 miles (19.3 km) of trails intersected with beautiful panoramic views across the city and mountains.
Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the delicately perfumed grounds of Doctor Harry B. Johnson Rose Garden.
The gardens are filled with fragrant roses displayed in a typical European style.
There are plenty of benches to enjoy the views from, gazebos, and even a playground for children.
10- Spring Valley
Spring Valley provides a great base to be close to the hustle and bustle of Vegas whilst maintaining a quieter neighbourhood vibe.
The city is packed with family-friendly parks, cafes and restaurants, all allowing you to soak up the local lifestyle.
One of the best parks in Spring Valley is Charlie Fries Park, which is a must-visit destination for active families.
The park includes soccer fields, baseball fields, large open spaces and playgrounds for younger children.
There are also stunning views from the surrounding cliffs.
Make the most of Fallon’s surrounding deserts and dunes and head out to Sand Mountain, the perfect destination for adventure sports and star gazing.
Here you can drive ATVs up and down the dunes, hike, and even spend the night camping and enjoying the dark skies.
If whisky is your drink of choice, experience a tour and tasting of Frey Ranch, a fifth-generation family-run distillery, where you can taste whisky, vodka and gin.
Spend time in nature and learn about the native Nevada wildlife at Stillwater Wildlife Refuge.
Expect to see more than 280 species of birds and wild animals such as coyotes, antelope and weasels, during your hike.
12- West Wendover
As you drive into West Wendover, look out for a greeting from Wendover Will, a 63ft (19.2m) high cowboy welcoming you to the city.
For those searching for an active day out, take to the trails of Leppy Hills.
The trails vary in length and challenge, with some crossing over the state border into Utah and the neighbouring city of Wendover.
The trails are easy to walk on as they are formed of hard-packed gravel and offer great views from a range of vistas, including the ancient lake shoreline and the surrounding mountains.
For a unique site in Ely, head to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park to see the unusual charcoal ovens dotted in the desert landscape.
The park has several hiking trails, a fishing creek and many picnic areas.
The ovens, however, are the park’s biggest attraction and are great to photograph, particularly at sunrise or sunset.
The ovens were used during the silver boom of the area to melt the metal into more manageable pieces.
Continue to uncover the mining history of Ely at Ely Renaissance Village, where stores, saloons and homes have been restored to reflect life in the early 1900s.
Guided tours are available of the village to help you understand the historic village and how the miners and their families lived.
Pahrump is a must-visit Nevada city if wine is your preferred tipple.
Several excellent vineyards and wineries exist, including the Pahrump Valley Winery and Sanders Family Winery.
Pahrump lies at the edge of Death Valley and is a popular stopping destination for those looking to camp and explore the desert.
For an unusual thing to do in this Death Valley city, brave Coffinwood, a coffin-themed home and garden that features a workshop, wedding chapel and gift shop, all specialising in the macabre.
Round off your time in Pahrump with tasty and cooling ice cream at Seemore’s Ice Cream.
This ice cream shop is easily recognisable thanks to its large landmark of soft-serve ice cream on its roof.
Top tour: VIP Wine Tasting with Death Valley Sightseeing and Stargazing Photography Tour.
Winnemucca is the perfect destination in Nevada to uncover ancient anthropological history.
Visit the Humboldt Museum to find a wide range of historical and natural archeological findings, including the large skeleton of a mammoth unearthed close to the city.
There are also exhibitions on local life featuring clothing and furniture from various periods and a collection of antique cars.
For a more unusual day out, visit Royal Peacock Black Fire Opal Mine, where you can mine for your own precious stone.
Search the surrounding area with a knowledgeable guide to find the Black Fire Opal, the official stone of Nevada.
Any opals you find at the mine are yours to keep.
Uncover the history of Fernley at the now-ruined Fort Churchill, which was once a protective fort for early settlers and served as a guard location for the Pony Express.
The ruins are well preserved and many trails lead around the fort and surrounding area for curious visitors to explore.
Step back even further in time and take a short drive out of the city to Grimes Point Archeological Area.
After a short hike, you will find many petroglyphs carved into the rock faces within the parkland.
On certain days of the week, there are guided tours of the petroglyphs to help you uncover their meanings and learn about life in the Nevada desert for the first humans in the area.
Art lovers should head to Elko’s art museum, the Northeastern Nevada Museum, to see a range of photographs from legendary photographer Ansel Adams and painter Will E. James.
Grab a bite to eat at one of Elko’s traditional Basque restaurants. Basque cuisine includes hearty dishes predominately featuring meat.
Some of the best food is served at the Star Hotel, a friendly establishment dishing up tasty plates of chicken fried steaks, baked beef or large juicy steaks.
Every dish is served family-style with an extensive range of accompanying sides, including Basque beans, sautéed mushrooms and freshly baked bread.
Make the most of Yerington’s small-town vibe and quaint charm and enjoy its links to the great outdoors.
Many visitors use Yerington as a base for outdoor activities making it the perfect destination for those looking to spend more time in nature.
The Walker River State Recreation Area is one of the best natural destinations to explore from Yerington and where you can hike, fish and cycle through the rugged landscape.
Refuel from your activity-filled day with some comfort food served at The Country Sunflower.
Savour the hot turkey sandwich, served open-faced and smothered in gravy, or enjoy a stacked sandwich of chicken breast with crispy bacon and plenty of cheddar cheese.
Round off your meal with a delicious homemade dessert from their ever-changing selection of pies, bakes and pastries.
For a delicious meal and one that is customisable, visit Build a Burger, a burger bar located inside a gas station.
Each burger is prepared to your specifications and can include a succulent beef patty, crispy or grilled chicken, fried bologna and much more.
Despite its unusual location, the food is delicious and well worth visiting.
Relax in the tranquillity of Carlin Chinese Gardens, a pleasant outdoor area with a small lake and plenty of places to sit back and enjoy your surroundings.
The gardens are Chinese in name only but are filled with plenty of leafy trees, shady nooks and, of course, Nevada native wildlife.
Make a lasting memory of your trip to Lovelock by fastening your own padlock to one of the chains surrounding the plaza.
The tradition of locking in love with a padlock comes from China, with many padlocks seen across the world fastened to railings, monuments and chains with couples’ names and dates.
There are many shops nearby where you can purchase a lock to participate in this ancient tradition.
Enjoy the romance of the railroad at Central Pacific Railroad Depot, a historical depot formed from the old station house and depot.
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