Experiences for the whole household

Author: Jen Peng

For many people, the snow-capped peaks and ski resorts are the biggest draw to Reno/Tahoe. Wanting to stay off the slopes? You’re in luck! There are plenty of fun activities off the mountain too. Here are some of the entertaining things you can do this winter, day and night.

Nevada State Museum Carson City
Nevada State Museum Carson City
Daytime discoveries

Museums are a great place to spend your day, no matter the weather. Explore Nevada’s natural and cultural history at the Nevada State Museum. Learn all about the Historic Carson City Mint and Coin Press No. 1, Nevada’s Changing Earth and Nevada: A People and Place Through Time.

See more than 200 historic and rare vehicles in a hands-free environment at The National Automobile Museum.

Wanting to stay off the slopes? You’re in luck! There are plenty of fun activities off the mountain too.

Catch the Bill Harrah – A Retrospective through December or learn about the lowrider movement in Low and Slow on view starting in January. Don’t miss the record-setting racing vehicles in Speed! Or, immerse yourself in fine arts at the Nevada Museum of Art.

Special exhibits include Andre Zittel’s Wallsprawl, Reko Rennie’s Always Was Always Will Be and a collection of contemporary works by major American artists in The World Stage.

Be sure to check with each of these great spots to see if you need to reserve your timed entry in advance. Also, don’t forget your mask and follow social distancing guidelines during your visit.

When the skies are clear, or even if there are a few flakes in the air, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through meadows and woods to a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe is sure to delight. The one-hour tour with Borges Sleigh Ride is available with or without snow at several locations around Lake Tahoe.

Snuggle up with your sweetie, or bring the whole family – their gorgeous hand-made sleighs come in a variety of sizes. All rides are for private groups only, and masks are strongly encouraged.

Day or night, your choice

Cruise around Lake Tahoe in comfort and style, day or night, on the M.S. Dixie II paddle wheeler at Zephyr Cove Resort. Enjoy stunning lake and mountain vistas on a daytime sightseeing cruise to Emerald Bay. Or, enjoy live entertainment and local cuisine on their evening cruise.

Heated indoor cabins will keep you warm in all temperatures. They are sailing on weekends at a reduced capacity, so be sure to book in advance. Masks are also strongly encouraged. 

Zephyr Cove Paddle Wheel tours on MS Dixie II
Zephyr Cove Paddle Wheel tours on MS Dixie II

You don’t have to hurl yourself down a mountain to get that adrenaline flowing. Fill your need for speed at Need 2 Speed in Reno. Zoom around their state-of-the-art indoor track in all-electric karts – not only are there no harmful emissions, but these high-performance karts can also go up to 45 miles per hour!

For even more thrills, try racing under black light when available. Afterward, challenge yourself to a round or two of blacklight mini-golf. Race capacity is limited, so book online to reserve your preferred time slot and bring your favorite mask along, too.

For a different kind of thrill, head to Puzzle Room Tahoe or Puzzle Room Reno. See if you can figure out the clues and escape in time from various theme rooms, such as Valley of the Kings, Below Ground and Lost Cabin. All games are for private groups only.

Also in Reno, The Immersium takes escape rooms to the next level with grand-scale adventures. Fully immerse yourself in elaborate sets and props, theatrical lighting and special effects as you look for clues and solve puzzles to complete the mission. All games are for private groups only, and guests are asked to wear masks during the game.

The Immersium
The Immersium

Winter is the time to lace up your skates and hit the ice. Both the Heavenly Village Skating Rink and the Village at Northstar Skating Rink combine an outdoor rink with a village full of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, so you can skate and satisfy other appetites.

Meanwhile, skate in any weather at the indoor rink at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena. In Reno, skate outdoors at the Rink at the ROW downtown.

Activities after dark

There’s more to nightlife than just the casinos. Did you know that Reno has its own philharmonic orchestra? Dress in your finest duds and enjoy an elegant evening of classical music with the Reno Philharmonic.

Known for their inspirational orchestral performances, they’re the largest performing arts organization in Northern Nevada. Shows are tentatively scheduled for January 16 -17, February 20 – 21, March 27 – 28 and April 24 – 25.

Experience an incredible evening of magic and illusions at The Loft Theatre in South Lake Tahoe. Featuring award-winning magicians, their Magic Fusion show is the top-rated show in Tahoe and appropriate for all ages.

On Fridays, stay for their adults-only Magic After Dark show. Make a whole night of it with dinner and drinks at their restaurant and lounge, TASTE at the Loft, an American tapas restaurant serving tasty tidbits and luscious libations.

They are operating at reduced capacity, so book in advance to avoid disappointment. Masks are required when entering and exiting the theater and restaurant.

The Loft Theatre
The Loft Theatre

When was the last time you went to a drive-in movie? On weekends, all winter long, the West Wind El Rancho Drive-In is showing premiers and double features at their retro all-digital drive-in theater in Sparks.

Get nostalgic and watch from the comforts of your own car. Masks are required any time you are outside your vehicle. Tahoe City’s Tahoe Art Haus is the only cinema draft house and independent theater in the area.

Don’t worry, they also show major motion pictures. The best part is their bar with beers and ciders on tap, popcorn spice bar, and comfy rocking leather chairs and couches.

There has been talk about adjusting their schedule and possible season breaks, so be sure to check their website and help this local gem stay afloat.

Seating capacity is capped and seats have been removed to ensure social distancing. Masks are also required except when eating or drinking.

Whatever the time or weather, there are plenty of fun activities to keep you occupied this winter!


Disclaimer: Getaway Reno/Tahoe supports social distancing and safe practices promoting the health of our community. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, digital and print content is updated to the best of our knowledge. Please keep in mind, many photos featured in our publication and online platform were taken before the pandemic and may not reflect current conditions. As you navigate your Reno/Tahoe adventure, be sure to visit the corresponding event url or business page to check cancellations, closings, or postponements. Stay safe, stay healthy. Thank you.