A Review of Reno, Nevada

April 10th, 2021

Not even 9 months since I made the bold decision to move to Reno, Nevada, I've decided to leave. I wrote about my reasons for moving here last August, and it boiled down to three primary reasons:

  1. I wanted to be closer to nature (Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and National Parks) during the pandemic as bustling cities lost their value.
  2. I was working at a very early-stage startup and wanted to be more frugal while still enjoying a high quality of life.
  3. I wanted to be somewhat close to my friends, most of whom live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can find the original post here.

What's changed? After making multiple day trips to the Bay Area during the weekends to visit friends, I started to realize that it wasn't sustainable. Pairing that with the fact that it becomes much harder to make friends as you grow older, I wanted to be closer to my existing friends and hang out with them more often.

"...when one day, usually around your mid or late 20s, it hits you:

It’s not that easy to make friends anymore.

Sure, you’ll make new friends in the future—at work, through your spouse, through your kids—but you won’t get to that Tier 1 brothers level, or even to Tier 2, with very many of them, because people who meet as adults don’t tend to get through the 100+ long, lazy hangouts needed to reach a bond of that strength." - Tim Urban [1]

In response to the Reddit question, Adults of reddit, what is something that sucks about being an adult that most teenagers don’t realize? HilariousDisaster responded: "Being lonely. Making friends as an adult is difficult, sometimes verging on impossible."

Even if the cost of living is going to a bit more expensive in the Bay Area and I'd be farther from Lake Tahoe, the sole reason of being closer to friends was enough to make me leave and move to the Bay.

Obviously, this is quite a personal reason, so besides the fact that my friends live pretty far from Reno, how has it been living here?

Table of Contents

The Nature

The scenery within a 30-minute drive from Reno is genuinely breathtaking. Lake Tahoe has got to be the most beautiful lake on planet Earth. The water is so blue and crystal clear that it looks like somebody photoshopped it. There's no trash, and during the colder months, there's not a single human in sight.



Actual pictures that I took. #nofilter

I also had the chance to visit a couple of other scenic spots near Reno: a few friends and I rented a cabin in Yosemite National Park for Thanksgiving, my girlfriend and I saw the Milky Way while car camping at Great Basin National Park, and I climbed Mt. Rose with a random dude that I met in a Reno Facebook Group.

Would I consider buying a home on the Lake Tahoe shore one day? Absolutely. (If I win the lottery, that is 😂. The houses there are mad expensive.)


Lakefront house prices in Northern Lake Tahoe. Source: Zillow

Before it got kinda cold and snowy in the mountains, I would also go trail running just 10 minutes away from where I live. I was able to go on hour-long trail runs during the middle of a workday.

The Climate

When I first got here, the first thing that I noticed was how dry it was. During my runs for the first few months, just breathing was painful. I haven't felt that since winter, though, so perhaps my body has adapted to it.

Other than that, the summer and fall here were terrific; it literally never rained a single day and was always sunny with blue skies, just as what you'd expect from living in a desert.

It does get kind of cold in Reno during the winter months. It's much better than Michigan but still cold enough that it makes outdoor activities less enjoyable. Besides my morning runs, I stopped going hiking during the winter.

Usually, this is when people transition into skiing, snowboarding, and other snow sports. I was never really a skier, so I didn't really get into it until some friends from the Bay came over to ski. Unfortunately, my Ironman training was soon underway by that time, and since then, I haven't gone again.


The Living

One of the primary reasons I decided to move to Reno was its relatively cheap cost of living. Not only am I exempt from state income taxes, but the rent is also much cheaper than many other cities in the USA. Our completely furnished and recently remodeled 750 sq. ft. 1Br/1Ba with a parking space and porch was only $1,400, compared to like an average of $2,500-$3,000 for an unfurnished, decrepit apartment in San Francisco. [5]

Our flooring uses laminate wood; we have an in-unit washer and dryer, a new quiet dishwasher, a programmable thermostat, hot water, like-new furnishings, new bedding, towels, and more. The first day that we moved in, after telling my landlord that we hadn't gone grocery shopping for food yet, she came by to drop off some bagels, cream cheese, and orange juice. She also bought us a new printer after I asked her where I could print something. In contrast, when one of my Bay Area friends had rat problems, his landlord didn't even call pest control and just placed some traps in their home. What a difference between low and high-demand markets.

The City

I didn't really get to explore the city cause of the pandemic. My initial reason for moving to Reno wasn't for the city, but for its close proximity to Mother Nature, anyway. In a typical year, I would've gone to flight shows, went gambling, and attended the Buring Man festival. However, this past year, I only went to downtown Reno to pick up takeout, get my car fixed/washed, and visit the bike shop. Did the city seem nice on the few occasions when I dropped by? Besides there being a few homeless people near the river, yeah, it was pretty nice. The city is definitely on the smaller side, though, which implies a smaller selection of restaurants and services.


Burning Man, Black Rock City (2 hours from Reno)

I'm planning on visiting Reno once everything opens up again, and we'll see how I like the city then.

The People

Reno is way more politically diverse than most other cities that I've lived in-at least compared to the last two places that I've lived in, Amherst, MA, and Ann Arbor, MI. Not only did I see Bernie and Biden flags during my runs in nearby neighborhoods, but I also saw plenty of Trump flags. I don't think I've ever lived in an area where adjacent neighbors had both Trump and Bernie/Biden flags. I wonder what happens when they bump into each other while taking out the trash.

Due to COVID restrictions, I haven't interacted with many people besides the occasional wave or greet during my runs. People seemed pretty friendly, and although there have been many anti-Asian incidents recently, I haven't felt unsafe here. One of my neighbors let me know that my car's dome lights were left on, and people that I've met on hikes were happy to help us out when we got lost. I did get yelled at a few times when I was driving, but that was because the traffic laws here vary slightly from those in Michigan, and I was at fault.


Overall, Reno has excellent weather and nature, and I would consider moving back here one day if some friends or family also lived in the area. I didn't really get to meet that many people, but the ones that I did meet were amiable. And the city seemed fine, even if it was a bit small and lacked quality Asian food. I hope to be back again one day and explore the Reno area a bit more. Starting in about a month, you'll be able to catch me in Milpitas, California!