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How to spend three perfect days exploring the Reno/Tahoe area

Reno
How should you spend three days in Reno/Tahoe? We have the answer. (KRNV)

It's funny what stories on our website generate readership. In August, I wrote an article titled, "20 years after moving to Reno, 20 things I love about the city." Despite being several months old, that story is still one of the top-20 read on our site every week. Must have some good SEO. I got an email from a Washington, D.C., resident last week who read the article and is thinking of retiring in Reno with his wife. He asked for a list of places to visit, things to do and communities to check out while in town in July to see if Reno will be their future home. I sent him a detailed two-day itinerary — probably too detailed, but I feel like his impression of Reno and future desire to live here rested on my shoulders — and figured I'd turn that work into a story.

I love the Lonely Planet book "The Perfect Day," which offers insider information on how to spend one day in 100 of the world's most popular cities. This article is a Reno version of that, but I'm also including Tahoe — because proximity to Tahoe is the best thing about living in Reno — and expanding it from one to three days because there's so much to do in Northern Nevada. Without further ado, here is "Three Perfect Days in Reno/Tahoe."

Day 1 (The downtown corridor)

* 8 a.m.: Start your day at Hub Coffee Roasters (727 Riverside Drive), just west of downtown on the river. Grab a snack from Dorinda's Chocolates next door for a late-night snack later in your trip. From the Hub, take the riverwalk east to Wingfield Park and explore downtown. Reno's downtown isn't top notch, but the riverwalk on a summer morning is always refreshing.

* 10 a.m.: After that, head to the Nevada Museum of Art (160 West Liberty Street) for a couple of hours of exploring. You could sub in the Discovery Museum (490 South Center Street) instead if you have kids. They'll love it. The Downtown Reno Library (301 South Center Street), built in 1966 and an architectural gem replete with inside foliage, also is worth a visit if you're a bookworm.

* 1 p.m.: Grab lunch at The Brewer's Cabinet (475 South Arlington Avenue) for a burger and some Outlaw (formerly Winnemucca) Tots, one of the top menu items in town.

* 3 p.m.: Head to UNR's campus to take in a show at the Fleischmann Planetarium (1664 North Virginia Street). It will give you a brief look at campus, which is beautiful. The planetarium opened in 1964 and will also give you a chance to walk around one of the West Coast's most beautiful campuses.

* 6 p.m.: Head back downtown for dinner at Campo (50 North Sierra Street), an excellent Italian restaurant next to the river. And while Campo has some nice desserts, take the check after the main course so you can visit our next destination.

* 8 p.m.: Get dessert at Black Rock Dessert (100 California Avenue #106) because how could you turn down a shake that looks like this?

Day 2 (Heading to Tahoe!)

* 9 a.m.: Start your day with an hour drive up to Incline Village to do the Monkey Rock Hike, a roughly two-mile down-and-back trail that has moderate elevation change but amazing views of Lake Tahoe. After this hike, you've earned yourself a nice meal, so it's off to lunch.

* Noon: There's no better lunch or dinner location in Incline than Lone Eagle Grille (111 Country Club Drive). The views here are tough to beat, too.

* 2 p.m.: We're going to continue our trip to Tahoe by heading south to the Heavenly Village (4080 Lake Tahoe Boulevard) for a trip up the Heavenly gondola, a 2.4-mile ride up the mountain that has breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Tahoe.

* 4 p.m.: When you get back down the mountain, walk around the village shops and buy a couple of items. You've earned it after that morning hike.

* 6 p.m.: Drive back down to Reno for dinner. But first, we stop for a cocktail at Death & Taxes (26 Cheney Street). The title sounds menacing, but it has the best hand-made cocktails in town, typically accompanied by real flowers in the drink. From there, walk 8 to 10 blocks north to our dinner location.

* 7 p.m.: Dinner at Mexcal (516 S Virginia Street), a relatively new Mexican restaurant between downtown and midtown with great margaritas and street tacos.

* 9 p.m.: If you have enough pep in your step, head over to The Eddy (16 South Sierra Street) to play some outdoor games and grab a drink, if you didn't have too many margaritas at Mexcal.

Day 3 (Take me out to the ball game)

* 9 a.m.: We'll start our day with breakfast at the Stone House Café (1907 South Arlington Avenue). You could also go to Peg's Glorified Ham n Eggs (420 South Sierra Street). But we've been in downtown quite a bit, so Stone House it is. I recommend the eggs benedict and peach cobbler smoothie.

* 11 a.m.: Let's get our engine revving by visiting the National Automobile Museum (10 South Lake Street), which displays the collection of cars put together by casino magnate Bill Harrah. There are more than 200 cars in four galleries with vehicles that date back to the 1890s. Even if you're not into cars, there's a lot of "wow factor" at this place.

* 1 p.m.: After a big breakfast, you shouldn't be too hungry so go by the gas station and get a sandwich. But not just any gas station sandwich. We're going to Deli Towne USA (3650 Lakeside Drive) where Reno's best sandwiches are made inside a gas station, although Full Belly Deli (3064 Mill Street) can make the case for best sandwich in town, too. Whichever place you pick, take your lunch and a blanket to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park (1595 North Sierra Street) for a picnic.

* 4 p.m.: We haven't been to the casinos yet, so let's take a trip there. But not to gamble. Instead, we're going to the Grand Sierra Resort (2500 East Second Street) to hit some golf balls at the Aqua Range. There are plenty of great courses you could visit to hit some balls at the driving range,, but none of those have island greens like the Aqua Range.

* 6 p.m.: The final destination on our three-day trip is Greater Nevada Field (250 Evans Avenue) to watch a Reno Aces game. You might go there for the baseball, but I go there for the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory candy apples. You must get one of those to close out three days in Reno/Tahoe that you'll never forget.

Columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.

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