Living in Old Southwest Reno
takes residents back to the early days of the Nevada city, back when pioneers roamed the streets and built homes
any way they desired. Locals love the Old Southwest area for its status as one of the oldest neighborhoods in Reno. Close to downtown Reno
and to restaurants, bars and schools, many Reno residents consider the area one of the most desirable parts of town.
Unlike the newer developments, Old Southwest homes resemble homes from the past, in many different styles. People can walk down the block and see both a mansion and a cottage on the same street. The uniqueness and old-fashioned nature of Old Southwest and its outer streets pique the interest of those who travel to Reno looking for a family neighborhood close to all of Reno’s attractions.
Schools in Outer Old Southwest Reno
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Due to its proximity to both downtown Reno and midtown, the Old Southwest neighborhood lies close to many bars, clubs and gourmet restaurants. Locals in the outer part of the neighborhood can find eateries and bars on Plumb Lane, though most center on Virginia Street. Old Southwest residents enjoy eating in Midtown, which highlights many diners and cafes featuring new American fare, before heading out to one of the city’s many bars.
Start off at PJ & Company, also called PJ’s Restaurant and Saloon, for breakfast. Order the eggs Benedict or a breakfast burrito full of refried beans and potatoes along with a refreshing bloody Mary. Get some quiche for a lighter breakfast, and make sure you bring some of the large portions of food home with you.
For lunch, try Anthony’s Dandelion Deli & Café on Wells Avenue. This deli caters to the vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free residents of Reno. Meat-eaters also enjoy the deli, especially the deli-style turkey sandwich, made with fresh turkey and vegetables. Top off your meal with one of Dandelion Deli’s vegan desserts, displayed at the front of the deli, and come by for the Saturday night special dinners.
For a larger meal, head to Silver Peak Restaurant & Brewery at its original location on Wonder Street. Tucked away within a mostly residential neighborhood, Silver Peak serves lasagna, pork tenderloin, pizza and its own craft beer. Try a dinner salad with beet chips for a fresh take on a light meal. End your night by tasting the warm chocolate bread pudding, a rich dessert bound to fill you up.
Locals enjoy going out for a night in Reno to the city’s many bars and clubs. Old Southwest locals can go to the Alibi Lounge and check out the hundreds of bottles of alcohol behind the bar. Get a kamikaze from this well-known dive bar and kick back to chat with the locals. Shenanigan’s Old English Pub on Plumb Lane serves pub food, broadcasts English Premier League matches and has craft beers on tap.
Residents in the area like to go to various small venues for live music, such as the Holland Project and Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor. Both sites feature local bands of diverse musical genres, and many Reno residents appreciate listening to the variety of tunes at both places. For dancing, head to Edge Nightspot, a club inside the Peppermill hotel, and have fun listening to the cool DJ music.
History & Culture
Like many areas in the west, Reno owes its development to the influx of people who hoped to find wealth in the gold rushes. Settler Myron Lake established Reno in 1868 after the Central Pacific Railroad reached Nevada from Sacramento. The Old Southwest neighborhood developed as one of the first major neighborhoods in the city. Politicians and casino magnates from the early days resided in Old Southwest, displaying their impressive mansions on California Avenue. These days, Old Southwest retains its charming, old-west feel.
To see more Reno and Old Southwest area history, head to the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum in Midtown. The Nevada Museum of Art draws in many locals as well. The Stremmel Gallery and the Artists’ Co-op Gallery display Nevadan art for art enthusiasts around Old Southwest. Stick around for annual events and festivals at Wingfield Park in downtown.
Many Old Southwest Reno locals use cars to get around the neighborhood. In the outer southwest, many stores center on Plumb Lane, making shopping and errands more accessible by driving. In the heart of Old Southwest, however, many residents can walk to shops and stores to get what they need. Due to its closeness to Midtown and downtown, the center of Old Southwest proves to be more condensed than other neighborhoods.
Driving to the highway takes only a few minutes from Old Southwest, and locals can access both Interstate 80 and Interstate 580/Highway 395 easily. RTC Washoe in Reno, the regional bus service, runs two routes through Old Southwest, on California Avenue and along Plumas
Street. Both routes take locals to downtown Reno so they can take advantage of the area’s attractions.
Locals find parking in the outer southwest easier than parking closer to Midtown and downtown. Though many restaurants and shops provide parking, the small lots can fill up quickly. Head to downtown Reno to take advantage of the larger parking garages.
Call a cab company such as Reno Sparks Cab Company for a taxi. Though the major ride-sharing services have not made it to Reno yet, those interested in carpooling can check Craigslist for ride-sharing options. Bikers find it easier every year to ride in Reno, and most major streets offer bike lanes.
The Old Southwest neighborhood, like most of Reno, has a slightly higher cost of living than the national average. An average one-bedroom
apartment costs $709.56 a month in rent. To take a ride on RTC Washoe’s bus in Reno, expect to pay $2 one way. Purchase a 31-day pass for $65 to save money each month.
Most locals pay about $3.50 for a craft beer at a local pub. Driving around Reno costs somewhat more than the national average as gas costs 4 percent more in Reno than in other areas.
For minor shopping, Old Southwest residents head to Shopper’s Square on Plumb Lane shop at Marshall’s and CVS Pharmacy. However, most Reno residents drive down the highway to Meadowood Mall for major shopping. With Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears, residents can buy clothes while window-shopping for other items. Go to Coach to look at higher-end accessories, especially designer handbags.
Travel back to Old Southwest and Midtown to check out some of the smaller local shops. Junkee Clothing Exchange in Midtown displays new and consignment clothes for those looking for a deal. Find hidden antiques on the other side of Junkee while shopping for fashionable clothes. For unique spices and herbs, go to Truckee Meadow Herbs for seasonings, tea and more.
Do large-scale grocery shopping at SaveMart and Raley’s, the nearest stores in the area. Many Walmart Supercenters scatter around Reno as well. For Mexican items, head to Marketon on Wells Avenue and pick up some Mexican cheese or fresh, affordable produce. The Great Basin Community Food Co-op presents organic, locally grown food all year for those who want a farmers market experience year-round. Locals also shop at the California & Booth Streets Farmers Market during the summer to pick up sweet-tasting fruit and fresh vegetables.
Old Southwest’s largest park, Idlewild Park, draws in many locals. People of all ages enjoy the many amenities in Idlewild Park, including playgrounds, athletic fields, a skate park, Reno’s Municipal Rose Garden and more. Take a walk or a bike ride on the paths throughout the park, or take your dog on a walk.
This free park features a few rentable shelters for celebrations and lakes for fishing. Let your children feed geese and have a great time. Then, go to the pool in the summer to cool off, or take a walk in the evening. Both exercise
enthusiasts and families love Idlewild Park and its closeness to downtown Reno.
Reno’s annual Earth Day Celebration takes place in Idlewild Park. Performance groups, vendors and exhibits set up at the park every year so that Reno residents can come out and appreciate nature and all its elements. For more events year-round, go to Wingfield Park in downtown Reno for various festivals like the Reno Basque Festival.