Located near the University of Nevada, the outer university
area of Reno
gives locals the opportunity to get a taste of the college life while residing near downtown Reno
and its many activities. The outer university neighborhoods, some of the older areas in Reno, feature various houses
located on sloping hills. With Rancho San Rafael Park and quick access to both major highways, residents around the university find themselves close to everything they need — and only a few minutes north of downtown.
Take a class at the college, attend a festival or concert in downtown Reno or visit a local eatery. Whatever your interest, you can find entertainment in the outer university neighborhoods.
Schools in Outer University
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Due to their proximity to the University of Nevada (which locals call UNR), outer university residents can easily access restaurants, bars and clubs within a few minutes of their home. While many establishments cater mostly to college students, several places open up to patrons of all ages and walks of life.
If you crave a good breakfast, go south of campus to Wells Avenue for a meal at The Daily Bagel. Eat a banana nut waffle or one of the restaurant’s many bagels for a quick, tasty breakfast. Pick up a smooth latte for a caffeine kick while you munch on a turkey, swiss, avocado and sprouts bagel.
Try eating lunch at one of the university’s most popular restaurants, the Little Waldorf on North Virginia Street, located across the street from campus, which is called “the Wal” by students. Locals rave about the Jiffy Burger, a burger made with peanut butter. Order fried zucchini and other appetizers during happy hour and grab a cold, affordable beer to wash everything down.
For a more upscale meal head to Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse in the Silver Legacy casino and hotel, located in Downtown Reno. A dim restaurant tucked away at a corner of the casino, Sterling’s serves everything from sea bass to porterhouse steaks served with an accompaniment of vegetables and mashed potatoes. Residents eat their fill at this classy restaurant. Finish your meal with the complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries for a last, sweet taste.
To hear some live music, head downtown to such as the Knitting Factory, or head to campus. The university puts on many live shows in large buildings such as Lawlor Events Center or in smaller theaters, such as the one in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. Grab a beer at Pub-N-Sub, a college hangout on Ralston Street. Buy a pitcher for an affordable price or grab a pizza for high-quality pub fare. If you plan to party all night, stop by the Corkscroo, a bar open for 24 hours a day with weekly drink specials.
History & Culture
The neighborhoods around the University of Nevada sprang up after the university relocated from Elko to Reno in 1885. The first building on the new campus, Morrill Hall, signaled the burgeoning growth of the university in Reno. Though the college constructed residence halls such as Manzanita Hall for students, residents soon found a need to build houses around the university for quick access. Today, locals recognize the outer university area as a neighborhood that houses college students and generations of Reno families.
While the university does not house a separate building for a museum, residents can check out history exhibits in the Knowledge Center and the silver collection at Mackay School of Mines. In Downtown Reno, locals drive to the Nevada Museum of Art to view modern art, as well as local Nevada works. Attend festivals at Wingfield Park or keep an eye on the university’s events calendar for shows year-round.
Though many residents in the outer university neighborhood drive for shopping and errands, the neighborhoods near the college prove to be very walkable. Residents find walking to campus easy, but walking downtown takes longer and involves climbing some slopes. Interstate 80 lies close to the outer university neighborhood, and getting to Interstate 580 requires just a short drive on 80.
Use RTC Washoe’s Sierra Spirit to get from the university campus down to downtown, a route that may prove easier than driving. Hail one of the many cabs that come up from downtown Reno, use your Uber app or go online to search for ridesharing options. Beware of parking around the University of Nevada, since many of the parking lots require permits and the campus works quickly to hand out tickets. The outer university areas also tend to require permits so that students don't take up all the curb space with their own cars.
Biking presents itself as a suitable option for traveling around the outer university neighborhoods, but bikers should take caution traveling on Virginia Street. Many cars flood the road while driving to the university, which can make the area more dangerous for bicyclists.
Living around the University of Nevada has a slightly higher cost than the national average. The average rent for a one-bedroom
apartment in the area stands at about $700. Plan to spend $2 to take a one-way bus trip with RTC Washoe. Frequent commuters tend to pay for the monthly passes, which cost $65 for 31 days of rides.
Plan to pay slightly more than usual for gas — average gas prices in the outer university neighborhoods generally cost about 2 percent more than the national average. Fortunately, a craft beer in the area costs about $3.50, and specials on certain nights can lower the price further.
The largest shopping mall near the center of Reno, Meadowood Mall, provides most of the shopping options for residents in the outer university neighborhoods. Shoppers can go to Macy’s or Sears for clothes, or to undergarment stores such as Victoria’s Secret. Pass by the food court for a bite to eat, and head to Coach for high-end shopping.
Located closer to the university, Boulevard of Dreams on Kuenzli Street sells formal wear to those looking for a tuxedo or a dress. This local shop gives great service to people who need to dress formally, but don’t know where to look. If you want a peaceful day out to read, go to Sundance Books and Music, and check out a historical part of town while browsing through scores of books. Located in an old Victorian home, Sundance Books displays a great selection of books of all kinds, along with music. You can spend hours wandering around the expansive place.
To get to grocery stores, drive south and you'll both Raley’s and a Walmart Supercenter on Second Street. The Great Basin Community Food Co-op near downtown gives locals a chance to purchase fresh produce from local farmers year-round, not just in the summer during the normal farmers-market season. In the summer, go downtown to the West Street Market for a true farmers market experience, or drive to California Avenue for fresh food at the Village Center Farmers Market.
The closest park to the outer university neighborhoods, Rancho San Rafael Park, has retained its status as one of the most entertaining parks in Reno. Set on hundreds of acres, Rancho San Rafael features playgrounds, an arboretum and a small museum dedicated to Wilbur D. May, a rancher who formerly owned the park's land. Children enjoy the numerous playgrounds, and exercise
enthusiasts can walk on the walking trails throughout the entirety of the park.
Dogs enjoy the park as well; Rancho San Rafael features a large off-leash dog park for the pooches. Residents can take dogs elsewhere in the park, but they must be on their leash. Free to enter, Rancho San Rafael provides picnic and shelter sites for celebrations and events. Wander out to the fields and play a game of Frisbee, or have a picnic and gaze at the pastureland at one of Reno’s most beloved parks.
The biggest event at Rancho San Rafael, the Great Reno Balloon Race, takes places every September and draws in many Reno residents. Starting in the morning, hot air balloons float in the air, and locals can stop by in the early morning hours to watch all the balloons ascend when the sun rises. Stay all day for food and entertainment while viewing the many hot air balloons.