Living in Reno Nevada (Pros and Cons)

You may be thinking of living in Reno, but not sure if it’s the right place for you. It’s best to examine all the information that has been put out there about “the biggest little city in the world” and make an informed decision before taking the plunge. We provide the pros and cons of choosing to live in Reno.

Pros of living in Reno:

  1. No corporate or personal income tax
  2. Incredible outdoor adventures, nightlife, and cultural scene
  3. Reasonable housing market
  4. Burgeoning tech and start-up haven
  5. Warm weather
  6. Excellent quality of life

Cons of living in Reno:

  1. High cost of living
  2. High crime rate
  3. Poor health system

Read on to learn more about living in Reno, including taxes, attractions, safety, healthcare, and the housing market. All these may help you decide if Reno is the place for your new beginnings.

Living in Reno Nevada Pros and Cons

1. Nevada has no income tax.


Mountain Bike, Reno, Nevada

Compared to other states, Nevada offers its residents a low overall tax burden. Nevada is the 8th lowest in the US. Thanks to all of the tax revenues going into the state’s coffers from its prosperous tourism industry, notably the casinos. There are no taxes on either retirement accounts or pension income, whether private or public. There is no estate or inheritance tax in Nevada, either.

So you will likely pay less in taxes if you reside in Reno and that you have more money in your pocket for your other expenses – student loans, recreation, dining, shopping, and others.

This makes Nevada a tax-friendly place, one of the best states to move to, which is why you see tremendous growth in population from the 1990s, well into the 2000s, especially in Reno.

2. Reno has incredible outdoor adventures, nightlife, and a cultural scene.

The city of Reno, all within view of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west, boasts world-class entertainment and recreational experiences.

The culinary scene is a titillating and unique offering to be expected from the hotel and casino culture of Reno, Nevada. New restaurants and cafes pop up every week to give food lovers a never-ending gastronomic divergence. Reno is not just all about casino buffets and bars. The brewery and distillery landscape is also growing, and many stops are located on 4th Street, Brewery District.

From 2010, when the housing market fell, arts and culture increased. Find more discovery museums, galleries, and a local wildlife sanctuary together with the parks and historical sites to explore.

Reno is also home to significant annual (and monthly) events that draw immense crowds:

  • Artown Arts and Cultural Festival in July
  • Hot August Nights classic car rally and the Burning Man Festival in August
  • The Great Reno Balloon Race in September.

There’s at least one major recreational event per month in Reno. Not to forget, the Truckee River Float and Truckee River Walk are popular things to do any season. Lake Tahoe is not too far from Reno for magnificent panoramic views and has its share of festivals.

3. Reno’s housing market attracts and expands.

It’s a matter of perspective. If your budget is less than $300k, you might not find one in most western cities. San Francisco, only less than 4 hours drive away, has one of the world’s most expensive real estate; but you still have plenty of options in Reno.

However, Reno is driving up their housing prices. Demand for apartments and rentals is increasing. But if you only make a median income, you might not be able to afford property here. Reno is a buyer’s market, though. The median home value is now about $371,000, but there are less than $300,000 options in the metro area, like in Sparks, which is considerably less.

With all the perks and potential of Reno, you’ll find that housing here is more affordable than in San Francisco, San Diego, or Seattle. It’s great living in Reno, NV.

4. Reno is burgeoning as a start-up and tech hub.

Tesla Gigafactory, built by tech genius, Elon Musk, is just a short drive from Reno. That and many start-up companies translate into job opportunities, drawing many tech people to the location. Many tech firms hire in Reno – Noble Studios, Mabble Media, KPS3, Clear Capital, etc.

Not just tech firms but other businesses call Reno home, and they are apart from the usual clusters of casinos, resorts/hotels, and restaurants that Reno is known for. However, with the influx of Silicon Valley-like workers, Reno is also upping its game in the hospitality industry. There’s just a lot of high-energy buzz, leading to diversification and innovation.

5. Reno’s warm weather year-round

You’re bound to experience all four seasons if you live in Reno. The Nevada climate is arid and warm, and there is lots of sunshine year-round. Generally, summertime is hot and dry, though winters can get really cold in Reno. If you live higher up in the mountains, you may experience snow, less so if you live further north.

Nonetheless, it gets cold when the days get shorter in wintertime, from around November through February. The city receives an average of about 22 inches of snow per year as well. The altitude is also reasonably high, at over 3,000 feet.

If snow is not your thing, further south, like Carson City, is the place for you. It’s 32 miles from Reno. For those who love snow, a residence in Lake Tahoe (63 miles from Reno) could be a suitable compromise.

So if you like a desert climate but would still appreciate the four seasons, living in Reno NV is the one for you. Reno’s warm weather is particularly attractive to those considering retirement.

6. Reno has excellent quality of life

When US News analyzed 125 metro areas in the US to find the best places to live, Reno NV ranked #17 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life, #38 in Best Places to Live, and #99 in Best Places to Retire.

Is Reno Nevada a good place to live? Yes, even if it often plays second fiddle to its sister city, Las Vegas, Reno holds its own in terms of quality of life. Combining all the pros we’ve listed above; there is less sin in Reno. Though it is a gaming town, a tourist town, one can avoid gambling in Reno.

Its events calendar is always full. There is no lack of cultural and entertainment attractions, superb dining experiences, beautiful scenery, all these in close proximity wherever you live in Reno. US News also points out the job opportunities across different sectors, from education to technology, now abound in Reno.


Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World

1. High Cost of Living

The cost of living in Reno Nevada is pretty high, more expensive than the US average. This is despite the overall low tax burden. As previously mentioned, the median cost of a home in Reno is $371,000, which is higher than that of Nevada State at $275,000. The national average is $216,000.

Utility bills are very high in Nevada as most folks keep their air conditioners running throughout most of the year. Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 13% higher than the national average. This is mainly because there is not much public transportation in Nevada. Options include taking the bus, a cab, or Uber/Lyft. Healthcare in Reno is 10% higher than the national average. Interestingly, figures for the cost of living in Nevada are skewed somewhat upward by the big cities, such as Reno and Las Vegas.

2. High Crime Rate

Reno’s crime rate is considerably higher than the national US average. It’s about 39 crimes per 1,000 residents. However, Reno is not among the communities with the very highest crime rates.

About 15% of people living in Nevada reported experiencing violent crime within the past year, compared to 12% in the rest of the US. The most prevalent property crime is larceny/theft, while the most prevalent violent crime is aggravated assault.

How dangerous is Reno, Nevada? When you live in the suburbs of Reno, crime levels go down dramatically. Many older housing neighborhoods are safe and great places to live in. It’s even better if you live in the newer communities.

You can always choose the safer areas in the state of Nevada and install a security camera (view on Amazon) to keep your home safe.

What are the bad parts of Reno? Like other cities and towns anywhere, there are always particular areas with unsavory reputations. When it comes to Reno, the most dangerous neighborhoods are Northeast, South Central, and East Reno. Some forums even cite specific places, like Wedekind, Neil Road, parts of Sun Valley, 4th St (downtown part). Others are Oddie, Montello, El Rancho, Sullivan, and parts of Sparks.

3. Poor Health System

Nevada was again listed as one of the states with poor ranking as far as its healthcare system is concerned. This was in 2018, though even then, there were improvements in certain areas. The District of Columbia ranked lower, though, in this research at the time.

Nevada did reasonably well in certain areas – chronic disease, diabetes, stroke, and heart failure. Good for Nevada because these conditions are very much prevalent. However, some areas warrant attention, such as more physicians. Nevada needs about 2,561 full-time doctors, about 2,000 primary care physicians.

In 2021, Nevada ranks among the worst health care system in part due to low government spending on health care and hospitals. Nevada is also one of the highest uninsured rates in the U.S. The number of primary care doctors is still significantly lower. There are 58.4 doctors per 100,000 state residents, the third-lowest, and compared to 75.8 doctors per 100,000 people nationwide.

However, still above the US averages are Nevada’s premature death rate, child mortality rate, and share of adults in poor or fair health.

Conclusion – Living in Reno Nevada Pros and Cons

To review, here are the pros and cons of living in Reno Nevada:

Pros of living in Reno:

  1. No corporate or personal income tax
  2. Incredible outdoor adventures, nightlife, and cultural scene
  3. Reasonable housing market
  4. Burgeoning tech and start-up haven
  5. Warm weather
  6. Excellent quality of life

Cons of living in Reno:

  1. High cost of living
  2. High crime rate
  3. Poor health system

Considering the pros and cons of living in Reno, NV, let our list inspire you to make informed decisions.

The pros of living in Reno are what make it the “biggest little city in the world.” Small town Reno is a welcoming, warm place with worldly amenities just within reach. Its cons are manageable, little inconveniences for most people who nonetheless come in droves to this touristy spot. In time, Reno should be better because it’s almost there with its renovation and expansion efforts.

Reno may not be for everyone. Nonetheless, the opportunities to make a great life – excellent quality of life – are yours for the taking in Reno.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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