rē'nō, city (1990 pop. 133,850), seat of Washoe co., W Nev., on the Truckee River; inc. 1903. Tourism has been the major industry since gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. With its resort facilities, night entertainment, and casinos, Reno is a year-round vacation spot and convention center. It became famous for the quick divorces and marriages that take place there under Nevada's liberal laws. The city's activity has resulted in its slogan “the biggest little city in the world.”
Reno is one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities. It has an international airport and serves as a distribution and warehouse center, where commercial goods can be stored tax-free for nearby manufacturing plants. Concrete, automated gaming systems, Western buckles and accessories, beverage dispensers, and plastic and metal products are manufactured. There is alfalfa processing and mining for gold and silver.
The site was once a popular campsite beside a ford on the Donner Pass route to California; in 1860 a bridge was built. The name Lake's Crossing was changed to Reno when the Central Pacific RR arrived in 1868 and the town was laid out. In the 1990s officials began deemphasizing gambling; one result was the building of the National Bowling Stadium.
Reno is the seat of the Univ. of Nevada, with its school of mines museum and Desert Research Institute. Other museums include the Nevada Museum of Art, an automobile museum, and science and historical museums. The city is also the headquarters for the Toiyabe National Forest. Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and other recreational areas and state parks are in the vicinity.