May 2018’s Top 15 Things to Do in Reno

Warmer weather is (almost) here to stay, and with that comes the start of festival season in Reno. Make plans now to take up the ukulele, drink unusual beers, help the city blow out 150 birthday candles, and more this May. 

Reno Ukulele Festival – Big fans of the diminutive instrument won’t want to miss the Reno Ukulele Festival, returning for its 10th year May 2-5. Musicians, music lovers, and hobbyists will enjoy four days of activities at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, including workshops, open mics, and a large vendor marketplace. Two concerts star famed ukulele artists like Jim and Liz Beloff, Peter Luongo, and Grammy Award winner Daniel Ho, in addition to many others. 

Reno Space Fest – Go to infinity and beyond at the Reno Space Fest, held May 3-6 at the Challenger Learning Center of Northern Nevada. Special guests from NASA will be there for panel discussions, keynote speeches, and workshops, and attendees can also watch sci-fi short films, make space art, and party at the “Star Wars” themed May the Fourth Celebration. 

Reno Aces Home Games – Grab your peanuts and Cracker Jacks and root, root, root for the Reno Aces at Greater Nevada Field this month. Starting May 4, the Triple-A affiliates of the Arizona Diamondbacks will play 12 home games in a row against the Tacoma Rainiers, Albuquerque Isotopes, and El Paso Chihuahuas, then hit the road before starting a five-game series with the Las Vegas 51s, their in-state rivals, on May 30. 

Art in the City Scavenger Hunt – Discover all the amazing works of public art on display throughout Reno with the Art in the City Scavenger Hunt, organized by the Sierra Arts Foundation in honor of the city’s 150th birthday. Head to The Eddy with your team of six (leashed dogs are allowed, too) to pick up clues and start snapping prize-winning selfies on May 5. 

Free Comic Book Day – Don’t forget to stop at two of the city’s comic book shops and pick up your free comic on May 5. Omega Frog Comics and Comic Kingdom will both be giving away thousands of comics while hosting raffles, costume contests, trivia, and more. 

Cinco de Mayo Festival – Fun for all ages, the Cinco de Mayo Festival is Northern Nevada’s largest celebration of Hispanic heritage. Enjoy popular bands from Mexico, Mexican dancing horse performances, amateur boxing bouts, and more than 100 vendors May 5-6 at the Grand Sierra Resort, in addition to carnival rides and games. 

Beauty and the Beast – A tale as old as time, the A.V.A. Ballet Theatre brings this Disney classic to life for two shows May 5-6 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s score as guest principal dancers from Salt Lake City’s Ballet West join the large, local cast choreographed by Alexander Van Alstyne. 

Reno’s 150th Birthday – The Biggest Little City turns 150 years old on May 9, and the City of Reno is partnering with the Reno Aces to throw one big birthday bash. Your free ticket to the event at Greater Nevada Field includes cupcakes, live music, and a vendor fair with speakers, plus a seat to watch the Aces take on the Albuquerque Isotopes. 

Reno River Festival – It’s a party on the Truckee River all weekend long when the Reno River Festival comes to Wingfield Park May 12-13. Watch freestyle kayaking competitions, tackle zip lines and rock walls inside the Adventure Park, or kick back and relax in the Craft Beer and Summer Wine Villages. Cyclists of all ages will want to partake in the costumed-yet-casual Reno River Roll, led by a traveling live band. 

6th Annual Spring Horse Expo – If you love horsing around, plan on attending the 6th Annual Spring Horse Expo at Bartley Ranch Regional Park on May 12. Clydesdales, Scottish Highland Ponies, dancing horses, and more will take part in breed and discipline demonstrations, and there will be food trucks, vendors, and lots of local horse organizations. 

Rural Route Film Festival – Highlighting short films that center on communities outside the bustle of big cities, the Rural Route Film Festival comes to the Nevada Museum of Art on May 17. Ten films will screen in total, covering the unique people, challenges, and possibilities of rural living. 

Opening Night of Food Truck Fridays – Food Truck Fridays are back at Idlewild Park, and the first event of the season kicks off May 18. More than 35 vendors will be serving everything from pizza and wings to sushi and snow cones. Craft beer, mixed drinks, and wine will be available for those of age, too. 

Strange Brew Festival – Expect the unexpected at the Strange Brew Festival, where local and regional breweries come together at The Brewer’s Cabinet and raise a glass to uncommon and uniquely brewed beers. Arrange your designated driver now, as lots of the options will be exclusive to this annual event on May 19. There will be food trucks and live music, too. 

Chili on the Comstock – More than 30 of the best chili cooks in the West compete for a spot in the International Chili Society World Finals at the 35th Annual Chili on the Comstock, taking place May 19-20 in Virginia City. Taste testers can also partake in the Fun with the Runs 5K or Fireball Saloon Crawl, both of which introduce you to the historical landmarks and beautiful mountainside of the old mining town. 

Made in Tahoe Festival – Shopping and supporting local has never been so easy. The Made in Tahoe Festival brings together artisans, culinarians, businesses, organizations, and entertainers inside The Village at Squaw Valley on May 26-27, just in time for the aerial tram to open for the summer.