The 10 Best Museums in Reno

Reno, affectionately known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” is a treasure trove of cultural experiences, especially when it comes to its museums. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, or just looking for a way to spend an afternoon, the museums in Reno offer a little something for everyone. Let’s dive into the top 10 museums that are a must-visit in this vibrant city.

Nevada Museum of Art

First up, the Nevada Museum of Art is a beacon of creativity that simply can’t be missed. As the only accredited art museum in Nevada, it’s a hub for thought-provoking exhibitions and collections that span the globe. The building’s architecture is a work of art in itself, with eco-friendly features that mirror the natural beauty of its surroundings. Inside, you’ll find everything from contemporary works to historical pieces that tell the rich story of the region.

National Automobile Museum

Got a need for speed? The National Automobile Museum is your next stop. Home to more than 200 eye-catching vehicles, this museum takes you on a journey through the history of the automobile. From vintage classics to modern marvels, each car has a story to tell. It’s not just about looking, though; interactive exhibits make this a hands-on experience that’s fun for all ages.

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

For a family-friendly adventure, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is a no-brainer. This interactive science center Sparks curiosity in kids and adults alike with exhibits that cover everything from the workings of the human body to the mysteries of the universe. It’s a place where learning and play go hand in hand, and you just might discover something new about the world—and yourself.

Wilbur D. May Center

Next, let’s wander into the world of the Wilbur D. May Center. This unique museum is part arboretum, part gallery, and part museum, showcasing the lifetime collections of its namesake, a world traveler and philanthropist. From rare artifacts to European antiques, the exhibits here are as eclectic as they are fascinating.

Nevada Historical Society

History buffs, rejoice! The Nevada Historical Society is where the past comes alive. As the oldest cultural institution in the state, it boasts an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the tale of Nevada’s colorful history. From the early days of the Native American inhabitants to the glitz and glamour of old Las Vegas, there’s a wealth of knowledge to uncover.

The Discovery – Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

Yes, it’s so good it deserves another mention! The Discovery is a dynamic educational resource in Reno, offering hands-on galleries and exhibits that cater to the endlessly curious. It’s a place where science and creativity meet, inspiring the next generation of innovators and thinkers.

Sparks Heritage Museum

Just a stone’s throw from Reno, in the heart of Sparks, lies the Sparks Heritage Museum. This local gem highlights the railroad industry’s impact on the growth of the Truckee Meadows. With indoor and outdoor exhibits, including a historical train and Glendale Schoolhouse, it’s a nostalgic nod to the region’s development.

Keck Museum

Located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum is a hidden gem. It’s one of the oldest museums in the state and showcases an impressive collection of minerals, ores, fossil specimens, and historical photographs that delve into Nevada’s rich mining heritage.

Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive

While not your traditional museum, the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive is a living exhibit of the American West. This annual event offers a glimpse into the cowboy lifestyle, complete with authentic chuck wagons and cattle herding. It’s a hands-on experience that transports you back to the days of the Old West.

Sierra Nevada Zoological Park

Last but not least, the Sierra Nevada Zoological Park may not be a museum in the conventional sense, but it’s a living showcase of wildlife from around the world. It’s a place where education and conservation meet, offering visitors a chance to learn about and connect with animals in a unique setting.


  • What are the operating hours for these museums?

    Operating hours vary by museum, so it’s best to check their official websites or call ahead for the most up-to-date information.

  • Are there any free museums in Reno?

    Some museums offer free admission on certain days or have special deals for residents. Again, checking the museum’s official website or contacting them directly will provide you with the necessary details.

  • Can I purchase a pass that includes multiple museums?

    While there isn’t a universal museum pass for Reno, some museums may offer joint ticketing options for special events or exhibitions. It’s worth asking about any available deals when you visit.


In conclusion, Reno’s museums are as diverse and vibrant as the city itself. From the artistic allure of the Nevada Museum of Art to the historical treasures of the Nevada Historical Society, there’s a museum in Reno to satisfy every interest. These institutions not only preserve the past but also inspire our future, making them essential stops on any Reno itinerary. So next time you’re in town, make sure to carve out some time to explore these cultural havens—you won’t regret it!

Remember, whether you’re a local or just passing through, these top 10 museums offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of Reno. They’re places where stories unfold, imaginations soar, and memories are made. So go ahead, step into the world of museums in Reno, and let the journey begin!

Kurby Team

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