The Biggest Little City in the World


The Biggest Little City in the World

Casinos’ distract—
neon lights and slot machines.
Locals know better.

Nearby the Truckee,
the mountains and four seasons
wait for your visit.

Listen to birdsong,
drink in the art scene,
ignore what you’ve heard.

The prompt at dVerse has led me to write of my current home–Reno, Nevada–nicknamed The Biggest Little City in the World.

I find myself wanting to defend her–her reputation so besmirched by a not-so-glorious past and recently so maligned by a crass television series–Reno 911 (which I’ve heard wasn’t even filmed here.)

Many immediately conjure up Reno’s history as the divorce capital of the world, a cheap gambling mecca and plentiful booze when they think of my city. Walk a block or two to the Truckee or drive a few miles to the Sierra Nevada and you will see that Reno, unlike Vegas, is situated in a high altitude, right in the middle of abundant natural beauty that offers many forms of outdoor activity.

A block or two to the west, or south of the center of town you will discover the arts–Nevada’s only nationally accredited Art Museum, the Reno Philharmonic, the Opera and Ballet, a Chamber Orchestra and small theaters. The UNR campus sprawls to the north of town, adding its venues to the art scene. The month of July hosts Reno is ARTown–celebrating art and artists of every ilk.


Many now-defunct casinos have been turned into elegant high-rise casinos. restaurants represent a worldwide selection of tastes. Stop by Whispering Vine to sample a variety of vintages, then head over to Wildflower Village where an old weekly rental motel has been transformed into a home and studios for artists. Stay for a while and take in a poetry reading.

It’s true–there are enclaves of poverty and decadence. Alcoholism fires crime and domestic abuse. Homelessness, misery and sadness abound. But, is this any different from New York, Paris or Los Angeles, the city of my birth? The City of Angeles? Yeah, right.



15 thoughts on “The Biggest Little City in the World

  1. You are so right. Cities, like people, are so much more than their reputations.


  2. Prajakta says:

    Reno sounds very interesting. I have actually not heard of it at all… Lovely wordplay out there!


  3. I had no idea there was this other Reno. I’d thought Reno was a Hollywood invention, a kind of film set. Thank you for the enlightenment.


  4. I visited Reno once many years ago, but have to admit I never had anything to check out there. But I recall the surrounding nature was beautiful 🙂


  5. claudia says:

    it is kinda sad when a city struggles with their past and cannot get rid of a certain stamp and reputation… your love for your city shines through clearly victoria and i only can imagine the beautiful nature you mention


  6. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Traveling with a touring show as an actor in 1975, we stopped in Reno first, then onto Vegas; much preferred Reno; felt more homey, like real people lived in it; the pretentiousness of Vegas, surrounded by near-ghetto suburbs just turns me off.


  7. 5h2o says:

    You should write the tourist brochures! You remind me that what they think will attract people is actually what drives so many people (at least locals) away. 🙂


  8. zongrik says:

    it’s kind of like Vegas, but on a low, low low key, and the poem was very low key, so it fit Reno perfectly.

    popsicle on a stick


  9. Mary says:

    There are always many facets to a city. Though Reno may have its negatives (as all do), there are as many positives. It is all in where a person puts his / her focus……


  10. A beautiful poem of love for your town – and I appreciated the info you share, which shows the real Reno, not the one of the newsclips…….thank you!


  11. Gabriella says:

    This is a very heart-felt poem, Victoria. It is obvious through your words that you love Reno. I agree that all cities have their cons and pros, it does not mean we should not love them.


  12. scillagrace says:

    Give me the mountains and opera any time! I didn’t know Reno had an opera company. I photographed Sante Fe’s in October…could be a perfect combination for me!


  13. brian miller says:

    it is interesting what attaches to a city…the histories that it will never really shake…and that many will never see beyond, because they see what they expect…and dont take the time to look behind the veneer…


  14. lynn__ says:

    Yes, your poem makes me want to visit Reno someday…have you participated in any poetry readings, Victoria?


  15. I like what you have to say about Reno Victoria, not knowing anything about it it could be a city I put on my list of places to visit when I get to the US, one day.


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