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Little Las Vegas, the Biggest Little City in the World - though at pains to promote itself as a hot and happening gambling Mecca, the real appeal of Reno is its small-town charm. You can blow a wad here, or you can spend your time fishing in the river that flows right through downtown.

The first hotel and saloon were established in Reno in the 1850s, and in 1868 the town scored a train depot and took the name of Jesse Reno, a Union general. The town grew fat on rail expansion and the mining boom, but when the gold got thin on the ground, Reno wagered its future on sin.

As California clamped down on gambling and prostitution, Reno billed them as attractions, drawing miners from all over the south. During prohibition, mobsters came here for the speakeasies and money launderers. These days gambling is still the number one attraction, but the economy has diversified into agriculture and industry and tourists now come as much for the glories of nature as the lure of the mighty dollar.

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