A Reno/Tahoe Road Trip


Ski week! In February, Alex and I headed east for a long weekend in the mountains. He went snowboarding two of the days, while I found plenty of other ways to entertain myself, since I can ski but I don’t love it nearly as much as Alex does.

We stayed in Reno, Nevada, which I had never visited before. I paid a visit to the Nevada Museum of Art while Alex went snowboarding at Mt. Rose.

The art of Jean LaMarr, an Indigenous artist from Northern California.

A whole exhibit of Picasso’s ceramics.

One of my favorite rooms, paintings by Michael S. Moore.

Judy Chicago’s recognizable smoke bomb art.

Outside by the riverwalk. You can imagine how different this place is in the summer.

Dinner at Centro Bar & Kitchen, followed by drinks at Death and Taxes.

This statement blew my mind, but you can check a map! It’s true! Also means Yosemite is west of LA.

Taiwanese food! Love finding Taiwanese restaurants in random places. This one is called 101 Taiwanese Cuisine. Would do again.

Breakfast at Pine State Biscuits, a Portland favorite started by some North Carolinians. Which just has locations in Portland and Reno, for some reason. 

Wondering what to do with a morning in Reno, we decided to visit the nearby historic town of Virginia City. It was known for silver mining back in the 1800s, but now it’s a tourist trap with mine tours and saloons and the like… I joked on the way over that only certain people have an undiscerning nostalgia for “the way things were” but I had no idea how right I was.

Sure, Virginia City looks like a cute old town with historic buildings…

But then you soon start noticing left and right, this is an EXTREMELY Trumpy place. 

It’s one thing to put up these kinds of signs in your own front yard. It’s quite another to plaster your entire tourist Main Street with it. The thin blue line flag, a pro-police anti-Black Lives Matter flag? We were originally thinking maybe we’ll do a hokey little silver mine tour and learn about the history of the area. Then we saw all this and decided not to spend any of our money here. Bye!


At least the views on the way were nice.

Back to Reno, a visit to the Patagonia outlet. With Alex wearing his Patagonia sweatshirt from our visit to the flagship in Ventura. Then fast casual Thai at Lunch Box.

The coolest West Elm you ever did see. Inside an old post office with much of the building still preserved!

There were swastikas in the table design from the original auspicious symbolism before the Nazis coopted it in the 30s.


Inside the middle part is a very normal looking West Elm store.

And downstairs in the “the basement,” a food court and marketplace area with small shops and restaurants.

And an escape room too!

Over to the little brewery district. Record Street Brewing Co. and The Jesse hotel & bar/cafe.

Walking through Reno is always a bit oddly deserted and eerie, but here’s a nice saunter through some casinos. Like a discounted Caesar’s?

It’s definitely an odd little city, but we had a good time there!

Back to The Jesse for a quick morning coffee and pie, and then we were off to Tahoe!

Part two of Alex’s snowboarding adventures was at the fancy, newly rebranded Palisades Tahoe. (Their previous name was a slur for Native American women… it was a long overdue renaming). I tagged along with a tram-only pass so I could go up the mountain without skiing! Oh, and this was the site of the 1960 winter olympics.

Worth the tram ride. You can even see a bit of Lake Tahoe from up here.

Mountaintop reading.

My pass gave me access to the tram and the funicular. This is the larger tram that fits dozens of people inside. Not as many people taking it down– just people taking ski lessons who don’t quite have the skills to ski all the way down the mountain. Otherwise you don’t see many people paying $50 just to ride trams like me. This reminded me of being up in the Swiss Alps! Pre-pandemic life!

The great thing about tagging along though is that Alex got to snowboard and I got to see the mountain without skiing, and we still got to meet up for lunch! Here we are at the Gold Coast area atop the funicular.

Another reading break, and then back down the funi. This one holds 8 people, and you board the rotating units instead of being loaded in like an elevator. Kind of fun, slightly different views up the mountain.

And one more reading session, fireside, back down in the village. With my acai bowl. it was actually 55 degrees out, quite warm for a ski day.

And last but not least, a visit to our favorite town of Truckee with my favorite little cute shops, Atelier/Bespoke, and The Last Word bookshop.

Some cheeseburgers at The Hoppy Duck, the perfect apres ski dinner. 


Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She compulsively documents and blogs all of her daily adventures, even in quarantine. Follow her on instagram and view more of her professional work at annawu.com.