One of Nevada's special characteristics is its diversity, not just of geography, but people. Walking down the streets of Las Vegas or Reno, you'll hear Spanish, Italian, Tagalog, German, Chinese and many more languages. Throughout the state and the year, Nevada celebrates its rich diversity through art, music, film and other cultural events.
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Reno Film Festival
Now in its 8th season, the Reno Film Festival already draws top talent, the stars as well as the soon-to-be-discovered. Enjoy the best of the year's newest movies before they hit the multiplexes and the Oscars.
Each July, Reno transforms itself into Artown, one of the nation's largest and most inclusive arts and culture festivals. More than 300 free or low-cost events—music, dance, painting, drumming, theater, film, performance art, and more—distinguish this internationally recognized, month-long festival that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors.
People say you can't describe Burning Man; you have to experience it. Begun as a spontaneous gathering in San Francisco two decades ago, Burning Man now attracts close to 50,000 people to the Black Rock Desert every year for the week immediately preceding Labor Day. Part festival, part experiment in communal living, the event is dedicated to self-reliance, self-expression, and art. At the end of the week, a 40-foot wooden effigy is set aflame—the burning man. Participants agree to leave no trace. The desert is left in its pristine state.
This annual event brings a thunderous sound and more glorious motorcycles than you ever knew existed. More than 30,000 riders and enthusiasts converge in Reno for five days of contests, stunt shows, live music and even a roller derby.
Great Balloon Races (Reno)
For those seeking a more low-key event in northern Nevada, the balloon races, held the week after Labor Day, are perfect. Sit on a blanket with your family and a scrumptious picnic and watch hundreds of hot-air balloons race into the sky. You'll see a huge array of balloons, from big bumblebees to an enormous Energizer bunny.
Nevada Historical Society
Located in Reno, the historical society offers various exhibits and events to illustrate Nevada's history.
Nevada State Museum
Explore the Silver State from prehistoric times to the present. The Museum features the largest displayed Imperial mammoth skeleton and a walk-through Devonian sea, as well as a recreation of the Carson City Mint, where 57 issues of silver coins were minted from 1870 to 1893. The museum is also home to the Marjorie Russell Clothing and Textile Research Center.
(East Ely) Railroad Depot Museum
About 320 miles outside of Reno, the museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, study and interpretation of Nevada's rich heritage. The museum encompasses 24 historic buildings and offers daily tours. Nearby, you can find ghost towns and other attractions. The Great Basin National Park is just an hour's drive away.
Nevada State Railroad Musuem
This Carson City institution preserves the railroad heritage of Nevada, including locomotives and cars from the famous Virginia & Truckee Railroad and other railroads of the Silver State. Many were bought back from Hollywood studios, where they were made famous in movies and television shows. The museum also has a branch in Boulder City, about half an hour's drive from Las Vegas.