Just returned from a four day trip to Reno, staying downtown at the Eldorado. We did most of our gambling at the adjoining sister property, the Silver Legacy. It's our (wife's and my) third trip there in three years. We go to Vegas four or more times a year, staying exclusively downtown for the past three or so. I am curious as to the opinions of others who have recently been to both. It dawned on me this trip that I may be seeing more of Reno and less of Vegas for awhile. Reasons related to the properties themselves: - Excellent "low roller" options compared to downtown. - Clean, well-maintained and ventilated casinos (Silver Legacy, Eldorado and Atlantis anyway) - Superior drink quality, selection and service - Uniformly pleasant personnel - Very visible and active security - Large selection of on-site restaurants, bars, stores - Great room quality for the price - Free airport shuttles to and from Reasons related to the towns: - Reno is a large town rather than a city (personal preference, I guess) - Because of that, the airport is much smaller and easier to navigate. - Like downtown Vegas, there are a number of hotels/casinos closely clustered, but without the costume characters, buskers and beggars to wade through (more on that later). For those of you who have been both places that may be enough for your own comparison comments. For others, the rest of this might sound like I'm a travel agent for Reno, but I provide it only to explain. We play a lot of video poker, and the selection of "full pay" .25 machines of different types at the Silver Legacy (SL from now on) is outstanding. Same with Atlantis a few miles south of downtown. Eldorado's not so much. Check the listings at vpFree, which we found to be pretty accurate. - $5 limits at many SL table games at all times, even Friday night when things were pretty busy. The only 6/5 blackjack I saw was the single deck game. They've got more table games than I've seen at any downtown Vegas casino, including six or more Pai Gow tables, most at the $5 level. - While the properties are older, they are very well maintained and cleaned. Ventilation at the SL in particular is excellent, maybe because the ceilings are very high. Atlantis also is very nice. We didn't encounter any barely functional machines with sticky keys, blury screens and dirty facades like we do in downtown Vegas. - Excellent cocktail service and quality. It's getting hard for a low roller to get a decent drink while playing in downtown Vegas. Not so in Reno. The SL serves "top shelf" stuff to anyone playing. I was drinking Sam Adams beer when the server suggested Sierra Nevada IPA (bottled). I couldn't believe they'd offer something like that. Drank a bunch of it, as well as Maker's Mark, Grey Goose, and Fireball Whiskey. I never had to hunt for a server, tipping $1 a drink. This morning a server suggested I try their Bloody Mary. It was amazing. Spicy, large, and with a bean, two olives and a celery stick. One of the tastiest I can recall. - Security was very active in keeping the riff-raff out of the properties. We saw people escorted out on several occasions. To get onto the elevator to our room we had to show the guard our key, and there was a guard there at all hours. - Three properties adjoin to form one continuous "indoor downtown." The Eldorado, SL, and Circus Circus together offer enough selection of just about anything that one need not ever go outside. Eldorado and SL share common ownership (a California wine family), and their standards for staff, maintenance, quality and value seem to be quite high. Circus Circus is a bit more lax. - Our room at Eldorado for four nights, Tuesday through Friday, averaged $42 all-in ($8 per night resort fee and taxes included). That was booking through Orbitz with one of their extra savings offers. The room was a "deluxe tower room," which I'd compare most closely to the north tower rooms at Bally's in Vegas - pretty large, big bathroom vanity area outside the bathroom, love seat, and chairs. There was a 42" flat screen and coffee maker with coffee provided daily. Also an honor bar with typically overpriced stuff. No free wifi, but internet access via the TV, too awkward to use. Reno seems like it's behind in recovering from the recession compared to Vegas. Walking around outside during the day was like one of those movies where everyone has mysteriously disappeared. Everyone but the tweekers, bums, and miscellaneous interesting folk, that is. They aren't as numerous or or intrusive as in downtown Vegas. There aren't any costume characters, buskers, or porn slappers. The cops are very visible around town. We never felt unsafe. There are interesting places to walk to like the River Walk (Truckee River goes right through town, looking more like a very wide mountain stream), the Harrah's Auto Museum, the Aces triple-A ball park, the huge tournament bowling center (over 80 lanes), and the University of Nevada (only about a half mile north, right up the main street). You can find great food deals like Vegas used to have at places like the Cal-Neva hotel/casino. They've got a restaurant that is like a much larger version of El Cortez's coffee shop, but with a larger menu and even lower prices. Huge, good breakfasts start at less than $5. The "famous" (so they say) Nugget Cafe downtown is always open and also serves good diner food cheap. A buddy and I had their "famous" (as they claim) Awful Awful Burger at about 2 am Thursday morning. It apparently won some Food Network award. Fresh, big, and with a pound of french fries, nicely crisp and seasoned, for $7. Great drunk food. Vegas has some clear advantages, chiefly being variety. Many of us downtown fans still hit the strip at some point just for a change of pace. Reno can seem pretty small after a few days. Still, if the goal is a low-roller trip with great gambling, food, drink and room options in a comfortable environment, I think Reno compares very favorably to downtown Vegas. For us, living in the Seattle area, it's also a shorter plane ride. But, we've only been three times, versus I can't count how many anymore to Vegas. Anyone else with insight into both who cares to comment?