Grand Sierra Resort & Casino is at 2500 E. 2nd St., off US 395 exit 66 (Mill St.). The name evokes images of the Wild West, and that feeling is reinforced by the “Spirit of Nevada” bronze sculpture outside the hotel's main entrance; the kinetic work by California artist Douglas van Howd depicts wild mustangs, introduced to the state by the Spaniards. Another van Howd sculpture of two Pony Express riders stands just inside the entrance.
This just might be Reno's most elegant casino—beaded glass chandeliers, walls of water cascading down glass, dark woods, slick marble, soft lighting, leather couches. In most casinos the only chairs are at the bar or the slot machines, but here there's a separate, comfortable non-smoking seating area where you can relax with a latte from the Starbucks in the nearby food court.
The casino floor is one long rectangle rather than the mazelike set-up that often leaves one walking in endless circles. The open layout offers plenty of maneuvering space between the slot and poker machines and the gaming tables. Large, letter-illuminated signage is a big plus. There's a classy bar accessorized with strings of crystal beads hanging from the ceiling and sepia-toned photos of Sierra Nevada landscapes. Even the restrooms are sleek—instead of sinks, water from the faucets falls onto a slightly tilted ledge and runs off into a hidden drain.
William Hill Race and Sports Book features a huge bank of screens, tables equipped with TV monitors for bettors and lots of seating for casual spectators. And when—or if—you get tired of wagering there's a 50-lane bowling alley that's open 24 hours and a two-screen movie theater showing first-run films for a bargain $4. Big-name pop, rock and country bands take the stage at the 1,800-seat Grand Theatre. DJs provide entertainment Thursday through Saturday nights at LEX Nightclub.