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Nicholas DeRenzo

Decked out with the city’s fun-loving motto (“The Biggest Little City in the World”), the iconic Reno Arch is an apt metaphor for this corner of northern Nevada: It may be spangly and a little gaudy, but it’s also a wholly welcoming gateway. With open arms, it ushers you into not only this newly revitalized city — with its dynamic craft brewing scene and explosion of street art — but also the region at large, from the Wild West mining town of Virginia City to the prehistoric contours of Pyramid Lake to the wild-mustang-filled Virginia Range. But the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly Tahoe, the continent’s largest alpine lake, which straddles the California-Nevada border and gleams like a sapphire all four seasons.