The 2020 ranking of America's 100 best small cities is out, and Reno came out on top. Resonance Consultancy's methodology uses a unique combination of statistical performance and qualitative evaluations by locals and visitors in 28 areas grouped into six core categories.
Reno ranked sixth in last year's study.
Enviable location - By day, this sun-drenched town at the feet of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada's earns its high rank for Weather, the report said of Reno. By night, its neon-lit casinos help Reno to the top spot for Nightlife among our small cities.
But it's not just gamblers taking a chance on the 'Biggest Little City in the World'.
Increasingly, it's tech companies and highly educated young workers, who come for the jobs and stay for the enviable location (Lake Tahoe is less than an hour away) and accompanying year-round outdoor lifestyle.
"The nation's small cities face particularly pivotal months ahead," Resonance President and CEO Chris Fair said in a press release. "Small-center urban growth was already rising before the pandemic. Now with millions of workers increasingly able to work remotely, many may choose to move to these smaller cities."
"At the same time, we expect travel to drive-to destinations to recover first. As American travelers hit the road, they'll likely look to small cities to satisfy their travel desires."
The city's middling ranking of #20 for Fortune 500 companies and its low household income are both poised to rise. Tesla opened its "Gigafactory" battery plant in 2016 and Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet have campuses at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, one of the largest industrial parks in the world.
That has opened the cheap land rush, fueled by the Nevada tax breaks, resulting in municipal estimates that there have been almost 15,000 jobs created in the region between 2018 and 2019.
The presence of the growing corporate offices and their workforce are giving new energy to the local economy.
Of course the nine-day BURNING MAN Festival - 70,000-person rager is cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and most of this festival city's lauded events will likely follow-from concerts to the largest free hot air balloon event in the world.
Another casualty of the outbreak are Reno's fast-rising restaurants - for which the city is ranked #1 in the country among small cities.
The increasingly walkable Midtown district was buzzing like it was the gold rush of the 1880s, with considered local gems like brewery Brasserie Saint James happy to share their reimagined local flavors, like Belgian-style beers brewed with Sierra Mountain spring water.
The neighborhood, just like several others in Reno, is being redeveloped by indie chefs opening up new favorites like homemade-soup emporium called Süp.
The (relatively) cheaper rents, new, curious residents and rising local incomes should keep Reno at the top of its culinary game for years, post lockdown recovery willing.