"It made sense to establish the factory here." - Elon Musk
As it pulls in new companies, the most sought-after talent on the planet right now-diverse, highly educated creative/knowledge workers-are close behind. Most can't believe their lifestyle luck: the city on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada is located 30 minutes from crystal-clear Lake Tahoe to the west and the strikingly barren Black Rock Desert to the northeast, with Yosemite a short road trip to the southwest. Reno offers newcomers an invigorating taste of all four seasons.
The city is also stepping out from the glow of its 20 casinos and nurturing a blooming arts and music scene that scatters installations, sculptures and murals around the city. A leisurely stroll or bike ride through MidTown or downtown means coming face-to-face with giant art pieces straight from Burning Man's Black Rock City, just 100 miles away. The tech titans who frequent the festival will surely start scheduling a few meetings at their Reno branches on the way to the Burning Man.
Not content to be simply another new player in advanced manufacturing, Reno is also becoming a living lab for the next big innovation in public transit. The University of Nevada, in partnership with the electric bus company Proterra, is leading the industry in mobility technologies. And now a Hyperloop route all the way from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Reno is apparently being considered for cargo. Big Little City indeed.
Buzz, recreation and an emerging tech industry launched Reno to No. 6 overall among small cities. "By incorporating user-generated metrics, instead of just relying solely on economic indicators, one can get a more complete picture about a city," said Chris Fair, Resonance Consultancy president. Reno's strong showing in this year's rankings made it one of eight small cities that Resonance Consultancy is especially keeping an eye on as an up-and-comer in the destination space, Fair said.
The Reno area ranked especially high in the product category - third best in the nation among small cities - for institutions, attractions and infrastructure, which also includes university rankings, airport connectivity and convention centers.
The city ranked eighth in the nation among small cities for the programming and promotion categories. These include arts, culture, restaurants and shopping as well as Google search results and mentions in such platforms as Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor.
"I've been to Reno many times working on projects and I think Reno's story wasn't very well known outside of Nevada and California," Fair said. "We expect people to be talking about Reno and looking at the city in a new light after its rapid ascent in the rankings."
Reno's entry into the top 10 is no surprise, said Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve given all the changes that the community has seen in the last few years. These include the arrival of major companies such as Apple, Tesla and Google as well as a burgeoning foodie scene.
"We've seen so much success in such a short period of time that we're able to tell this comeback kid-type of story," Schieve said. "People are really discovering Reno and all it
has to offer."