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Pioneer Center, a Local’s Review

Have you ever wondered what is under that golden dome in the middle of downtown Reno? Or have you possibly checked out a show or two but wondered if bringing the whole family would be a good idea. It’s the Pioneer Center!

Here are some tips as well as my review on how to make the most of this gem of a theatre in Reno, Nevada.


The Pioneer Center is a 1,5000 seat theatre located at 100 S. Virginia St. in the heart of downtown Reno, Nevada. It features a gold-anodized geodesic dome representing mid-century Populuxe architecture.

The Pioneer Center is listed on both the Nevada State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

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The Pioneer Center is the home of the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre, and Artown sponsored events.

The Pioneer Center also presents the Broadway Comes to Reno series in which touring Broadway musicals are brought to Northern Nevada.

Broadway Series

My husband and I have had season tickets to the Broadway Comes to Reno series at the Pioneer theatre for over 4 years now and we never think twice about renewing our membership.

Here are some great pointers if you have thought about becoming a season ticket holder.

Pioneer Center Season Ticket Holder

There are many seat options to choose from and the series typically consists of 5-7 shows. There is typically the option of picking a 5 show or 6 show package if you are not ready to commit to the full series and the show that is typically the “add on” is a show that may be best suited for limited audiences.

For example, one year the “Book of Mormon” was an option as an add-on show since the show had some profane language and topics that may not be suited for all. Most Broadway Series shows run for about 2 to 2.5 hours and have a 20-minute intermission.

When you become a season ticket holder you also have the option of buying extra tickets at a discounted rate before the show tickets go on sale to the general public. You will typically get an email with a discount code a month before the show date.

Benefits of Being a Ticket Holder

I have found this especially useful during the holidays when family is in from out of town. This year, my sister and her boyfriend and our parents wanted to join us for the showing of “A Christmas Story” which showed the week of Thanksgiving.

It was a perfect way to plan an evening out with out-of-town family. Check out other great seasonal activities to do with the whole family here.

There is always a holiday-themed show and this is typically a great show for kids. Last years’ holiday show was Elf and it was a perfect family-friendly night although I would not commit to buying the entire season for young children as not all shows may be interesting or appropriate for young children.

The great news about being a season ticket holder is that they have the same seats for every show and will even keep their seats or have the opportunity to pick better seats the following season if they chose to continue their seasonal membership.

If you decide you cannot make a show that you already have tickets for, season ticket holders are able to exchange them for another night showing of the same show with no change or cancellation fees.

Parking and Accommodations

There are plenty of parking options despite the theatre being located downtown.

  • Club Cal-Neva | 101 N. Center St. Free with validation inside the casino. (450 spaces)
  • Club Cal-Neva Stadium Parking | 100 N. Center St. FREE (727 spaces)
  • Washoe County Restricted Parking | On Court St. between Virginia and Sierra Streets. Free evenings and weekends only (400 spaces)
  • Wells Fargo | 200 S. Virginia St. Free evenings and weekends only. (47 spaces)

Take Advantage of What the Pioneer Center Has to Offer

Can’t get a close parking spot and have to walk a few blocks? Feel free to wear your coat and scarf during the winter months because there is a complimentary coat check on the entry-level.

ADA Compliant

The Pioneer Center is ADA compliant with wheelchair accessible seating and elevators. There are bathrooms on the lower level as well as several water fountains. Doors to the theatre typically open one hour before the show and I always like to get there early to get a drink at the bar and enjoy the vibe of the theatre.

Cash-Only Bar

The cash-only bar also offers candies and snacks and prices are relatively reasonable. For shows that are suitable for young children, they typically come up with a fun themed mocktail for the kids.

I think the mocktail for “A Christmas Story” was called “The Red Rider” and it was basically a Shirley Temple but the cute name made it seasonal and festive.

Have difficulty hearing the performance? Let an usher know and they will be happy to adjust the sound for you, move your seat or offer an assisted listening device.

Youth Programs

The Pioneer Center offers student discounts on select showings. They also offer a program called the Pioneer Center Youth Program.

They bring kid-friendly versions of shows to local schools at an incredible price: $200 for schools in the Reno/Tahoe area and $250 in the outlying communities. You can learn more about the Pioneer Center Youth Programs and even book a show for your school.

First Time Visitor Tips

  • Arrive early. Latecomers may be subject to a seating hold until an intermission and may miss part of the show.
  • Turn off cell phones and no videotaping or photography during the show.
  • Visit the restrooms before the show begins or during intermission especially if visiting with children.
  • Explain theatre etiquette to children. Also, if the show you are watching has a live orchestra, get there early and visit the orchestra pit. Children love seeing the orchestra pit and the conductors and musicians often wave and engage.
  • Open concessions candy or cough drops before the show to avoid making too much noise during performances. Also, no talking during shows.
  • Have any other questions? Feel free to ask the helpful ushers. They are volunteers that are big fans of the arts. They typically wear a burgundy vest and are more than willing to help answer any of your questions.

Now enjoy the show! If you’ve been to the Pioneer Center, I would love to hear your experience below. Hope you enjoyed my review!

*P.S. Feature image is courtesy of

Vania Carter Strauss Northern Nevada Moms Prude and Boujee
Vania Carter-Strauss

Vania Carter-Strauss is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with experience in vascular health, wound care and pulmonology. She is also co-owner of Prude & Boujee, a sheet mask boutique in Reno, Nevada that specializes in sheet masks and Asian skincare. Vania believes in the balance of science and art and loves using her knowledge about the body and health to help people feel empowered in their healthcare and skincare decisions. Visit the shop at 606 W. Plumb Ln. #9 Reno, NV.