Ten years ago my husband and I lived in Reno for a brief period of time before going back to California to be closer to family. I can vividly remember us turning to each other and saying “when are we going back?” as we drove out of the high desert.
The truth is, the mountains have been calling us back over the last 10 years; but there were certain things we needed to consider before moving to Reno, Nevada. Or back to Reno, I should say.
Ten years brought a lot of changes in our life. Things like the addition of three kids and a significant increase in the cost of living from the time we left.
But, in June of 2018, we pulled the trigger and so far, we’ve never looked back! The Biggest Little City has truly lived up to its name and is proving to be our favorite city by far.
What is important to you?
I was born and raised in a really small farm town in California, so moving to a big city was definitely a big change for us. Back home, I couldn’t go to the grocery store or to a restaurant without seeing dozens of students, family, or long-time friends.
Despite the desire to move to a different climate and region, I still wanted that small-town feel here in Reno.
Before packing up your moving truck and heading to the high desert, it’s important to consider what things are most important to you and your family.
Some questions to consider before relocating or moving to Reno, Nevada:
Do you want a home in Reno, Sparks or an outlying city like Cold Springs or Galena?
Will you be renting or buying?
How concerned are you with the weather in the winter months?
Is there a specific school you would like to be near?
Do you want to be near local parks or outdoor recreation?
Will you need to commute to work? If so, which freeway will you use to travel?
Will you need to job search once you’re here?
Have you considered the cost of living?
Does your neighborhood have an HOA or LMA?
Reno, Sparks and the surrounding areas are all considered Northern Nevada. But, communities, neighborhoods, traffic, and even the weather can be drastically different within those areas.
For example, out in Spanish Springs, we get very mild snow that typically melts within a few hours to a few days. However, places like South Reno and the Galena area are going to get significantly more snow in the winter.
Consider commuting and day to day driving when choosing an area that may have higher traffic and which may be more impacted in winter months.
While this option may not be possible for everyone, visiting before moving can narrow down a lot of those questions. My husband and I traveled here and spent two full days exploring everything from Carson City to Cold Springs. It was exhausting but also incredibly helpful.
Initially, we wanted to build in a new development on the outskirts of Spanish Springs. However, after visiting, we decided that since we didn’t know very many people, moving into a more developed area closer to town would better suit our family.
We also chose a home close to schools, but also with the option of bus services for our kids if needed. My husband commutes an hour to his fire station in Herlong so we also knew that access to 395 needed to be close.
Find a realtor who knows the area
We were extremely fortunate to find someone who was born and raised in Reno. Her knowledge of all the areas in Washoe Valley helped us narrow down our choices for places to live.
She also had great information on the projected growth of Reno. This helped us get a vision for which neighborhoods would have good resale value. Additionally, she knew where new communities, schools, and roads were being built.
If you do not have a set realtor, try asking for recommendations from family and friends. Using social media can help because inevitably, someone knows someone who can help you!
Get added to mom groups before you move
The best way to get information and answers to your questions is to ask! Here in Reno, we have several Facebook mom groups. Northern Nevada Moms actually has several! If you’re shy about asking a question, try using the search bar within the group.
Type in something like “south Reno homes” and posts with those words show up. Many of these groups have thousands of members and it’s very likely someone has asked your question already.
Now…I also say do this with caution. Depending on the way these groups are moderated, they can sometimes be overwhelming. Take advice with a grain of salt when asking questions.
For example, questions like “what’s the best school?” are going to get a spectrum of answers. From people who have had wonderful experiences at specific schools, to those that had a negative experience.
What works for one family may not work for another. You know your family best so make an informed decision based on a variety of opinions and sources. Moving to Reno, Nevada is just like any other relocation, there are always the good and the bad!
How will you meet new people?
Coming from a small town, there was never a shortage of trusted friends and family. I didn’t even think about the fact that I was moving to a city where I hardly knew anyone. People in the high desert are, in my opinion, exceptionally friendly. But at times it can be difficult to find your “group”.
A lot of acquaintances I have met through my kids’ school and their sporting activities have been in the area for a while. Many of them have established friends circles and it felt like I would never feel like part of one.
Some ideas for ways to meet new people are:
Visit a variety of parks where other moms hang out
Attend community events
Join a local MOPS group
Post in the Next Door app (be cautious of how much personal info you give away and always meet in a public place for the first time)
Join PTO at your child’s school
Find Facebook groups categorized by interests you have (i.e. hiking, fitness, art enthusiasts, foodies, etc)
Moving somewhere new can definitely feel lonely at first. My best suggestion is to be brave and get involved as much as possible.
A year and a half into living here and I finally feel like I can call this place home. I also now have a small collection of amazing friends who I trust and adore. Be patient and know that there are many moms out there just like you who are searching for friends.
Along with Northern Nevada Moms, here are other helpful links that may make the transition of moving to Reno, Nevada easier:
Megan Rix is a former at-risk high school English teacher turned stay at home mama, lifestyle blogger, and entrepreneur. After leaving the classroom to focus on being a mama, she needed a place to document the life of her very strong-willed child and what she realized along the way were all the things in her life that “anchored” her. A love for food, beauty, family, and giving back to others helped shape the blog as it looks today.