Reno Arch

Coordinates: 39°31′41″N 119°48′49″W / 39.528122°N 119.813662°W / 39.528122; -119.813662

The Reno Arch is an iconic landmark in Reno, Nevada spanning Virginia Street at the intersection with Commercial Row. The arch as visible today is the 3rd installed at this location. The original arch was built in 1926 to commemorate the completion of the Lincoln and Victory Highways. The current arch was installed in 1987 and retrofitted with new lights in 2009. The arch is a prominent feature of downtown Reno, and for most of its history has featured the city's motto, The Biggest Little City in the World.


The first Arch was built in 1926 to promote the Nevada Transcontinental Highway Exposition that ran from July 25 to August 1, 1927, which celebrated the completion of the Lincoln and Victory Highways Through Nevada, these routes are were built along the corridors of modern U.S. Route 50 and Interstate 80, respectively.

After the exposition the city council announced a contest to find a slogan for the new arch. On June 25, 1929, after a Sacramento man was awarded $100 for winning the contest, the phrase "The Biggest Little City In The World" was branded on the arch. In 1934, some residents complained about the new slogan and it was replaced with a green neon "RENO"; however, after the ensuing backlash over its removal, the slogan returned with new lettering as well as the removal of the torches. The 2nd generation was designed with '60s style plastic panels and replaced the 1st arch in 1963. The 3rd generation (which stands today) was installed by YESCO in 1987.

The original arch (as it stood before the 1963 redesign) has been moved around downtown Reno over the years. Since 1995 it has been located on Lake Street, just south of the Truckee River (39°31′33″N 119°48′35″W / 39.525718°N 119.809785°W / 39.525718; -119.809785). The second generation arch was donated to the city of Willits, California, where it now stands with different lettering.

On Tuesday, November 17, 2009, the City of Reno celebrated replacing the 2,076 incandescent 11-watt bulbs in the Reno Arch with highly energy efficient 2.5 watt LED bulbs. The old incandescent bulbs were given away to spectators to commemorate the event.


Movies set in Reno, such as Waking up in Reno, feature the arch prominently, as it is an icon for Reno newcomers. Many shows and activities, such as Hot August Nights, are held under the arch.