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Spectator & Parking Information for the Great Reno Balloon Race

How to Best Enjoy the Great Reno Balloon Race


Glow Show at the Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno, Nevada, NV

Glow Show at the Great Reno Balloon Race.

Photo © Stan White

The Great Reno Balloon Race is the largest free hot air balloon event in the world and it's a very family friendly event. There are, however, a few tips and rules spectators will need to observe for safety reasons and to ensure your enjoyment of this spectacular event.

General Tips

  • Admission is free, but make sure to bring money for tethered rides, souvenirs or food and drink from a variety of vendors.
  • Dress in layers. September mornings in northern Nevada tend to be chilly.
  • Get the latest weather information before heading to the Great Reno Balloon Race.
  • Arrive early on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in time to watch the Glow Show at 5 a.m., to get VIP seating for a $5 donation, or prime blanket area for free.
  • Please leave your pets at home. The abundance of people along with strange noises and surroundings can make animals anxious and confused.
  • Don't step on any balloons or rigging. Move out of the way if asked to do so by a pilot, crew member or launch director..
  • Smoking is always prohibited on the launch field.
  • Don't forget your camera so you can catch every moment of this spectacular event.
  • Please remember to recycle while at the event. You'll not only be keeping our community clean, you'll also be helping out the NorthStar District Boy Scouts Troup #168, who will use the recycling as a fundraiser. The more you recycle, the more money they'll raise.
  • After the Mass Ascension, visit the kids play area in the Balloon Boulevard vendor area.

Transportation & Parking Tips

  • VIP parking passes are available online for $20. These get you a spot as close to the event as possible. These sell out quickly, so don't delay if you want one.
  • There is a limited amount of parking at the event so be sure to arrive early. There is free parking available at the University of Nevada, Reno north lots, but all cars must be removed by 10 a.m.
  • Parking is also available at the corner of N. Sierra Street and McCarran Boulevard or the Coleman Street parking lot for a $10 donation to the Reno South Rotary Club children’s charities. Parking is prohibited along McCarran Boulevard and violators will be subject to ticketing and towing.
  • Transportation to and from the event is provided by RTC RIDE, which offers direct, non-stop service to the entrance of the park on Saturday and Sunday. Each of the three stops - 4th Street Station in downtown Reno, Reed High School in Sparks, and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority Convention Center on S. Virginia Street - are serviced every 30 minutes. Round trip fares are $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth (ages 6 to 18) and seniors/disabled. For more information, call (775) 348-RIDE.
  • Handicapped parking is available for those with a handicapped placard or license plate. Go to any entrance to Rancho San Rafael Park to be directed to the handicapped parking area. Transportation from the parking lot to the event will be available.
  • If ride your bike to the event, you can leave it with the bike valet at the Washington Street entrance for a donation to the Reno Bike Project.
  • There is no overnight RV parking available at the event site. For information about where to stay with an RV, visit "RV Parks in the Reno / Sparks Area."
For more information, call the Great Reno Balloon Race hotline at (775) 826-1181.

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