It’s known as Rail City, and just a brief glance at the history of Sparks, a busy town in the Truckee Meadows of northern Nevada, makes it easy to see why. The town was originally established in the early 1900s by order of the Southern Pacific Railway Company to serve as a large switching yard. To entice workers, the company generously offered to its employees in the old Wadsworth yard deeds to land that would be laid next to the new roundhouse. As further incentive, the company promised to pack up and ship every house in Wadsworth to the new town, free of charge. So it was with great anticipation and goodwill that the town of Sparks was born.
Though the town has come quite a distance from its humble railroad roots, the positive feeling remains. Sparks is a magnet for great events, with a list of annual get-togethers that people can’t help but attend. Downtown’s Victorian Square draws hundreds of thousands of visitors for events like the gigantic Hometown Farmers Market, the downright delectable Nugget Best in the West Rib Cook-Off, Hot August Nights, traditional holiday celebrations like Hometown Christmas, various fun runs and marathons, and plenty more. Also lending to the atmosphere of Sparks is the well-designed parks and recreation system, which includes numerous neighborhood parks, a range of regional sports facilities and a great selection of recreational programs for children and adults alike. The Sparks Marina Park is one such spot, a lovely place to pass an afternoon. Just a few miles from downtown, the lake is ideal for a refreshing swim, and there are always boaters and fishermen out and about. Paddle-boarders, kayakers and even the occasional windsurfer are also common. Another family-friendly destination is Wild Island, home to an enormous water park, go-karts, miniature golf, bowling and more.
For other kinds of recreation, Sparks offers great golf in town, plus more than 50 courses within an hour’s drive. There’s no shortage of fantastic shopping at the Legends at Sparks Marina, the new outlet destination bursting with designer names, plus the adjacent sportsman’s paradise, Scheels. Sparks is also filled with plenty of great dining options that range from casino/resorts to breweries and grills.