Winter in Nevada: Where to Warm Your Spirits
Nevada always offers a warm welcome—but especially in the wintertime. From dipping into majestic hot springs to sipping hot Basque soup, Nevada knows how to kick that ol’ Jack Frost guy to the curb like nowhere else.
If you’re looking for wintertime destinations that are sure to warm your spirits, let this list of tried-and-true Silver State experiences spark up an adventure you’ll never forget. In other words, when it comes to places to chill, we’ve got you more than covered.
Get stoked on the hottest places to chill out this winter.
Historic Hot Spring Resorts
Reno, Carson City, Carson Valley
“I now leave without crutch or cane, entirely well, not only relieved from pain but gained in spirit.” – Mark Twain
If you’ve ever dipped into any of northern Nevada’s hot spring resorts, you know what blissful sanctuaries they are. If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to soak in these soothing, mineral-rich waters—along with plenty of history, too.
Follow in Mark Twain’s wet footprints at David Walley’s Resort in Genoa, which also houses a schmancy restaurant, amply stocked bar, and luxurious overnight accommodations. In nearby Carson City, capitalize on 1880-established Carson Hot Springs’ steamy outdoor pools and private tub rooms. And in Reno, Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center & Spa—built in 1857—offers dreamy private tubs, steam baths, and a whole menu of massage therapy services.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Put Some Pep in Your Step
Alright, you got us; we have a thing for hot water—especially in winter, and especially when it’s heated by Mother Earth. But the gorgeous, geothermally warmed swimming pools and spa tubs (many of which are open year-round) aren’t the only reasons we love this classic, Tuscany-themed Reno resort.
Founded as a funky little 1970s coffee shop, the Peppermill has blossomed into a three-tower, full-on, AAA Four Diamond-rated Reno casino-resort—complete with way-less-pricey-than-you’d-think 390-square-foot hot tub suites (and about 1,600 other rooms and suites). All of which are a plush-robed stroll from the three-story, 33,000-square-foot luxury Spa Toscana complex, offering all manner of treatments, men’s and women’s hangout spaces, and the palatial co-ed “Caldarium” room.
Meanwhile, the hottest place to get your vintage vibes on is hands-down the Fireside Lounge. Settle into crushed velvet booths around your own private (indoor) fire pit, groove to the in-seat R&B music videos, enjoy the free apps, and try not to burn your eyebrows off as you and your beau and/or buds slurp down a signature, multi-straw 64-oz Scorpion cocktail.
A Mountain Lodge… Near Las Vegas?
North Las Vegas
Although you might not guess it while belly-flopping onto the bed the second you waltz into your Vegas hotel room, you’re actually only about 45 minutes away from a wintertime paradise that’s nearly 7,000 feet higher in elevation than your resort.
Although this winter warm-up requires you to go somewhere to get colder first—via skiing, riding, or tubing at 445-acre Lee Canyon, or snowshoeing among the world’s oldest trees in the surrounding Spring Mountains—set yourself up to unwind at the Retreat on Charleston Peak, where gourmet cuisine, exquisite drinks, and rooms with unbelievable views of snow-blanketed canyons and 11,000-foot peaks await.
Or roll up the road to the Mt Charleston Lodge, where classic wooden cabins sit perched on a mountain slope, offering sweeping vistas from their balconies and steamy ambiance in massive in-cabin hot tubs. Although the main lodge was unfortunately lost to a fire in 2021, the cabins still deliver those classic, cozy mountain vibes.
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Basque Joints: Warm Culture, Hot Food, Full Hearts (and Bellies)
Even on one of Nevada’s famously sunny, bluebird-skied winter days, nighttime can get cold. Luckily, if you’re up north, you’re never far from an authentic Basque dinner house, where old-school hospitality, hearty meals, and stiff cocktails crank everything up a notch. Originally a cultural bastion for immigrants from the French/Spanish borderlands, Nevada’s Basque restaurants—like Winnemucca’s Martin Hotel, Elko’s Star Hotel, and Gardnerville’s J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room—no longer provide room for weary sheepherders, but they do still offer plenty of board to anyone hungry for a taste of one of our most vibrant cultural influences—one course at a time.
Although we no longer recommend spending an entire season caring for livestock on a lonely mountainside, after a day of exploring ghost towns or tackling backcountry trails on snowshoes, skis, or snowmobiles, there’s nothing quite like the first spoonful of hot, garlic-heavy, onion-infused Basque soup to kick off an evening. Follow it up with braised lamb shanks, T-bone steaks, or spicy chorizo—accompanied by salad, beans, french fries, and table wine—at a long table full of soon-to-be-former strangers, and find out what “family-style” really means out here. Even if you didn’t know anyone before you sat down, a couple of Picon Punches in (Nevada’s unofficial state cocktail), you may wind up friends for life.
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Hot Ticket: Nevada’s Must-Experience Winter Events
- Fire & Ice Winter Festival — Ice sculpting, snow bowling, a giant sculpture burn, the only fireworks show we know of that gets launched off a moving steam train, and plenty more winter-defying activities make this party the hottest (and coolest) place to be. Ely
- Eagles & Agriculture — Calling all “bird nerds!” … To an Audubon Society-sponsored weekend of tours, tastings, and teachings. Get ready for wildlife photography workshops, photo contests, historic ranch tours, guided wetland hikes, and a smorgasbord of locally grown and made food and beverages. Carson Valley
JANUARY / FEBRUARY
- 38th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering — This town-wide, full-participation celebration of Western cultural arts features “six days of poetry, music, dancing, workshops, exhibits, conversations, food, and fellowship.” Elko
- Death Valley Dark Sky Festival — An unforgettable astronomy experience beckons at this International Dark-Skies Association-certified park, where you can scope out thousands of stars, constellations, planets, galaxies, and beyond — while indoor comforts await your return in nearby Beatty, Amargosa Valley, and Pahrump. Death Valley National Park
- Lovers Aloft — Ready for a Valentine’s Day you’ll never forget? Celebrate your love with a weekend of hot air balloon races and festivities, right in the “Heart of Nevada.” Be sure to bring a lock (or purchase one locally) and a Sharpie to Lovers Lock Plaza to secure your love for good. Lovelock
- Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo Weekend — Real working buckaroos go spur-to-spur for prizes (and bragging rights) in Steer Stopping, Wild Mugging, Trailer Loading, Ranch Doctoring and more, at Nevada’s largest and most thrilling ranch hand rodeo. Winnemucca
- SnowFest — Held in the heart of North Lake Tahoe during prime winter conditions, SnowFest offers a 10-day lineup of festivities featuring nearly 100 individual events celebrating mountain and resort lifestyle. North Lake Tahoe
- Virginia City Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry — Have yourself a ball (or dozen) as you taste your way around, watch the St. Patty’s Day parade, get testy on the Ballbreaker Saloon Crawl, or don your nuttiest green garb for a costume contest at this annual (chopping) block party. Virginia City
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Nevada is easily the nation’s most diverse wintertime destination. Looking for other extraordinary adventures? Start with this roundup of winter activities and après-everything options.