Free-Range Art Highway
One "Far Out" Trip from Las Vegas to Reno
440 to 515 miles
1 to 3 days
Fear and Loathing hallucinations have nothing on the real-world wackiness along US-95, where psychedelic free-range art meets the American West. We’re talking kaleidoscopic boulder towers, a color-changing “forest” of junk cars, “post-Playa” Burning Man sculptures, and plenty of other amazingly odd art installations. The 500 or so miles from Las Vegas to Reno also carry you to several funky-flavored towns, home to intriguing murals, top-notch art galleries, and plenty of iconic places to stay—including one with the world’s largest private collection of… clowns. Hands-down, few routes put the trip in “road trip” like Nevada’s Free-Range Art Highway.
- Shop and art-hop around the Las Vegas Arts District, AKA “18b”
- Get ghosted at Goldwell Open Air Museum and Rhyolite ghost town
- Add some art to a vertical vehicle at the International Car Forest
“Far Out” on the Free-Range Art Highway
A Psychedelic, Open-Air Odyssey Across the Silver State
If awesome art, wide-open roads, and #WeirdNevada wonderment get your gears turning, then—for the love of odd!—this colorful road trip is the blank canvas for your next unusual adventure. Truckers may blast up the 500-mile stretch from Las Vegas to Reno, but with sights ranging from mural-draped districts and oddball open-air galleries to funky shops and historic “haunts” (like, literally), you’ll want to slow your roll and follow your curiosity on—and off—Nevada’s eccentric slice of US-95. On a route bookended by vibrant urban art oases, you’ll bounce from one camera-hogging art installation to the next, while quirked-out small towns entice you with great grub, unique retreats, and new stories.
Prepare for Your Adventure
Get ready to come chase some horizons with this handy tool kit. Here, you’ll find all the Free-Range Art Highway road trip essentials, including downloadable directions, maps, and podcasts, and tunes to complement your upcoming adventure.
Let’s Get “Far Out”
The Free-Range Art Highway: It’s a Trip
The stretch of open road from Las Vegas to Reno is about as far out as it gets—in more ways than one. From kaleidoscopic boulder towers and a psychedelic “forest” of junk cars to a ghost town sculpture garden and a haunted, clown-themed motel, the Free-Range Art Highway abounds with oddball attractions. Ready to put the “trip” road trip? Read on.
From Neon Alleys to Ghost Town Galleries
Start off exploring the vibrant Las Vegas Arts District. Then swing by Seven Magic Mountains en route to Beatty where Goldwell Open Air Museum’s avant-garde sculptures await.
Art Cars, Old Haunts, and Way Too Many Clowns
Ogle offbeat auto art at Goldfield’s International Car Forest. In Tonopah, grab BBQ and beers before chasing ghosts at two old haunts: The Mizpah Hotel and the Clown Motel.
Bound for Reno’s Biggest Little Arts Scene
Spot bighorn sheep around Walker Lake, scope out a totally “bomb” museum, and peruse literally “old school” art galleries en route to hip, public art-obsessed Reno.
Las Vegas to Beatty
Kick off your art-tastic adventure in Downtown Las Vegas’ Fremont East District, where several hip, walkable blocks buzz with restored vintage neon signs, Googie fonts, and out-of-this-world art. Then hit the Las Vegas Arts District, AKA 18b, to scope out Graffiti Art Gallery Alley, funky Antique Alley, art galleries, chic cafés, and more. Make the requisite photo-op stop at Seven Magic Mountains before blasting to Beatty, where Goldwell Open Air Museum’s wild sculptures mystify and the town’s warm hospitality satisfies.
Nevada is all about open-road adventures, but please brush up on travel restrictions and safety guidelines before heading for our horizons.
Give yourself some space at the funky, retro, alien-friendly Atomic Inn; hit up the pool at the Death Valley Inn & RV Park; or keep things classically cozy at the Exchange Club and Motel 6.
Exchange Club Motel
Stagecoach Hotel & Casino
Motel 6 – Beatty & Death Valley
Death Valley Inn and RV Park
Gold Point Ghost Town Bed & Breakfast
If it’s art you’re after, Downtown Las Vegas is where it’s at, especially along the several walkable blocks of the Fremont East and the 18-block Las Vegas Arts District. Then it’s off to Beatty to get weird in the desert.
Rhyolite Ghost Town
Fremont East District
Goldwell Open Air Museum
Las Vegas Arts District
The Mob Museum
Downtown Container Park
Seven Magic Mountains
It’s hard not to find a great café in Las Vegas’ Fremont East District and 18b. But when you get to Beatty, you can’t beat Happy Burro Chili & Beer, a rustic old saloon serving up, well, homemade chili and ice-cold beer.
Death Valley Nut & Candy Co.
Smokin’ J’s Barbecue
Happy Burro Chili & Beer
Beatty to Tonopah via Goldfield
Cruise on to Goldfield, home of the International Car Forest, a junkyard of painted (and planted) vehicles, AKA sculpture-ized canvases for visiting artists. In town, relish Rocket Bob’s automotive mosaics, as well as haunted historic buildings and sagebrush saloons. Follow your nose to Tonopah Brewing Co. for house-smoked everything and sleep it off at the period-chic Mizpah Hotel or the exactly-what-it-sounds-like Clown Motel. Come nightfall, fight that food coma, step outside, and gaze upward; the skies here are literally stellar.
Bed down at the freshly-restored Belvada Hotel—built in 1906, reopened in 2020. Lux it up at The Mizpah Hotel (still swanky after all 110+ years). Or embrace your inner oddball at the clown-themed motel next to the graveyard.
Santa Fe Motel & Saloon
Best Western Hi-Desert Inn – Tonopah
The Clown Motel
Tonopah Station Hotel and RV Park
Jim Butler Inn & Suites
The Mizpah Hotel
Ogle art on automobile mediums at the International Car Forest and Rocket Bob’s Art Cars, hunt for haunted history around Goldfield’s boomtown-era buildings, then trace constellations at the Tonopah Stargazing Park.
Tonopah Stargazing Park
Historic Goldfield Hotel
Goldfield Historic Cemetery
International Car Forest of the Last Church
Rocket Bob’s Art Cars
Central Nevada Museum
Goldfield Historic High School
Match wits with the “meanest bartender in Nevada” at the Santa Fe Saloon, raise a glass to the Earp bros at the Mozart Tavern, or pair a Stinkeye Porter with house-smoked brisket at Tonopah Brewing Company.
Santa Fe Motel & Saloon
Tonopah Brewing Company
The Dinky Diner
Get behind boomtown history with gunfights and lying contests at Goldfield Days, or arm wrestling and mining competitions at Jim Butler Days. Or buddy up with an astro pro for some serious celestial celebrations.
Tonopah to Reno
Gear up for galleries, offbeat attractions, and epic eats on the home-stretch to hip and happenin’ Reno. Look out for vintage neon and bighorn sheep en route to the free Hawthorne Ordnance Museum to examine explosive artifacts. Beyond picturesque Walker Lake lies Fallon, home to the artistic oasis of Oats Park Art Center. Then roll to Reno, the funkiest town in the West, where public art, fancy food, swanky bars, bohemian shops, and “burner” vibes abound.
For vintage-meets-modern vibes, check into Kramer’s Midtown boutique motel, or one of six beautifully restored rooms at 1907-built The Jesse Hotel & Bar. For 24-hour action, Reno’s casino-resorts deliver in spades.
Grand Sierra Resort and Casino
The Jesse Hotel & Bar
Peppermill Reno Resort Spa Casino
Whiskey Flats RV Park
Whitney Peak Hotel
Atlantis Reno Casino Resort Spa
Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel
THE ROW Reno
Go gaga over more great galleries at Yerington Theater for the ARTS, Fallon’s Oats Park Art Center, and in Reno at the Nevada Historical Society and the nationally accredited Nevada Museum of Art.
Downtown Reno Riverwalk
Reno Midtown District
Walker Lake Recreation Area
Nevada Museum of Art
Hawthorne Ordnance Museum
Oats Park Art Center
Luning Trading Post
Nevada Historical Society
At the end of a badass road trip, it’s hard to beat Nevada for celebratory burgers, brews, and Basque family feasts. Luckily, Reno delivers hefty portions of all of those, plus some great made-here wine, spirits, and more.
Louis’ Basque Corner
Basin & Range Cellars
The Eddy Reno
Noble Pie Parlor
Great Basin Brewing Co.
The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery
Butchers Kitchen Char-B-Que
Reno loves art and wants you to know it. Especially in July, when Artown holds about 500 music, theater, dance, and visual art events. And in October when Off Beat Music Festival takes over Midtown with 100+ live bands.
You’re gonna dig this funky desert art scene. Unleash your inner artist and get in on our gallery by tagging #FreeRangeArtHighway next time you’re motorin’ between metros.
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