THINGS TO DO IN ELKO NV
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Welcome to Elko, Nevada – a captivating blend of Wild West history, lush outdoor adventures, vibrant cultural festivals, and tantalizing culinary experiences. Nestled in the heart of Nevada, Elko is more than just a high desert city; it’s a gateway into a world one of the true western towns where the spirit of the American West still thrives, and nature’s beauty is on full display.
Whether you’re a culture enthusiast keen to explore Elko’s rich heritage or an adventurer ready to conquer the rugged landscapes, this gem in the Great Basin Region holds a surprise at every turn. From the majestic “Alps of Nevada” – the Ruby Mountains – to the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering that resonates with soulful Western music and verse, Elko is brimming with experiences that are as diverse as they are unforgettable.
But the charm of Elko isn’t confined to its natural splendors and cultural events. It extends to the city’s gastronomic scene too. With culinary delights ranging from traditional Basque family-style meals to refined Italian cuisine, Elko promises a feast for your senses.
In the following guide, we’ll take you through 21 unforgettable things you can do in Elko, NV. So, pack your bags, put on your cowboy boots, and get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey into the heart of the Wild West! Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended stay, Elko guarantees an experience you won’t soon forget.
If you are traveling solo you might also enjoy: Awesome Tips For Solo Travel!
DISCOVER THE CULTURE & HISTORY OF ELKO NV
VISIT THE NORTHEASTERN NEVADA MUSEUM
Hey there, fellow adventurers! If you’re planning a trip to Elko, Nevada, I’ve got a fantastic recommendation for you – the Northeastern Nevada Museum.
It’s like stepping into a time capsule that’ll take you through the area’s rich history and unique culture.
From the moment you enter the museum, you’ll be greeted by a treasure trove of regional artifacts. You know what they say – to understand a place, you must delve into its past, and with this stop, you will undoubtedly find educational and cultural enrichment.
Well, this museum offers just that. It beautifully encapsulates the spirit of the Wild West, the indigenous heritage, the cowboy lifestyle, culture, arts, and the influence of mining and ranching on the region.
There’s also a splendid art collection that showcases the work of local artists, capturing the essence of Northeastern Nevada in their creations.
Let’s not forget the fascinating exhibits of local wildlife that’ll introduce you to the wildlife viewing of the creatures that call Nevada their home.
Visiting the Northeastern Nevada Museum isn’t just a stroll through exhibits; it’s an immersive journey into the heart of Elko’s past.
You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of the region and memories of a wonderfully spent day. Check out the museum store when visiting one of the top true western towns. Trust me; you don’t want to miss out on this gem during your Elko adventure!
VISIT THE WESTERN FOLKLIFE CENTER
If you want to learn about the history and culture of the American West, the Western Folklife Center in Elko is a must-visit destination. The cultural center is dedicated to preserving and promoting Western folklife and hosts live performances, exhibitions, workshops, and lectures throughout the year.
You can attend a poetry reading by a cowboy poet or enjoy an exhibition of Western art. Whatever your interests may be, there’s something for everyone here.
EXPLORE THE CALIFORNIA TRAIL INTERPRETIVE CENTER
Elko has played an essential role in westward expansion over the years. The California Trail Interpretive Center offers visitors a glimpse into what it was like for pioneers who traveled across Nevada on their way to California.
You can see interactive exhibits and artifacts that tell stories of hardship and triumph along the trail. Be sure to take your time exploring this fascinating museum.
EXPERIENCE NATURE'S BEAUTY: SCENIC DRIVES, FISHING & HIKING
HIKE IN THE RUBY MOUNTAINS
If you’re like me and live for the great outdoors, listen up – the Ruby Mountains in Elko, Nevada, are calling your name. These aren’t just any mountains, my friends.
Hiking in the Ruby Mountains is an absolute dream and one of the most fun things you can do. As you trek through the trails, you’ll be surrounded by a spectacularly diverse landscape. Picture this: cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear alpine lakes, and meadows blooming with wildflowers.
Let’s not even get started on the views, which are nothing short of breathtaking, with panoramic views of the gorgeous Nevada landscape.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice, there’s a trail for everyone. I recommend the Lamoille Canyon trail – it’s an absolute must-see, with its diverse wildlife and stunning views.
They provide an experience that’ll make you fall in love with nature all over again. So go ahead, lace up those hiking boots, and prepare for an epic adventure in Elko!
TAKE A SCENIC DRIVE ON LAMOILLE CANYON ROAD
Lamoille Canyon Road is one of Nevada’s most scenic drives, offering stunning views of mountains, forests, and waterfalls along its winding path.
Take your time driving through this picturesque canyon or stop for a picnic or hike along the way. If you’re lucky, you might spot some wildlife, such as deer or elk.
GO FISHING AT SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR
Fishing enthusiasts will love spending time at South Fork Reservoir near Elko. This popular fishing spot offers rainbow trout, bass, catfish, and more! You can rent a boat or bring your gear to catch fish in these serene waters.
VISIT THE RUBY VIEW GOLF COURSE
Hey there, golfing buddies! If you’re ever in Elko, Nevada, don’t miss a chance to play a round or two at Ruby View Golf Course.
Nestled in the heart of the high desert, this place is an absolute gem. The beautifully maintained greens are surrounded by panoramic mountain views, making it as picturesque as it is challenging.
Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a newbie, Ruby View has something for everyone. So, get your clubs ready for an unforgettable golfing experience.
After all, nothing beats the thrill of a well-played game amidst stunning natural beauty! Swing away, my friends!
SKI IN THE RUBY MOUNTAINS
Hey snow enthusiasts, ever considered skiing or snowboarding in the “Alps of Nevada”? Of course, I’m talking about the Ruby Mountains in Elko, Nevada, a stunning winter wonderland perfect for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
No lifts, no crowds, just pristine powder, and magnificent mountains. This untouched landscape offers a thrilling and serene experience that’s uniquely intimate. Since there are no lifts and no crowds make sure to come prepared with ski equipment and winter gear!
Imagine gliding down steep slopes or weaving through snowy trees, surrounded by striking snow-capped peaks under the clear Nevada sky.
For an exhilarating winter adventure like no other, pack your gear and venture to the Ruby Mountains. You’ll be mesmerized, I promise!
MUSEUMS, FESTIVALS, & ART: DIVE INTO LOCAL HISTORY & CULTURE
VISIT THE NATIONAL BASQUE FESTIVAL
If you find yourself in Elko NV, during the summer, you’re in for a real treat. The National Basque Festival takes over the town, and let me tell you; it’s an absolute blast!
Picture a weekend-long celebration of vibrant Basque culture, complete with traditional music, energetic dances, strength competitions, and – oh boy – the food!
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their savory Basque dishes. It’s a chance to experience a slice of the old world right here in the American West. So, mark your calendars because this is one party you won’t want to miss!
ATTEND THE NATIONAL COWBOY POETRY GATHERING
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an annual festival held in downtown Elko that celebrates cowboy poetry and Western art.
You can listen to poetry readings and musical performances by cowboy poets from around the country or participate in workshops on cowboy arts, Western art, cooking, and storytelling.
VISIT THE ELKO COUNTY FAIR: RODEO EVENTS, RACES, & MORE
This fair is a fantastic fusion of good old-fashioned fun, thrilling rodeo events, and some adrenaline-pumping races. Imagine savoring delicious fair food, cheering on brave cowboys, and being swept up in the electrifying atmosphere.
Whether you’re a rodeo fan, a racing enthusiast, or just love the charm of a classic county fair, this is an event that’s got it all.
Don’t miss out – mark your calendar and join in on the Elko County Fair experience. It’s pure, unadulterated Elko fun!
CHECK OUT THE ELKO FLEA MARKET
The local flea market is a true treasure trove waiting to be explored. Stroll down the bustling aisles, and you’ll find all sorts of gems – vintage trinkets, handmade crafts, rare collectibles, you name it!
Each booth tells a different story, with goods from all over the world. I guarantee a visit to the Elko Flea Market is like embarking on a worldwide treasure hunt. This particular flea market is an expo for miners and farmers, buckle up, get ready, and let’s go treasure hunting!
MINE TOURS, BASQUE & ITALIAN CUISINE: UNIQUE LOCAL EXPERIENCES
TAKE A TOUR OF RUBY HILL MINE
Elko has a rich mining history. If you’re interested in learning about modern-day gold mining techniques or seeing underground tunnels and machinery in action, take a tour of Ruby Hill Mine. This unique experience will give you an insight into the life of miners today.
SHOP AT ELKO'S BASQUE MARKET
Elko’s Basque Market is a must-visit if you’re interested in trying traditional Basque cuisine like chorizo sandwiches or paella. Don’t miss your chance to try some delicious food that blends Spanish with American-Western culture at this local market.
STROLL THROUGH THE ELKO CITY PARK
Got a spare afternoon in Elko, Nevada? I highly recommend taking a breather in the tranquil Elko City Park. Picture this: sprawling green lawns under a wide-open Nevada sky, perfect for a laid-back picnic or a stroll.
Grab your favorite book or a Frisbee and just kick back, surrounded by gorgeous, mature trees. Kids will love the playground, and you might even catch a local event happening on the grounds.
Honestly, the park is such a peaceful spot amidst the hustle of the city. Just being there feels like a little slice of vacation, so don’t miss out!
TAKE A HISTORIC GHOST TOUR: DISCOVER HAUNTED HISTORY
Fancy a chill running down your spine while exploring Elko, Nevada? If you’re a fan of the supernatural, you’re in luck! Elko’s Historic Ghost Tour is just the ticket.
This isn’t your average sightseeing trip – we’re talking tales of the past that are eerie and captivating. You’ll wander through old haunts and hear stories that will make your hair stand on end.
Whether you’re a history buff or love a good ghost story, this tour is a must-do. Not only will you learn about Elko’s history, but you might get a few thrilling chills along the way too. Don’t miss it!
SAMPLE ITALIAN CUISINE AT LUCIANO'S: A SOPHISTICATED DINING OPTION IN ELKO
If you find yourself craving an Italian feast in Elko, Nevada, then look no further than Luciano’s! This gem serves mouthwatering Italian dishes with a classy touch, making it a delightful upscale dining choice.
Imagine indulging in exquisite pasta creations, succulent seafood, or perfectly cooked steaks here at Luciano’s. To make things even better, they’ve got a superb wine list to pair with your meal.
Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a special celebration, Luciano’s brings a slice of Italy to the heart of Elko, promising a meal you won’t soon forget. Don’t miss out on this culinary experience!
CASINOS, BARS, & NIGHTLIFE
RUBIES SPORTS BAR
So you think Elko is boring and you need a fun night out, Rubies is THE place to go. With an inviting atmosphere and plenty of room to shake a leg, it’s perfect for catching up with friends over a cold beer or cocktail.
Sports fans – they’ve got you covered with multiple screens to catch all the action live. But that’s not all, when the sun goes down, Rubies transforms into a dance floor.
So whether you fancy a laid-back evening or a night filled with music and dance, Rubies is your spot in Elko. Check it out!
TRY YOUR LUCK AT A CASINO
If everything has gone perfectly according to plan and you have found a four-leaf clover today maybe you should spice things up a bit and try your luck at one of their local casinos.
From the whirling sounds of slot machines to the suspenseful vibe at the table games, there’s a thrill waiting around every corner.
Even if you’re not a big gambler, the live entertainment is top-notch. So, dress up for a fun night out, and who knows? Lady Luck might be on your side in Elko. Let’s say it’s not all about cowboys and the wild west out here!
TRY LOCAL BREWS AT MATTIES TAPHOUSE & GRILL
Hey there, fellow brew lovers! I’ve just discovered a gem in Elko NV, that you’ve got to hear about. It’s called Matties Taphouse and Grill.
This place is a haven for beer enthusiasts, boasting a wide selection of local and craft brews that will leave you spoilt for choice. The ambiance? Cozy and welcoming, just the kind of place where good stories unfold over great beers.
Also don’t even get me started on their mouthwatering grill menu! It complements the beer perfectly. So, if you’re in Elko, make sure to stop by Matties. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!
CONCCLUSION: UNCOVER THE UNIQUE ALLURE OF ELKO NV
Nestled in the heart of Nevada, Elko opens a gateway to experiences that are uniquely and authentically Nevadan. The city, rich in its educational programs and cultural enrichment, diversity, and natural beauty, unveils a multitude of hidden gems to its visitors. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or an adventure lover, there’s no shortage of intriguing escapades.
Dive deep into the region’s storied past with a visit to the California Trail Interpretive Center, or relish the heartwarming rhythms interesting stories of the American West at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. These quintessential Elko experiences offer insights into the area’s vibrant heritage, western spirit, and character.
Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes surrounding Elko, from the majestic Ruby Mountains to the tranquil South Fork Reservoir. Whether you’re indulging in a scenic drive along the Lamoille Canyon Road, embarking on an exhilarating hiking adventure, or casting a line in the rich fishing waters of the reservoir, Elko’s natural attractions offer a refreshing retreat for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
But Elko’s allure doesn’t stop at its landscapes, cultural sites, and landmarks. The city also captivates food lovers with its gastronomic offerings, particularly its traditional Basque cuisine. Restaurants like the historic Star Hotel serve mouthwatering Basque meals, providing a tasty exploration of the city’s multicultural roots.
In Elko, every street corner, nature trail, and community event tells a tale of Nevada’s unique charm. So, as you chart your journey to Elko, remember to explore these hidden gems that capture the essence of this remarkable city. Truly, in Elko, there’s something for every traveler to enjoy!