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“If you're new to the Air Races....”

Reno Air Racing Association
Ranked #15 of 128 things to do in Reno
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Eagan, MN
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“If you're new to the Air Races....”
Reviewed May 31, 2012

I’ve been attending the Air Races since 2001 (although they didn’t race that year due to the events of 9/11).

First off, seating in the grand stands (general admission or reserved) is hard on the fanny and back, so consider bringing a good cushion and/or seat with back support. I usually opt for general admission on weekdays and reserved seating on Sat and Sun. Both offer good views above about row 6 or so – higher is better to see over people who can’t seem to put their butt down during the races.

There are several pay parking lots and very limited on street parking unless you are a real early bird and know the area.

If you want an up close look at the race planes, you’ll need to get a pit pass. I usually do the pits on Fri before things get too crowded and one day is plenty.

Do NOT miss the static display for up close viewing of some amazing restorations of historic, rare and old air craft as well as current military planes of all kinds. Check the view of the races from the fences here for a view of the planes rounding pylons 1 and 2.

Warning – weather is extremely variable. One year the weather was clear and hot (90+) on Wednesday, Thursday was same but maybe in the 80’s, Friday was in the 70’s maybe, Saturday was cool (60’s?). Sunday was just plain cold with a snow storm coming over the mountains. By the time of the final, big race (unlimited gold race) the planes were flying through snow on the west end of the course. Bottom line pack shorts and a heavy coat.

There are plenty of food vendors and bring lots of money if you’re into souvenirs and mementos.

PS - there are lots of Port-a-potties. If you encounter a long line, walk down the line and you'll usually find on available further down toward the west end.

If you're rolling in dough, check out the Checkered Flag club. I opted for this a few years - seating in plastic chairs, free lunch, free drinks, noon speakers, private toilet facities and absolutely the best parking at the races but you'll pay dearly for all this.

Visited September 2011
7 Thank MrZ100MN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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155 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
“Best Show in Reno”
Reviewed February 29, 2012

The absolute best show in Reno - absolutely exciting to watch

Thank JWinReno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The Infamous Race”
Reviewed February 8, 2012

My buddy and I purchased passes for the Checkered Flag Club. We were treated like royalty and will be returning in 2012. The festivities were cut off abruptly however due to the tragic crash. It boiled down to $1000 for one day of racing. However, the things I saw that day cannot be priced.

Visited September 2011
1 Thank TommyLeeMaddox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“A stunning race”
Reviewed October 31, 2011

First Im sorry to say that this year the air race was marred by the crash and death of so many people....I have been attending this event for about 20 years and have seen my share of crashes were pilots lost their life's, but I think many forget this is not an air show!!!! this is a RACE and like the automobile racing I do for a living we assume the risk for partisapating as well as were we choose to sit and view the event, and please this is not to say I am not heartsick for those who's life's were cut short, but please remember that we are in the area of 500 mph aircraft and if something goes wrong it really goes wrong, the event has never to my knowledge lost a spectator but the tragic event this year will be a stain on the event for many years.

Visited August 2011
1 Thank FutureCustoms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Fly low, fly fast, turn left.”
Reviewed September 18, 2008

My family has participated in the races for years, but this is the first year I approached as a general attendee and feel compelled to share information about getting there. Here's my advice:

1. Buy your passes online and pick them up at the will-call window. www.airrace.org (There were thousands of people waiting to purchase tickets at 9am on Sat., but the will-call line was very quick.)
2. Print out the map there and take it with you.
3. Plan to spend up to $15 to park pretty close.

Just take the main Air Race exit (Stead Blvd.) off of 385 north and follow the traffic in. I arrived right at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday- in the peak of the crowd crush and parking was really no problem. We passed a boyscout-sponsored parking lot for $10 and then paid $15 to be in another boyscout lot almost immediately out of the front gate.

The event venue is two miles long, so even if you park close, you'll still be walking plenty when you get there. There are slow-moving shuttles once in the gate. General admission ($24 for an adult one-day) gets you into the grandstands, booths (coffee, commemorative pins, t-shirts, book signings, etc.) and the static display at the far east end of the runway. If you are interested in seeing the racers close up, buy a pit pass for an extra $30. If you don't get it online, you can buy one inside the general admission area past the west end of the grandstands next to the gate to the pit area. You can walk around and see the planes. Crew and pilot often stand out at the tape at the edge of their pits and talk and sign autographs. Many of the unlimited class planes sell t-shirts, bumper-stickers, etc. You can watch the planes being wheeled out to the ramp and can watch the races from right next to the ramp. It is hard to hear the loudspeaker from the west end of the airfield when you are standing on the ramp, though. Some crews will announce out loud the blow-by-blow during a race if their plane is racing.

Women, If you can't stand the port-o-potties, there is a bathroom in the "Biplane Hangar" at the far west end of the ramp near the very last gate. Bring your sunscreen and walking shoes. Leave heavy bags at the hotel.

Do an Internet search for "Air Race Message Boards" to read some behind-the-scenes chat, speculation and gossip about the teams.

19 Thank OrigamiGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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