Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

How To Experience Burning Man In Reno Year Round


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Hermina Messier



Welcome to the world of Burning Man, a unique and transformative event held annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. It’s a gathering where tens of thousands of people come together to celebrate art, self-expression, community, and radical self-reliance. But what if you can’t make it to the desert for the week-long event? Fear not, because you can still experience the spirit of Burning Man right in Reno, Nevada, all year round.


Reno, known as the “Biggest Little City in the World,” is not only a gateway to the famous festival, but it has also embraced the principles and culture of Burning Man in its own way. From art installations and participatory events to burner-friendly spaces and a thriving community, Reno offers a unique experience that captures the essence of Burning Man.


In this guide, we will explore how you can immerse yourself in the spirit of Burning Man outside of the desert. Whether you’re a seasoned burner or just curious about the culture, Reno provides a vibrant and inclusive environment where you can connect, create, and embrace the tenets of Burning Man all year long.


Understanding the Origins of Burning Man

To truly appreciate the Burning Man experience in Reno, it’s important to understand the origins of the event. Burning Man began in 1986 when a group of friends gathered on a San Francisco beach to burn a wooden effigy as a spontaneous act of self-expression and art. The event grew and eventually migrated to the Black Rock Desert, becoming the awe-inspiring gathering it is today.


At its core, Burning Man is about fostering a sense of community, creativity, and radical self-reliance. The event encourages participants to disconnect from the outside world, embrace self-expression, and engage in a gift-giving economy. These principles are what make Burning Man so unique and have had a profound impact on the culture of Reno.


Reno, being the closest major city to the Black Rock Desert, has naturally become a hub for burners who wish to experience the transformative power of the event outside of its designated timeframe. Many burners choose to call Reno home, bringing with them the creativity, passion, and community spirit that define Burning Man.


As you explore Reno, you’ll discover remnants of the Burning Man spirit everywhere. From vibrant art installations and participatory events to burner-founded businesses and organizations, the city has become a year-round celebration of creativity and self-expression.


By understanding the origins of Burning Man, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for how the event has influenced and shaped the culture of Reno. This knowledge will enrich your experience as you explore the city and engage with the burner community that thrives there.


The Influence of Burning Man on Reno’s Culture

The influence of Burning Man on Reno’s culture cannot be overstated. As burners have migrated to the city, they have brought with them the principles and spirit of the event, infusing it into Reno’s vibrant arts and entertainment scene.


One of the most noticeable impacts of Burning Man on Reno is the flourishing art community. Inspired by the creativity of the event, local artists have embraced unconventional mediums and concepts, creating unique and thought-provoking works of art. Reno’s streets are adorned with colorful murals, sculptures, and interactive installations that pay homage to the spirit of self-expression and radical inclusion fostered at Burning Man.


Moreover, the burner culture has influenced the approach to entertainment in Reno. You’ll find an array of events, performances, and immersive experiences that mirror the participatory nature of Burning Man. From burner-inspired theatrical productions and live music events to interactive art showcases and themed parties, Reno offers a diverse range of experiences that celebrate self-expression and community engagement.


This Burning Man influence extends beyond the arts and entertainment sphere. The principles of radical self-reliance and communal effort have inspired a sense of collaboration in the entrepreneurial world of Reno. Burners have founded businesses that align with the values of Burning Man, emphasizing sustainability, inclusivity, and social responsibility. These ventures contribute to the local economy while maintaining a strong commitment to the principles that underpin the event.


Reno’s culture has been significantly shaped by the influence of Burning Man. The city’s vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, as well as its commitment to fostering creativity and community engagement, are a testament to the lasting impact of the event. Whether you’re an artist, performer, entrepreneur, or simply someone seeking a unique and immersive cultural experience, Reno offers an opportunity to embrace the spirit of Burning Man on a year-round basis.


Art Installations: Exploring Reno’s Vibrant Art Scene

Reno’s art scene is a testament to the influence of Burning Man. The city is teeming with captivating art installations that reflect the creativity and free spirit of the event. From large-scale sculptures to interactive displays, Reno’s streets and public spaces serve as open-air galleries, inviting visitors to explore and engage in a visual feast.


One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Reno’s vibrant art scene is by taking a stroll through the city’s Midtown District. This neighborhood is adorned with colorful murals that showcase the talent and imagination of local artists. Each mural tells a story, and their presence adds a sense of whimsy and wonder to the city’s streets.


Additionally, Reno is home to several art collectives and galleries that exhibit a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. These spaces provide a platform for both established and emerging artists to showcase their work. Whether you’re drawn to contemporary paintings, avant-garde installations, or multimedia exhibits, you’ll find something to captivate your senses in Reno’s art scene.


For a truly immersive experience, be sure to check out the annual Artown festival. Held in July, this month-long celebration of the arts features an array of exhibitions, performances, and workshops. The festival showcases the talent of local and international artists alike, providing a platform for the community to come together and celebrate the transformative power of art.


Moreover, Reno hosts various art events throughout the year, such as the Sculpture Fest and Burning Man regional events. These gatherings bring artists and enthusiasts together to celebrate creativity and foster community engagement. Attending these events not only allows you to appreciate remarkable artworks but also provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for art and self-expression.


In Reno, art is not limited to traditional gallery spaces. The city embraces the concept of art in public spaces, encouraging artists to create large-scale installations and interactive sculptures that add vibrancy and intrigue to the urban landscape. These unique displays create a sense of wonder and inspire conversations among locals and visitors alike.


Exploring Reno’s vibrant art scene is a captivating journey that allows you to witness the transformative power of creativity. Engaging with the city’s art installations, galleries, and events provides a glimpse into the spirit of Burning Man that permeates Reno’s cultural fabric.


Participatory Events: Engaging in Community Co-Creation

Participatory events are a hallmark of Burning Man culture, and Reno offers a plethora of opportunities for individuals to engage in community co-creation. These events encourage active participation, collaboration, and the celebration of individuality.


One of the most prominent participatory events in Reno is the monthly “Reno Bike Project’s Second Saturdays.” This community bike ride encourages locals and visitors to come together, explore the city, and showcase their unique biking attire and decorated bicycles. The event promotes a sense of camaraderie and self-expression, capturing the essence of the burner spirit.


Another noteworthy event is the “Controlled Burn Fire and Art Festival,” held annually in Reno. This festival showcases fire-based art installations, interactive performances, and workshops. Attendees can participate in fire dancing, learn fire safety techniques, and immerse themselves in the mesmerizing beauty of fire art. The Controlled Burn Fire and Art Festival is a prime example of collaborative creation and encourages individuals to contribute to the event by showcasing their own fire-based artwork.


Reno also hosts various workshops and classes throughout the year that encourage community co-creation. These range from interactive art workshops to unique craft-based gatherings. Participants can learn a new skill, create alongside others, and contribute to the collective creativity of the community.


In addition to these specific events, Reno offers opportunities for individuals to engage in community co-creation on a daily basis. The city is home to numerous maker spaces, where people with diverse backgrounds and interests come together to build, create, and share knowledge. These spaces provide access to tools, equipment, and mentorship, nurturing an environment of collaboration and innovation.


Participating in these events and engaging in community co-creation allows individuals to tap into their creative potential, connect with like-minded individuals, and contribute to the cultural fabric of Reno. By stepping outside of passive observer roles and actively participating, individuals can experience the true essence of Burning Man culture.


Whether you’re interested in art, music, crafting, or simply connecting with others, Reno offers a welcoming environment where you can engage in community co-creation and embrace the principles of Burning Man throughout the year.


Finding Burner-Friendly Spaces: Bars, Restaurants, and Cafes

When it comes to finding burner-friendly spaces in Reno, you’re in luck. The city is filled with establishments that embrace the creative and inclusive spirit of Burning Man. Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a drink, enjoy a meal, or relax with a cup of coffee, Reno has a wide array of options.


Many bars in Reno cater to burners and showcase the eclectic and vibrant atmosphere that Burning Man is known for. These establishments often feature themed nights, live performances, and unique decor that transport you into a world of art and self-expression. One such example is the Melting Pot World Emporium & Events Center, a bar and retail space that hosts events inspired by the burner culture and offers a variety of merchandise reflecting the spirit of Burning Man.


Restaurants in Reno also embrace the burner ethos by infusing their menus with creativity and diversity. From trendy eateries to local favorites, you’ll find an abundance of culinary options that cater to a variety of dietary preferences. Some restaurants even incorporate elements of participatory dining, encouraging guests to engage with their food and create their own unique dining experience.


For those in search of a cozy and creative space to relax, Reno offers a range of burner-friendly cafes. These coffee shops often provide a welcoming environment complete with art displays, comfortable seating, and a sense of community. They serve as meeting places for burners and locals alike, where conversations flow freely and connections are made.


Keep an eye out for establishments that proudly display their burner affiliations. Many bars, restaurants, and cafes sport Burning Man-related decorations, artwork, or even offer discounts to those who show their burner credentials. The burner community in Reno is welcoming and eager to connect with like-minded individuals, so don’t be shy about striking up a conversation and embracing the camaraderie that stems from a shared passion for Burning Man.


Visiting burner-friendly spaces not only allows you to enjoy the unique atmosphere and offerings but also provides an opportunity to meet fellow burners, share stories, and forge connections. These spaces serve as a reminder that the spirit of Burning Man extends beyond the desert and can be experienced year-round in the welcoming embrace of Reno’s burner community.


Connecting with Burner Groups and Organizations in Reno

If you’re looking to connect with the burner community in Reno, there are numerous groups and organizations that provide opportunities for engagement and collaboration. These groups serve as a platform for burners to come together, share their passions, and organize events and initiatives that embody the spirit of Burning Man.


One of the most prominent burner groups in Reno is the Black Rock City Rangers. The Rangers are volunteers who dedicate their time to ensuring the safety and well-being of participants at Burning Man. This group extends their presence beyond the playa and maintains a strong presence in Reno. Joining the Rangers allows individuals to engage in community service, participate in training programs, and contribute to the burner ethos throughout the year.


Another notable organization is CORE (Circle of Regional Effigies), which brings together artists and burners to create large-scale art installations for Burning Man and regional events. CORE in Reno hosts workshops and collaborative sessions where individuals can contribute to the creation of these stunning structures. Joining CORE allows you to be part of a community-driven art project and express your creativity in a collective effort.


Reno also has a vibrant burner meetup scene, with regular gatherings organized by groups such as Burners Without Borders Reno. These meetups provide a casual setting for burners to connect, share ideas, and plan community initiatives. It’s a space where you can meet fellow burners, discuss projects inspired by Burning Man, and collaborate on meaningful endeavors that make a positive impact in Reno and beyond.


Furthermore, the Reno Art Works is an artist collective that supports and fosters local creativity. This organization provides studio spaces, resources, and programming for artists in various disciplines. Whether you’re a visual artist, performer, or creator in any other form, joining the Reno Art Works gives you access to a community of fellow artists and the opportunity to exhibit and collaborate on artistic projects throughout the year.


To stay updated on burner events and initiatives in Reno, it’s worth following different social media platforms and online forums dedicated to the local burner community. These platforms often share information about upcoming events, workshops, and opportunities for involvement.


Connecting with burner groups and organizations in Reno not only allows you to forge meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals but also offers avenues for personal growth, creative expression, and community engagement. By immersing yourself in the vibrant burner community in Reno, you can continue to embrace the principles of Burning Man and be part of a supportive and inspiring network of individuals.


Attending Burning Man Regional Events in Reno

While nothing quite compares to the grandeur and scale of the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert, Reno offers the opportunity to experience the spirit of Burning Man through its regional events. These events provide a taste of the playa magic and allow burners to connect and celebrate throughout the year in a more localized setting.


One of the most notable regional events in Reno is “Forgotten City,” which takes place in the spring. Organized by local burner groups, Forgotten City captures the essence of Burning Man with its art installations, theme camps, music, and workshops. It offers a smaller-scale experience that fosters community, self-expression, and participation, while allowing individuals to reconnect with fellow burners.


Another popular regional event in Reno is “Compression,” an annual celebration held in June. Compression showcases art, music, performance art, and fire spinning, creating a dynamic and immersive experience reminiscent of Burning Man. It’s a vibrant and energetic event that brings together burners and the local community to celebrate creativity, self-expression, and the principles of Burning Man.


Reno also hosts the “Burning Man Global Leadership Summit”. This event gathers regional leaders, theme camp organizers, artists, collaborators, and burners from around the world. It provides an opportunity to network, share knowledge, and collaborate on initiatives that promote the cultural values of Burning Man both inside and outside of the playa.


Attending these regional events in Reno allows you to reconnect with the burner community, experience art in various forms, and immerse yourself in the principles of Burning Man. Whether you’re a seasoned burner or new to the culture, these events provide a vibrant and inclusive environment where you can celebrate creativity, self-expression, and community.


It’s important to note that these regional events often have their own unique themes and guidelines. Familiarize yourself with the specific event details, participation requirements, and any necessary ticketing or registration information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.


By attending Burning Man regional events in Reno, you can maintain a connection to the burner community and experience the magic of the playa throughout the year. It’s an opportunity to continue embracing the principles of Burning Man, make new connections, and create lasting memories in a more localized setting.


Experiencing Burner Fashion and Costuming in Reno

One of the most visually striking aspects of Burning Man is the unique and creative fashion and costuming that attendees embrace. Reno, known for its vibrant burner community, offers plenty of opportunities to experience and showcase your own burner fashion and costuming throughout the year.


When it comes to burner fashion, Reno’s eclectic thrift stores, boutiques, and costume shops are a treasure trove of inspiration. These establishments often carry a wide range of clothing and accessories that cater to the burner aesthetic. From funky and colorful items to elaborate costumes and accessories, you’ll find everything you need to express yourself and stand out from the crowd.


Many burner-inspired fashion events take place in Reno, providing platforms for individuals to showcase their creativity and unique sense of style. These events often include fashion shows, costume contests, and themed parties. Attending or participating in these events allows you to immerse yourself in the burner fashion scene, gather inspiration, and connect with fellow fashion enthusiasts and designers.


One of the key principles of Burning Man is radical self-expression, and fashion and costuming play a significant role in this expression. Burners in Reno embrace this principle by incorporating elements of fantasy, playfulness, and self-identity into their clothing choices. Whether you choose to don elaborate costumes, expressive makeup, or simply accessorize with funky hats and accessories, the burner fashion culture in Reno encourages you to embrace your true self and celebrate your individuality.


Additionally, participating in burner fashion events and gatherings provides opportunities to meet fellow burners, share styling tips, and collaborate on creative projects. It’s a chance to connect with like-minded individuals who appreciate the transformative power of fashion and costuming.


Remember, burner fashion is not limited to public events and gatherings. Embrace your burner style as you go about your daily life in Reno. Whether you’re grabbing coffee, shopping for groceries, or enjoying an evening out, wearing your burner creations allows you to express your unique identity and potentially spark conversations and connections with others who appreciate the burner culture.


By exploring burner fashion in Reno, you can fully embrace the spirit of Burning Man and extend it into your daily life. Lose yourself in the world of creative expression, embrace the imaginative and playful aspects of burner fashion, and let your personality shine through your clothing and accessories.


Engaging in Burning Man Principles All Year Long

The principles of Burning Man extend far beyond the week-long event in the desert. In fact, you can actively engage in these principles all year long in Reno, embracing the transformative spirit of Burning Man in your daily life and interactions with the community.


One of the fundamental principles of Burning Man is radical self-reliance. In Reno, you can embrace this principle by honing your skills, learning new crafts, or participating in workshops that promote self-sufficiency. From woodworking and metalworking to art and performance classes, there are numerous opportunities to develop and enhance your abilities while fostering a sense of independence and self-reliance.


Another important principle is communal effort. In Reno, you can actively contribute to the community by engaging in volunteer work and community service initiatives. There are various organizations and groups that focus on environmental sustainability, community development, and social advocacy. Participating in these endeavors allows you to collaborate with others, make a positive impact, and exemplify the spirit of communal effort that is integral to Burning Man.


Reno also offers opportunities to engage in radical self-expression outside of the desert. Whether it’s through art, music, performance, or any other form of creative expression, you can actively share your talents, passions, and unique perspective with the community. Attend open mic nights, local art shows, or be part of community theater productions to showcase your creativity and inspire others.


Another principle that can be embraced in Reno is gifting. The burner culture in the city encourages random acts of kindness and gift-giving. You can participate in gift exchanges, create art or crafts to share with others, or simply offer a helping hand or words of encouragement to those around you. By embodying the principle of gifting, you contribute to the creation of a kind, supportive, and generous community in Reno.


Participating in burner events, attending workshops, and connecting with burner groups and organizations in Reno allows you to engage in the principles of participation and inclusion. These opportunities create a space where you can actively contribute, collaborate, and connect with individuals who share your passion for Burning Man culture.


Lastly, embracing the principle of immediacy in Reno means fully immersing yourself in the present moment, appreciating the beauty of everyday experiences, and seeking authentic connections with others. Engage in activities that bring you joy, spend time outdoors in nature, and cherish meaningful interactions with friends, both old and new.


By engaging in Burning Man principles all year long in Reno, you continue the transformative journey ignited by the event in the desert. You build a community that fosters self-expression, creativity, collaboration, and radical inclusivity – a community that carries the spirit of Burning Man throughout the year.


Supporting Local Burners and Artists in Reno

Reno’s burner community is a hub of creativity and talent, and supporting local burners and artists is a great way to contribute to the vibrant cultural scene in the city. By showing your support, you not only help artists thrive but also foster a community that embraces the principles of Burning Man year-round.


One way to support local burners and artists is by attending their shows, performances, and exhibitions. Reno is home to a variety of venues and galleries that showcase the work of talented artists. From live music events and theater productions to art exhibits and pop-up galleries, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the creativity that the burner community brings to the city. By attending these events, you not only show your support but also immerse yourself in the unique artistic expressions of Reno’s burner community.


Another way to support local burners and artists is by purchasing their artwork, crafts, or merchandise. Many burners have their own stores, online platforms, or participate in local markets and festivals. By buying directly from these individuals, you are not only acquiring a unique piece of art but also directly supporting the artists and their livelihoods. It’s a meaningful way to invest in the local creative economy and help sustain the burner community in Reno.


In addition to attending shows and making purchases, you can also support local burners and artists by volunteering your time and skills. Many artists work on large-scale installation projects that require assistance, whether it’s with construction, painting, or other aspects of the creative process. By offering your support as a volunteer, you contribute to the completion of these projects and help bring their artistic visions to life.


Furthermore, spreading the word about local events, exhibitions, and the work of burners and artists helps generate awareness and interest in their work. Share their events on social media, invite your friends to attend, and encourage others to support the local creative community. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool and can make a significant difference in the visibility and success of local burners and artists in Reno.


Lastly, providing mentorship and guidance to emerging burners and artists can be invaluable. Share your skills, knowledge, and experiences to help nurture the next generation of creatives. Whether through formal mentorship programs, workshops, or simply offering advice and support, your guidance can have a profound impact on the growth and development of aspiring burners and artists in Reno.


Supporting local burners and artists in Reno strengthens the burner community and cultivates an environment where creativity and self-expression thrive. By attending shows, making purchases, volunteering, spreading the word, and providing mentorship, you actively contribute to the growth and sustainability of the artistic community, and help Reno maintain its vibrant burner spirit throughout the year.



Immersing yourself in the spirit of Burning Man doesn’t have to be limited to the annual event in the Black Rock Desert. In Reno, Nevada, you can experience the transformative power, creativity, and community spirit of Burning Man all year round. From art installations and participatory events to burner-friendly spaces and a thriving community, Reno offers a vibrant and inclusive environment that embraces the principles embraced by burners around the world.


By understanding the origins of Burning Man, appreciating its influence on Reno’s culture, and engaging in the various aspects of the burner community, you can truly immerse yourself in the experience. Explore Reno’s vibrant art scene, connect with burner groups and organizations, attend regional events, embrace burner fashion, and support local burners and artists. These activities not only allow you to express your creativity and individuality but also foster a sense of belonging, connection, and shared purpose.


Through the principles of radical self-reliance, communal effort, radical self-expression, gifting, participation, immediacy, and more, you can embrace the values of Burning Man in your daily life and interactions with the Reno community. Whether it’s through volunteer work, supporting local businesses and artists, or simply living authentically and expressing yourself creatively, you contribute to the burner ethos and help maintain the vibrant burner culture that Reno is known for.


Remember, the burner community in Reno is a welcoming and supportive one. It’s a place where diverse individuals come together to celebrate art, self-expression, and community. Whether you’re a seasoned burner or new to the culture, Reno offers a space for you to connect, create, and experience the transformative power of Burning Man.


So, venture beyond the desert and journey into Reno, the year-round destination where the spirit of Burning Man thrives. Explore the art, engage in participatory events, embrace burner fashion, connect with local burners, and support the creative community. Reno is your gateway to experiencing the magic of Burning Man all year long.