If you don't make it to Las Vegas, you can get a feel for the nonstop, neon-lit gambler's lifestyle by stopping in RENO , on I-80, very near the California border. "The biggest little city in the world," as it likes to call itself, is a somewhat downmarket version of the glitz and glamour of Vegas, with miles of gleaming slot machines and poker tables, surrounded by tacky wedding chapels and quickie divorce courts. While the town itself may not be much to look at, its setting - at the foot of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada , with the Truckee River winding through the center - is superb.
There are three things to do in Reno: gamble, get married and get divorced. The casinos are concentrated in the downtown area, along Virginia Street either side of the railroad tracks. To get married , the requirements are the same as in Las Vegas, though here you obtain your marriage license at the Washoe County Court , Virginia and Court St (daily 8am-midnight; tel 775/328-3275). Wedding chapels all around the city will help you tie the knot; across the street from the courthouse, the Starlight Chapel - "No Waiting, Just Drive In" - does the job for under $50, providing a pink chintz parlor full of plastic flowers and heart-shaped seats (tel 775/786-4949).
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