Reno's Old Southwest neighborhood is rustic. Vintage. Historic. Americana. It's a part of town that makes you feel like you're living in a new chapter of its history book. Same old homes but with a newer, modern, urban vibe.
The Old Southwest mainly consists of homes, but there are some apartments sprinkled in there, mainly in the east section of the neighborhood.
The neighborhood is rich with families. You'll often see kids playing in the front yard and parents chatting with neighbors. With large, old trees and wide sidewalks, this is the best neighborhood in town to take a nice, long stroll in - especially in the fall when the trees change colors.
Overview of the facts
Cost of living: Because of its proximity to downtown, the cost of living in the Old Southwest is slightly higher than the more outlying neighborhoods (12.9% higher than the Reno average), but because Reno, in general, has a very reasonable cost of living (just above the national average overall, but slightly below in areas such as healthcare and utilities) it's still not bad.
Median household income: $68,585
Median home prices: $315,968
Median rental prices: $1150
Crime Rates: With an estimated violent crime rate of 59% lower than the Reno average (which is 17% lower than the Nevada average overall) and an estimated property crime rate 60% lower than the Reno average, Reno's Old Southwest gets a top score as far as crime rate goes. You don't see many gates or barred-up windows here.
Who lives here?
With median earnings for males and females fairly close (male: $44,104 female: $32,495) and an income per capita of over 55% greater than the Reno average, the data suggests that younger to middle-aged professionals are who mostly inhabit Reno's Old Southwest. And judging by how many sidewalks were filled with mothers and fathers pushing strollers while we did our research (no data here), we can confidently say that young families are predominantly drawn to the area.
What should I know?
Reno's Old Southwest is extremely walkable. You're never further than a 15 - 20 minute (max) walk to downtown. With our mild climate, even in the dead of winter, walking is very doable (although you may need to layer up a bit on some days).
Restaurants, museums, bars, parks, offices (the Reno Collective, located in downtown's Startup Row is something to check out if you're a remote worker), grocery stores (Great Basin Food Co-Op is the local spot for organic and locally grown goodness), bookstores (Sundance books is the local favorite bookstore, converted from a victorian mansion) are all less than a 15-minute stroll away.
Because the economy is on the upswing, new restaurants, bars, etc. are popping up constantly. As far as restaurants go, to list just a few, there's Centro (a new tapas restaurant), The Cheese Board, Wild Garlic Pizza, Old Granite St. Eatery, and all the great spots right next door in the Midtown District. When it comes to coffee shops, there's Coffeebar, a hip, industrial haunt with exposed brick and some of the best espresso and pastries in town. As far as bars go, the Old Southwest is within a stone's throw of St. James Infirmary, and Brewer's Cabinet.
The 2 parks in the area are Plumas park and Newlands park. Plumas park is the dog-friendly option with a wide open grassy area big enough to where dog owners can throw frisbees and other chaseable items as far as they want. Newlands park, which rests at the top of California street overlooking west reno (amazing view), is the more intimate location with a quaint playground and a few select benches and BBQ grills.
Street parking is very easy in the Old Southwest. You'll find many cars parked on the street with no restrictions. In the commercial section of California St. close to downtown, you will find parking meters and more restrictions, but apart from that, parking is a joy.
What should I know about the neighborhood schools?
Education is a valued aspect in the live of Old Southwest residents. 91.1% of students have completed 8th grade (as opposed to the rest of Reno at 83.2%) and 90.5% of students have graduated high school (compared to the rest of Reno at 83.2%).
Here's a quick review of the schools in the area.
The Child Garden Preschool and Kindergarten is a Washoe County Social Services and Nevada State licensed facility that has been in operation for over 50 years. To give you an idea of what they're about, here's a snippet from their website:
Our preschool creates a strong, healthy environment. We are a developmental school, always putting the children's needs first. Our program promotes the development of the whole child with the emphasis of physical, emotional and intellectual development. We encourage free expression and self-reliance.
For more than 65 years, Holy Child Early Learning Center has offered children an environment that allows them to foster a lifelong love of learning, while exploring their creativity and building their character and moral base.
Their mission statement says a lot about them:
To provide excellent education to the whole child by focusing on the social, emotional, physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual development in a safe, nurturing environment where children develop a lifelong love of learning.
Built in 1912, Mt. Rose School is a historic mission-style school with an incredible Spanish immersion language academy program. With a student body of right around 300 kids (PK - 6th grade), the student - teacher ratio is pretty solid with less than 20 kids to each teacher.
Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Parochial School serves students from kindergarten to 8th grade (one grade per class). They have 288 students and 23 faculty members.
Inspired by our Catholic Faith, Our Lady of the Snows School guides and nurtures our students to become young leaders who love God, love learning and love their neighbor.
Reno High School, the first high school in Reno, boasts 71 acres of campus space, large green areas, a unique student quad, modern football/baseball/tennis and track and field facilities,the large Kahl Fieldhouse, and many tennis courts. Reno High is unusual among high schools in having an alumni center building on the Reno High campus.