Meet the New Circus Circus

If you’re a Reno native like I am, chances are pretty good you spent some time at Circus Circus as a kid. So, you may feel like you’re familiar with what’s inside. But, what you may not know is that Circus Circus is currently undergoing $50 million in renovations (along with Silver Legacy and Eldorado), and it shows! The famous Midway has grown to a massive size, there are new restaurants and the rooms are hip and updated. It’s like a new Circus Circus – so whether you’re a long-time local like me, or just visiting, this is a family-friendly option you should check out. Let me show you what our weekend’s highlights were like.

The Rooms at Circus Circus

Admittedly, I had never stayed in a room at the Circus Circus before, so I didn’t know what to expect. In fact, I had brief visions of circus-themed curtains and paintings. When I walked into the room, I was impressed. The furniture was contemporary, the television was modern, and there was a cool Reno “mural” on the wall. From color palette to style, everything felt new and en vogue.


There are several new restaurants in Circus Circus, including one that we were excited to try out – The Habit Burger Grill. My California friends have been bragging about how good the food was, and I have to say we devoured our meals. Their primary offerings are tasty burgers chargrilled on an open flame (the “Charburger”), but they also offer sandwiches and salads. The kids menu features a cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, and grilled cheese – all with sides (with healthier options, too – like apple slices, applesauce and sweet potato fries) and a drink for $4.75. Plus, you can get an ice cream cone for only $1.50.

They also have a new pizza place called Piezzetta Pizza Kitchen. They have a ton of options including whole wheat and gluten free crusts, not to mention some unique toppings (like roasted lamb) in addition to all of the expected toppings that you and your kids love (which is just cheese, for my boys).

We had dinner at their new Mexican restaurant called El Jefe’s Cantina. It’s a pretty large restaurant with delicious options. Didn’t see a kids menu, but they were really good about letting us order some basic fare for the kids (read: quesadillas). Had a significant drink menu and full bar – even my wife, who rarely drinks, tipped back a mojito and loved it!

There are a few other restaurants we didn’t get a chance to try, including a sushi restaurant (Kanpai Sushi) that features the classic Reno all-you-can-eat option! 🙂

The Midway

This may be the most well-known attraction for Circus Circus, and has been for decades. But, do you know what’s great about the Midway now? There are some of the same classic games that we played when we were kids – from camel races to the rubber chicken flip to the beloved squirting a clown in the mouth with water – so, there’s a level of nostalgia that comes into play. But the new Midway has been remodeled and is enormous! Not only are there a couple dozen carnival-style midway games to give you the familiar circus feel, there are seemingly endless video games, claw machines and games that allow kids to win tickets to exchange for prizes. The kids absolutely loved it!

Some of the games of skill are a little challenging for little guys (like my 4-year-old), but there were a number of games he could participate in and excel at. Both of my kids walked away with handfuls of prizes from both the Midway games and the ticket redemption. In that moment, winning prizes and playing games, they were just on cloud nine.

But wait, there’s more (sorry, that’s the ad man in me coming out)! There are acrobatic circus acts performed every ~45 minutes during the day, which was a really cool break in the action. It seems as though everyone in the Midway turns their attention to center stage or to the trapeze (and safety net) that hovers above you at all times. And this isn’t some part-time, goofball, amateur party act. These performers were legit! The acts we saw were mostly acrobatic, and did have a higher level of difficulty, so it was definitely worth paying attention to.

Such a great family moment and a thrill for the kids – you’ve got to go check out what the Circus Circus Midway looks like now.

More Entertainment

By now, you’ve gotten the point that there’s a lot going on at the new Circus Circus after the renovations. But, due to its location, there was also a lot to do nearby. For example, we took the kids to Circus Circus’ sister property, Silver Legacy, for a dip in the rooftop pool and hot tub. The pool goes from 3-feet in the shallow end to only 3.5-feet in the deep end, so it’s perfect for kids!

There was also a “Mural Marathon” outside at the time we stayed (last weekend), in which artists had one day to develop large and impressive murals on the outside of the Circus Circus walls. It was fun to get outside to see the murals in progress, but also get our faces painted, play with hula hoops and listen to music (once they played PYT by Michael Jackson, I was hooked).

Last, and certainly by no means least, was Cirque Le Noir, the Eldorado’s Cirque show. It may have been the highlight of the weekend – the skill level of the performers was world class. We were so thoroughly entertained at every moment of the show. The stage is very close up, so you’re able to really immerse yourself in the show, and it didn’t look like there was a bad seat in the house. We took our kids, but fair warning to parents – the costumes are pretty provocative. It’s certainly nothing more revealing than you’d see at a family trip to the beach, but there are definitely some sensual themes and some sexy outfits. The kids don’t really know the difference, but if that sort of thing concerns you, then chalk this one up to a date night. Plenty of chiseled abs and toned bottoms to enhance the insanely talented group of performers. Seriously, there’s zero chance you’re not entertained. The show runs from now until August 27th.


Full Disclosure: I received freebies from Circus Circus so I could check out the renovations, but the thoughts expressed in this review are 100% my own. We genuinely had an amazing time and will be back, often, so I can win that 4-foot-tall Pikachu!

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