Your local tour guide: Mikalee Byerman’s updated Reno guidebook is full of advice for locals and visitors

Author Mikalee Byerman leaves no bucket list unturned in the second edition of her guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die, published in September. It’s a fun, precise, absorbing read on local food, drink, music, entertainment, sports, culture, shopping and more. 

A full-time freelance writer, Byerman has been voted Best Creative Writer and Best Local Author in the Reno News & Review’s Best of Northern Nevada readers’ poll. She’s also a keynote speaker, blogger, storyteller, communications and marketing consultant, and a two-time graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno. 

Writing the first edition of the book, published in 2017, was a fairly easy process, she said.  

“My second edition was much more work, as I wanted to bring fresh, new experiences for locals and tourists alike,” she said, adding that 96 percent of the entries in the second edition are new. 

The book is chock full of helpful, detailed recommendations. Examples include Kauboi Izakaya, a Japanese bar and restaurant in Midtown; Reno Improv, a welcoming space where people can learn comedy improvisation; Sierra Adventures, for anyone who wants to float down the Truckee River; Reno Axe, a downtown bar that’s a fun, safe space for ax-throwing; and the Carson City Ghost Walk, a guided tour of supposedly haunted places. Toward the back of the book are “Suggested Itineraries” and “Activities By Season.” 

Byerman expects the book will draw readers from a variety of age ranges. For kids, one popular example is The Discovery, the downtown Reno children’s museum where they can climb inside a cloud sculpture. For adults-only time, she recommends music and martinis at Roxy’s Bar and Lounge, and for the young at heart, a performance by the Reno Philharmonic. 

“I want the book to be something that my 21-year-old daughter can look at for ideas for her friends, as well as my 80-year-old parents, who can say, ‘Oh, let’s pick up Mikalee’s book and go out to dinner tonight,’” she said. 

Byerman acknowledges that downtown Reno is struggling, with many vacant properties. “But Reno has consistently evolved over the 45 years I’ve lived here,” she said. “It’s now far more vibrant and thriving. Now there are places I’ll take my daughter to go see a movie down on the Riverwalk, or go with a friend to eat in Midtown, or I’ll go to The Row to see a show at the Eldorado with somebody who’s visiting from out of town.” 

Byerman considers herself an introvert, despite her outgoing persona.  

“Shyness and introversion are two totally different constructs,” she said. At a recent event, she spoke to 200 people for five hours—and afterward sat in a semi-dark room for 24 hours to decompress, she said. 

“I think we as a society should value introversion more, because honestly, the world is built toward this extrovert ideal,” she said. “So we need to recognize that, and include those ideas in the workplace.”  

Being an introvert didn’t stop her from meeting and interviewing business owners and learning their intriguing backstories as she researched the book. 

“I’d go into these places and talk to the owners or longtime employees and get these magical stories,” she said—so many stories, in fact, that she now has a podcast in the works, also titled 100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die. The podcast interviews will also include places outside of Reno such as Carson City, Lake Tahoe, Carson Valley and Virginia City.