More than a year after its first stores opened, the eagerly anticipated Legends at Sparks Marina mall will fulfill its promise to add nearly 50 shops and restaurants to the Reno-Sparks area this summer, in spite of economic conditions.
While there's plenty to do around Reno besides shopping at mall stores you can find elsewhere in the country (and in some cases elsewhere in town), Legends is a special case. Already home to Scheels, a 265,000-square-foot sporting goods store featuring aquariums, a Ferris wheel and other attractions -- the mall was deliberately designed as a major new venue for meetings and pedestrian-minded tourists. It incorporates Northern Nevada legends in the design; sporting a statue of Mark Twain, sculptures depicting the area's natural features, a Pony Express-themed water feature, depictions of the Reno Air Races and more.
The mall aims to blend local merchants, outlet stores and big-name chain stores. In addition to the expected Best Buys and Targets, visitors can check out outliers such as Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen and Old Farmer's Almanac. More restaurants and an IMAX theater are expected by next year, and planners promise that a belated grand opening celebration beginning July 31 will include a summer concert series, fashion show, celebrity appearances and fireworks.
Those who would rather not spend all day shopping will appreciate Legends' proximity to Sparks Marina Park. Built around a former mining quarry, the marina is now one of the most scenic urban sport in town. The park offers walking paths, trees and sandy beaches surrounding a 77-acre lake, as well as some impressive waterfront houses and shops. The one-billion-gallon lake allows for boating (no gas engines), scuba diving, wind surfing, sailing, fishing and swimming. Additional activities and facilities include a dog park, volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, showers and a concession stand open during the summer.
The marina is also home to several community events such as the Top O' the Mornin' Fun Run, Kids Free Fishing Day, Kids Triathlon, Annual Turkey Trot and an Adventure Day highlighting adaptive rock climbing, hand cycles and kayaking for children and adults with disabilities.
The marina also offers some stops for those not shopped out at the mall: The Jib Coffee House & Wine Bar is a nautical-themed, laid-back sandwich shop with occasional live music and a killer view of the water. Anchors Bar & Grill offers drinks, a bar-style menu and perhaps the best deck on the marina.
Article written by Matt Farley. Farley is a Nevada native who has worked for the Reno Gazette-Journal and Nevada Magazine and been syndicated by The Associated Press, Gannett News Service and the Las Vegas Review Journal.