Black Rock City Travel Guide

Plan your ultimate trip to Black Rock City with this comprehensive tour guide. Discover the must-see attractions, food and drink scene, accommodations options, and more.

Introduction to Black Rock City

Black Rock City, a temporary city dedicated to the arts, is located in Northern Nevada in the United States. Home to the famous Burning Man festival, this event draws thousands of visitors annually to experience the unique culture of the city. But there’s more to Black Rock City than just the festival. From natural wonders to cultural attractions, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant desert community.

List of Places to Visit in Black Rock City

To make the most of your time in Black Rock City, be sure to visit the following attractions:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • The Man - Perhaps the most iconic feature of Black Rock City, this 40-foot-tall wooden statue is burned to the ground on the final night of the Burning Man festival.
  • The Temple - This annual structure is designed as an interactive installation art piece. Visitors are invited to write messages or leave mementos to commemorate loved ones.
  • Art Installations - Throughout the city, you’ll find a plethora of large-scale artworks created by talented artists from around the world.
  • Black Rock City Historical Museum - This museum celebrates the history of Burning Man and the culture of Black Rock City.

Natural Attractions of Black Rock City: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Black Rock Desert - This vast playa extends for over 200 square miles. Visitors can enjoy hiking, stargazing, and off-roading in this unique area.
  • Solfatara Pot Holes - These naturally occurring hot springs are a popular spot for soaking and relaxing. Ensure to take all the safety precautions before using them.
  • Fly Geyser - While not technically in Black Rock City, this stunning geothermal geyser is located just a short drive away and well worth a visit.
  • Gerlach Scenic Drive - Take a scenic drive through the quaint nearby town of Gerlach.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Black Rock City

Biking is the main form of transportation in Black Rock City. But beyond getting from one point to another, visitors can take advantage of these hiking/biking routes:

  • Playa Art Trail - This trail takes visitors past some of the most vibrant and celebrated installations across the playa.
  • Hot Spring Hike & Bike Tour - Take a two-hour tour to the Solfatara Pot Holes with a local guide.
  • Desert Trail - This 10-mile loop takes visitors deep into the desert and past stunning natural features.

Best Things to Do in Black Rock City: Activities and Tours

To really immerse yourself in the culture of Black Rock City, consider booking one of these tours:

  • Art Car Tours - Take a tour around the city in one of the numerous art cars which features its own unique design.
  • Art Workshops - Numerous art workshops for adults and children alike occur throughout the year in the city.
  • Burner Express Bus Tour - Take a guided tour of the city’s major landmarks and attractions on the Burner Express Bus.

Week-Long Itinerary for Black Rock City

Planning a visit to the city but don’t know where to start? Here’s a sample itinerary for a week-long stay in Black Rock City:

Day Activity
1 Arrival and tent set-up
2 Explore the installations around the playa
3 Guided tour of the city landmarks
4 Enjoy a relaxing soak in Solfatara Pot Holes
5 Hike the Desert Trail early in the morning
6 Attend evening concerts at the Camp Arctica art installation
7 Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Black Rock City

To sustain visitors during their stay in Black Rock City, the food scene includes a range of food vendors that feature:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Churro Waffles - Fluffy belgian waffles dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with dulce de leche.
  • Thai Curry Bowls - Warm and comforting bowls of curry with fragrant spices and fresh vegetables.
  • Vegan Burner Bowls - Healthy bowls filled with tofu, kale, quinoa, and other wholesome ingredients.

Local Beverages

  • Kombucha - Refreshing and probiotic-rich, this fermented tea beverage is perfect for hot desert days.
  • Cold Brew Coffee - To beat the desert heat, cold brew coffee is a perfect drink to enjoy throughout the festival.

Where to Stay in Black Rock City: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

As Black Rock City is an event city, traditional accommodation options are limited to:

  • Camping - Tent camping is the primary option for visitors looking for an authentic Burning Man experience.
  • RV Rentals - Fully equipped RV rentals are available for those looking for a bit more luxury during their stay.
  • Hostels and Guesthouses - Pre-fabricated rooms that include air-conditioning, beds and other amenities are available for rent.

What to Buy in Black Rock City: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Burning Man Memorabilia - Comprises of clothing, books, and a range of festival-related merchandise and accessories.
  • Artwork - Visitors can purchase from local crafters in the city.
  • Mirrored Goggles- These must-have goggles are necessary for protecting your eyes from the harsh desert dust storms.

Local Culture and Customs of Black Rock City

The culture of Black Rock City is unique and welcoming. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the creation and celebration of art, music, and expression. A tradition in Black Rock City is gifting– the intentional giving of gifts without expecting anything in return. The city also operates on a “leave no trace” philosophy, which means that visitors are expected to clean up after themselves and leave the playa as they found it.

Best Time to Visit Black Rock City

The Burning Man festival is held annually over Labor Day weekend. This is the busiest time to visit Black Rock City. Due to the harsh desert climate, visitors may find more comfortable weather if they plan their visit between late spring and early autumn.

Do’s and Don’ts of Black Rock City


  • Respect the culture and customs of the city.
  • Participate in creating and celebrating art and music.
  • Be prepared for extreme conditions, including harsh sun and dust storms.


  • Litter or leave anything behind on the playa.
  • Damage or destroy any art installations or other items in the city.
  • Refuse gifts when offered.

Safety and Health

Safety in Black Rock City

  • Ensure that all campfires are attended and are not within close distance to any art installation or public area.
  • Ensure that all participants in your group practice proper hygiene and first aid.
  • Ensure all vehicles are well-lit during the evening hours to avoid accidents or collisions.

Health in Black Rock City

  • Stay well-hydrated and apply sunscreen frequently.
  • Seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of dehydration or heatstroke.
  • Ensure to check for sunburns and apply aloe vera gel or lotion to heal the burns sooner.

Getting to Black Rock City: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Black Rock City

The cities that have the nearest airports to Black Rock City:

  • Reno/Tahoe International Airport is the closest airport, which is around 2 hours of drive from the city.
  • San Francisco International Airport - The airport is approximately a 4-hour drive from Black Rock City.

Bus Stations Near Black Rock City

  • Burner Express provides a direct, round-trip bus service from major cities on the west coast to Black Rock City during the Burning Man festival season.
  • Bus terminals of rail organisations such as Greyhound have stops in Reno where Black Rock City visitors can access shared-ride services.

Other Options

  • Ride Sharing: Coordinating with other visitors to share the cost of gas and driving down to Black Rock City.
  • Car Rentals: Rental car services can be found in Reno and San Francisco for visitors looking for more transport autonomy.

How to Get Around in Black Rock City

  • Biking: The best and primary way to get around Black Rock City.
  • Hiking: In the absence of bikes, the city is compact and walkable get around.
  • Art Cars and Mutant Vehicles: These are vehicles based on artistic creations. They are generally smaller than cars and are limited to a speed of 5-10 miles per hour.

Where to Go Next from Black Rock City: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

After exploring Black Rock City, visitors are encouraged to explore the surrounding areas:

  • Pyramid Lake - Located just north of Reno, this picturesque lake is an ideal spot for fishing, swimming, and boating.
  • Tahoe National Forest - Head east from Black Rock City to explore this stunning wilderness area.
  • Lake Tahoe - Only a two-hour drive from Black Rock City, this famous lake is a popular destination for winter sports, water activities, and scenic drives.


Black Rock City is an unforgettable destination that offers visitors a unique experience. Whether you’re attending Burning Man or exploring the city at another time of year, there is something for everyone to see and do. With this comprehensive guide in hand, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your time in this vibrant desert community.