Wanderlust America

An Extensive Guide to Burning Man at Black Rock City

Burning Man is a week-long expansive desert event that is focused on community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance which has been held annually in the western part of the United States. It has been held at Black Rock City since 1991 which is a temporary city constructed in the Black Rock Desert about 100 miles northeast of Reno. Today, we will take an extensive look at Burning Man and what to expect when you get there.  

Burning Man


The name of the event comes from the symbolic burning of the large wooden effigy which is called the Man that occurs on the penultimate night. There are no headliners or scheduler performers at Burning Man, but all the participants engage in designing and building all of the art, activities, and events. Organized in 1986 by Larry Haven and Jerry James in San Fransico, it has since been held annually, spanning the nine days leading up to and including the Labor Day. It is not just a festival but a city that has been entirely created by its citizens who actively participate in the experience as well.   

Burning Man 2024: Curiouser & Curiouser

The theme of Burning Man 2024 is to celebrate puzzles without answers and to embrace the irrational and the absurd. As we know, all great journeys of discovery start with questions as without curiosity, no spark is possible. We can experience the wonderfulness of event by diving into the void of unreason. What wonder does is it brings us into the present moment and our being. We can easily lose the ability to imagine as our education system fills up all our questions with standardized answers.   

One of the great things about Burning Man is that you can find yourself in situations where you have no clue about what is going on. It is a kind of magic and way of throwing yourself into the chaos of things around you. Many people have talked about the transformative life experiences they have had in the desert of Burning Man. This year’s theme is to create art and experiences that are genuinely curious and draw from the well of personal experiences and weirdness that all of us have inside of us. This year Black Rock City will rise from August 25th to September 2nd, 2024. 

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Important Dates

  • Main ticket sale registration opens April 10, 2024, and closes April 12, 2024.  
  • The main ticket sale for Black Rock City 2024 opens on April 17, 2024.   
  • Deadline for the Art installation questionnaire is May 22, 2024.  
  • The deadline for the DMV Accessibility vehicle application is August 14, 2024. 

You can book your tickets from the following websites:


  • Volunteering – Burning Man is a community-driven event, and it believes in the spirit of volunteering which is a form of Participation, Gifting, and Civic Responsibility. It doesn’t matter what your skills or interests are, there are ways for you to participate and contribute your time, energy, and skills to help the event happen.  
  • Create a Camp – You can also get involved by starting or joining a camp. Camps are the heart of the community in Black Rock City. Most of the people who go to Black Rock City are already a part of planned and registered camps. There are also open camping and walk-in camps for people who want to visit without registering.   
  • Make Art – As discussed above the people who attend Burning Man are not just attendees but also participants. They help to create the city, the interaction, art, performances, and the whole experience that is Burning Man. The Playa is a tabula rasa which is a blank canvas upon which many brilliant visions have been realized. Therefore, every participant is welcome there to create or be an artist at Burning Man.  

Getting there

  • Road – If you have decided to come by road, Highway 34 provides access to the main entrance to Black Rock City. Vehicles will then proceed from the Highway 34 entrance north to the main gate via Gate Road. Remember that they search vehicles for any restricted items in the city and tickets and vehicle passes should be bought in advance. At the end of Burning Man, a road traffic control procedure called as “Pulsing” is initiated to direct traffic out of the city.   
  • Airports – The closest airport with commercial service to the event is Renoe-Tahoe International Airport in Reno, Nevada. San Francisco International Airport is the closest airport with a high volume of international service and is six hours away by car.   
  • Shuttles – Prepaid shuttles are available that originate in Reno and San Francisco and move participants to and from the event. Also, during the event, there is also a paid shuttle between the event and the close towns of Gerlach and Empire. It is highly discouraged to exit and renter the vent and also requires an additional fee. Participants can also share rides and hitchhike even though walking and cycling into the event isn’t allowed.   
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Thankfully, there are plenty of places in Reno where you can stock up on extra groceries, enjoy a meal, and also go into a coffee shop for some WIFI. The most important thing to keep in mind while going shopping is the heat. As these perishables won’t last too long in the sun, make sure you have tightly sealed storage containers and a cooler to keep your food as fresh as possible. Make sure that you remember to pack coconut water for your hydration, trail mix for protein, and any easy on-the-go snacks. People who visit usually do not pay food much thought but they should as dehydration run wild in the heat of the festival.  


If for some reason you find yourself without a camp, here are the best places where you can get some much-needed sleep.  

  • Center Camp has plenty of comfortable couches and shades, but a lot of people often use it as their bedroom.  
  • Skinny Kitty Teahouse is a great place that smells like black tea and chai but is a popular place to begin and end a parade.  
  • Hammock Hangout is a good place to string up your own hammock, but it is also very popular and fills up quickly. 
  • Ashram Galactica has an opulent atmosphere, but you need to win their “win a room” lottery.   
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