Virginia City Nevada takes visitors on a trip back to the pioneer days of the American West. Virginia City is a great experience for families with a passion for history, imagination, and fun!
The mining boom of the 1800’s turned Virginia City into a prominent settlement between Denver and San Francisco.
Many of the grubby prospectors who flooded in became millionaires and they built mansions and imported furniture from Europe and the Orient to outfit their homes.
At its peak, Virginia City had gold in every hill and the men who came from everywhere made their homes in the shadow of Sun Mountain. Mark Twain served as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise and began his career in the town.
Exploring Virginia City
Open year-round, the town offers a free, interactive learning experience that is easily accessible from nearby Reno and Carson City — Nevada’s capital.
Visitors can walk along authentic board sidewalks, view historic churches, 19th-century homes, and historic cemeteries.
The first stop on your visit should be to explore the mining districts that are responsible for the town’s history. It’s possible to witness 100 years of history in one short day.
Established by brothers Steve and John Beard, Tuscarora is a living ghost town, which now operates as a ranching community and home to several world-renowned artists who are in the area.
Mountain City, Gold Creek, and Tinto are other ranching communities that were once home to a couple thousand gold, silver, and copper miners in the pioneer days. The community borders the Owyhee reservation.
The Spruce Mountain Mining District is part of the Nevada Trails system that connects the old mining roads that wind through five ghost towns and through the Black Forest and Killie mines.
The sites are complete with abandoned buildings and equipment.
Things to do in Virginia City Nevada
The Old West saloons of years past offer a bridge to another era while the museums, shops, and restaurants expand the experience.
All can ride on a stagecoach, horse-drawn carriage, trolley, or the historic steam engine on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad that crosses the scenic high desert landscape.
Modern Mine Tours offer free tours of one of the area’s largest mining operations currently running. The tours are by appointment only during the summer months. Please call ahead to arrange a visit.
The V & T Railroad trip is a 25-minute narrated train ride from F Street Station in Virginia City to Gold Hill. The Virginia City Trolley Tour is a 20-minute narrated ride through Virginia City that highlights the major points of interest
Virginia & Truckee Railroad also runs steam trains from Carson City to Virginia City. This 24-mile round trip takes about 1.5 hours each way and with three hour stop in Virginia City before the return trip.
The Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise is a look into the writer’s life.
Mackay Mansion showcases a breathtaking home, Piper’s Opera House, the Western Historic Radio Museum, Ponderosa Mine Tour, Chollar Mine Tour, Comstock Gold Mill, and The Way it Was Museum add to the experience.
Where to Stay in Virginia City
The quaint bed and breakfasts are set into historic buildings. Be sure to check out the varied accommodations available to make your visit a memorable experience. The Silverland Inn is one of the largest.
For RV travelers, the Virginia City RV Park offers 28 spaces with hookups
Virginia City Where to Eat
When it’s time to eat, there is a variety of choices in town. From hot dogs to fine dining, Chinese, Tex-Mex or barbecue cooked on site, everyone can be satisfied. The Mountain Oyster Festival is a special event which offers gourmet lamb dishes.
The ICS Chili Cook-Off brings chefs from all over the world to compete. The Bonanza Cafe is a popular spot, Mandarin Garden provides Asian cuisine.
The Red Dog Saloon is great for lunch and drinks, and Red’s Candies & Sandwich Parlor is a family oriented place while Sawdust Corners and Virginia City Beef Jerky add their own twist to the dining experience.
Getting To Virginia City
Virginia City is located 23 Miles From Reno – 15 Miles from Carson City – 40 Miles from Lake Tahoe – Three-hour drive from Sacramento, CA