Virginia City

In 1859, placer miners and prospectors in the western Great Basin made two amazing strikes of gold and silver ore near Virginia City. The Comstock Lode, as people soon called the ore body, resulted in what would today be billions of dollars in riches. Virginia City became a highly urbanized, industrial setting and by the early 1870s, together with its smaller neighbor, Gold Hill, reached a population of nearly 25,000, becoming one of the nation's larger communities. As with all mining camps, of course, boom and growth was followed by decline, and by the 1930s, Virginia City had been reduced to a town of just a few hundred people.

It took the television western, Bonanza, that ran from 1959 to 1973, to bring the declining Virginia City back to life. The city was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and today draws over 2 million visitors a year. If you want to feel and walk through the streets of the Old West, this is the place to visit! There are no chain stores and no fast food restaurants, just buildings echoing with the 19th Century.

Attractions in Virginia City include:

  • The Fourth Ward School Museum, built to house a thousand students and today a museum dedicated to the history of Virginia City and the Comstock.
  • The Silver Terrace Cemeteries, whose ornate, Victorian-era plots tell the stories of Virginia City's history and immigrant culture, capturing their profiles in colorful inscriptions.
  • Piper's Opera House, in use since 1885 with a stage that has welcomed President Grant, Buffalo Bill and Mark Twain.
Virginia City - Step Back in Time

Fourth Ward School

Virginia City is just 23 miles from Reno.

For more information, check out the official Virginia City visitors site at Or watch the video below for a little taste of what's in store when you visit.

Carson City

Carson City (a 30 minute drive from Reno) has been the Nevada capital since the Nevada Territory was established in 1861. In that same year, Mark Twain described the city like this:

"It nestled in the edge of a great plain and was a sufficient number of miles away to look like an assemblage of mere white spots. The mountain summits overlooking it seemed lifted clear out of companionship and consciousness of earthly things."

150 years later, Carson City is still dominated by its spectacular setting. Also still in evidence are its roots as a gold and silver town, with a historic district featuring many buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Attractions in Carson City include:

Aerial view of Carson City
For more information, check out the Carson City official Convention & Visitors Bureau site at