With an exciting past stretching back more than 150 years, it’s no wonder that Virginia City is one of the country’s largest historical districts and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also ranked among the nation’s top twelve most distinctive destinations and enjoys millions of visitors each year who come to experience, Nevada’s living history.
Following the discovery of a large deposit of silver in the area, Virginia City sprang into existence virtually overnight. Known as the famed Comstock Lode, the 1859 discovery led to a flourishing new town that enjoyed great wealth and prosperity. By the end of the silver strike in 1898, it would yield hundreds of millions of dollars, equating to billions today. Not all who sought their fortune in mining were successful. Famously, Samuel Clemens tried his hand at it and failed miserably. Instead, he took a job at the Territorial Enterprise where he discovered his knack for writing and first used his famous pen name, Mark Twain.
Today, Virginia City hasn’t changed much from those Wild West days. The mostly original wooden boardwalk and historic structures like 19th century homes, churches, museums, saloons and cemeteries still remain so visitors truly feel like they have stepped back in time. The Bucket of Blood Saloon is just the place for a refreshing drink after hopping a ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, touring the Fourth Ward School Museum and visiting the Comstock History Center. You can take a ride on an authentic stagecoach, catch a lift on a horse-drawn carriage or hop on the trolley for a historic ride around town. Download the mobile app and take an audio tour to discover the history of buildings throughout town. Pan for gold, tour an old mine, even get a little culture at Piper’s Opera House. Built in 1885, it has been called the most significant vintage theatre in the west. Visitors today can enjoy guided tours and the occasional production.
It’s not just the history that draws people from all over the world. Virginia City hosts more than a few special events and parades each year, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry, Chili on the Comstock, Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks, the Virginia City Grand Prix, Street Vibrations Fall Rally and Christmas on the Comstock. Then there are the unique events that you just won’t find anywhere else, like the International Camel and Ostrich Races and the World Championship Outhouse Races.