Virginia City, Nevada

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 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 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 Old 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.

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Mackay Mansion
Virginia City, NV

A tour of the idyllic Mackay Mansion Museum in Virginia City takes visitors back more than a century. Originally built in 1859 by George Hearst, the three-story building served as the former residence of Comstock tycoon John Mackay. Today, it is listed as a National Historic Landmark and open for tours and even weddings year-round.

Silver Queen Hotel
Virginia City, NV

This historic hotel is located in the center of Virginia City. You’ll stay in nicely appointed rooms, some with brass beds, and views of over 100 miles, suites available. Main level features an authentic 1870s saloon and wedding chapel; restaurants and Casinos nearby, pets allowed, and smoking in designated areas only.

Mark Twain Museum
Virginia City, NV

At the Territorial Enterprise Newspaper Building, one of the oldest structures in Virginia City, visitors are treated to far more than just a historic building. It’s also the home of the Mark Twain Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the famous American author and the history of both Virginia City and the Comstock Lode.

The Way It Was Museum
Virginia City, NV

A fascinating look at the way Nevada was can be found at the aptly-named The Way it Was Museum in historic Virginia City. The unique museum is an amazing window into the region’s rich Western past, thanks to an abundant selection of rare photos, mining and mineral artifacts, vintage maps, lithographs and more that make up the most complete collection of Comstock memorabilia in the world.

Pipers Opera House
Virginia City, NV

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Piper's Opera House has long been considered one of our nation's most famous performance venues and one of the most significant vintage theaters in America.  This opera house has shared a special relationship with both national and community audiences since 1863 and continues to host performance events that illuminate the eclectic character of America and greatly enrich American theatre.