carson city nv

Carson City

Culture, cuisine, and all kinds of ways to enjoy the great outdoors – the capital of Nevada has it all (and then some). Carson City seamlessly blends bona fide Silver State history and old-fashioned charm with wow-worthy sights and attractions that’ll keep you coming back for more.

Nevada’s Heart Beats Here

Where History Lives and Adventure Awaits

Welcome to Carson City, Nevada, home of your next unbelievable getaway. In the capital of Nevada, you can follow in the footsteps of those who made state-shaping history while charting your own path to endless adventure. Sightsee Silver State origin stories at the Nevada State Capitol and along the Kit Carson Trail in the West Side Historic District, or seek a cultural connection at Brewery Arts Center and Carson City’s two Nevada State Museums. Hikers, bikers, golfers, anglers, and both water and winter sports enthusiasts flock to this hub of outdoor recreation, too, and the Carson City Triathlon – consisting of an eclectic food joint, a laid back brewery, and a historic hot springs site – is arguably the most fun you’ll ever have completing this kind of “race.” And did we mention the giant parade thrown annually (that coincides with Halloween) to celebrate Nevada’s statehood? Stick with us to fully discover why you’ll soon be hightailing it to our capital city. 

carson city map

Season

All Seasons

Region

Northwestern

History Around Carson City

When explorer John C. Fremont came to the future site of Carson City, Nevada – a region where the Washoe people have lived for 6,000 to 9,000 years – in the 1840s, he named the river flowing through the land after his hired scout, Kit Carson. About a decade later, Abraham Curry (considered the founding father of Carson City) and a group of influential settlers purchased 865 acres here, hoping to carve out a new territory from Utah. These efforts were greatly assisted by the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, which brought more residents to the area in search of silver riches, including Mark Twain himself. The aptly-nicknamed Silver State officially gained statehood on October 31, 1864, and Carson City was formally named the capital of Nevada. 

historic carson city
Historic Carson City U.S. Mint
carson city history
Historic St. Charles Hotel

You can dive deeper into the history of Nevada at the still-standing structures where it originally took place. Inside the Nevada State Capitol building, constructed in 1871, you’ll find Battle Born Hall, a free-to-visit museum dedicated to the people and events that shaped our state. And housed in Carson City’s former United States Mint branch is the Nevada State Museum, which features a replicated mining town, a prehistoric mammoth whose bones were found in the Black Rock Desert, and a still-in-use historic coin press that dates back to the original minting operation. Over at the Nevada State Railroad Museum–Carson City, visitors can peruse an extraordinary collection of railroad artifacts (like the built-in-1875 Inyo, one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the country) and take a ride on the Virginia & Truckee’s storied rails. 

things to do in carson city
Kings Canyon Waterfall Trail

Things to Do in Carson City

So, where is Carson City? If you’re coming from Reno, you’ll first drive through the idyllic surroundings of Washoe Valley, home to Bowers Mansion and Washoe Lake State Park. Both are well worth your time on the way to (or from) Carson City, and will get you all the way excited for the outdoor recreation waiting for you in the capital of Nevada.

carson city tours
Prison Hill Recreation Area

Do go chasing waterfalls at the Kings Canyon Waterfall Trail, a quarter-mile hike to a 25-foot cascade that’s fullest in the spring. Prison Hill Recreation Area is another local favorite that serves up quick and easy access to hiking, mountain biking, trail running, off-roading, and equestrian trails with unbelievable views. A historic ranch turned recreational paradise, Silver Saddle Ranch spans 700+ acres along the Carson River, offering even more tranquil outdoor opportunities for hikers, bikers, and birders. And speaking of making a splash, whitewater rafting and kayaking adventures can be found on the East Fork Carson River. Golfers can tee off at numerous courses in and around Carson City, Nevada, or you can take a pedal-powered train track excursion with the V&T Railway’s Carson Canyon Railbike Tours. And last but nowhere near least, Carson City is only 20 miles from the “Jewel of the Sierra Nevada” – Lake Tahoe. Plan the most gorgeous beach day you’ll ever experience, ski and snowboard a true winter wonderland, or simply take in the jaw-dropping sapphire sights any time of year.

carson city ghosts
West Side Historic District

Carson City doesn’t skimp on arts and culture escapades either. The Brewery Arts Center hosts more than 100 events a year (ranging from theater and live music to art classes and kids programs) on grounds full of public art and an interactive sculpture park. At the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum, you can walk a 110-acre campus that tells firsthand stories of a complex past that changed the course for generations of American Indian children. The museum serves as an epicenter for cultural heritage as well, showcasing art, handicrafts, special events, and more. Don’t forget to pick up or download a map of the self-guided Kit Carson Trail walking tour, too. You’ll stroll 2.5 miles full of historic Victorian-era landmarks from the 1800s, including homes, museums, and churches.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

If you ain’t afraid of no ghosts (or ghost stories), partake in a Carson City Ghost Walk and get bewitched by the supernatural lore surrounding Victorian-era homes and buildings in the West Side Historic District.
Carson City Triathlon
Carson Hot Springs

And remember that Carson City Triathlon we mentioned? Three equally awesome businesses neighbor each other, making it almost too easy to fill an afternoon with sips, dips, and noshes. Pick your preferred order for visiting Carson Hot Springs, Shoe Tree Brewing Company, and Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint, then pat yourself on the back for living like a local. 

Restaurants in Carson City

Sassafras’ fresh and far-out menu (we’re talking black and blue shrimp fondue, superfraggacheesalicious loaf, and a peanut butter and bacon burger) is only the beginning of amazing eats in Carson City. A bakery case full of mouthwatering pastries and desserts – plus tantalizing soups, salads, and sandwiches – awaits at LA Bakery Café & Eatery, which can cater to many kinds of dietary needs. Belly up for super tasty Basque at Villa Basque Café, where you can dig into dishes like paella, lamb stew, and chorizo omelets and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.

carson city breweries
Shoe Tree Brewing Company
carson city restaurants
Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint

At The Union Eatery, Taphouse, and Coffee, “local means fresh” and “fresh means better,” which means a meal here is a must. Pick from pastas, pizzas, and burgers made with locally sourced products while washing ‘em down with house brews. You can also keep the caffeine flowing by swinging through the homey and eclectic Comma Coffee (which also offers food) or sipping specialty coffees at Old World Coffee Lab

carson city hotels
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites- Carson City

Carson City Hotels

The capital of Nevada has no shortage of places to stay. If you want to be in the heart of Carson City’s historic downtown, consider sleeping over at the Saint Charles Hotel (also home to The Fox Brewpub), Hardman House Hotel, or the Plaza Hotel & Events Center. Pets are welcome at The Federal Hotel, which is attached to Max Casino, and you can test your luck on the gaming floor or in the bowling alley at Gold Dust West Hotel Casino & RV Park. Loyal to your favorite lodging chain? You’ll find a Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, and Hampton Inn & Suites in Carson City, Nevada, all boasting the expected amenities. 

Carson City-Area Events

Consider Carson City’s special events the icing on top of an already-awesome cake. Foodies flock to Taste of Downtown, a big ol’ block party featuring small plates from dozens of restaurants, boutique shopping, and live music. Likewise, Capital City Brewfest brings upwards of 30 local and regional breweries together with vendors and bands for fun in the summer sun. 

Count the capital of Nevada in for big cultural celebrations, too. The Stewart Father’s Day Powwow is free to attend and an absolute blast, highlighting American Indian heritage and pride with hundreds of dancers, drum performances, food, and vendors.

nevada day carson city
Nevada Day Celebration
Cathleen Allison/Visit Carson City
carson city events
Stewart Father’s Day Powwow
Cathleen Allison/Visit Carson City

The Jazz & Beyond Music & Art Festival features free concerts, themed days, and specialty showcases, while you can see and shop (and make your own!) gourd art, woodworking, basketry, and all kinds of fine arts and crafts at the Silver State Art Festival

And trust us – no other state celebrates their statehood like the Silver State. The Nevada Day Parade takes over Carson City at the end of every October, including hundreds of floats, Burning Man art cars, marching bands, and a variety of entertainment. A hot air balloon launch and pancake breakfast precede the parade, with beard, rock drilling, and chalk art contents keeping the fun going afterward. There may be other Nevada Day celebrations throughout the state, but nobody does it quite as big as Carson City, Nevada!

#TravelNevada

Care to share your Carson City adventures with us? Tag #TravelNevada so we can ooh and ahh over all the sights you’re seeing in our capital city. 

Did you know Feb 14 is also National Ferris Wheel Day? 🎡 Well the Ferris Wheel has ties deep in Carson City as the Ferris family used to live here in the capital city. Not only did they plant the trees at the capital but their house can also be see on the Kit Carson Trail Walking Tour. 🎡 🏡

Download the Kit Carson Trail Map here: visitcarsoncity.com/kct
The grounds of the capitol building in Carson City were absolutely gorgeous, fall was definitely in the air! 🍁🍂
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Nevada 💛
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#nevadaadventures #treetuesday #itsfallyall #fallisintheair #autumncolors #autumnvibes  #notallwhowanderarelost #TheThirstyWanderers
Had a lovely brunch and ice cream date with @marcus_b_is_cool 💕
The Glenbrook - a wood burning, 2-6-0, 36” narrow gauge steam locomotive built for the Carson and Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Company and then served on the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad. 
🚂Baldwin Locomotive Works| 1875
📷July| 2017
What is your favorite classic cocktail to drink during the holidays?
You almost thought this was just another snow skiing photo in your feed huh? Gotcha! This is some good old backcountry BLM land sand skiing just minutes from our place in Carson City. I happened upon this giant sand hill while running one morning and knew what had to be done 😁
April 2020

#top2020 #familyadventuresofexcellentproportions #countitalljoy
Just a few of the awesome historic homes we saw along the Kit Carson Trail in Carson City, NV. It was hot, but not unbearable because there were a lot of beautiful shade trees. The very large white house with the ionic pillars in photo 5, is the Governor’s Mansion, built in 1909. All the others were built in the 1860s and 1870s. You should definitely check out this historic neighborhood if you’re ever in the area. #kitcarsontrail #carsoncity #historiccarsoncity #westisbest #americanwest #americanfrontier #historicnevada #goldrushcountry #sierranevadas #westernhistory
Sunset tonight. 
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#washoelakestatepark #washoevalley #washoelake #nevada #nvstateparks #nature #naturalnevada #photography #hiking #camping #exploring #openspace #getoutside #nevadastateparks #parkranger #parkrangerlife #stateparks #dontfencemein #northernnevada
The Hot Springs awaits!
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#explorenevada #water #nevadaadventure #nevada #hotsprings #visitcarsoncity #carsoncity #nevadacapital #travelnevada #visitnevada
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