Nestled in the northwestern part of the state, just a short jaunt from both Lake Tahoe and Reno, is Carson City, Nevada’s proud state capital. The city, built on the cornerstones of mining, logging and the mighty Virginia & Truckee Railroad, was named for frontiersman Christopher “Kit” Carson, who scouted the area for John C. Fremont in the mid 1840s. And while the city has all the modern amenities for a state capital could hope for, its roots are evident nearly everywhere you look.
Carson City does a fine job of melding shopping, dining, culture and nightlife while still maintaining its old-fashioned charm. Part of that can be credited to the grand structures gracing the downtown corridor, which houses shops, restaurants and museums. And that’s not including the original capitol building erected in 1870 and the later additions, which include the Legislative Building, Supreme Court and State Library and Archives, which all sit in a beautiful campus setting. Visitors to the picture-perfect downtown Carson City can visit the park-like grounds of the capitol (please note: due to COVID-19, the capitol building is closed to the public until further notice), take a train ride at the Nevada State Railroad Museum or learn about Nevada’s more ancient history at the Nevada State Museum, formerly a U.S. mint. The Kit Carson Trail is a self-guided year-round walk visitors can take to drink in some of the most historic spots in the city.
Aside from fascinating history in Nevada’s Capital City, travelers can enjoy a variety of events that are hosted in the area. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the monthly Wine Walk—a refreshing amble through the downtown shops and restaurants—while the annual Kit Carson Ghost Walk is the perfect way to learn about the historic homes and their ghostly inhabitants. And since Nevada is one of the few states to celebrate its admission to the Union, Carson City’s annual Nevada Day festivities [held on or around October 31st] are always a good time. Beloved events include a parade, an 1864 Grand Ball, the longest-beard contest, and the World Championship Rock Drilling Contest.
The city’s location on the eastern side of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada is optimal as it serves up unlimited year-round outdoor recreation opportunities, like fishing, boating, hiking, biking, golf and a plethora of snow sports. In the winter, Carson City is the perfect place to stay while exploring the nearby ski terrain. With a whopping 18 ski resorts all within 35 miles of the capital, Carson City is an excellent launching pad for winter recreational splendor. The region is also home to the Divine Nine, a group of nine golf courses that include Genoa Lakes Golf Club, Eagle Valley Golf Course and Silver Oak Golf Club, and are begging to be enjoyed during the warmer months. Each course offers something a little different, but all take advantage of the crisp mountain air, offering little resistance to the ball as it soars from the tee to the pin. While visiting the Capital City, be sure to take advantage of miles upon miles of impressive mountain biking terrain and hiking trails.