Discover an Authentic Modern Day Bonanza for All Ages
VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. — Long before theme parks, amusement centers and family resorts there was Virginia City, a thriving modern-day Bonanza that was once the largest city west of Denver. Virginia City made a name for itself in 1859 when eager prospectors struck it rich and the Comstock Lode was unearthed. Seemingly frozen in time, Virginia City’s historical significance has been carefully preserved through the community’s shared culture of keeping the history alive. Today’s Virginia City is steeped in attractions, activities and adventures reminiscent of Mark Twain’s fictional tales. For families, Virginia City is a firsthand history lesson; full of living legends, exciting tales and new friends.
Befriend a Living Legend
The folks who call Virginia City home make this 900-resident town a must-stop for families. The characters of Virginia City embrace the mountain town’s mining history wholeheartedly. Kids will delight in meeting friendly docents, eager to volunteer their extensive knowledge of Virginia City’s past. Family strolls down C Street, Virginia City’s main drag, often result in acquaintances with Bernadette, the town’s resident donkey, and so many more memorable personalities. A glance out upon Virginia City’s outskirts often reveals wild horse sightings, an impression that will last a lifetime.
Hands-on Tales From the Past
Teaching kids to love history is easy when it’s something they can experience for themselves. Virginia City’s history comes alive through the town’s extensive museums, mines and historical attractions.
There are 17 museums in the quaint town of Virginia City. The Way It Was Museum takes families back in time to show what daily life was like during the heyday. The historic Fourth Ward School and Museum is the last four-story school building of its kind still standing in the U.S. For safety reasons, most multi-level school buildings were destroyed due to the risk of fire. Visitors to the Fourth Ward School can sit in the same wooden desks that students did in 1876 when the school was built. For more on the museums that abound Virginia City, visit online.
Virginia City has memorable hands-on history lessons, where little hands can get a grasp on history. Back in Virginia City’s booming mining days, seven million tons of silver ore were produced from the Comstock – equating to more than $600 million in both silver and gold in current money. Today, Virginia City offers mine tours of two of these producing mines: the Chollar Mine and the Ponderosa Mine, both kid-friendly. Tours of the town’s mills, mining companies and minting operations paint a picture of how the treasures were produced. For more on Virginia City mines, please visit online.
Virginia City’s historical attractions, full of Victorian character, have been thoughtfully restored. Many of the attractions are in operation today, creating authentic memories that can only be found on the Comstock. Families can hop aboard the most famous of all-American Short Line railroads, the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, for a scenic ride that’s powered by hard working steam or heritage diesel locomotives. Families can also enjoy live performances at Piper’s Opera House, one of the most significant vintage theaters on the West Coast. Holiday performances are particularly magical from the stage of this historic theater. For more information on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, please visit online. For more on Piper’s Opera House, please visit online. For more information on Virginia City’s attractions, please visit online.
Sweet Treats and Memory Makers
There’s no shortage of treats to be found in Virginia City. Walking down the boardwalk one is sure to spot several visitors enjoying ice cream or fudge treats from Grandma’s Fudge Factory. Families delight in the variety of locally made candy, fudge, brittles and more. For longer lasting memories, take a family portrait at one of the many old-time photo shops. It’s not hard to get kids to play dress up in these fun shops. Take home more memories with a special trinket or antique from one of the many gift or antique shops found along C Street.
Plan a Family Stay
Be it a day trip or an overnight stay, Virginia City is an easy destination for families to get to. Reno-Tahoe International Airport is just 30 minutes away. Day trips from Lake Tahoe are a scenic one-hour drive. For overnight stays, Virginia City has lodging options that are great for families. For a more modern stay, and a pool and hot tub, try the Silverland Inn & Suites. Or for a more authentic stay, the Sugarloaf Mountain Motel offers cozy rooms and a convenient market to purchase any necessary items, common when traveling with little ones. When appetites rise after all-day exploration, Virginia City is a great place for family dining. With a “come as you are” mantra, each restaurant, eatery, snack and candy shop is inviting. Kid-friendly menus are plentiful and parents will delight in the famous saloon offerings. For more on planning a trip to Virginia City, please visit online. For more on Virginia City’s restaurants and saloons, please visit online.
The Virginia City Experiences for Families Itinerary is great start to uncovering Virginia City’s characters, tales and attractions. All of Virginia City’s businesses and attractions are adhering to State of Nevada guidelines to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Masks are required and social distancing is enforced.
A short 30-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport takes visitors to one of the largest historic districts in the United States – Virginia City, Nevada. Come experience this mining “boomtown” as it was in the 1800’s. Step back in time while visiting the numerous historic buildings, saloons, churches and museums or take a mine tour or even ride a real steam train. The Comstock Adventure Passes offer the best value with discounted attraction packages. For lodging, event calendar or Comstock Adventure Passes, visit online or call 775-847-7500. The Visitor Information Center is located at 86 South C Street, Virginia City.
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