History Meets Nature: 12 Best Things To Do In Carson City, Nevada

best things to do in carson city nevada us

There’s more to Nevada than Las Vegas, find out about the best things to do in the hidden gem, Carson City below.

When you think of the state of Nevada, it is possible that the first word that comes to your mind is “casino,” as Nevada is the home of the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas. Many visitors are attracted to the magnificent hotel lights that are seen from far away in the desert and advertise casinos and shows. However, Nevada holds a well-kept secret in the history and nature that is the spirit of its capital: Carson City. If you already know that roulette and blackjack can be found in Nevada, but want to know why it is officially known as the “Silver State,” take a look at these activities. Check out these 12 best things to do in Carson City, Nevada.

1. Nevada State Museum

Nevada State Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Scott Schrantz used under CC BY-SA 3.0

You can start your journey into the history of Nevada by visiting this Carson City attraction. Nevada State Museum is located in the downtown area. It offers tours to visitors, but they are subject to availability of volunteers. However, you can contact the education office at [email protected] and ask about the Behind the Scenes tour of the Natural History collections. If you prefer to visit the museum on your own, you still can go through four excellent permanent exhibitions: Carson City Mint, Nevada’s Changing Earth, Nevada: A People & Place Through Time, and Under One Sky. A great way to start your trip into the state’s soul.

Address: 600 North Carson Street, 89701 Carson City, Nevada

Website: Nevada State Museum

2. V & T Railway to Virginia City

Train ride
Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Carson City, why not go on a train ride? Trains are deeply linked to the history of mining communities. The V&T company history started in the 1880s and had a deep impact in the Nevada state. After the discovery of rich silver and gold deposits in Virginia City, a train was needed to transport the minerals from the mines to the mills along the Carson River for refining. You can jump on the wagons of this train and take the Carson City-Virginia City “Sisters in History Route” to enjoy a 39-kilometer (24-mile) scenic route through the Virginia Range. This ride includes a fully narrated tour of sights like the American Flat, the site of a once-bustling mining town and a 173-meter (566-foot) long tunnel.

Address: 4650 Eastgate Siding Road, 89701 Carson City, Nevada

Website: V & T Railway to Virginia City

3. Lake Tahoe and Chimney Beach

Sand Harbor - Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Source: Photo by Flickr user Trevor Bexon used under CC BY 2.0

The border between California and Nevada holds the largest alpine lake in North America. Located just minutes from downtown Carson City, Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for both summer and winter sports, with crystal clear waters and a privileged view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Outdoor enthusiasts have a wide range of activities to enjoy: hang gliding, kayaking, fishing, skiing and snowboarding, camping and much more. The area offers a great number of beautiful hikes, like Chimney Beach. This 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) trail leads to a more private and quieter beach, perfect for a summer afternoon.

Address: 169 US-50, 89449 Stateline, NV

Website: Lake Tahoe and Chimney Beach

4. Secret Cove

Secret Cove, Sand Harbor 2014
Source: Photo by user ray_explores used under CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for secluded places to visit in Carson City, then Secret Cove might interest you. If you wish to spend more time outdoors by Lake Tahoe’s water and prefer an undisturbed beach, you can find more tranquility in Secret Cove. It will take you a 20-minute drive on Highway 28 to get to the Secret Harbor Parking area, from where you can do a 20-minute hike to get to the beach. Be advised that there are no picnic tables or barbecue areas, it’s just nature and you!

Address: Highway 28, 89452 Incline Village, NV

Website: Secret Cove

5. Antique shopping in Curry Street

Carson City - panoramio (38)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Patrick Nouhaille... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Whether you are into collecting pieces of history or you just want an authentic souvenir from your trip to Carson, you can stroll down Curry Street to find hidden treasures in the many antique shops in town. The most popular stores are Due Sorella (Two Sisters), which offers a wonderful collection of re-purposed and new antiques for home and garden, and Westwall Militaria, who specializes in WWII and earlier Military Antiques and Collectibles.

Address: Curry Street, Carson City, NV

Website: Antique Shopping in Curry Street

6. Nevada State Railroad Museum

USA 2012 1639 - Carson City - Nevada State Railroad Museum
Source: Photo by user Klaus Nahr used under CC BY-SA 2.0

You can continue your journey into the history of the state in the Nevada State Railroad Museum, which proudly dedicates to educating visitors and the community about Nevada railroad history. The museum features a wonderful collection of artifacts, photographs and memorabilia related to trains, and even offers steam train rides or motor car rides every weekend throughout the summer. Don’t miss it!

Address: 2180 S. Carson Street, 89701 Carson City, NV

Website: Nevada State Railroad Museum

7. Nevada State Capitol Building

Carson city nevada capitol
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY 2.0

As the capital of the state of Nevada, Carson City holds departments that are of vital importance to the political life of the state. However, some of the buildings are worth a visit because of their beautiful architecture too. The Capitol complex is located in the heart of Carson City and includes the State Capitol, Legislative Building, Supreme Court, and State Library and Archives. The State Capitol is the second oldest capitol building west of the Mississippi River and is opened to the public for self-guided tours.

Address: 101 North Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada

Website: Nevada State Capitol Building

8. Prison Hill Recreational Area

Prison Hill trail , Carson City
Source: Photo by user Patrick Nouhailler used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Those wondering what to do in Carson City can visit Prison Hill Recreational Area. Deriving its name from the two penitentiaries nearby, it is one of the most popular recreational areas in the city. Prison Hill is located on the southeast side of town and is an excellent choice if you want to hike, mountain bike or horseback ride. You can even join the half marathon race called “Escape from Prison Hill” if you visit Carson in April. The mountain offers wonderful views over Carson City and also of the Carson Range, Eagle Valley, the Carson River and the Pine Nut Mountain Range to the east. If you are lucky, you may even see local fauna, including golden eagles.

Address: 5665 Morgan Mill Rd, 89701 Carson City, NV

Website: Prison Hill Recreational Area

9. Fuji Park

Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The perfect place for a picnic! With a 6-hectare (14-acre) space, Fuji Park has everything you need to spend a great day: playground area, benches, picnic tables, a covered picnic shelter with electrical outlets and heated year-round restrooms. The city often holds public events in the field, like the Carson City Fair that takes place in July. You can stop at Tacos El Guero Food Truck (910 E. William St) on your way there.

Address: 601 Old Clear Creek Rd, 89701 Carson City, NV

Website: Fuji Park

10. Children's Museum of Northern Nevada

Get Moving at the Glazer Children's Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Glazer Children's... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Keep your kids entertained for hours on end by taking them to Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada in Carson City. This amazing museum is filled with a range of interactive displays, exhibits and activities that will enthral the kids. Meant to stimulate your child’s imagination, various hands-on experiences provide entertainment along with education. From a space shuttle that kids can ride through an art room to story-telling sessions, there are a variety of offerings for children of all ages.

Children's Museum of Northern Nevada

Address: 813 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, United States

Website: Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada

Opening hours: 10am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 10 USD

11. Snow Valley Peak

Snow Valley Peak
Source: Photo by Flickr user sxl used under CC BY 2.0

For some outdoor adventure and excitement, plan to summit Snow Valley Peak in Carson City. This peak is part of Carson Range and rises to an elevation of 2808 meters (9213 feet). It a popular spot for hiking and trekking and can be easily accessed via the scenic Tahoe Rim Trail. Enjoy taking in beautiful vistas of the plains, surroundings mountains, valleys and Lake Tahoe from the summit. The trail is a relatively easy one and offers plenty of photo opportunities.

Snow Valley Peak

Address: Carson City, NV 89703, United States

12. Kings Canyon Waterfalls

Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life by hiking up to Kings Canyon Waterfalls in Carson City. From the trailhead, you need to hike for just 0.4 km (0.25 mi) to reach this 25 feet (7.62 meters) cascading waterfall. Just a short five-minute drive from downtown and you and your family will reach this amazing waterfall. Offering respite from the Nevada heat, the waterfall is perfect for indulging in a refreshing swim. You can even enjoy a picnic at this spot.

Kings Canyon Waterfalls

Address: Kings Canyon Rd, Carson City, NV 89703, United States

Ready to go?

Carson City has the perfect activities for you to enjoy the natural beauties of the state of Nevada and to learn more about its history. You can bet you will have a wonderful time. Have a great trip!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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When she is not backpacking round the globe, Emilia Lugo works as a Digital Content Specialist in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She considers herself a museum geek and loves destinations that can take...Read more

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