14 Things To Do In Virginia City, Nevada

best things to do in virginia city nevada us

Imagine living in the Wild West looking for gold and silver in endless mines that either led some to riches or others to their death. This is a fascinating history of Virginia City, Nevada where the community of miners was eventually known as Comstockers because of the Comstock silver they were searching for. Now this once-dynamic and vibrant city is a tourist attraction that allows its visitors to step back and experience what life was like back then.

Take a tour where you might find a glimmer of gold or walk through the town with the preserved buildings and their wild west facades. Feel like watching a good old fashioned bar fight? Enjoy the actors in the saloons as they reenact the behavior of the ruthless Comstockers. To top off your trip back in time, visit the Silver Terrace Cemeteries where you can walk through the gravesites that tell their own history of the immigrants that came to this amazing city in pursuit of their dreams. This place will be your ticket to time travel as you get a taste of the Gold Rush. Check out these top things to do in Virginia City, Nevada!

1. Tour the city or the mines by foot and trolley

Virginia City, Nevada
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Loren Kerns used under CC BY 2.0

We’ve all seen images of the Wild West in movies and that is exactly the image that you will get once you step into this city in Nevada. For those looking for fun Virginia City tours, this historic destination can be explored aboveground and underground. If you’re looking to experience what life was like while searching for silver and gold, then you’ll definitely enjoy the Chollar Mine Tours.

This mine once produced 17 million USD of silver and gold! The half-hour tour runs from Easter through October where you can walk through the mine and learn the history of how it was dug and how it was excavated. You can also take a 20-minute trolley tour above ground that will take you through town year-round to show you the landmarks. There is also the option of doing a historic walking tour that starts right as you enter the town and then leads you through all the major sites. This tour can be done through a mobile app so that you can enjoy it at your own pace!

Chollar Mine Tours

Address: 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: Chollar Mine Tours

Trolley Tours

Address: 86 South C Street, 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: Trolley Tours

Historic walking tour

Address: 86 South C Street, 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: Historic Walking Tours

2. Feel like finding your own treasure? Shop on C Street!

Virginia City, Nevada
Source: Photo by user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Virginia City has a unique shopping experience waiting for those looking to find their own set of treasures whether it be gems, antiques or custom made hats. Check out Virginia City’s historic shopping district for an eclectic mix of shopping that will be entertaining even for the window shoppers! Check out some Native American jewelry at The Silver Stope or head over for some interesting finds at Things, Things, and Things. If you’re looking for a hat that will remind you of your trip to the Wild West then stop on over at the Pioneer Emporium and have a hat made just for you. Wherever you choose to stop along C Street, your treasure will be waiting!

The Silver Stope

Address: 58 N. C Street, 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: The Silver Stope

Things, Things and Things

Address: 122 South C Street, 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: Things, Things and Things

Pioneer Emporium

Address: 144 S C St., 89440 Virginia City, NV

3. Watch an authentic showdown in a saloon

Virginia City, Nevada
Source: Photo by user Brad Armstrong used under CC BY 2.0

Remember all of those famous scenes from Western films where the bar fight breaks out and people start throwing chairs while others hide behind tables? You may not get to see that but you can still have a good time! Step into one of their saloons to take in the sights of how the original Old West community socialized.

Enjoy a drink while you sit in The Bucket of Blood Saloon that hosts camel races every September. Or step into the Ponderosa Saloon where you can take a mine tour and then enjoy a drink at the bar. There is also the Mark Twain Saloon that houses a casino. Whichever watering hole you choose, you are bound to be amused!

Bucket of Blood Saloon

Address: 1 South C Street , 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: Bucket of Blood Saloon

Ponderosa Saloon

Address: 106 S C St, 89440 Virginia City, NV

Mark Twain Saloon Casino

Address: 62 South C Street, 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: Mark Twain Saloon Casino

4. Wander through the historical graves of the Comstockers

Silver Terrace Cemeteries
Source: Photo by user Reno Tahoe Territory used under CC BY 2.0

A trip to Silver Terrace Cemeteries will give you an idea of what kind of community the Comstockers were. With very few people buried there that were actually born in Nevada, the travelers that made this city their home are the majority of the occupants within the cemetery. As you tour the grave site you are able to better understand the interesting history of this historic town and how the energy affected so many people from around the country and the world. This is definitely a stop worth making if you have some history buffs on your hands!

Silver Terrace Cemeteries

Address: 381 Cemetery Rd, 89440 Virginia City, NV

Website: Silver Terrace Cemetery

The following content is contributed by Trip101 writer, Anne

5. Imagine the silver mining past at Chollar Mansion

Chollar Mansion, Virginia City, Nevada
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Chollar Mansion was built in the Victorian Italianate style sometime between 1861 to 1863. This Virginia City attraction once served as the head office for Chollar Mine, as well as the mine superintendent’s home. It was originally built for Billy Chollar, who found the Chollar Silver Lode in 1861. Soon afterward, Chollar lost his mine and home to the bank. The mansion was listed on the National Register of History Places in 1993. Interesting features of Chollar Mansion include an arched vault, which was used in the past to store gold and silver bullion. Visitors can also see the paymaster’s booth, where miners queued each month for their pay.

Chollar Mansion

Address: 565 S D St, Virginia City, NV 89440, United States

6. Get a feel for the Gold Rush at Comstock Gold Mill

The Comstock Lode, Nevada Historical Marker No. 13, Virginia City, Nevada
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Not sure what to see in Virginia City? The working Comstock Gold Mill offers a historic experience in Nevada. Tours of the gold mill are available in the summer months and show what it was like in the 19th century when gold mining was at its peak. While the gold mill is quieter these days, it still gives the feeling of the Gold Rush. This is the only functioning stamp mill in this historic town and it processed millions of dollars worth of gold ore. The gold mill was built in 1864 by Joshua Hendry. It is known as a two-stamp gold mill, which processed ore by crushing it to extract silver and gold. Comstock Gold Mill is now one of only three mills in the area surrounding Virginia City.

Comstock Gold Mill

Address: 435 F St, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

Opening hours: Mon, Thu - Sun: 11am - 3pm (closed on Tue & Wed)

7. Drink in the history at Washoe Club Museum & Saloon

Old Washoe Club in Virginia City (1982)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bill Golladay used under CC BY-SA 4.0

In the excitement of the Golf Rush, Washoe Club Museum & Saloon was known for its luxurious accommodations. Mining magnates flocked here to enjoy the luxury. These days, visitors can enjoy a drink at the oldest saloon in Virginia City. Here, bartenders prepare their signature drinks to give a feeling of the Gold Rush era. These include Millionaires Punch, Ghost Iced Tea, Comstock Load, Leanas Elixir, Blue Lady, Pick Your Poison, Bloody Brain, and Flaming Orb. Not only that, but they also offer daily ghost tours and overnight experiences in the haunted museum. Adventures of this kind in Washoe Club Museum have even been aired on TV.

Washoe Club Museum & Saloon

Address: 112 S C St, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

Website: Washoe Club Museum & Saloon

Opening hours: 11am - 5pm (daily)

8. Learn the history at Fourth Ward School Museum

Fourth Ward School Virginia City NV 1982
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bill Golladay used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The historic Fourth Ward School Museum is the last school of its kind standing in Virginia City today. The school building and its archives offer a fascinating and educational visit. Visitors can tour the school building and also enjoy a historic look into the Comstock mine. In this Virginia City tourist attraction, they can see an original 1870s classroom, photographs of the alumni, exhibits relating to the author Mark Twain, and a letterpress printing machine. They can also view journal entries and books relating to the history of the area. This serves to give a first-hand look at daily life during the Gold Rush.

Fourth Ward School Museum

Address: 537 S C St, Virginia City, Nevadam USA

Website: Fourth Ward School Museum

9. Find out about firefighting history at Comstock Firemen's Museum

Storey County Firehouse 1864
Source: Photo by Flickr user Brent Cooper used under CC BY 2.0

Comstock Firemen’s Museum and Liberty Engine Company No. 1 was set up to display and preserve firefighting equipment and artifacts. The museum displays the history and heritage of firefighting in the area, primarily at Virginia City and Gold Hill. It also explores the impact of fire in those communities. Besides the interesting exhibits, the museum also features a gift shop where visitors can buy a variety of fire-related souvenirs, books, and gifts for the whole family, including a 24-page read, “An Introduction to the Fire Department History of the Comstock Lode", which contains a series of images from the 1984 book, “Red Shirts and Leather Helmets”.

Comstock Firemen's Museum

Address: 125 C St, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

Website: Comstock Firemen’s Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (daily)

10. Explore the haunted Mackay Mansion Museum

Virginia City, Nevada, Mackay Mansion, Virginia City, Nevada
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mackay Mansion was built by the Hearst family in 1859 as a family home. These days, it’s a museum that allows people to explore a genuine, Victorian-era mansion. This is one of the few original buildings in Virginia City to survive major fires of the past. Here, visitors can see the interior’s original furniture, carpeting, chandeliers, wallpaper, and more. Mackay Mansion was owned by John Mackay during the major silver strike, so all mining businesses were conducted here. For those who like ghosts stories and things that go bump in the night, certain paranormal activity is said to have happened in the mansion. A young girl in white has been seen roaming the third floor or in her room with its rocking horse. While filming the movie “Dead Man”, Johnny Depp stayed in Mackay’s bedroom on the third floor, and he claims he saw a young girl running around the third floor while he was there. Two robbers who were killed in a break-in attempt have also been seen by visitors when exploring the vault.

Mackay Mansion Museum

Address: 291 S D St, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

Website: Mackay Mansion Museum

Opening hours: 12pm - 5pm (daily)

11. Check out the views from the historic Fort Homestead

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Fort Homestead was built back in 1860 to serve as citizen fortification during the Paiute War. Its construction includes protective circular stone and earthwork, and it stands on Gold Hill. A cast-iron cannon was placed here in August 1864, to be fired in order to herald special events and Union victories. The cannon was named the “Kearsarge”, for the USS Kearsarge that was sunk during the Civil War. When the death of President Lincoln was announced on April 19, 1865, the cannon was fired each half-hour from dawn until dusk. After the war, a hall was built here, and the site was used for public events.

Fort Homestead

Address: Tunnel Rd,, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

12. Discover the past at Way It Was Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Way it Was Museum gives a view of Nevada’s past in Virginia City. The museum is placed on historic C Street, which is known as one of the Top 10 Historic Main Streets in America. Here, visitors can learn about the region’s rich Western heritage. Exhibits include rare photographs and mining and mineral artifacts from the Comstock Load, as well as lithographs, vintage maps, and other original relics of the American West. The museum is said to house the most complete collection of memorabilia relating to Comstock in the world. Another fascinating exhibit in the museum is a working model and cutaway of a silver and gold mine.

Way It Was Museum

Address: 113 C St, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

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

13. Shop for jewelry and medallions at Marshall Mint

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Minting operations at Marshall Mint in Virginia City started back in 1991. This allowed for quality gold and silver jewelry, medallions, collector coins, and nuggets to be produced. Marshall Mint also has a world-class mineral and gem museum worth exploring. Here, visitors can purchase quality gold and silver jewelry, mineral and gem specimens, collectibles, and more. Among the series on sale are the Angels of the Day medallion and jewelry series, the Wild Mustang silver ingot series, antique and estate jewelry, and Lord and Savior memorials, including Love Thy Neighbor, I Am Healed, I Shall Not Want, and many more.

Marshall Mint

Address: 96 N C Street, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

Website: Marshall Mint

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

14. Enjoy good food at Palace Restaurant & Saloon

Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Palace Saloon & Restaurant has been open on C Street since 1875. The restaurant offers an excellent dining experience in an old saloon atmosphere. Menu items include a range of starters, including zucchini slices and spicy pub pickles. A selection of burgers includes such delights as the Palace Burger, the Garbage Truck, the Three Alarm Burger, and the Comstock Burger. Reubens, salads, and other options are also available. Patrons can enjoy drinks in the original Palace Saloon.

Palace Restaurant & Saloon

Address: 54s C St, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

Website: Palace Restaurant & Saloon

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 4pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 6pm

Virginia City can give you history and excitement

With its well-preserved facades and tours of the mines that made this such a famous town, Virginia City has made it clear that it wants its history remembered. You can have fun by visiting the variety of shops and saloons and you can learn a lot about the people who made their riches here or those who died trying. This town has so much to offer with its glamorous history and will most likely continue to have much to offer for those who seek a little bit of that Gold Rush. On your trip here, be sure to add these things to do in Virginia City to your itinerary.

Frequently asked questions about things to do in Virginia City, Nevada

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Virginia City?

Virginia City, being such a historic destination, offers plenty of attractions that are worth a visit. These include Chollar Mine and Chollar Mansion, Comstock Gold Mill, Fourth Ward School Museum, Mackay Mansion Museum, and Way It Was Museum.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Virginia City?

As Virginia City is packed with historic attractions and museums, most of the outdoor activities involve tours such as Chollar Mine Tours and historic walking tours. The mine tour, in particular, will take you through an old mine tunnel. You can also head out to explore Fort Homestead.

3. What are the most popular things to do with kids and family in Virginia City?

Families will find plenty of museums to visit in Virginia City, including Fourth Ward School Museum, Comstock Fireman’s Museum, and Way It Was Museum. You can also book a trolley tour through the town or spend an afternoon shopping for souvenirs on C Street.

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

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