Located 30 minutes from Reno and about an hour from Lake Tahoe, Virginia City is a popular place to visit for historical trips owing to its long history of mining and Wild West historical sights on offer. Virginia City is a great offbeat destination for families. Mine tours, locomotive steam trains, and Wild West saloons can be found all over the city, and people with specific penchants for ghost stories will be tickled to discover Wild West lore circulating the large number of people who were killed in the Wild West days – both by shooting and by suicide. As such, Virginia City is a destination for ghost hunters. Some people come for a day trip, but many stay the night in one of the themed hotels or inns to maximize their experience.
To fully appreciate the iconic mining history of Virginia City, a mine tour is a must. Chollar Mine Tours runs tours that take visitors through what was once the leading producer on the Comstock, blasting and carting out 17 million dollars worth of gold and silver. The guided tour takes half an hour, and visitors get to see frameworks of timber to support the structure of the mine and other mining equipment used at the time as well as shiny rocks of silver ore and golden nuggets.
See history passing outside the windows of a locomotive along the official Virginia and Truckee Railroad. Visitors can choose the route they’d like to take – "Sisters in History Route" or the "Historic Route" – and jump aboard the train to ride through the multimillion dollar reconstruction of the historic railroad that once connected Reno with Carson City, Virginia City and Minden. The train takes passengers departing at Virginia City three miles along the original line past old mines and silver ore veins.
Nothing will transport you back to the Wild West mood quite like a visit to a real saloon. Visitors can sip on a cold one in Bucket of Blood, a curiously named pub that dates back to 1876, period-restored to honor its Old West legacy – with some modern alterations. The Bucket also features live country music every weekend which aids in the lively atmosphere. Another bar and music venue, The Red Dog Saloon also has its roots in the days of the Comstock mines, but the real story began in the ‘60s when a couple of young San Francisco refugees bought the historic building and turned it into a running bar with a regular host of young performer friends. As such, the Red Dog in VC is now, astoundingly, attributed to being the birthplace of San Francisco-style Rock and Roll. To this day, visitors can enjoy a cold beer and a slice of pizza and jam out to local acts.
There’s little else one can ask for when they stay at this historic 134-year-old hotel. This place has ghost tours, an in-house wedding chapel, an antique store, a massive wood panelled saloon decked out with Old West trinkets and a miner’s vibe, and 28 period restored rooms with tall ceilings and even claw-foot bathtubs. From the outset, guests of this hotel should know that this will be a festive stay – and if there was any question, the daily scheduled ghost tour of the premise should confirm all doubts.