Take a short drive from Reno and you’ll discover Virginia city, nevada. at the peak of the silver rush on the comstock Lode in the mid-1870s, more than 25,000 people called the bustling city home. Hundreds of boarding houses, bars and brothels lined the streets of Virginia city, catering to the needs of the hopeful miners. the locals will tell you the wealth discovered here helped build San Francisco. even mark twain settled here for a short time, writing for one of the local newspapers. today, a trip to Virginia city is a trip back in time to explore the exquisitely preserved churches, opera house, school and more.
Take your pick: Hitch a ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, rebuilt in 1974. Go deep below the surface on the Chollar Mine or Ponderosa Mine tours and then pan for gold at the 1860s Comstock Gold Mill. Tour the Mackey Mansion, Piper Opera House and historic St. Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church. Virginia City’s most notorious residents can still be found at Silver Terrace and Gold Hill cemeteries. Explore The Way It Was Museum. VisitVirginiaCityNV.com
Are you afraid of ghosts? The 134-year-old Silver Queen Hotel has been featured on Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” more than once! The 28-room hotel gets its name from a stunning historic painting of a woman adorned with thousands of real silver dollars. Grab a drink in the saloon or get hitched in the adjoining wedding chapel. The Captain & Tennille were married there in 1970 and renewed their vows in 1995. (They recently divorced.) SilverQueenHotel.net.
The best barbecue in town can be found at Virginia City Beef Jerky Company. In addition to the signature strips of savory jerky, the house speciality is a smoky beef tri-tip sandwich. After a long day, enjoy a juicy steak at the world famous Mustang Ranch Saloon and wash it down with a cocktail from the Red Light Bar downstairs. Now a pizza parlor, the Red Dog Saloon was the birthplace of the LSD-fueled psychedelic rock scene in 1965. VisitVirginiaCityNV.com
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