Virginia & Truckee Itinerary
You’re on your way to “the richest place on Earth,” Virginia City, Nevada, and there’s a lot to see and do. With just a few short hours to spend in this national historic district, one of the largest in the country, we’ve outlined a few ideas for you to find just the kind of experience you’re looking for. Of course, we invite you to come back and take your time in our small town. You never know what kind of stories you’ll hear or what kind of fun you’ll have.
Virginia City Saloons Tour
At one time, this town boasted a population of more than 25,000 and had as many as 115 saloons to quench all that thirst. The hard life and good times of the Comstock are remembered in its saloons today. Many saloons have maintained their 19th century appearance and stepping in their doors is like stepping back in time. A visitor today can get much more than their favorite cocktail at any one of the town’s ten bars; they’ll get a history lesson and an experience to last a lifetime. Here’s just a few of the saloons to visit on this trip:
Start out at the Delta Saloon and Casino, located on C Street in the heart of town. It’s home to the “suicide table” where heavy gaming losses led to gamblers losing their lives in the height of the mining and milling period. Truth be told, one Black Jake reportedly lost $70,000 in one night before turning a gun on himself.
Head north up C Street a few doors and find the Red Dog Saloon. More peaceful gatherings may have come in the 20th century when the likes of legendary rock singer Janis Joplin made an appearance at the Red Dog Saloon in 1968 with the house act Big Brother Holding Co. – which became her backup band in San Francisco. The Red Dog often hosts live music, so be sure to check out their upcoming schedule. Another great reason to stop by the Red Dog? They’ve got great food, and you’ll need something in your stomach to continue touring saloons!
Continue north and you’ll find the most recent saloon to start serving up cold brews. The Virginia City Brewery and Taphouse opened in spring 2015 and offers up some cold brews, great mixed drinks and that old timey atmosphere that can only be found in Virginia City.
Heading south and across C Street, be sure to hit up the famous Bucket of Blood Saloon. The story goes that after raucous fights at night, the mop bucket would be red with blood each morning. They’re famous for their Bloody Mary, fitting, don’t you think?
Further south on C Street and heading back toward the depot, pop by the Millionaires Washoe Club of 1862, the oldest saloon in Virginia City. It still wields the original chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a reminder of the fortune and wealth that once passed through its doors.
Delta Saloon: 18 C Street
Red Dog Saloon: 76 North C Street
Virginia City Brewery and Taphouse: 62 North C Street
Bucket of Blood: 1 South C Street
Washoe Club: 112 South C Street
Virginia City Experiences for Families
Teaching kids to love history is easy when it’s something they can experience for themselves. Make your first stop the Visitors Center, located at 86 South C Street, to purchase discounted attraction and museum passes. Then head out to explore!
Virginia City offers two mine tours, the Chollar Mine and the Ponderosa Mine Tour, both kid-friendly. The Ponderosa Mine Tour features the Best and Belcher mine shaft and it’s conveniently located just a few doors down from the Visitors Center in the back of the Ponderosa Saloon, which used to be the Bank of California building (you can still see the original vault). The tour guide takes your group into the depths of the mine and lets you experience what it was really like down there, including when your candle blew out!
Once you emerge into the daylight, let the kids discover another kind of mining – panning. Just across the street from the Ponderosa, the Virginia City Mining Company offers kids, and adults, the chance to strike it rich panning for either gems or gold. Eureka!
All of that mining work probably worked up an appetite, and Virginia City is famous for treating kids to all the sugary goodness they can handle. Head north on C Street a block or so to Red’s Old Fashioned Candies for candied apples in a variety of flavors you didn’t even know possible. Yes, you can pick up a sandwich for lunch, too. Then head to Grandma’s Fudge Factory for some chocolate samples and amazing fudge flavors, then finish off the splurging at Barrels of Candy where kids’ eyes pop at the sight of so much sweet goodness.
Ponderosa Mine Tour: 106 South C Street
Virginia City Mining Company: 171 South C Street
Red’s Old Fashioned Candies: 68 South C Street
Grandma’s Fudge Factory: 20 North C Street
Barrels of Candy: 13 North C Street
Virginia City History Buffs
For the history lovers on board, Virginia City is about to become your favorite stop. Never mind that it’s the only stop on this particular train. There are 17 museums in town, but there’s no way you can visit them all on this trip. Take note and plan a day (or two!) to come back and explore them at your leisure. In fact, the first Friday of each month, ten of the participating museums have waived their admission as part of #FlashbackFriday Museum Day. Head to VisitVirginiaCItyNV.com for details.
The Virginia City Visitors Center, located at 86 South C Street, offers discounted museum passes to most museums. Make that your first stop as you plan your adventure.
For a good overview of Comstock history, start your tour off at The Way It Was Museum. It features the most complete collection of Comstock mining artifacts in the world, plus historic photos and displays.
Next, head up to B Street and see the Storey County Courthouse, the oldest operating courthouse in the state of Nevada. It features a Lady of Justice without her blindfold, showing that justice was not blind on the Comstock. Located on the north side of the building is the entrance to the Silver State National Peace Officers Museum which contains an extensive collection of police officer memorabilia dating back to the 1700s.
For those looking for the darker side of history on the Comstock, the newly renovated Julia Bulette Red Light Museum features elements of prostitution in Virginia City and chronicles the town’s most famous Madame. Visitors to this museum must be 18 years or older.
Heading back toward the depot, pop by the Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise. See where the famous author penned his work at the desk he sat in while working as a reporter for the newspaper.
The Way It Was Museum: 113 North C Street
Storey County Courthouse: 26 South B Street
Silver State National Peace Officers Museum: 26 South B Street
Julia Bulette Red Light Museum: 5 North C Street
Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise: 53 South C Street
For more information on Virginia City and our attractions, lodging, restaurants, shops and museums, download our mobile app, available for iPhone and Android devices. The app includes everything you’ll need to know as you explore our town, including a historic walking tour.
Start planning your next visit now.