10 Things to Safely Do In Virginia City, Nevada Right Now
The historic mining town of Virginia City, Nevada, welcomes visitors to immerse themselves with the town’s lively tales and real-life characters for an authentic experience that runs deep. Explore the town while following current safety protocols, such as social distancing, cleanliness, and face masks, and discover 10 ways to connect with history in a whole new way.
1. See the Magic of an Operational Gold Mill with Outlaw Dave Caretaker of the Comstock Gold Mill, Outlaw Dave, is a real-life mining historian eager to reveal the magic of Nevada’s last fully-operational stamp mill. Outlaw Dave offers tours Friday through Sunday providing an up-close experience to how gold was processed from ore to recovery. The sheer magnitude and sound of the operational two stamp mill instantly transport visitors to the boomtown days. For information, visit online
2. Ride the Most Famous American Short Line Railroad in an Open Car Known as Queen of the Short Lines, the Virginia & Truckee Railroad was entrusted with the transport of U.S. Presidents and dignitaries in its ornate trains, as well as hauling millions of dollars worth of silver and gold from the Comstock mines. Today, 80 years after the last train left the Comstock, visitors can once again ride this historic railroad. The V&T Railroad is open Friday through Sunday offering seven 35-minute historic rides from Virginia City to Gold Hill and back. To purchase tickets, visit online.
3. Sip the All-Nevada Made Official Spirit of Virginia City It was once fabled that the only way to safely drink Virginia City’s water was to mix it with two parts gin. Virginia City’s official spirit, Cemetery Gin, is estate distilled, laced with Nevada pine nuts, and is much better tasting than the swill of miners. Virginia City’s various watering holes serve up this silver medal-winning gin along with purchase available at the Visitors Center. Find a saloon.
4. Chance Your Luck at the Piper’s Opera House Bingo Night Get your bingo voice ready on each third Thursday night at Piper’s Opera house for Bingo Night. Cash prizes and donated gifts from local businesses are up for grabs. The historic venue and performing arts center are limiting the recurring event to 50 people and distancing game tables. Twenty-one and older only. Visit online for details.
5. Tour the Mackay Mansion, One of Virginia City’s Few Remaining Original Structure The Mackay Mansion, a real Victorian-era mansion built in 1859 by the Hearst family, hosts small private tours. Guests are welcomed to see the mansion’s original furnishings, peruse the vintage Tiffany silver, listen to historical anecdotes, and stroll the gorgeous grounds with a 100-mile view. For information, visit online.
6. Enjoy Open-Air on a Virginia City Trolley Tour Guests are encouraged to sit back and relax in a narrated open-air trolley where Virginia City’s landmarks, history, and views are highlighted. The two and a half-mile, 20-minute tour is a great way to kick off a day in Virginia City and dive deeper into what the town is all about. Visit online.
7. Get Intimate with the Bonanza Period at The Way It Was Museum The Way It Was Museum boasts the most complete collection of Comstock mining artifacts in the world and houses rare photos, lithographs, and maps of Virginia City during its mining boom. A limited number of guests are allowed to enter the museum at one time. For details, visit online.
8. Test Your Skills in an Escape Room Virginia City is home to a new kind of adventure, where your smarts are put to the test as you race against the clock to unlock the mystery and discover gold. The Virginia City Escape Room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., by request or walk-in, and offers visitors a chance to learn a little Virginia City history while having loads of fun. To book your adventure, visit online.
9. Walk the Cemetery and Relive Spirits of the Past Virginia City is home to two historic cemeteries, the Silver Terrace Cemetery and the Gold Hill Cemetery, where nearly every plot is fenced or bordered in Victorian-period design. The inscriptions and birthplaces on the markers give silent testimony to the social and economic fabric of the region where people immigrated from afar to support the Comstock mining industry. Take a self-guided tour with the downloadable audio tour available online. More information available online.
10. Tour Nevada’s Oldest Catholic Church St. Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church is arguably the most prominent historical structure and institution in Virginia City, and it’s the oldest Catholic Church in Nevada. Having been preserved during and since the Great Fire of 1875, the church is an architectural fixture in the Virginia City skyline. Take a free tour of the museum and wine cellar where numerous church artifacts and photographs are on display. Mass is held Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. and is limited to no more than 50 parishioners to ensure social distancing. St. Mary also has an extensive gift shop that supports the small parish and restoration project. Listen to an audio Tour of St. Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church by visiting online.
These and more Virginia City adventures start at the Visitors Center. Learn about up-to-date attraction hours and operation, ask questions, and purchase discounted attraction tickets or a Comstock Adventure Pass – offering packaged passes. Start planning an adventure in Virginia City, visit VisitVirginiaCityNV.com.