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Carson City

The Wild West thrives in this dynamic intersection of nature, gambling, history and recreation

Centrally located in one of the most scenic and historic parts of the country, Carson City is a must-see for those looking for sightseeing, gambling or traces of America's Wild West history. From its strategic location, with the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west and the vast expanses of desert to the east, Carson City is the ultimate frontier town.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains act as a weather shield for any potential moisture that would otherwise make its way east from the Pacific Ocean, which is why Carson City remains relatively arid in this broad desert basin region. In the 1840s, Kit Carson and John C. Fremont were among the first explorers to venture through the area on their quest to map the West. They were closely followed by the big boom of westbound traffic in search of gold that was rapidly being discovered in California in 1848-49.

The Comstock Lode, the largest silver find in world history, occurred in 1859 when gold prospectors hit silver in the hills east of what is now Carson City. In 1861, Carson City became capital of the Nevada Territory and Nevada was subsequently granted statehood in 1864. Later, in 1873, the Big Bonanza was discovered in another major silver strike. Throughout its history of striking silver, it has become famous as the Silver State Capital.

There are many reasons to visit this beautiful city. For starters, the recreational opportunities that abound within an easy drive are spectacular. Nevada-style gaming is a huge plus, and history buffs will enjoy touring the Capitol Building, a historic landmark that boasts a silver-painted cupola. Walk the Kit Carson Trail, a 2.5-mile path that winds through Carson City's residential homes district. Along the way, there are more than 60 landmarks, including 1800s-era Victorian-style homes, churches and museums.

Gaming, entertainment, and saloons were the norm in the Western Frontier, which unlike other states, Nevada embraced as a much-needed economic boon for the area. To this day, casinos play a major role as popular tourist attractions of this area. From the newest casino, Casino Fandango, to the "Friendliest Casino," Carson City Nugget, they both embody the family-type entertainment that lots of people are looking for today. The Carson Nugget Casino is famous for its in-house bakery and has been a Carson City tourism favorite since 1957. Providing an assortment of slots, sports bars, dancing, delicious restaurants and more, visitors can't seem to get enough of all that Carson City's casinos have to offer.

The V and T Railroad, Virginia & Truckee Company, (Polar Express ride during the Holiday Season)k also draw those looking to experience a bit of history while seeing the beautifully scenic landscape. Connecting Carson City and Virginia City for an hour-and-a-half ride between them, the train runs from May to October each year. With diesel and steam options (steam being the more expensive option), the famously historic route offers many highlights, including a 566-foot-long tunnel, mines, wild mustang sightings and silver ore veins along the way. The Gold Hill Station is a fun attraction. Originally from 1869 (and recently restored in the 1990s), it is located on a sharp curve at one of the few flat places along the line.

Only 15 miles northeast of Carson City is her sister city, Virginia City, where you can enjoy the 100-mile views of mountains and high deserts, tour the mansions and have a bite to eat in the Old Wild West-style saloons that offer live entertainment. Virginia City is famous for the "Bucket of Blood Saloon," the Opera House and the Silver Queen. If you love fudge, you will find some of the best fudge in the whole country in this wild western town of Virginia City. During the time of the Comstock Lode, many people became quick millionaires here, hence; it became known as "the richest place on earth." Virginia City makes for a great day trip from Carson City via the Silver Line Express and has become the nation's largest National Historic Landmark, hosting two million visitors each year.

Museums and shopping, especially for antiques, are two more options for those who would enjoy a relaxing afternoon in downtown Carson City. The Nevada State Museum, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Children's Museum of Northern Nevada and Foreman-Roberts Museum, among others, will give you another perspective on the natural and cultural history of the region. The delightful shopping options include taking a peaceful stroll through the historic downtown Carson City, where many a unique treasure can be found. Since Carson City's past dates back to the mid 1800s, it's ripe with antiques and collectibles at one of the many antique shops around town.

There are many popular trails in and around Carson City—from the Gaming and Entertainment Trail through the various casino hotspots, to the Stewart Indian School Trail, with an 83-building school that was the only boarding school off the reservation that Native Americans went to from 1890 to 1980. The school offers a self-guided walking tour of the campus with audio stories via cell phone for the featured 20 points of interest.

There are many other outdoor recreational activities nearby including snow sports in the winter, bike routes, mountain biking trails, hiking trails and running trails. Hunting, fishing and horseback riding are also fun pastimes that are offered nearby.

With the beauty offered in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, many exciting museums and shopping in its historic downtown, and close-by Virginia City, Carson City is the perfect place to visit for its wealth of history and outdoor adventures.

For More Information:
Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau

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