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Carson City

Explore Nevada's State Capital

Things to do in Carson City, Nevada

In 1861, the writer Mark Twain added to the notoriety of Carson City by publishing the following description:

“It nestled in the edge of a great plain and was a sufficient number of miles away to look like an assemblage of mere white spots. The mountain summits overlooking it seemed lifted clear out of companionship and consciousness of earthly things.”

Although Mark Twain visited Carson City NV almost 150 years ago in 1861, the city is still considered a town that is dominated by its spectacular setting. The town maintains the charm of its 1860s gold and silver town roots.

Reno to Carson City

A 30-minute drive from Reno, Carson City is its own best attraction, and a leisurely walk through its historic neighborhoods is the best way to get acquainted with this pleasant little city at the base of the Sierra Nevada.

Carson City Outdoor Activities

Less than 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe, Carson City provides various outdoor opportunities including golfing, hiking and biking trails, and four-wheeling. You can experience our State Capitol in many ways. Perhaps by taking a walk along the Carson River or even hiking Kings Canyon Waterfall Trail.

Carson City Shopping

In addition to its historical significance, Carson City is a growing small-town hub of arts and culture with unique shopping and dining experiences. Shops like The Purple Avocado and Due Sorella are locally-owned gift shops that offer one-of-a-kind items for you or that special one in your life. If you are looking for something a little flashier, check out The Jewelry Bench or Fresh Ideas Shop.

Carson City Dining

Once you have shopped until you are about to drop, there are a variety of restaurants and breweries along North Carson Street and around downtown that highlight just how unique Carson City is. Some local dining favorites include The Union and Kei Sushi, but there is no shortage of restaurants to choose from.

Carson City Arts and Culture

Nevada State Museum

The immense production of gold and silver from the Comstock mines prompted the establishment of a branch U.S. Mint in Carson City in 1866. The handsome structure on the northeast corner of Carson Street and Robinson was built of prison-quarried sandstone and produced nearly $50 million in coin of the realm until it closed down in 1933.

Nevada Capitol Building

This solemn old sandstone monument to the 19th century has been earthquake-proofed and renovated throughout, but its Alaskan marbled halls are still decorated with elaborate friezes, and hung with the portraits of former governors, back to “Broadhorn” Bradley and James Nye, the New Yorker whose loyalty to the Union was rewarded with the governorship of the Nevada Territory in 1861. The present governor and other top state officials continue to do the state’s business here, but the original Senate, Assembly and Supreme Court Chambers upstairs are most often used for exhibit space and usually open to visitors.

Nevada State Railroad Museum

This small but satisfying museum is a showplace for what remains of railroading in Carson City. The locomotives, coaches and cars inside the museum building are like jewelry, and the steamers that carry passengers back and forth across the grounds are the real thing.

Nevada Children's Museum

This venerable building was once Carson City’s library, but there’s no shushing inside these days, as toddlers through pre-teens find their way through this welcoming environment. This experience brings play and learning together, inspiring creativity and imagination.

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