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Virginia City, a 45-minute drive up Geiger Grade from Reno, is a honky-tonk town. She always has been. Fortune tellers, dog and pony shows, patent medicine men and 72 saloons provided entertainment in the early days after the silver discovery of 1859. Over the next two decades, the town grew to be the second largest west of Chicago. A whopping $38 million in silver was taken from its mines in 1876, the “Queen of the Comstock’s” most fabulous year. Opulent mansions with furnishings imported from Europe, wooden bungalows and more than 200 business places along C Street proclaimed the city’s importance. Today, many of the buildings from the ...

Virginia City, a 45-minute drive up Geiger Grade from Reno, is a honky-tonk town. She always has been. Fortune tellers, dog and pony shows, patent medicine men and 72 saloons provided entertainment in the early days after the silver discovery of 1859. Over the next two decades, the town grew to be the second largest west of Chicago. A whopping $38 million in silver was taken from its mines in 1876, the “Queen of the Comstock’s” most fabulous year. Opulent mansions with furnishings imported from Europe, wooden bungalows and more than 200 business places along C Street proclaimed the city’s importance. Today, many of the buildings from the mid-1870s still line the street’s board sidewalks. Sounds of country music and Dixieland jazz waft through the swinging doors of C Street saloons. Some sightseers climb aboard the motorized cable car that tours the town. Others spend the day strolling along C Street with its museums and shops. One museum contains Mark Twain’s desk during his two-year stint at the Territorial Enterprise. Others focus on gambling devices, fire engines, old radios and Comstock history. The International Hotel, the first west of the Mississippi to have a “rising room” (elevator), now houses a fudge shop. Most of the other buildings, however, reflect their former nineteenth-century glory.

Connie Emerson
About the Expert

Connie Emerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Cheapskate's Guide to Branson, Missouri and Eyewitness Top Ten Travel Guide – Las Vegas.

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Connie Emerson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Western United States, approximately 30 miles from Lake Tahoe.
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April through October. Wintertime is beautiful with snow on the ground, but roads can be treacherous.