The capital of Nevada, Carson City boasts an array of outdoor adventures, historical attractions, museums, art galleries and theaters, challenging golf courses, gaming opportunities, fine restaurants, and a plethora of events and entertainment. Located just minutes from world-renowned Lake Tahoe, historic Virginia City, electrifying Reno, and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range, Carson City won’t fail to deliver when it comes to enjoying all the sights and sounds of this dynamic city. Resting in the center is the 19th century Nevada State Capitol Building with its grand silver cupola, and other attractions not to be missed are the Nevada State Museum with its mammoth skeleton, underground mine, and ancient coin press, the Nevada State Railroad Museum, and the fun-filled Children's Museum of Northern Nevada.
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Located a short drive from downtown Carson City, Lake Tahoe is one of nature’s glorious wonders. Boasting breathtaking natural scenery, crystal-clear waters, and spectacular views of the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is one of the most famous and sought-after destination locations in the world. Surrounded by dense pine forests, majestic mountains, and miles of white sandy beaches, Lake Tahoe is a favorite spot for both summer and winter vacations, offering a plethora of activities and recreational pursuits. Visitors in the summer can enjoy camping, fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, golf, and mountain biking, while the winter months offer many world-class ski resorts, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and more, in addition to the many year-round activities such as gaming and gambling, sightseeing, scenic drives, and cruise dining.
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2.Nevada State Museum
© Nevada State Museum
Located at the Springs Reserve, the Nevada State Museum is one of seven Nevada State Museums that focus on the natural history of the region and the development of Las Vegas. Established as the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society in 2008 and later renamed the Nevada State Museum, the institution boasts 11,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space housing displays of variety of artifacts and items relating to the regional and natural history of the area, including an in-depth treatment of Las Vegas history and a 13-foot articulated mammoth skeleton. The Nevada State Museum offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, classes, family days, and other events throughout the year.
600 N. Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-687-4810
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3.Nevada State Railroad Museum
© Nevada State Railroad Museum
The Nevada State Railroad Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the railroad heritage of Nevada. The museum features a collection of locomotives and railroad cars from the renowned Virginia and Truckee Railroad as well as exhibits and displays of railroad equipment, rail-related artifacts and objects, and more. The museum offers fun activities such as handcar and train rides, lectures and workshops, an annual railroad history symposium, and a variety of special events throughout the year. The museum also has an ongoing research and restoration program and is home to the Wabuska Railroad Station, which was recently relocated to the museum’s grounds and is still used as a working railroad station, where tickets for the museum train rides can be bought.
2180 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-687-6953
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4.Bowers Mansion Regional Park
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Located between Carson City and Reno on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, Bowers Mansion Regional Park is a beautifully maintained green space that features expansive sunny lawns, tall shade trees, and the Bowers Mansion. Built in 1863 by Lemuel Bowers, the mansion is an exquisite example of the type of homes built by the wealthy during the Comstock Lode mining boom. The villa is filled with luxurious antiques and period furnishings and is open for guided tours on weekends during the summer and autumn months. Bowers Mansion Park also offers picnic facilities for individuals and groups, a spring-fed swimming pool, and a children’s playground.
4005 Bowers Mansion Rd, New Washoe City, NV 89704, Phone: 775-849-1825
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5.Brewery Arts Center
© Brewery Arts Center
The Brewery Arts Center is a multi-generational and multi-cultural community arts and culture center that was established to enrich the quality of life for everyone through the arts. Located on King Street in the heart of Carson City, the campus of the Brewery Arts Center spans two city blocks and features three performance venues, an artisan shop, artists studios and workshops, classrooms and the offices of the Nevada Artist Association. In addition to showcasing works from local and regional artists in a variety of mediums and materials, the Brewery Arts Center also offers classes and workshops for visitors of all ages, from painting and pottery classes to ceramic sculpting, photography workshops, and more.
449 W King St, Carson City, NV 89703, Phone: 775-883-1976
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6.Stewart Indian School
© Stewart Indian School
The Stewart Indian School was a working school between 1890 through 1980 and was the only off-reservation American Indian boarding school in Nevada. Today, the school is used by the State of Nevada for classes, training, and agency offices, including the Nevada Indian Commission, and is seen as a symbol of education and life for Native Americans in the West. The Stewart Community was established on much of the former school’s land by the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, where they also occupy some of the old historic stone buildings. The Stewart Indian School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Things to Do in Nevada
5500 Snyder Avenue, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-687-8333
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7.The Children's Museum of Northern Nevada
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The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada is a long-standing festive museum that focuses on the importance of play and how children can explore, imagine, create, and learn through play. The museum offers a play-based learning environment that features a variety of exhibits and displays that are dedicated to teaching children about the wonders of art, science, and skills used in everyday life as they explore, discover, and play with other children. Significant exhibits at the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada include a train simulation, Jamieson’s Country Café and Grocery Store, a schoolhouse, the Capitol Building, a wildlife exhibit, a pre-school dinosaur play area, climbing tubes, a rotating climbing wall, Carson City Jail, a hospital room, and an airplane teeter-totter.
813 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-884-2226
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8.Dayton State Park
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Located at the foot of the Virginia Range on the banks of the Carson River, Dayton State Park is a 152-acre state park and public recreation area in the town of Dayton, 12 miles east of Carson City, that offers a variety of recreational activities and outdoor pursuits. The park is divided into two sections by U.S. Route 50, namely the lower and upper sections, each with their own character and features. The lower part offers excellent walking and hiking trails along the banks of the ever-changing Carson River, dense woodlands that teem with birds and wildlife, a campground, and group picnic areas. The upper section is home to the site and the remains of the Rock Point Stamp Mill, a remnant of Dayton’s mining glory days, which was built in 1861 to process silver ore mined from the Comstock Lode in Silver City and Virginia City.
US-50, Dayton, NV 89403, Phone: 775-687-5678
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9.Hang Gliding Tahoe
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Experience Nevada and breathtaking Lake Tahoe from the air on an exhilarating and adrenalin-rushing powered hang gliding trip. FLY TOGETHER offers guided hang gliding tours over Lake Tahoe and the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains with spectacular bird’s eye views from a powered hang glider trike. The company provides an interactive flight lesson in a powered FAA approved light-sport hang glider, also known as a weight-shift control trike, with modern hang gliding wings and powered by a reliable Rotax aircraft engine. A fully qualified professional instructor is present on all flights, and there is full radio communication between the passenger and flight instructor throughout the flight. FLY TOGETHER has two weight-shift control trikes and two instructors, and all safety equipment, including helmets, is provided.
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10.Jack C. Davis Observatory
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The Jack C. Davis Observatory is an observatory and astrology center based at the Western Nevada College in Carson City that boasts three telescopes, two of which are reflecting telescopes and one with a spectrograph. All three of the telescopes are equipped with cameras and connected to the Internet so the public can access images taken with the telescopes. The observatory also has an outdoor robotic dome for studying sunspots as well as a Campbell Scientific solar-powered research-grade weather station. The Jack C. Davis Observatory is connected to the main campus of the Western Nevada College by the Planetary Walkway, which is lined with massive sandstone carved images of the planets created by artistic inmates from the Nevada State Prison.
2269 Vanpatten Ave, Carson City, NV 89703, Phone: 775-445-3000
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11.Kit Carson Trail
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The Kit Carson Trail is a 2.5-mile walking route along the sidewalks of the residential district in downtown Carson City. It features more than 60 beautiful examples of architecture and an excellent insight into the history of the city through its buildings. Also known as the Blue Line Trail, the Kit Carson Trail winds through the west side of the city with a blue brick line marked on the sidewalks for guidance. In addition to stunning historical homes, other buildings and structures worth visiting along the route include the Governor’s Mansion, the Nevada State Capitol, the Brewery Arts Center, the Bliss Mansion, and the Nevada State Museum. The tree-shaded avenues and streets are lined with houses dating back to the early 1860s, and the area can be enjoyed on self-guided or guided tours, including special ghost tours in October.
Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-687-7410
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12.Red's Old 395 Grill
© Red's Old 395 Grill
Red's Old 395 Grill is a cozy steakhouse and grill that serves a menu of all-American cuisine, including prime hand-cut steaks, thick ribs, and spicy buffalo wings along with an extensive selection of more than 100 beers from around the world. Open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, menus feature favorites such as steaks, seafood, burgers and fries, fresh salads, fried baskets of chicken wings and shrimp, and decadent desserts. The family-friendly restaurant and bar offers a variety of special throughout the week, such as pizza night and happy hour, and hosts special events such as family nights with a magician. Red's Old 395 Grill offers delicious catering menus and a store that sells Red's Old 395 Grill-related merchandise.
1055 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-887-0395
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13.The Foreman-Roberts House Museum
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Formerly the James D. Roberts House, the Foreman–Roberts House, and now also known as the Foreman–Roberts House Museum, is a historic house and museum that stands as a beautiful example of Gothic revival architecture and is the oldest surviving house in Carson City. Built by James D. Roberts in 1859 in Washoe City and later relocated to Carson City in 1873, the home features Gothic revival elements, such as lancet windows, gingerbread bargeboard, and a steeply pitched roof, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Operated by the Nevada Landmarks Society, the Foreman–Roberts House Museum is open to the public for tours on the weekend.
1207 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-887-2174
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14.Scripps State Wildlife Management Area
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Located at the northern tip of Washoe Lake, the Scripps State Wildlife Management Area is a small wildlife management area and wetland preserve that features shallow ponds and lakes, on which boating can be enjoyed. The reserve is home to a wealth of migratory birds, waterfowl, and mammals, and activities in the park include bird and wildlife watching, jump-shooting, and decoy hunting.
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15.Shoe Tree Brewing Company
© Shoe Tree Brewing Company
Located at the historic Carson Hot Springs, the Shoe Tree Brewing Company is a company run by two brothers that produces award-winning brews and beers. Spanning 1,800 square feet in an industrial building, the brewery has a seven-barrel brewhouse with a four-fermenter farm and an on-site tasting room. The Shoe Tree Brewing Company can produce 600 barrels of finished beer annually, which include American brown ale, amber ale, Mocha Porta, Cherry Berliner Weisse, blonde ale, Peach Rye Ale, and Show Tree Root Beer. The Shoe Tree Brewing Company offers tastings of all their products in the tasting room and has a store that sells company-related merchandise.
1496 Old Hot Springs Rd, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-222-0108
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Located on the main street in Carson City, the Carson Nugget is an iconic hotel and casino that has been serving locals and visitors alike for more than 60 years. Occupying nearly 30,000 square feet, the renowned property boasts an 81-room hotel with comfortable accommodations and modern amenities, two restaurants, two casual cafés, events spaces for special functions and conferences, and a variety of gaming tables and slots. The complex is also home to the Carson Comedy Club and offers an array of other entertainment such as golf at no less than nine world-class championship courses, scenic trails for biking and hiking, kayaking and fishing on the Carson River, a variety of water sports and snow skiing at nearby Lake Tahoe, and plenty of museums, antiquing, and historical sightseeing to enjoy.
651 N Stewart St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-882-1626
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© Comma Coffee
Comma Coffee is a casual, eclectically decorated neighborhood coffee shop that serves freshly brewed coffee, espresso, and other hot and cold drinks along with a light menu of delicious homemade fare. Established in 2000 and based in a building built by the Olkavich Brothers and dating back to 1869, Comma Coffee features original wooden flooring, a mix of vintage and retro tables, chairs, and décor, and walls adorned with photographs, paintings, and poems. In addition to serving hearty breakfasts and lunches, the café hosts events every month, ranging from showcasing up and coming artists and meet-the-artist receptions to live jazz music at lunchtimes, and offers accommodation in cozy cottages near the café. Comma Coffee is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and early dinner.
312 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-883-2662
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18.Thunderbird Preservation Society
© Thunderbird Preservation Society
The Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society is made up of the George Whittell Estate National Historic District, also known as the Thunderbird Lodge Historic Site, the Donald W. Reynolds Lake Tahoe History and Culture Program, the Thunderbird Yacht, and a collection of Lake Tahoe artifacts, ephemera, documents, films, and photographs entrusted to the society’s museum archives. The Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society was established to promote an appreciation for the architectural, cultural, historical, and maritime resources of Thunderbird Lodge and the Lake Tahoe region as well as to preserve and protect the Thunderbird Lodge, its artifacts and items, and the museum collections as a historic site of national significance.
5000 NV-28, Incline Village, NV 89451, Phone: 775-832-8750
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19.Virginia and Truckee Railway
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Headquartered in Virginia City, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad is a privately owned historical heritage railroad that runs up to seven trains per day. Constructed in the 19th century as a commercial freight railroad to service the Comstock Lode mining communities of northwestern Nevada between south Reno and Carson City, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad was abandoned in 1950 after years of declining revenue. The public Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction rebuilt the railroad in 2009 and began running trains between Carson City and Virginia City on a beautiful scenic route. Departing from Carson City’s Eastgate Depot, the 24-mile round trip tour meanders through canyons, tunnels, and mining towns and includes a fun 3.5-hour stopover in historic Virginia City.
Carson City Eastgate Depot, 4650 Eastgate Siding Road, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 877-724-5007 or 775-291-0208
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20.Washoe Lake State Park
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Nestled in a scenic valley between Carson City and Reno on 3,775 acres of land, Washoe Lake State Park is a public recreation area that offers breathtaking views of the rugged and majestic Carson, Sierra Nevada, and Virginia mountain ranges as well as an array of outdoor recreational pursuits. The state park offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, picnicking, and a variety of watersports, as well as birdwatching and wildlife viewing. The Washoe Lake State Park is home to a diverse range of birds and waterfowl, such as Canadian geese and American white pelicans, a lake stocked with bullhead catfish, Sacramento perch, channel catfish, and white bass.
4855 Eastlake Blvd, New Washoe City, NV 89704, Phone: 775-687-4319
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20 Best Things to Do in Carson City, Nevada
- Lake Tahoe, Photo: Courtesy of maislam - Fotolia.com
- Nevada State Museum, Photo: Nevada State Museum
- Nevada State Railroad Museum, Photo: Nevada State Railroad Museum
- Bowers Mansion Regional Park, Photo: Courtesy of aerogondo - Fotolia.com
- Brewery Arts Center, Photo: Brewery Arts Center
- Stewart Indian School, Photo: Stewart Indian School
- The Children's Museum of Northern Nevada, Photo: Courtesy of Anton Gvozdikov - Fotolia.com
- Dayton State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Nguyen Vu Quan - Fotolia.com
- Hang Gliding Tahoe, Photo: Courtesy of Deatonphotos - Fotolia.com
- Jack C. Davis Observatory, Photo: Courtesy of Hanna Skubski - Fotolia.com
- Kit Carson Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Robert - Fotolia.com
- Red's Old 395 Grill, Photo: Red's Old 395 Grill
- The Foreman-Roberts House Museum, Photo: Courtesy of hooyah808 - Fotolia.com
- Scripps State Wildlife Management Area, Photo: Courtesy of Tom JMelo - Fotolia.com
- Shoe Tree Brewing Company, Photo: Shoe Tree Brewing Company
- Carson Nugget, Photo: Courtesy of kamaz007 - Fotolia.com
- Comma Coffee, Photo: Comma Coffee
- Thunderbird Preservation Society, Photo: Thunderbird Preservation Society
- Virginia and Truckee Railway, Photo: Courtesy of kraichgaufoto - Fotolia.com
- Washoe Lake State Park, Photo: Courtesy of neillockhart - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Rex Wholster - Fotolia.com