Dredger mining began in 1898 and ended in 1937. Across the road from the Nevada City buildings, there is a pond with a big dredger sitting in it. This is part of the Mining Museum. There are lots of interesting pieces of machinery there. No admission charge.
Nevada City is just a mile down the road, and was much more interesting. Most of the original town was long gone, but old buildings from that time period were salvaged and brought here from all over the state instead of being torn down. The result is a historical park with over 100 buildings in it. It is a Living History Museum on weekends, with volunteers dressed in mid-1800s fashions and performing their chores.
The laundress was telling us how they cleaned different fabrics, and the widow lady showed us her cabin. An elegant woman rode sidesaddle on her horse and then let children ride as she led it around. The “sheriff” had come all the way from Utah to spend his vacation there as a volunteer. His jail had no cells—inmates had a chain around their ankle that was bolted to the floor at the foot of their bunk.
Plan 1/2 day to see it all. There is an admission fee, but it's worth it.
There is a small train that runs between Virginia City and Nevada City. Depending on the fire season, it will be a boiler or electric. But it is a fun ride, so you can park your car and see both cities.
This is a great town to just wander around in, especially if you are into history or architecture. The buildings here have been remarkably preserved. Some have been restored to their original condition but many are just as they were when they were built.
You can easily spend a couple of hours just wandering around.
The Opera House has good quality shows throughout the summer season.
The Virginia City Players is a vaudeville show and it's Montana's oldest professional theatre.
The other show is the Brewery Follies, and it is consistently sold out.
You can make reservations for either show at the Fairweather Inn.
The Alder Gulch Railroad takes passengers from Virginia City to Nevada City on a 1919 steam train. The train makes regular runs between the two towns.
The stage coach is available in downtown Virginia City to take people for a tour around town. It had a "flat tire" when we were there, so we couldn't try it out!