Having parked in the shopping Mall, your next visit should be to the Nevada Commission of Tourism, which is housed in the Former Post Office (1891). this was actually the last building I visited, on my way back to the Mall, before driving onwards to Virginia City. On entering the building a most helpful lady, Helene Albrecht, was chatting to another visitor, and telling him about the historic area. Overhearing this conversation I realised that although I had just come from that area, I had obviously completely missed some of the most historic houses in the city. Helene was very helpful, and now armed with a visitors' brochure and map, I returned to the historic area, to follow the 'Blue Line Trail'.
More about the Post Office building later.
Must be the least ostentatious state capitol building in the U.S. Very small, but very appealing. Built in 1870 it is the second oldest state capitol building west of the Mississippi. The silver cupola rises 120 feet off the ground, but it doesn't look that high in person. The main portion of the two-story building was constructed with sandstone imported from the Nevada state prison quarry. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lake Tahoe is only about a half hour drive from Carson City. It is a lake of unimaginable beauty. Only a portion of it is shown in this photo. But imagine if you will, a circular lake of the deepest blues ringed by 10,000 foot peaks. The air is fresh and the waters are so clear that visibility extends some 65 feet below the surface. Tahoe is a special place. I hope to see more of it on my next trip in May, 2004.
The Nevada State Capitol building is one of the few capitols that does not incorporate security screening for those who want to look around. Just walk in the front door, and meet the friendly staff! It's a 'working' capitol, reminding me of Wyoming's capitol in Cheyenne.
Carson City is in Eastern Nevada, just to the West of lake Tahoe. Just take Federal Rote 395, which runs through Reno. I entered the city from the south, and found a huge shopping mall on the right hand side, just as you enter the city. Not knowing the place, I decided to park here (free), and walk into the town. There is so much to see, and walking is the only way to do it. However, there is plenty of free parking further into the town, especially in the historic area. Due to the fact that I parked on the edge of town, I actually went back for a second look (see later)!!
Again, I didn't have time to look around the Nevada State Museum, but I wish I had. It is open daily, except the usual holidays (Christmas, etc.,). There's an interesting Bell outside - see 'General Tips'.
The Nugget is one of the best known casinos in Carson City. If you're going to go to any of the casinos in town you might as well make it this one. Lots of slots, cheap tables, bingo and a very inexpensive buffet are just some of the features of the Nugget.
For those of you who have been reading my ramblings, you will know that I never intended to come to Carson City - but I'm so glad that I did! Having arrived in Gardnerville the previous evening, I looked at my map, and discovered that I was very near to the famous Virginia City. In order to get there, I had to pass through Carson City, and so I decided to stop en route, and see something of the town.
Now armed with your free map of the historic area, you will be able to follow the Blue Line Trail. Look down on the pavement/footpath/sidewalk (whatever you may call it), and you'll eventually find blue lines painted on it. Follow this line, and it will guide you through the best of the best houses in town! There are many others, of course, but some of them are not on the blue route. Due to lack of time, I regret that I was not able to see all of these magnificent houses. I suppose I had 2 hours here in Carson City, but it wasn't nearly enough time. You could easily spend a day, or even longer, here.
There are plenty of old casinos in Carson City which in my opinion have a lot of character. They're typically not as crowded as the ones in Reno and Lake Tahoe you can enjoy giving away your money in peace. Another nice thing about the smaller casinos is that you can often find cheap table games (blackjack, craps, roulette for a dollar)
This museum is housed in a former US mint building and is really the one reason to go out of your way to visit Carson City. It has excellent displays on the Mint's history and the history of silver mining in Nevada.
Go spend at least a full day in Virginia City, which is full of history and tourist traps. There's plenty to do, from museums, saloons (the Bucket of Blood Saloon in my favorite), shops, restaurants, etc. If you want to see something unusual, go in early September for the annual Camel Races! This was the ultimate Nevada mining town, where the Comstock Lode was discovered. Although there are some tacky tourist traps, you can get a feel for what it must have been like when this town was booming in the 1860's. And, it's just a fun place!
Carson City actually does have History! Check out the Nevada State Museum in the old Mint Building. A great look at the history of the Silver State. Highlights include the silver service from the battleship Nevada, a ghost town exhibit and a mine tour.
Also well worth a visit is the Nevada State Railroad Museum. Steam trains run on selected dates through the summer months and on Nevada Day, October 31.
Visit the web site for the museum!
Carson City also has a fine tour of historic homes
Nevada's state capitol and its other government building are the major structures in Carson city. In fact it would be just a typical american small town if not for these buildings. The capitol building was built in 1870.
Built in 1908, this mansion is amazingly accessible and fits in perfectly with the small town feel of Carson City. Instead of high fences and security guards, its just another house (albiet a pretty big one) in a residential neighborhood.