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Old West treasures in Virginia City, Nevada

SmarterTravel

The Wild West lives on just 23 miles south of Reno in Virginia City. This old mining town struck it rich with the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, which turned up $400 million in gold and silver. Today, wooden boardwalks, saloons, museums and the famed Virginia & Truckee Railroad offer a glimpse into the past.

Start your Virginia City getaway with a tour of Ponderosa Mine or Chollar Mine. At the Comstock Gold Mill, you can tour the old gold stamp mill and see gold processed from ore to recovery.

In the Mackay Mansion, you’ll experience first-hand the Victorian opulence that prevailed during the town’s mining heyday. Walk through the historic mansion, once the headquarters of Gould & Curry Mining Company and later purchased by silver baron John Mackay.

Saunter into one of the saloons and try your luck at a slot machine. (After all, this is Nevada.) Then hop aboard the Virginia & Truckee Railroad for a narrated 35-minute steam train ride through the historic mining region. Save time to wander the antique shops and the exhibits at the historic Fourth Ward School cultural center.

There are several types of lodging, including modern hotels and B&Bs in historic buildings. Just outside of town is Seven Mile Canyon Guest Ranch, where you can sleep in a tepee, sit around a campfire, and soak in an outdoor hot tub.

For more planning tips, go to the Virginia City Convention & Tourism Authority website.

Read more of the 50 Affordable Stateside Escapes.

Have a recommendation for Virginia City, or another great getaway in Nevada? Post your comment below.

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