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Things to Do in Carson City, Nevada

Carson City: Things to Do

When traveling in Nevada, Carson City is a worth the visit. There is much to see and do in Nevada’s capital city. If you’re looking for additional excursions, Lake Tahoe is only about a half hour drive from Carson City.

Architecture in Carson City

Upon arrival, head to the Nevada Commission of Tourism, housed in the former post office. The staff will happily give out information and you can pick up brochures and a map. Here are some of the places you can visit.

Governor’s Mansion – Built in 1908, this mansion is accessible and fits in perfectly with the small-town feel of Carson City.

Nevada State Capitol – The Nevada State Capitol building is one of the few capitols that does not incorporate security screening. Compared to most U.S. State Capitol Buildings, it’s vastly understated; must be the least ostentatious one in the U.S.

Nevada State Museum – Housed in a former U.S. mint building, it has excellent displays on the Mint’s history and the history of silver mining in Nevada.

Nevada’s government buildings are the major structures in Carson City. In fact, without them, it would be just a typical American small town.

Nevada State Railway Museum

A must for rail fans, the Nevada State Railroad Museum preserves the heritage of the Virginia and Truckee (V&T) railway line that was used to ship ore from Virginia City to Reno.s. Out behind the museum building is the restoration building, which a great place to see how much work goes into restoring the equipment. You can see various engines and passenger cars in different stages of decay and restoration. During the summer months rides are available from Carson to Virginia City on some of the historic trains preserved here.

Kit Carson (“Blue Line”) Trail

The Kit Carson Trail is a great introduction to the rich history of Carson City. Even if you’re not into history, a walk along the trail through the tree-lined neighborhood in Carson City’s West End is a pleasant outing. Follow the painted blue line on the sidewalk and you’ll pass some of these highlights:

  • The house where Mark Twain freeloaded off his brother in the early 1860s
  • The home where George Ferris, the inventor of the Ferris Wheel, grew up
  • Location where John Wayne filmed his last movie, “The Shootist”
  • Numerous mansions and Victorian homes built in the 1860s and 1870s

Be sure to pick up a trail brochure with a good map of the blue line. Many of the historic homes also have a radio signal where you can listen to a narrative of that particular home.


There are a lot of old casinos with character in Carson City. These are vastly different from the mega-resorts you find in Vegas, Reno or Lake Tahoe. Think “Mom and Pop” type places that are not typically as crowded, where you can find cheap table games.

Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Carson City.


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