Virginia City NV – The Old West Lives On

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Virginia City, NV sprung up when silver was struck at the Comstock Lode a decade after the Gold Rush in California and is considered to be one of Nevada’s BoomTowns. 

Having had its heyday in the mid to late 1800’s, Virginia City NV is a place where the Old West lives on.

Virginia City, NV - The Old West Lives On

The Silver Strike known as the Comstock Lode was discovered in 1859 when the value of silver was equal to the value of gold and people swarmed there to cash in on it.

By 1862 the population had gone from a few hundred to over 4,000. By 1863 the population reached more than 15,000 and by 1873 the population was over 25,000. Virginia City NV became known as The Richest City in America!

In 1861 Samuel Clemens headed west to become a miner and lived in Virginia City until 1864. In 1863 he began writing for Virginia City’s newspaper, the Territorial   Enterprise   under a pen name,  thus, Mark Twain was born.

The City thrived until the United States government  demonetized silver in 1873 making gold the standard for U.S. currency. And in 1878 the mine’s silver output had slowed so tremendously that by 1879, the population had fallen  to around 11,000.

By 1920, Virginia City had less than 1,000 residents and the population has fluctuated between 500-1,000 ever since.

In 1961 it was declared a National Historic Landmark and today tourists visit Virginia City to get a taste of the old west.

Many of the original buildings still stand and are used by business owners to sell their wares and to offer their visitors tantalizing morsels. 

You can still walk along some of the original boardwalks (although when we visited recently, some sections have been replaced  with concrete sidewalks and one section has been done over with brick pavers).

The original Bucket of Blood Saloon and Washoe Club gambling hall buildings still stand and are a great reminder of the bustling community that Virginia City once was.

There are museums, mine tours, gunfights, reenactments, train rides and plenty of hiking trails in the area to explore. 

If you like to visit cemeteries, Virginia  City’s is one to see!

Nevada is full of rich and lively history and Virginia City is a great place to experience Old West charm.


We live about an hour away and try to visit at least once per year.

The City hosts various events throughout the year so there’s something different to experience each time we visit.

We’re glad that Virginia City NV has stood the test of time and not become a ghost town like so many of the other mining towns that once existed in northern Nevada and hope that she remains for decades to come.

If you ever find yourself in Reno, Carson City or Lake Tahoe, a short drive to Virginia City is well-worth your time.

If you’d like to see what else there is to do in the area, take a look at this article and this one

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We hope you’ve enjoyed these little tidbits! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and we’ll get back to you real soon! 


Virginia City NV - Where the Old West still lives on!
History | Nevada | Nevada history

36 thoughts on “Virginia City NV – The Old West Lives On

  1. These pictures are amazing! I’m in Vegas. Might have to take a trip to visit here myself. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks! If your family returns to Tahoe for a visit in Spring or Summer, ask them to make the drive to Virginia City! It’s not very far from Tahoe and worth the trip! 🙂

  2. Virginia City looks like the real wild west — with the Bucket of Blood saloon. The silver rush history is so interesting. Thank you.

    1. The first time I visited, the Bucket of Blood Saloon kind f creeped me out. 😉 HAHAHA! but I got over it! Yes, Virginia City is the real old west, for sure!

  3. I love old towns like this one. There is a Virginia City in Montana that is super fun too. The old buildings and rich culture is just so great.

  4. Awesome post! My husband and I love to travel cross country by motorcycle just to be able to see historic places off the beaten path like this beautiful town! I’ll mark it on my list. Love the Old West!

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