Just a half hour outside of Reno, you’ll find Virginia City, Nevada, a silver mining town turned ghost town. When I say “ghost town”, I mean literally. The town looks like an old Western set in the wild, wild west but at a closer glance, it’s actually haunted.
In this blog, I’ll share a few legends and tales to keep you on the edge of your seat as well as fun things to do in Virginia City like mine for silver, get married in a ghost laden chapel that’s been featured on Travel Channel’s “Haunted Places”, or stay the night at a haunted bed and breakfast that’ll make the hair on your arms stand up.
Read on for more adventures in Virginia City, Nevada!
*** Previously, my Virginia City story was in my Reno blog. But, I felt it deserved a blog of its own. ***
[Originally posted May 2022, Last updated June 2023]
Take a Day Trip to Virginia City Nevada
A day trip took us just a half-hour from Reno to Virginia City Nevada, a former mining town that now resembles a ghost town. It’s packed full of history.
Home to the Comstock Lode, (the largest single deposit of silver ore ever discovered in the U.S.), Virginia City at its peak in the 1850s, was a boomtown with a population of around 25,000. Now with around just 800 residents, it’s a place stuck in time.
“Step Back in Time” in Virginia City Nevada
That’s Virginia City’s motto. I’d say, it’s pretty accurate.
Almost hard to believe that this was once a bustling, cosmopolitan city. Back in the silver mining days, it boasted great wealth from its rich soil (literally) that men from all over risked their lives to get their hands on.
Along with the typical tourist shops in a not-so-typical setting, you’ll find buildings and places that seem as though they were preserved in a certain time period.
When you walk the wooden sidewalks and head into a saloon, you’ll seriously feel like you’re in an old Western movie.
History can be found in the many famous visitors who stayed in this area from Buffalo Bill and Mark Twain to President Grant.
Visit Territorial Enterprise and go into the Mark Twain Museum.
After failed mining attempts in Nevada, Samuel Clemens needed money and took a job as a writer in 1862 for the Territorial Enterprise, a local newspaper in Virginia City, where he took the pen name “Mark Twain”. It was his first stint as a writer. The rest is history… literally.
Virginia City Nevada Ghost Town
There are stories of the brothels that thrived in this dusty town and people who made a fortune. Some such residents have refused to leave (as you can find in the many haunted attractions).
Featured on the Travel Channel’s “Haunted Places”, Virginia City has tons of stories to tell even from the great beyond.
The Silver Queen Hotel
Built in 1876, The Silver Queen is a historical gem in Virginia City. Complete with 28 rooms, 16′ high ceilings and claw foot bath tubs, it’s definitely worth checking out if you decide to stay in this ghost town.
After looking for a saloon to grab a drink, I found The Silver Queen Hotel, named after a beautiful woman.
I originally came in after seeing their sign about ghosts… Usually, that wouldn’t be a very warm welcome. Actually, if you were anywhere else, you’d turn right around.
It was by no means, clean, new, or sparkly.. but that goes with the Virginia City vibes so I was fine with that.
But, that’s Virginia City’s thing… it’s part of the fun. Turns out, Silver Queen Hotel has a haunted chapel where they hold weddings. For $395, you can get married here! It’s the ultimate package… champagne, souvenir glasses, photo opps, a cake, bouquet, a ceremony, the works! Ghosts have been spotted in the chapel. Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” has been here 3 times.
Can’t believe people are actually crazy enough to get married here! It spooked me so much I couldn’t walk in the chapel for longer than 5 seconds.
They have a camera inside capturing the ghost activity which you can watch from the TV at the bar if you’re a scaredy-cat like me. Or, maybe that’s your thing… Then this is the place for you. LOL
Check Visit Virginia City’s website for ongoing events, like their Haunted Ghost Tours.
Stay the Night in Virginia City
Check out the rooms here.
I was too much of a wuss to consider staying here so I only got a drink here and bought some ghost stories they had at the counter. But if you’re up for it, go ahead and stay the night! There are also other hotel options to choose from.
If you really want to be spooked, head to the haunted Washoe Club, Virginia City’s oldest saloon. There’s a trio of ghosts here. Bartenders entertain one such ghost (who’s known as a drink snatcher) by leaving shots of Bourbon at the bar before they close up. The next morning, the glass is always empty.
Things to do in Virginia City
Just a 30 min drive from Reno-Tahoe Airport, even if you’re not into paranormal activity, Virginia City, Nevada is full of history and definitely worth stopping by for a day of fun. “Step back in time” and feel like a cowgirl or cowboy from the Wild, Wild West. There’s so much to explore for such a tiny town.
Visit a Mine
There are 100+ mines in the Comstock area which produced over $600 million in gold and silver back in the day. You can get a tour from the numerous mines still standing, explore the mining history, even pan for silver!
Speaking of silver…
I went to a store that had boleros and paired it with my turquoise hat. I got to be a cowgirl for the day. 😉
You can buy unique handcrafted jewelry with different colors of turquoise or silver.
Eat & Drink
Or drink.. then eat. LOL… If you’re hungry after shopping… stop by one of the city’s many restaurant options. The one that’s by far the most interesting…
Built in 1875, Delta Saloon is one of Virginia City’s original watering holes.
It’s really worth a stop if you’re in Virginia City. The history alone is fascinating. You can enjoy drinks, food, and an astonishing piece of gambling history.
They also do weddings and banquets.
See past events they’ve done here. They look really fun!
Delta Saloon’s head bartender, Prof. Jerry Thomas was the most celebrated Barman in American history. He crafted drinks that elevated the taste of the uncouth people of Comstock and improved their drinking habits. There’s even a drink he invented with his name on it. You might have heard of it… Tom & Jerry anyone? 😉
Check out their Suicide Table and imagine what it was like for the 3 different owners who took their lives on this very table after losing big on “Rocky Mountain” (known as 21 or Blackjack today).
Virginia City is a hidden gem in The Wild, Wild West. Don’t miss out on this ghost town. You can also take a trip to Reno, Lake Tahoe or Carson City from Virginia City.
That’s a Wrap!
Now, I want to know! Have you ever had a haunted ghost experience? Would you want to go to Virginia City, Nevada Ghost Town? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
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Virginia City Style
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