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. ***

Pinterest pin of Virginia City Nevada
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Take a Day Trip to Virginia City Nevada

Virginia City or “Old Virginny” as the locals call it

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.

classic car in front of an old westerns style building

“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.

Reno + Virginia City, Nevada Getaway

Plan your trip to Reno to/from Virginia City, read the blog!

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. 

plaque at mark twain museum
geeves posing in under the mark twain museum

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.

FUN FACT

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.

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

3 star element

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.

artwork of the silver queen
An ode to the miners who risked their lives in search of silver, “The Silver Queen” is 16′ tall, 210 lbs. & composed of 3,261 Silver Dollars made from ore collected from local mines.

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.

geeves playing roulette with a skeleton
Playing a game of roulette with my new skeleton friend.

But, that’s Virginia City’s thing… it’s part of the fun. Turns out, Silve 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.

Haunted bar at silver queen hotel
They’ve been on Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel, 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

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.

Booking.com

Washoe Club

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. 

Adventures in Lake Tahoe

On the California side, you can be in beautiful Lake Tahoe in just under 2 hours from Virginia City. I wrote a blog about adventures to have there and where to stay.

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…

Shopping 

collage of photos with geeves in a cowboy hat and westerns style jewelry

They have cute stores in the “Western” theme where you’ll find everything from homemade fudge and nostalgic novelties to jewelry and stones.

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…

Delta Saloon

3 star element

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!

FUN FACT

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. You can plan your stay here.

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! 🙂

Thank you so much for your continued love and support! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. If you found this blog useful, share it on Pinterest!

Virginia City Style

illustration of geeves traveling with pink suitcase and blue outfit

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Until next time… keep it real.

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Fact Check:

At Real Girl Review, we value truth and always strive for accuracy. Posts are updated regularly. If you read something that still doesn’t sound right, contact me at [email protected]. I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary.

14 Comments

  1. Hi Kynthia!
    Thank you for reading my V.C. blog (and teaching me how the locals say it 😉 and taking the time to leave a comment. I enjoyed reading it this morning. 🙂

    It’s so cool that you used to perform gunfights there! You seem to have really captured the essence of the city from your time there. Thank you for sharing your recommendations with all of us. I’m sure my readers will appreciate it too!

    Have a great day! Hope you’re enjoying your Summer.

  2. I used to live and perform gunfights in Virginia city. My apartment, which was part of the building housing the millionaires club, had its share of spooky events, but, residents to this town get used to them quickly as did I.

    I can’t say enough good about V.C. (it’s how locals refer to it) the shops are quirky and fun, check out the Comstock Bandido and if Jason is there. Say hello.

    Great family destination and during the summer, if it does have a rare hot day, there is a public pool so bring bathing suits. Also attached is a little park if the younger ones need a break. Or, you wish to pinic.

    Try and stay a night in one of VC hotels. Just around the bend is Gold hill. There is a lot to do so figure on a weekend stay.

    During the winter it can snow there, so the whole town bustles like crazy during good weather to stock up for winter.

    Hit the visitor center if you have questions and have a great time.

  3. Hi Noe!
    Thank you for reading the blog. October sounds like the perfect time to go to Virginia City. Can imagine the stuff they have there during Halloween. Thanks for letting me know about Gold Hill. I’ll check it out!

  4. Hi Martha!
    That’s crazy that your son was married at that haunted hotel. That must have been something!
    Thank you for the museum recommendation. I’ll check it out when I’m there this Summer. Thanks for reading the blog!

  5. That sounds spooky but so fun, I’d love to! I’m actually on a trip passing through Virginia City soon. I’ll send you an email. Thank you for reaching out Christina! 🙂

  6. I love going to Virginia city! My friends and I usually go do the haunted ghost tours during october! We also go to gold hill just a Mike or two down the road from virginia city that houses another haunted hotel!

  7. My son was married at the Gold Hill Hotel in Virginia City this past April. My husband and I attended a ghost tour at the hotel while we were there. There’s a “The Way It Was” museum that had a lot of interesting information about the mining boom years and how life was lived in the mid to late 1800s.

  8. Best place to go is the Bucket of Blood on weekend afternoons. Best bar band ever, David John and the Comstock Cowboys!!! Check them out, they kill.

  9. My best friend owns a haunted bar in Virginia City and it is very haunted …I investigate the Paranormal and was featured in an episode of Ghost Adventures at my friend’s bar…I have investigated all over her Virginia City and can definitely say it is one of the most haunted towns I have ever be investigated…I know you say you are scary but I would love to invite you to investigate a couple places up there with me and my team…and then bring you on my radio show to tell everyone how it was….if your interested..
    ..let me know…my email is [email protected]

  10. I remember visiting Virginia City when I was a kid. I always remember the Silver Queen portrait, the old opera house that attracted famous performers and a “mansion” with solid silver or solid gold rods on each step of the staircase to hold the carpet in place.

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