Virginia City - a weekend guide

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

A unique mining town, rich with history, tours and food!

Ghost towns have been on my bucket list for awhile. When I mentioned that I had wanted to take a trip to my friend Amanda, she suggested Virginia City. It was close enough to home for a quick weekend trip and had plenty of options when it came to things to do and see. The actual main street is lined with stores, restaurants and entertainment. There are several tours from mansions, mines, train rides, and even a walk through a nearby cemetery.


The Gold Hill Hotel & Saloon

This boutique hotel is just down the street from Virginia City. Said to be haunted, this once residence, brothel, bar, and rooming house dates back to the late 1800's. A few of the rooms in the original portion of the hotel are "haunted" with friendly spirits.

The hotel also features a restaurant, a bar, and a lounge area for guests. The historic features of this hotel make this place a truly unique and fun place to stay!



St. Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church

The original church was built in 1862, but suffered the Great Fire of 1875. The current church was rebuilt in 1877 with several modifications to prevent future damage of high winds and earthquakes.



Fourth Ward School

We choose to do a self guided tour for $6 per person at the school. This is one of the first buildings you see if you are coming from Gold Hill. It is dauntingly huge, and draws your attention quickly.

Upon entering this school, you feel as if you've traveled back in time. The classroom is set up as it were in 1867, complete with wooden desks, potbelly stove, and maps. We were able to tour the first and second floor of the school, the third and fourth floors were closed due to unsafe conditions and no proper emergency egressing for guests. The building was left vacant for over 50 years before restoration had begun bringing this beauty back to life.

Besides the classroom, you could walk through the printing shop, alumni room, miners exhibit, and a few rooms full of history.


Chollar Mansion

This building was originally commissioned by Billy Chollar, the discoverer of the Chollar Silver Lode in 1861. It served as the head office of the Chollar Mine and the residence of the mine superintendent.


Savage Mansion

Former office of the Savage Mining Company, this 21 room beauty was the residence of the superintendent of the mining company. Although this building is not open to the public, it is worth stopping by for a quick look and appreciation of the architecture!



Mackay Mansion

Once home to John Mackay, former member of the "Silver Kings" who made a fortune on the Comstock Lode. Known as a popular haunted destination, several entities have been known to wander through the halls and rooms of this mansion. Johnny Depp had been a guest at this hotel while filming Dead Man, and had a chilling experience with a little girl dressed in white.

Although the museum was currently covered in fake spider web for an upcoming halloween haunted house event, you could still get a full sense of the creepy vibes that linger in this place.


Chollar Mine

Touring a mine is a must in Virginia City, I mean thats how this city came to be! This tour was a first hand look at the conditions miners had to face when working in this field. Hunched over, we all had to walk deep into the mine without hitting our heads on the rafters above. Dark, wet and in some spots narrow conditions, were all an eye opener as to how these mines were functioning.

The tour was great, our guide was very knowledgable and made the tour interesting. We were even shown how the miners had to work only by candlelight when electricity wasn't introduced into the mine yet.


Silver Terrace Cemetery

Last but not least an evening stroll through the cemetery revealed several styles of burial from fenced, unfenced and bordered plots. Several different markers made of stone, marble and even wood were scattered about the grounds.


A few other places worth noting:

  • The Roasting House - Their breakfast waffle sandwiches are bomb!

  • The Canvas Cafe - Offers several different breakfast options and is open early!

  • Crown Point Restaurant - Great food and awesome service!

  • Virginia City Jerky & Smokehouse - This place was smoking meat at 9:00am, we knew lunch would be great here and it was!


This concludes our weekend visit to Virginia City! Use this page as inspiration for your next trip! It might also be worth checking out other ghost towns in the area and combining them together for the ultimate ghost hunting adventure!


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© 2018 by Jamie Sielski