Things to Do in Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, is a charming city in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains. With its rich history, breathtaking natural beauty, and broad cultural attractions, Carson City is a popular destination for visitors worldwide. Whether you are looking to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage, enjoy the great outdoors, or relax and unwind, there is something for everyone in Carson City.

One of the standout attractions in Carson City is the Nevada State Capitol Building and the Nevada State Museum. These historic building is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning more about the state’s rich history and cultural heritage. The museum features a wide range of exhibits and displays, including artifacts from the state’s early days, and provides a comprehensive look at the history of Nevada and its people.

Things to do in Carson City

Carson City is home to various parks and recreational areas for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, including the Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park and the Carson River. These stunning natural areas offer visitors the chance to enjoy scenic views, go hiking and camping, or relax and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Nevada State Museum

The Nevada State Museum in Carson City, Nevada, is excellent for learning about the state’s history. The museum is housed in the former Carson City Mint, a historic building built in the 1800s. Many exhibits cover the history of Nevada from prehistoric times to the modern day.

Aside from the area’s history, the Nevada State Museum also offers exhibits on natural history. Here, you’ll find fossils of prehistoric animals and plant life from the Black Rock Desert. Another favorite is an Imperial Mammoth skeleton.

You’ll also see the remains of an ichthyosaur, a small two-legged plant-eating animal that once swam in the Devonian-era sea. The Nevada State Museum also looks at the indigenous animals of the state, including the desert bighorn sheep and the Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Nevada State Museum (Old Carson City Mint), What to do in Carson City, Nevada
Nevada State Museum (Old Carson City Mint), What to do in Carson City, Nevada

The museum offers an educational experience that includes a hands-on approach to learning. Located in a restored mint building, the museum houses many artifacts from the mint. From gold coins to silver coins, the museum has it all.

There are also displays of Native American artifacts. These include clothing, baskets, and artifacts from the Great Basin region. This exhibit offers a new perspective on the history of Nevada.

You’ll also see a complete set of Carson City Morgan dollars. Other attractions include an underground silver mine and a replica of a mining town.

Nevada State Railroad Museum

The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, Nevada, is a historic building with many historical items, including several locomotives and railroad equipment. Visitors can ride a steam engine and tour the museum’s displays.

The Nevada State Railroad Museum is a volunteer-operated institution that preserves the railroad heritage of Nevada. Visitors can see restored exhibits, artifacts, and vintage equipment.

The museum has several interesting exhibits, including a display of the Virginia & Truckee Railway’s rolling stock. This includes locomotives, freight cars, and passenger equipment. For example, one of the locomotives, an articulated cab-forward, weighs over one million pounds.

Best places to visit in Carson City - Nevada State Railroad Museum
Best places to visit in Carson City – Nevada State Railroad Museum

Another locomotive, an Inyo, is among the oldest operating steam locomotives in the United States. The locomotive appeared in the television series Wild Wild West and 29 films.

The museum has several artifacts and exhibits related to the history of the Union Pacific and Virginia & Truckee Railroad lines. The museum’s collection of rolling stock spans from 1874 to 1950. These items illustrate the romance of long-distance train travel and refrigerator cars’ role in revolutionizing the American diet.

Other exhibits include the Nelson House, a 1920s railroad station master’s home. On the grounds, there are also several restored locomotives and coaches. If you love trains, the Nevada State Railroad Museum is a must-see. You’ll learn more about the industry’s history and experience a great way to spend an afternoon.

Mills Park

If you are looking for a rousing afternoon of family fun in the sun, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to spend your dollar. Mills Park is one of the many public parks located throughout the city. The park is home to several water features, including a small but impressive water slide and well-stocked swimming pools.

Places to go in Carson City - National Night Out - Army Helicopter
Places to go in Carson City – National Night Out – Army Helicopter

Among the other attractions are a slew of sports fields and a skate park. Aside from the water features, Mills Park also boasts several picnic and barbeque areas if you don’t feel like heading outdoors for a more formal meal.

Although there are many other parks in the area, Mills Park is one of the more popular destinations. In addition to its plethora of features, it also hosts several special events during the year. There’s always something to do in this park gem, from Christmas parties to fireworks displays.

Nevada State Capitol Building

The Nevada State Capitol Building is a historic building in Carson City, Nevada. It was constructed between 1869 and 1871 and served as the official state capitol. It is one of the oldest state capitol buildings in the United States.

Best tourist attractions in Carson City - Nevada State Capitol Building
Best tourist attractions in Carson City – Nevada State Capitol Building

When the Nevada Territory was formed in 1861, the Nevada Legislature chose Carson City as the new state capital. Initially, the three branches of state government were located here. However, the state government outgrew the Capitol in the early 20th century. Consequently, a separate legislative building was built for the Assembly and Senate. This building still stands in addition to the Capitol.

When the legislature moved to a new building in 1971, the capitol building was refurbished. A fiberglass replica of the exterior wood features was installed, including the cupola on the Capitol.

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum

The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum in Carson City, Nevada, is a place for former students to reconnect and heal. The museum and its surrounds are filled with historic buildings built initially to house Native American children. They are located on an unassuming side street off Interstate 580.

Places to visit in Carson City - Stewart Indian School
Places to visit in Carson City – Stewart Indian School

Originally called the Stewart Indian School, the school opened in Carson City in 1890. Throughout its history, it served several Native communities. It was one of the hundreds of government-funded boarding schools around the country. After closing in 1980, the school was transformed into a museum.

The museum is dedicated to the memory of the first Stewart students. It features a collection of exhibits and an art gallery. The museum also hosts public programs that celebrate the art of Native Americans.

Washoe Lake

Washoe Lake is a popular place to go fishing, boating, and skiing. It is located in the Washoe Valley between Reno and Carson City. The lake has over 5800 surface acres.

There are several types of fish that live in the lake. Some include carp, Sacramento perch, and white bass. When the lake is complete, it will cover about 5,800 acres. However, the water levels will fluctuate significantly from season to season.

Aerial of Nevada's Washoe Lake - Things to do in Carson City
Aerial of Nevada’s Washoe Lake – Things to do in Carson City

If you are interested in fishing or boating, you can find two boat ramps on the lake. One is in the main day-use area, and the other is at Little Washoe. You can also enjoy camping, picnicking, hiking, and horseback riding.

Washoe Lake State Park is an ideal place to visit for anyone. It is one of the six Nevada state parks with access to the American Discovery Trail. This trail spans 14 mountain ranges and includes more than 6,800 trails.

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