Visiting Storey County

Planning to visit Storey County? We 1st recommend that you visit our Virginia City Tourism Commission (Visitor Center). There’s much to do here for the entire family, including:
  • Joining us for the annual Camel Races
  • A ride aboard the historic Virginia and Truckee Railroad
  • A laid-back day of shopping at the numerous unique gift shops and gourmet candy stores
  • A delicious meal in 1 of our eclectic mix of restaurants
Historic Storey County
Storey County’s rich history dates back over 150 years to a time when transportation was horse drawn, and the west was known as a rugged place where rags turned to riches. Because of the incredible riches discovered in the hills of Storey County, this area was a major draw for poor folks hoping to strike it rich as well as socialites hoping to get even richer. And once the Comstock began producing one of the largest gold and silver discoveries at that time, and accordingly, multimillionaires, Virginia City became a cosmopolitan city. Residents here wanted the town to reflect their new found wealth so grand pianos, beautiful chandeliers, ornate wallpaper and the finest furnishings were brought over the rugged terrain of the Sierra Mountain Range from places near and far including Europe and San Francisco.

Today, Virginia City’s historical buildings continue to reflect the wealth of the 19th century mining town. The mines of the Comstock Lode yielded more than $400 million in gold and silver. These riches were so great, in fact, that they actually funded the building of San Francisco.

In its heyday, Virginia City was “the place” for arts and culture-visiting celebrities, Shakespearean theater, 2 newspapers (1 of which is where Mark Twain began his famous writing career), and a cultured opera house. Today, this historical culture is available for all visitors to enjoy. Additionally, Storey County prides itself on offering numerous activities and events throughout the year, along with a multitude of museums, restaurants, lodging, and unique shops. And, for those who enjoy the outdoors, Storey County offers limitless opportunities for hiking, camping, hunting and fishing, horseback riding, 4-wheeling, and bicycling. The following are a few of the most popular tourist attractions in Storey County.

Pipers Opera House
Built in 1885 and still in use, Piper's Opera House has recently undergone extensive restoration. This stage once welcomed:
  • Buffalo Bill
  • The Great Houdini
  • Mark Twain
  • President Grant
Plus, viewers of shows at Piper’s Opera House can keep their eye out for the ghosts who are said to attend many of the performances.

Fourth Ward School Museum
Historic education and art programs are available at the Fourth Ward School. This historic building was erected in 1876 for the area’s 1,000 school aged children. Today, art exhibitions, oral history lectures, and scholar-in-residence programs are available for visitors and residents to partake in.

Virginia & Truckee (V&T) Railroad
Currently, visitors can board a 35 minute train ride through the heart of the historic Comstock mining region. This railroad is undergoing a $30 million expansion - one of the most exciting additions to the area in a number of years. Within the next few years, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad will connect Carson City to Virginia City offering multiple trips back and forth between the 2 communities each and every day. Upon completion, visitors can board the historic railway in Carson City and arrive in Virginia City the way folks used to “back in the day.”

Storey County Courthouse
The Storey County Courthouse, built in 1876 after being destroyed in the great fire of 1875, is the state's oldest continuously operating courthouse. The courthouse boasts one of the few Lady of Justice’s in the country in which she is not blindfolded. Storey County chose to not blindfold her to communicate to its citizens that justice was, and continues not to be, blind here.

Nevada Gambling Museum
The Nevada Gambling Museum features more than half a million dollars worth of gaming memorabilia, including over 100 antique slot machines, cheating devices, and gamblers' weapons.

Way It Was Museum
The Way it Was Museum displays the most complete collection of Comstock mining artifacts in the world as well as rare photos, lithographs and maps of the Bonanza period.

Radio Museum
If radios are your passion, you must plan on visiting the Radio Museum, located in the Parish House at 109 South F Street. This museum is home to numerous antique and vintage radios which are displayed in chronological order with a description of the radio and its significance in radio history. You’ll also enjoy viewing a large collection of radio personality photographs including original, signed posters.

Comstock Firemen's Museum/Nevada State Firemen’s Museum
Founded in 1979 by Virginia City’s volunteer Fire Department, the Comstock Firemen's Museum displays 19th century fire fighting equipment. Liberty Engine Company No. 1 is still an operating volunteer fire fighting unit.

The Mackay Mansion Museum
Built in 1860 as the headquarters of the Gould and Curry Mining Company Office and later purchased by John Mackay, one of the “Silver Kings,” the Mackay Mansion Museum includes mining artifacts, original furnishings and Tiffany silver.

St. Mary’s Art Center
Built in 1876, the St. Mary’s Art Center was originally established as the St. Mary Louise Hospital by the Sisters of Charity and Bishop Patrick Manogue. The 36 room hospital included 5 wards and 12 private rooms that could accommodate upwards of 70 patients. Today, the art center operates year round, offering lodging and art instruction. Class offerings include:
  • Acrylic
  • Oil
  • Pastel
  • Photography
  • Watercolor
  • Other artistic media
St. Mary’s in the Mountains Museum
Virginia City is home to a number of beautiful churches reflective of the late 19th century culture. One such church is St. Mary’s in the Mountains, arguably the most prominent historical structure and institution in Virginia City. The church was rebuilt by Bishop Manogue following the Great Fire of 1875. Today, the church holds weekly mass and also features a museum displaying numerous church artifacts and photographs.

Annual Special Events
A great place to plan your trip to Storey County is the Virginia City Convention and Visitors Authority. You’ll discover an updated list of current events, information about Storey County’s lively, colorful history and a list of hotels/motels and RV Parks.

County Maps
Storey County is centrally located between the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area and Carson City, the state capital. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are 10+ world-class ski resorts and a multitude of lakes, rivers and streams within 1 hour of Virginia City:
  • 26 miles (40 minutes) from downtown Reno
  • 15 miles (30 minutes) from Carson City
  • 30 miles (50 minutes) from Lake Tahoe