A few weeks ago I posted a report on the Reno/Tahoe area and I left out Carson City because we hadn’t finished exploring there. Now I can tell you about the capital of Nevada, and it’s a great little city to visit.
RV Parks and Casino Parking
This whole region of Nevada and California is RV friendly and there are many commercial RV parks in the area, including some near Lake Tahoe which is under 20 miles away. Casino Parking is limited to one lot at the Carson City Nugget Casino. It’s a small lot, but conveniently located and clearly marked at the corner of N. Stewart St. and E. Spear St. RVs up to 40 feet will fit, but it’s all back-in. Stays of 3 days are OK and security records your plate number and checks the lot regularly.
Besides the casino, our main reason for stopping in Carson City was to visit the museums, take the walking tours of the city, and learn more about the history of the area. We found the museums to be very interesting and a great value. The Nevada State Museum is located in the former Carson City Mint. For only a $5.00 admission fee you’ll learn about the mint, mining operations, natural history, the gaming industry, and the history of the area including Native Americans and explorers, and the miners and settlers who built the city. If the mint operations are of great interest to you plan your visit for the last Friday of the month so you can see a vintage coin press operating and talk with the operator.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum is also a bargain, only $4.00 each. If your interest is history it’s a good visit, but if you’re into trains this should be on your “must see” list. They have many examples of vintage railroad equipment from lamps and other small items to historic steam engines and a number of cars. Their marketing information says it is “…considered one of the finest regional railroad museums in the country. Included in the collection are 5 steam locomotives and several restored coaches and freight cars. The bulk of the equipment is from the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, America’s richest and most famous short line.” You may recognize one of the trains, it was used in the TV show Wild-Wild-West and in several movies.
There are a number of walking, driving, and biking tours both within Carson City and in the region. The convention and visitors bureau website lists them all. We enjoyed walking the Kit Carson Trail, and wondering around the various government buildings and parks. A wide variety of outdoor activities and sports are available in the area; golf, biking, hiking, water sports, and most anything that interests you.
What about the casino?
There are several small casinos in Carson City, but the largest and most prominent is the Carson City Nugget. This is a family owned locals casino that also appeals to out-of-town guests. Although it shows its age and a bit of wear and tear it’s a nice place to visit, play, and eat. The restaurants, including the coffee shop and buffet where we ate, seemed cleaner and better maintained than the balance of the casino and are a very good value. We had the buffet one night for $8.88, and several meals in the coffee shop including the $5.99 prime rib dinner that was good.
The casino floor has a mix of old and new machines including some old coin-droppers that may find themselves in a museum in a few years. If you reminisce about feeding quarters here’s your chance to do it again. In contrast to some of the older games the slot club is efficient and modern. They are tied in to the restaurants, so you don’t need a comp slip, just scan your card at the cashier to pay with your points. We ate frugally, and were comped most all our meals on a modest volume of quarter video poker play.
One final note about the Carson City Nugget, don’t miss their display of rare gold including nuggets, leaf, crystallized gold, and many other beautiful natural shapes.
What did we miss?
I’m sure we missed a few sights worth seeing, and we never ate outside the Carson Nugget, so there are likely some great restaurants we missed. Tell us all about your experiences in Carson City. What other places should visitors visit?
Happy travels, and good luck in the casinos,