Carson City is Nevada’s capital, located along the eastern front of the Sierra Nevada, in the Eagle Valley, just east of Lake Tahoe, south of Reno, and north of Douglas County and the Carson Valley communities of Minden, Gardnerville, and Genoa. The Carson River flows through the southeast corner of the city. With a population approaching 65,000, Carson City is a picturesque, evolving destination with central access to the outdoors as well as larger and smaller communities nearby.
From the beginning, Carson City was intended to be Nevada’s capital. Its cause was advanced by local fraternal orders and businessmen, chief among them Abraham Curry, who bankrolled and oversaw many of Carson City’s early developments. Carson City was once home to an outlet of the US Mint. The collectible “CC” Carson City coins were produced here from 1870 – 1893.
Places to Go
Lake Tahoe. Just over Spooner Summit at the south end of town, via Highway 50 West (completely different road than the popular “Highway 50” Williams Street), is Lake Tahoe. Carson City is a direct route to South Lake Tahoe and the Stateline casino area, as well as Heavenly ski area and the rest of what Lake Tahoe has to offer.
Nevada Outback. The other way on Highway 50 East, Williams Street, you find the Nevada outback. This region of basins and ranges is perhaps best explored via Highway 50. Overnight trips work best for anything beyond Sand Mountain, which lies outside Fallon. Other things to see along the Highway 50 corridor include Fort Churchill State Park, Lahontan Reservoir, and the historic diametric opposite central Nevada mining towns of Austin and Eureka.
Carson Valley. South along 395, the Carson Valley is home to Genoa, Nevada’s oldest settlement (established as Mormon Station in 1851), as well as the towns of Minden and Gardnerville. Gardnerville is home to some Basque food and downtown Minden is quaint and picturesque. Kingsbury Grade climbs the Sierra west of Carson Valley to Lake Tahoe, and is the Nevada side entrance to Heavenly Ski Resort.
Places to Stay
Most Carson City lodging is located along Carson Street, both north and south of downtown. These include:
Best Western Carson Station Hotel/Casino, 900 S Carson Street, Best Western Pinon Plaza Resort, 2171 US Highway 50 E, Best Western Trailside Inn, 1300 N Carson Street, Days Inn, 3103 North Carson St., Hardman House Inn & Suites, 917 North Carson Street (downtown, north of the State House), Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 4055 N. Carson Street, and Motel 6, 2749 S Carson Street.
Places to Eat
Most of Carson City’s restaurants and diners are located along Carson Street, concentrated primarily in the downtown area. These include:
El Charro Avitia – Mexican Food – 4389 South Carson Street, Q’s Barbecue – Western style barbecue cuisine – 230 Fairview Dr @ South Carson Street, Bollywood – Indian cuisine – 2329 North Carson St., The Cracker Box – American Breakfast – 402 E William St., City Cafe Bakery – Sandwiches & Espresso – 701 S Carson St., Adele’s – Fine dining – 1112 North Carson Street, San Rafael Coffee Company (Coffee, Espresso Drinks, Pastries), 711 South Carson Street #3 (Main Street and 8th). San Rafael Coffee Company is dedicated to the craft of roasting extraordinary specialty coffees.
You can get to Carson City via US Highway 50 from the east and west, and US Highway 395 from the north and south.
The US 395 Carson City Freeway is underway and currently terminates at the junction with US-50. In coming years this freeway, to be known as Interstate 580 Nevada, will run all the way through Carson City connecting to US-50 and the road to Lake Tahoe at the south end of town. Until then…
Carson Street, which is also US 395 business, runs north-south through the city. It is supplemented by Stewart Street, Roop Street, and Saliman Rd providing north-south connectivity through Carson City.
Williams Street is also US-50 as it heads east through Carson City. Highway 50 (as it is mostly referred to locally) is joined by 5th Street to the south and College Parkway on the north carrying traffic eastward and westward to and from Carson Street. The west side of Carson Street is actually known as Carson City’s “West Side” and is served mainly by small neighborhood streets.