Looking for a unique, adventurous trip filled with history, culture, and nature? Look no further than Nevada City, California. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, this charming old Gold Rush town has a lot to offer. Here are five must-visit spots to add to your itinerary in Nevada City.
1. Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
Step back in time to the days of the Gold Rush with a visit to the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. This museum, dedicated to the preservation of local railway heritage, offers a wealth of knowledge for history enthusiasts. The museum houses a collection of vintage rail cars, photographs and historical artifacts from the heyday of the Narrow Gauge Railroad, which served the area between Nevada City and Grass Valley from the late 19th century until 1942. Don’t miss the chance to marvel at the No. 5 Engine, an original locomotive that was in service for 66 years. The Railroad Museum also offers guided tours where you can learn more about the fascinating history of the railroad and the role it played in the growth and prosperity of Nevada County.
2. Nevada Theatre
Nevada Theatre, established in 1865, is another must-visit location in Nevada City. It’s California’s oldest existing theatre building and has a rich history. This historic venue continues to function as a theatre today, hosting a variety of performances from plays and concerts to films and lectures. Walking into the Nevada Theatre is like stepping into a different era, with its quaint seats, wooden balconies, and vintage-style stage. It’s more than a place to watch a show; it’s a place to immerse yourself in the cultural heartbeat of Nevada City and experience a piece of California’s theatrical history.
3. Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
If you’re a nature lover or history buff, the Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is a destination you won’t want to miss. It’s the site of California’s largest hydraulic mine, where water was used to wash away mountainsides in the search for gold. Today, the park offers an array of outdoor activities. You can hike or mountain bike along the scenic trails, picnic in the beautiful surroundings, or camp overnight for a real adventure. The park also features the historical town of North Bloomfield, where visitors can learn about the gold mining history of the area through preserved buildings and informative exhibits.
4. Doris Foley Historical Library
For those with an insatiable curiosity about Nevada City’s past, the Doris Foley Historical Library is an absolute treasure trove. This public reference library specializes in the history of Nevada County, providing a wealth of primary source materials which include historical books, photographs, maps, and manuscripts. The library, set in a historic 1907 building, offers a quiet, contemplative setting where you can delve into the intriguing past of this remarkable area. Whether you’re a serious researcher or a casual visitor, a trip to the Doris Foley Historical Library is time well spent.
5. Nevada City Chamber of Commerce
Lastly, make a stop at the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce to get a rounded understanding of the city’s past, present and future. While it may not traditionally be on the tourist trail, a visit here provides an insightful look into the city’s thriving business community and vibrant social scene. The Chamber of Commerce also organizes a number of local events throughout the year, which could add some extra charm to your Nevada City trip.
Whether you are a history buff, a theatre lover, a nature enthusiast, or an eager learner, Nevada City, California, is a destination with something for everybody. From its rich history, captured in its museums and libraries, to its stunning natural landscapes and its vibrant community, Nevada City is definitely a jewel worth exploring.