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48 Hours in Carson City Nevada: Top Things To Do, Where To Stay, Places To Eat!

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Top things to do in Carson City Nevada

Just 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe and Reno lies Carson City, Nevada. A city that I've driven past quite a few times but never stopped to explore.

I recently had the opportunity to spend an October weekend in Nevada's State Capitol (a beautiful time to visit with all the fall colors!). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Carson City is a mix of historic charm, outdoor recreation, eclectic cafes and shops, and inviting local breweries and restaurants.

Here are some of the top things to do in Carson City, Nevada.

A huge thank you to Visit Carson City for making this experience possible.


-Top Things To Do-

Kings Canyon Waterfall

Kings Canyon Waterfalls Carson City Nevada
Kings Canyon Waterfall in October
Kings Canyon Waterfalls Carson City Nevada

Kings Canyon Waterfall is a beautiful 25-foot waterfall that flows year-round (but is fullest in spring). To reach the falls, it's a short and easy .5 mile round trip hike from the Kings Canyon Trailhead. We did this hike around 11 am on a Sunday and had to it ourselves for about an hour!

Tip: If you want to keep the hike short, make sure to take the trail on the right side of the parking lot (the one with the stairs). If you take the trail to the left, it will add a mile or so to the hike.


Kit Carson Trail

Deer on the Kit Carson Trail in Carson City Nevada
Family of deer on the Kit Carson Trail

The Kit Carson Trail (which is more of a road that you can walk or drive) takes you through Carson City’s picturesque historic district. Along the trail are 18th-century style Victorian homes (some of them are said to be haunted), landmarks, museums, and churches.

Visit Carson City has a detailed list of all of the stops along the Kit Carson Trail, as well as a link to a downloadable trail map.

We checked out the trail on a Sunday morning and came across a small herd of deer casually grazing along the sidewalks, which was an exciting surprise!


Carson River Park

Carson River Park in the fall in Carson City Nevada
Fall foliage in Carson River Park
Carson River Park in the fall in Carson City Nevada

Carson River Park is a 40-acre park along the Carson River. It features a wide walking path, bike trails, river access, a fishing pier, and picnic tables throughout. The park is a great spot to visit in the fall, tons of fall colors here!


Silver Saddle Ranch

Silver Saddle Ranch in Carson City Nevada

Silver Saddle Ranch in Carson City Nevada

Also along the Carson River, and connected to Carson River Park, is Silver Saddle Ranch, a working ranch and preserved recreation area with hiking and biking trails and stunning mountain views (making it a great photo op spot).


Downtown Carson City

Downtown Carson City Nevada
McFadden Plaza in downtown Carson City

Downtown Carson City is the historic section of Carson City. The main streets to explore are Curry and Carson streets, where you'll find a variety of locally-owned restaurants, quirky coffee houses, antique shops, museums, landmarks buildings, and overall, tons of charm.


Prison Hill Recreation Area

Prison Hill Recreation Area
Prison Hill is a great spot for a sunset hike
Prison Hill Recreation Area in Carson City Nevada

Prison Hill is a large dedicated recreational area with hiking, biking, ATV, and trails. I found this area to be a great spot for photographing the sunset, as it offers fantastic views over Carson Valley and the surrounding mountains.


-Where To Stay-

St Charles Historic Hotel in Carson City Nevada
St Charles Historic Hotel in the heart of downtown
St Charles Historic Hotel in Carson City Nevada

We stayed at the St Charles Historic Hotel, a historic boutique style hotel right in the heart of downtown. Situated in McFadden Plaza, the hotel is across the street from the State Capitol building and in short walking distance to restaurants, bars, shops, casinos, and the Kit Carson Trail. It also happens to be the second-oldest hotel in the state (after the Gold Hill Hotel).

We stayed in Suite 203 and loved it!

For more places to stay in Carson City, click here.


-Places to Eat-

Comma Coffee Cafe Carson City Nevada
Comma Coffee Cafe

There are many great spots to eat in Carson City; here are a few recommendations:

Coffee and Breakfast:


The Union Taphouse (amazing fries!)



What are some of your favorite things to do around Carson City? Share in the comments! Also, be sure to subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss the latest blog posts, videos, and other good stuff!

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Hi, I'm Gabriella, an outdoor photographer living in Lake Tahoe, California. 
I'm originally from New York and moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to try out living somewhere new and different.  I found myself loving the adventurous lifestyle and dramatic scenery on the west side of the country.  Eventually, I moved to Lake Tahoe in 2019 after falling in love with its natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle. 
On this site, I share adventure tips and destination guides to help you explore the beauty of Lake Tahoe, the Sierras, Northern California, and beyond...

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