Nevada City, CA
Crowned the "Queen City of the Northern Mines" during the 19th-century Gold Rush, Nevada City, California, became famous for the volume of gold that was pulled out of the ground. More of the sparkling ore was found in the immediate county than anywhere else in the state.
An engaging stop in Gold Country, Nevada City offers visitors to the northeast section of the state much in the way of history and culture. The town’s mining past can be experienced by way of the well-preserved Downtown and number of Nevada City attractions related to its former heyday.
Firehouse No. 1 Museum is a distinctive Victorian structure that housed the Nevada Hose Company for 80 years, starting in 1861. A visual trademark of the town, the narrow building is topped with a turreted bell tower. The museum exhibits highlight the culture of the local Nisenan Indians, who still reside in the area, and early Chinese settlers. On display are artifacts used in daily life during the 19th and 20th centuries, including firearms, household tools and a lovely collection of vintage wedding dresses.
Other things to do in Nevada City include a visit to the Nevada Theatre, a structure completed in 1865. Constructed entirely of red brick to offset the chance of destruction by fire, the theater is located on Broad Street, a main thoroughfare. Currently used to exhibit films and stage local performances, the building is the oldest theater in the state.
Tucked along a street behind the theater is the Miners Foundry Cultural Center. Established in 1855, the foundry and blacksmith shop produced machinery for gold mining. The shop workers innovated new tools, notably the Pelton Water Wheel, which set the stage for hydroelectric power. The simple wood structure is open for tours, with artifacts and photographs animating local history.
Dig into more mining tools at the Mining Museum, located approximately 10 minutes from downtown Nevada City in Grass Valley. Browse through many authentic gold mining items, including drills used to create mining shafts and a Cornish pump, used to extract water from mines. After your tour, relax with a picnic on the scenic grounds.
Located a block south of Broad Street is a neat, rustic structure, home of Nevada City Winery, with vineyards dating back to the Gold Rush era. A Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay are among the many award-winning varietals released by the winery, available for savoring at the polished tasting room.
Largely a tourist destination, Nevada City caters to its guests with several fine-dining establishments. Among the culinary attractions in Nevada City is the kitchen at Red Castle Inn Historic Lodgings. The Gothic Revival structure, recognizable by a gable roof edged in fine white woodwork, is a popular destination for an elegant breakfast or afternoon tea.
More than 200 acres of public parks increase the number of things to do in Nevada City. Centrally located, Pioneer Park hums with activity at its swimming pool, spacious grass field and playground.