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13 Great Things to Do in Virginia City & Nevada City, Montana

old buildings in Virginia City

Virginia City and Nevada City are two Old West towns in Montana located very close to each other. They are a fun side trip from Yellowstone to learn some history, enjoy entertainment, and eat some good food.

The towns were once gold-rush towns and have a very wild past with criminals, hangings, shootings, and other stereotypically Old West things.

Virginia City, Montana: A fun Old West town

Getting There

Virginia City and Nevada City are located about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Bozeman or West Yellowstone.

Map of how to get to Virginia City and Nevada City from Bozeman and Yellowstone

Virginia City vs Nevada City

Map of Nevada City and Virginia City from Ennis, MT

Virginia City is an actual town with commercial activities and residents who live there.

Nevada City is a preserved ghost town and is a Montana state park. It requires an entry fee to visit.

They are only located about 5 minutes from each other by car. Both are about 20 minutes away from Ennis, Montana, a town famous for fly fishing.

Historic Buildings on Main Street

Map of Virginia City, MT
Main St Virginia City
Inside old trading post in Virginia City

Walk up and down Main Street in Virginia City to see many authentic old west buildings.

One of our favorite things about Virginia City is that there were actual stores and businesses mixed in with some buildings set aside just as museum pieces.

The museum buildings had exhibits inside to make them look like they did back in the day.

Vaudeville Show: The Virginia City Players

We debated between taking the train ride or watching the Vaudeville show, and I’m really glad we chose the show.

The Virginia City Players play in a quaint, old-timey building.

The quality of the play wasn’t on par with West Yellowstone’s Playmill Theater, but it was a fun comedy show with a little improv.

Our kids loved it and we still talk about some of the songs they played that day.

Man playing guitar at Vaudeville show in Virginia City

Stagecoach Ride

Horse drawn stagecoach driving down the street

We didn’t have the time for a stagecoach ride, but we saw this thing going up and down the road during most of our visit!

Historic Tour on a Fire Truck

This closed right as we arrived, so we didn’t get to do it but it looked like something our kids would have enjoyed quite a bit.

Historic fire truck in Virginia city

Train Ride

train from Virginia City to Nevada City

You can take a train ride from Virginia City to Nevada City. Driving between the cities takes just a few minutes and the train ride takes about 15 minutes.

The train will drop you off in Nevada City (see below), where you can browse around for a while before catching the train ride back. When booking your tickets, you’ll choose which times you want to ride there and back, depending on how much time you want to spend in Nevada City.

The train looked a little too small and childish for our liking, so we opted for the Vaudeville show instead.

Boot Hill

A short drive will take you to the top of the city, where you can overlook the valley from Boot Hill. This is a cemetery where some of the early outlaws were buried.

Boot Hill Cemetery view
Frank Parish burial marker Boot Hill Cemetery Virginia City

Cousin’s Candy Shop

Cousins Candy Shop in Virginia City

This large candy shop was, of course, a hit with our kids. Cheryl loved the fudge, and it was just fun to browse the store and pick out some treats.

This reminded us of the huge candy shop in Phillipsburg, Montana.

Old Time Photo

As I was walking down Main Street I saw this group of people just sitting inside a building. The photographer had left, and I just thought the building was kind of a museum piece.

We looked at each other like we were crazy for a minute when I asked them what the heck they were doing in here all dressed up.

They said they were waiting for a photographer so I told them they were in luck and I took their photo!

People dressed up for Old West Photo

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

We found this little chapel in town and walked in to check out the beautiful stained glass window.

Virginia City Museum

We arrived too late to check out the museum, unfortunately.

Virginia City Museum

The Village Pump

gas station in Virginia City

The Village Pump was a nice old-timey touch. I was legitimately almost out of gas, so I actually used the pump – though it was the modern one in between the two set pieces.

Where to Eat: The Road Agents’ Roost

There are multiple restaurants in town, but a local recommended the Road Agents’ Roost.

Interestingly, this is a German restaurant, with Western theming.

You can see the bizarre mix of Bavarian Western here!

The food was really delicious – we got pierogies and sauerkraut, and our kids got hot dogs.

The Road Agents' Roost restaurant Virginia City
Inside The Road Agents' Roost restaurant in Virginia City
Decor in The Road Agents' Roost restaurant in Virginia city
Hot dog, pierogi meal The Road Agents' Roost Virginia city

Nevada City

A few minutes away is the even more authentic Nevada City, which is a preserved state park.

Getting into the park requires an entry fee.

We arrived near the end of the day, so the worker told us it just wouldn’t be worth it to pay to enter the park because we wouldn’t be able to see much.

There are many buildings and a few people told us it takes a few hours to do it justice.

Nevada city State Park
Nevada City sign
Nevada City sign and buildings
Nevada City map

Where to Stay: Red Bear Inn

Red Bear Inn Ennis, MT

Virginia City offers combo packages where you can stay in town and some attractions are included.

However, we stayed nearby in Ennis, at the Red Bear Inn (book here). This was a simple place but the owners were very friendly and even accommodated me when I rescheduled our trip due to someone in our family getting COVID. We definitely recommend this affordable and friendly place.

Things to Do Nearby

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