Looking for Small Towns to Visit?

Here’s Why Carson City Should be at the Top of the List

When you imagine a small-town getaway location, what do you see? People who stop to say hello to everyone as if they were neighbors. Locally owned businesses that have been around for decades. Posters and billboards highlighting annual community events. Era-specific architecture lining the streets—but not to the point that it crowds your views of wide-open fields and mountain ranges. 

If that’s your vision, Carson City, Nevada should be on your list for best small towns to visit! It boasts quintessential small-town charm in the following ways:

  • Its size
  • A close-knit community
  • Rich history
  • Immersed in nature
  • Local events and traditions


Of course, no small town is going to feel “small town” unless it actually is. Despite being Nevada’s capital, Carson City isn’t as densely populated as other cities with the same title. (To compare, California’s capital, Sacramento, has over nine times as many people living there.) Nearby cities like Reno and Sparks have anywhere from four to two times as many people living there, respectively. 

Whether you’re visiting from the bustling cities of the Bay Area or settling into an affordable hotel after a day among the crowds in Lake Tahoe, the smaller size of Carson City is definitely part of the charm and a big reason why it is the best small town to visit. 

Close-Knit Community

Carson City’s smaller population lends itself to a more intimate and close-knit community feel, which is a common characteristic of small towns. Locals often know each other by name, stopping for a conversation as they pass on the streets. Even out-of-towners are welcomed and treated like one of the residents.

Rich History

Not only do the size and people make this one of the best small towns to visit, but also its historical significance adds to the nostalgia for bygone days. Carson City is particularly famous for being a frontier town during the Gold Rush era. This history is still evident in its architecture, museums, and cultural heritage—all of which contribute to its small-town charm.

Learn all about Carson City’s history when you visit! Make one of your first stops the Nevada State Museum for natural history exhibits, a replica walk-through mine and ghost town, and world-renowned Coin Press No. 1. 

Additionally, you can explore the Kit Carson Trail on foot or in the saddle while listening to an audio guide that leads you around historical neighborhoods. Enjoy the beauty of Victorian-style homes, grand architecture, quaint main streets, and over 50 preserved landmarks that reflect Carson City’s heritage (including the State Capitol Building that’s been standing for over 150 years!). 

Immersed in Nature

We might be biased, but Carson City is one of the best small towns to visit because of its proximity to the beautiful Sierra Nevada, the Carson River, and Lake Tahoe. Unlike larger cities, Carson City’s access to nature and outdoor recreation isn’t hindered by urban development. Drive a few minutes in any direction to reach parks or trailheads. This is the perfect place for hikers, road cyclists and mountain bikers, water sport enthusiasts, skiers and snowboarders, and even more exotic adventurers (hang gliding or hot air balloon riding, anyone?) to spend a weekend. What better small town to visit than one that gives you something for everyone?

Local Events and Traditions

Carson City hosts various local events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Nevada Day Parade, the Carson City Brewfest, and Mark Twain Days Festival. Events like these bring the community together through a shared sense of pride in our heritage and celebrate our unique culture—all of which contributes to the friendly, small-town atmosphere you feel when you’re here. A large crowd gathers in McFadden Plaza with fake mustaches for Mark Twain Days Festival

Remember to check out our events calendar to see what’s happening when you plan to visit!

Come Experience Carson City’s Small-Town Charm

As you consider small towns to visit, keep Carson City in mind. There are so many things to do without the crowds and price tags of bigger destinations. 

Already planning out your itinerary for when you’re here? Great! Book a room and get ready to experience small-town charm the northern Nevadan way. 


Sources Census Data:

  • Sacramento data: 
  • https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/sacramentocitycalifornia/PST045222#PST045222
  • Carson City data:
  • https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/carsoncitynevada/PST045223
  • Reno data:
  • https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/renocitynevada/PST045222