As we’ve discussed many times over the course of 2017, Carson City is a place so full of historical life, so dense in its stories of western adventure and modern expansion that the capital city truly has a life of its own.
And also as we’ve seen so much this year, the town is changing constantly. New businesses are popping up all over the place, and it seems like just yesterday Downtown Carson City underwent a complete makeover.
For short periods as I was attending school out of town or going on extended vacations, I felt as though coming home to Carson City was like coming home to a whole new place each time. Friends who ventured out of state came home for the holidays and were always shocked at how the city had grown or small things changed over such a short time. I think this is true of most hometowns.
So in embracing the tradition of history in this small yet ever-growing city, this Christmas I focus on a few of the most important, most enduring places worth visiting in town. Time has treated these places well, and this holiday season, I invite you to spend some time making some traditions at the following historic attractions.
The warm, cozy comfort of a hometown coffee shop is something almost magical, something that just can’t be beat. In Carson City this place is Comma Coffee. For years this has been the hangout of local high school kids, Nevada legislators and everyone in between. It’s a de facto art gallery and events venue for local musicians as well as dance classes. Its place as an iconic Carson City location is certain.
Right next door is the Fox Pub, formerly the Firkin & Fox. It’s the site of the famous St. Charles Hotel, a historic landmark and one of the last remnants of the pre-modern Carson City. The restaurant and pub hasn’t been around long, but it has earned its spot among the legendary Carson City places because it is now an icon of the downtown area. Its broad menu, outdoor patio and fire pit and traditional English pub-style bar make it the best place to start or end any night, any season.
Then, just down the street is Hanifin’s Antiques. It’s easy enough to drive down Carson Street and miss, but Hanifin’s is a warehouse of antique furniture from Europe and beyond, some dating back to the 1800s. The shop has been around for decades, celebrating the past but also the eclectic, collector-friendly spirit of the area, which is full of antiques stores. But in Downtown Carson City, Hanifin’s is the biggest and most full of different treasures.
Of course this list couldn’t be complete without including Adele’s. Another decades-old Carson City mainstay, the cafe may be the most iconic restaurant in town. Adele’s combines the experience of dining in a 19th-century Victorian home among some of the most interesting local art pieces and eating fresh farm-to-table meals with locally sourced ingredients. It’s perhaps the most singular Carson City experience, making its place among the traditions of this historic town undeniable.
Sometime during the upcoming holidays, treat yourself or your family to a visit to one of these legendary stops along Carson Street, where the essence of the city feels most alive. Maybe this visit is already a tradition, or perhaps it’s time to add to your current yearly tradition. Either way, the memories will last a lifetime.