"Nevada City- Making Gold From Its Historic Past" Top 5 Page for this destination Nevada City by TooTallFinn24

Nevada City Travel Guide: 132 reviews and 319 photos

A City That Got it Right

Up and down the Northern Sierra Nevada foothills there are numerous cities that were part of the great 1850's California gold rush. However Nevada City stands near the top of the list of gold rush cities that have preserved the memories of the past in a way that make tourists flock to visit this town.

Talking to residents, business owners and staff at the Chamber of Commerce during my December, 2011 visit gave me some insights as to why Nevada City draws more tourist revenue than other gold rush cities. In 1985 the City Council decided to make the entire downtown area listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This made it more difficult to tear down or significantly change the facade of buildings in the downtown area. Other cities had simply designated individual buildings to be given historic status. A strong consensus and plan among business owners and leadership by the City Manager of Nevada City were other reasons I heard as to why the City has become such a tourist mecca.

Today, Nevada City numbers barely 3,000 people. A far cry from the over 10,000 gold crazy folks that made it their home in the 1850's. Back then the City was so big that only Sacramento and San Francisco exceeded it in size.

(Picture is of Firehouse Number 1 on Coyote Street)

Prepare to Climb

Driving up to Nevada City recently I was reminded how steep and narrow some of the streets are. For those who want the City on foot bring some comfortable walking shoes and prepare to climb up and down Main Street, Commercial Street, Pine Street and others. The first words that were uttered to me in the morning by one of the staffers at the Chamber of Commerce was where did you park and did you remember to set your hand brake! Apparently runaway cars are an all to frequent occurrence when i talked to one of the members of the Nevada City Police Force in back of City Hall.

Seeing the City in One and Half Hours or One Day

If you only have a short time to see Nevada City I would recommend taking a walking tour. Start at the Chamber of Commerce office on 132 Main Street and pick up a free map and then heading over to Robinson Plaza next door to see all the historical markers. The eight to ten sights identified are all on four streets. It is less than a two mile round trip even if you walk across the Pine Street Bridge.

If you have more time look around at one of the museums that are open. There are three or four depending on the day of the week. Have a casual lunch or a more formal lunch and dinner at the restaurants I and other reviewers have suggested.

I think you will find Nevada City very friendly.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Historic, Cute with Great Restaurants
  • Cons:Hilly and Hard to Park
  • In a nutshell:One of the California Gold Rush Towns
  • Intro Updated Dec 5, 2011
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Reviews (23)

Comments (5)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I am still working on a trip for the fall and this looks like one town to go to besides Sacramento. Good despcriptions

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Very nice Travel Page on Nevada City (California). It's near us and a favorite visit. They also have a very active art community. The town is quaint and fun and the area just gorgeous. You told us why. Thanks!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Sounds like a wise decision to have the entire downtown area listed on the National Register of Historic Places, rather than just individual buildings. -- I remember paying my power bills to P. G. & E. when I lived in Berkeley, but I had no idea that they were originally the South Yuba Canal Company.

  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Thanks for the comment and reviews canuck 68!

  • canuck68's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    you make Nevada City sound very appealing.
    It looks like a pretty town.


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