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Entire Downtown is a National Historic Landmark
Nevada City is among the most interesting of the California Gold Rush towns, attracting visitors from far and wide. Nevada City developed along the banks of Deer Creek in 1949. Early reports told of miners who pulled a pound of paydirt a day from gold deposits along the creek. The town was first known as Deer Creek Dry Diggins and later as Caldwell's Upper Store. Several major fires in the 1850s and early 1860s convinced the townspeople to use more brick in rebuilding their structures. Civic leaders named the town Nevada, Spanish for 'snow-covered,' in 1850 and the next year the newly-incorporated city became the Nevada County seat. The town's name was later changed to Nevada City after its title was borrowed by the state to the east. Nevada County is noted for many wonderful attributes in addition to its Gold Rush lore. Everyone knows New England for its fall colors, but Nevada County is the mecca of the west coast for those who want to be enchanted with the season. Mild days and cool nights of autumn give Nevada County some of California's best fall colors, where century old maples stand in colorful testimony to the early settlers who planted them.Residents and visitors alike enjoy its mountain trails and scenic rivers, award-winning restaurants, quality theater productions, museums, art galleries, and local wineries.
As the county seat, Nevada City served for many years as the commercial, governmental and professional center of Nevada County. Since the turn of the century, however, it has gradually relinquished its domination of the retail trade to nearby Grass Valley and has in recent decades actively developed its tourism industry. Realizing the value of preserving California history for future generations, citizens were successful in 1985 in having the entire downtown area registered as a national historic landmark. The historic district, including 93 buildings, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, eight individual buildings are listed on the register and the town also contains 18 state and local landmarks. Today, visitors enjoy exploring the town's narrow streets and century-old buildings and while strolling the historic downtown, locals and guests enjoy quality restaurants, comfortable lodgings and a variety of fine shops, boutiques, galleries and museums, all flavored with old-fashioned Nevada City hospitality. Nevada City attracts vacationers in all four seasons and is a popular weekend getaway for visitors in Northern California and Nevada. Nevada City serves as a base for recreation in the nearby Tahoe National Forest, South Yuba River and High Sierra. Nevada City is just 45 minutes from Donner Summit area skiing and 60.90 minutes from Lake Tahoe ski areas. Nevada City's popular tourist attractions include the South Yuba River State Park offering four season hiking and gold panning, spring whitewater boating and summer swimming on the federally designated Wild and Scenic South Yuba River. Since 1960, downtown is the site for The Nevada City Classic, a challenging professional cycling race. Nevada City Winery was the first bonded winery to open in Nevada County following Prohibition in the United States. Live music, theater and dance are performed at Miners Foundry Cultural Center and the historic Nevada Theatre. There are several annual major cultural events which include Victorian Christmas, Summer Nights, Mardi Gras, Fourth of July Parade and The Constitution Day Parade, one of the oldest and largest Constitution observances in the western United States.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival has showcased films on a full range of environmental issues and films emphasizing outdoor adventure and extreme sports. The Nevada City Film Festival has grown from a showcase for local filmmakers to an international film festival hosting notable filmmakers from around the country. The Nevada City Film Festival has been called 'The Sundance of the Foothills'.