Ely is a small town in Nevada’s eastern part with colorful history, a great selection of outdoor activities, and incredible natural attraction close to the city. Ely was a stagecoach station on a Pony Express route from Utah to Carson City. The town was also on the crossroads of the critical transcontinental railroads, and that train heritage is preserved as one of the major tourist attractions. The city is located close to Great Basin National Park and Cave Lake State Park, so there is plenty to do in and out of the town.
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The most prominent attraction in Ely and the whole county is Nevada Northern Railway Museum. The museum has original locomotives, passenger stations, and buildings from the mining area. You can catch a ride on various 19th-century trains ranging from regular rides to Star Train that allows you to gaze at the Nevada clear skies, or Polar Express that drives in winter. It is a large and authentic attraction with train yards, trains, and many shops and bars.
Ely Renaissance Village is the closest thing to the mining town’s original look, as you can find with wood-burning stoves from that time, ice boxes, and other things. Every house in the village reflects the origin of settlers. Besides the homes from the mid-19th century, you can find a general store and miner’s cabins.
Ely is the closest town to Great Basin National Park, where you can explore the vast underground world of Lehman Caves or get to know bristlecone pines, one of the oldest known trees that grow in the park. Park has 12 well-maintained trails, scenic Lexington Arch rock formation, Stella and Teresa Lakes, and Wheeler Peak Glacier. You can start exploring the park from the Visitor Center.
Nevada is known as a silver country, and you can find out more about the mining past of the area in Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. Mining ovens made in the 1800s for silver mining are in excellent conditions and testament to time.
A few miles from Ely is Cave Lake State Park, where you can enjoy kayaking, swimming, fishing on the lake, or going on foot or bike on excellent trails.
Restaurants in Ely Nevada
Although relatively small, Ely has extensive restaurant offer due to its tourist nature. All Abroad Café & Inn serves traditional American meals, and its regularly among the best-rated places in the area. It is located in the old western house, and the menu is traditional with large servings.
If you are into Mexican food like fajitas, enchiladas, or Rellenos, head down to Margaritas, where you can drink excellent margaritas.
Cell Block Steak House is another throwback to old west time with booths arranged as cells. The food is traditional BBQ with ribs and steaks. If you want to believe the comments, cheesecake is out of the world good.
Other popular places to grab a meal include Racks Bar and Grill, La Fiesta, Twin Wok, Happy Garden, and Hometown Pizza.
Ely air races
In 2018 Ely hosted the first air races event where Formula 1 piston-powered single-engine airplanes race at a top speed of around 250 mph. The race is challenging because of thinner air at that altitude. Besides sport plane aerobatics, the event usually hosts a hot-air balloon race and US military participation. Ely will be a rare venue among five others in the world that host this type of airplane race.
Bars in Ely Nevada
The main Aultman street has murals that showcase the history of the town. Artists commissioned the art from around the world. Downtown Ely also has several exciting bars like Shooter’s Lounge with an outdoor and indoor area, pool tables, and a variety of top-shelf liquor.
Champs Sports Bar is a relaxing, laid back place and one of the local favorites. Small bar with a lot of emotions. Corner Tracks Saloon & Stage offers various beers, wines, and liquor among the bars with live music. For sports lovers, the bar hosts watch parties for NFL football on Sunday. Other popular places in Ely are Club Rio, Liberty Club, and Music Box.
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Ely is a small town but an important tourist center with an emphasis on railroad history. There are lovely natural attractions close to the city, and the city offers plenty of attractions and things to do.