13 Insanely Sweet Things to Do in Tahoe City

Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by foxintheforest

Sitting on the northwest side of Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City features an incredible vantage point of the spectacular aquamarine lake and its mountainous backdrop.

With more snow than the rest of the region, Tahoe City is a mecca for skiers, but you’ll also discover so many more awesome things to do in Tahoe City any time of the year.

I’ve spent the last 22 years visiting Lake Tahoe many times a year because my family lives here.

Indeed, I said 22 years! So as a long-time Lake Tahoe local, I’ve seen the area evolve over time, and I have the real experience to tell you all about the best things to do in Tahoe City like a local, not a tourist.

About this Guide to Tahoe City

Inside this local guide to cool Tahoe City things to do, you’ll find:

  • Tahoe City location & how to get around
  • Tahoe City things to do, organized by season
  • Additional local Tahoe travel resources

Where is Tahoe City?

Tahoe City sits on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe, on the California side of the lake.

The small regional Truckee/Tahoe airport is just half an hour away, but the closest major airport to Tahoe City is Reno, which offers many more flight options.

So, it’s a great place to go after doing some epic South Lake Tahoe activities.

Map of the best things to do in Tahoe City.

Is Tahoe City Walkable?

Tahoe City has a charming downtown area that is walkable, and there is a trolley service to get around Lake Tahoe in the summer.

However, having a car will give you the chance to explore a lot more of the Tahoe area.

Local Tip: There is a busy highway that goes through town (speed limits are low though), so do be aware of traffic! Sometimes tourists don’t pay attention to crosswalks. However, overall you can walk around.

The Best Things to Do in Winter in Tahoe City

Tahoe City is a winter destination for a reason – all the snow! Tahoe City things to do in the winter will definitely include playing in the powder.

1. Hit the Slopes for Skiing & Snowboarding

Granlibakken Tahoe is right in Tahoe City, so the slopes are basically at your front door.

This European-style resort has a hundred-year history – the hill was originally discovered by tobogganers and then became an “Olympic Hill” for ski jumpers.

Today, the small resort offers runs for beginner to intermediate skiers and is a great family-friendly ski resort in Lake Tahoe.

Just outside of Tahoe City, Palisades Tahoe is a much bigger mountain with plenty of expert terrain on its 6,000 skiable acres.

Palisades Tahoe averages 450 inches of snow annually, giving it one of the longest seasons in Lake Tahoe. So be sure to visit Lake Tahoe in February for epic skiing.

With 270 trails and so much spring skiing, Palisades Tahoe is definitely one of the best Lake Tahoe ski resorts.

2. Play in the Snow at Tahoe City Winter Sports Park

If you’re looking for things to do in Lake Tahoe besides ski, you have to check out Tahoe City Winter Sports Park for Tahoe City activities. Here you can ice skate around the rink, cross-country ski on groomed trails, try out snowshoeing and go sledding in Tahoe.

Plus, Tahoe City Winter Sports Park is dog-friendly, so your furry buddy can join you for some fun in the snow.

Aerial view of the lake and bridge covered in snow in Tahoe City.

The Best Things to Do in Tahoe City in Summer

Summer is also full of things to do in Tahoe City! Quintessential summer activities in Lake Tahoe include hitting the beaches, hiking or biking the trails, and boating on the lake.

3. Admire the Views from Stateline Lookout

For some of the best Lake Tahoe views you can find, head to Stateline Lookout.

One of the best Lake Tahoe hikes, a short (just under 2 miles) lollipop loop trail leads to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking Lake Tahoe and the mountains in the distance.

A self-guided nature tour provides a history of the area, and in the summer, volunteers are around to give you more information.

4. Bask in the Sun at Commons Beach

Commons Beach is one of the top Lake Tahoe beaches for sunbathing and swimming. It’s also great for picnicking, with a large BBQ area.

And an amphitheater features more fun things to do in Tahoe City – free Concerts in the Commons on Sundays and Movies on the Beach on Wednesdays in the summer.

Dock outside of Tahoe City near Commons Beach

5. Rent a Boat from Tahoe City Marina

If you want to go boating on Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City Marina will hook you up with powerboat or sailboat rentals so you can have an adventure on the water.

Located right downtown Tahoe City, this historic marina is a convenient place to put in on the north side of the lake.

6. Take a Cruise on a Paddlewheeler

For a different kind of boat ride, take a cruise on the Tahoe Gal paddle-wheeler.

Choose from a leisurely lunch cruise all the way to Emerald Bay, a happy hour cruise with cocktails, a brunch cruise along the west shoreline, or a breathtaking sunset dinner cruise.

If you’re in Tahoe when the full moon rises, you can also book a special full-moon cruise.

View of the lake from a boat in Lake Tahoe.

7. Ride Along the Truckee River Bike Trail

One of the cool things to do near Tahoe City is to ride along the Truckee River Bike Trail.

Running 5 miles from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley along the Truckee River, this flat, paved trail offers lovely scenery on a chill ride.

8. Go Whitewater Rafting

The Truckee River is a blast for whitewater rafting, and several guiding companies offer tours down the river in Tahoe City.

The ride along the river is mostly relaxing with just a few small Class I rapids, so it’s a lot of fun for the whole family, and you’re encouraged to bring snacks and beverages to enjoy on the ride.

The Best Tahoe City Activities Any Time of Year

Whenever you’re visiting Lake Tahoe, you’ll find plenty to do, from getting your adrenaline pumping high up in the trees at an adventure park or relaxing with an indulgent spa treatment.

9. Partake in the Local Dining Scene

Tahoe City features a few friendly eateries you’ll certainly want to check out in between adventures. Here’s a look a few of my favorites.

  • Syd’s Bagelry & Espresso – This quirky cafe offers exactly what you need for breakfast and a caffeine fix, with a variety of tasty bagels, lattes, and more.
  • Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet – You won’t be able to resist the home-baked goodies at this local bakery, from fresh-baked bread to chocolate croissants to apple strudel. Get an espresso to go with it, and perhaps one of their delicious pot pies to-go!
  • The Crest Cafe – Enjoy a hearty breakfast sandwich or burrito or try a tasty Belgian waffle if you’re a sweet tooth. Lunch features yummy salads, pizzas, and paninis, and on Thursdays, you can place an order for a to-go sushi dinner.
  • River Ranch Lodge – Sitting on the banks of the Truckee River, the River Ranch Lodge offers a wonderful setting along with excellent food for lunch and dinner.
  • Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique – For a special dinner, head to Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique, which melds Eastern and Western flavors in tasty combinations.
View of Lake Tahoe at sunset.

10. Trek Up High at Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park

Choose your own adventure high up in the treetops of large pine trees and old-growth cedars, with courses to challenge all levels.

Located behind Granlibakken, Tahoe City Treetop features 97 tree platforms, 27 zip lines, and 60 unique bridges and crossings to explore way above the ground.

11. Visit the Gatekeeper’s Museum

The Gatekeeper’s Museum showcases the history of Lake Tahoe including historical maps of the region, the history of maritime culture in the area, and one of the largest Native American Basket collections in the country.

The grounds of William B. Layton Park include a beautiful lakefront lawn to look out on the sparkling water of Lake Tahoe.

12. Get Creative at the North Tahoe Arts Center

Peruse the work – ranging from oil painting to woodworking to mosaic arts to jewelry – of more than 20 local artists at the Tahoe City Artisan Gallery and Shop.

If you want to make your own art, you can attend a workshop at the North Tahoe Art Center in nearby Kings Beach.

13. Relax at Lighthouse Spa

If you need some relaxation on your trip to Tahoe City, make your way to Lighthouse Spa for a massage. You can also enjoy an aromatherapy session or a facial to emerge truly refreshed and rejuvenated.

convertkit form=2688410]

Additional Local Tahoe Travel Resources

Looking for even more adventures in Lake Tahoe? I’ve got you covered with this amazing lineup of local travel resources:

Picture of Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

Hi There!

Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.