North Lake Tahoe Date Ideas
Winter is seriously coming you guys. Or at least it’s coming to Lake Tahoe, where there’s been measurable snowfall (yes, for real), and on the last day of summer no less. That means that ski season will be here in no time. Did someone say Thanksgiving (or Halloween) skiing? One of my favorite things about Lake Tahoe is the unique opportunities it affords, many of which you won’t find in just any ski town. Mountaintop pop-up dinners, cocktail classes, and beachfront s’mores, oh my. So in my latest Lake Tahoe blog post, I’m sharing a few of those unique experiences, best shared with a Tinder date that special someone (albeit great for a boys’ or girls’ getaway in Lake Tahoe, too).
North Lake Tahoe Date Ideas
Take a cocktail class
Naturally, cocktails had to top this list of winter Lake Tahoe date ideas. For a creative, hands-on après-ski experience, head to The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, where a weekly cocktail class, the Art of Mixology, takes place on Sunday afternoons at The Ritz-Carlton's headlining restaurant, Manzanita. During the hour-long cocktail class, guests will make three cocktails that are then paired with small bites. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance, which can be made by calling (530) 562-3051. Afterward, enjoy dinner and mid-mountain views at Manzanita. (Photo below from The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe)
Enjoy a tasting menu or cooking classes at Trokay
For the best meal or dining experience around Lake Tahoe, look no further than Trokay, located on the main thoroughfare of downtown Truckee. This is truly one of the most unique dining experiences you can have in the region, whether you opt for just a cheese and wine tasting at the bar (co-owner, Nina, was head cheesemonger at Murray’s Cheese) or want to go all out with one of their extravagant tasting menus (Nina's husband, John, is formerly of New York City's Restaurant Daniel, a three-star Michelin restaurant). For a really unique experience, however, sign up for one of Trokay’s exclusive classes, like the pasta class, in which guests make fresh pasta from scratch.
Go country-skiing and picnicking
Bundle up, grab a flask of hot apple cider or hot chocolate, and come prepared for a sense of adventure for this Lake Tahoe date idea. With a ski destination like Lake Tahoe, you can find a plethora of trails around Lake Tahoe for cross-country skiing. However, for a more full-service experience, I’d recommend going to Northstar California (a partner of mine), where you can get picnic supplies, rent all your equipment, cruise trails, and find picnic tables (with a view) all in one place.
I’d first recommend having a good day pack for supplies, and then start in the Village at Northstar, picking up picnic goods at Copper Lane Cafe & Provisions, which is part farm-fresh café and part gourmet market. Here you can grab made-to-order sandwiches, or pick up DIY picnic items, like cheese, salami and a bottle of wine. Next, pick up a trail pass at the Season Pass Office in the Village before taking the Big Springs Gondola up to mid-mountain to the Cross Country, Telemark and Snowshoe Center. Once at mid-mountain, it’s just 150 yards to the center, where you can rent all your equipment (as well as fat-tire bikes and snowshoes), and even take lessons. Northstar has more than 30 kilometers of trails, including a couple of trails, Tahoe and Meadow Loop, which have scenic picnic areas. End with après-ski back at the center, or down in the Village, fireside with a hot toddy and s’mores.
Full moon (or stargazing) snowshoe trek
In that same spirit of adventure are full moon and stargazing snowshoe tours, offered around Lake Tahoe. These brisk, yet adventurous tours follow the year’s moon phases, affording a unique experience under the expansive Lake Tahoe night sky. Tahoe Adventure Company, for example, offers full moon snowshoe tours every few weeks, covering 2-3 miles through Lake Tahoe's beautiful forests with a local guide. Snowshoes, poles, hot drinks, and trail snacks are included.
Additionally, Tony Berendsen, offers a number of different evening stargazing experiences. This includes a snowshoe stargazing tour around Northstar’s mountain that concludes with hot drinks by a fire pit and stargazing through top-of-the-line Celestron telescopes.
Attend a pop-up dinner
Lake Tahoe’s winter pop-up dinners may just be my favorite thing to do around Lake Tahoe, and naturally, among my favorite Lake Tahoe date ideas. They feature multi-course dinners and pairings that you can’t experience anywhere else around Lake Tahoe, plus they take place in one-of-a-kind settings. In Truckee, Stella’s pop-up dinner series, taking place at Cedar House Sport Hotel, is billed as a spirited dinner party, one in which you can walk around the kitchen, make new friends at communal tables, and enjoy an adventurous, themed meal. Check out their calendar for upcoming pop-up dinners in Truckee.
At Northstar, several pop-up dinners, dubbed the Mountain Table Dinner Series, take place during the winter atop the mountain at Zephyr Lodge. Guests take two gondolas up to Zephyr Lodge for exclusive access to the mountain for the Mountain Table Dinner Series. Each dinner features a different winery, pairing their wine with entrees using locally-sourced produce, all to the backdrop of live music.
Lakefront s’mores and dinner at Lone Eagle Grill
What’s a Lake Tahoe date without Lake Tahoe itself? Enter the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, where you can enjoy s’mores lakefront as the sun sets over Lake Tahoe. Mere steps away is Lone Eagle Grille, which is arguably one of the best restaurants on the lake, featuring an impressive wine list and extensive fine dining menu, with their wild game entrees being among my favorites. Bonus points that the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe has complimentary ski shuttles available daily during the winter.
Take a dip in hot springs
Lastly, for something altogether quirky, unique, and offbeat, then discover any number of the hot springs spread throughout the High Sierras. Among the hot springs that are a short drive from Lake Tahoe, Sierra Hot Springs and David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort have their own accommodations. Elsewhere, just off Lake Tahoe is Nepheles, in South Lake Tahoe, where you can take a dip before dinner in their restaurant. For more class and style, however, just book a nice spa day at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.