Summer Things to Do in Truckee
You guys, the little California town of Truckee may just be my favorite town on the West Coast. Why, you ask? Well for starters, it’s mere miles from one of my favorite places in America, Lake Tahoe. But beyond that, it’s full of charm, exuding an ambiance that you may expect from a true Old West town but that’s rare to find, and with a history that’s shrouded in mystery (simply Google "Donner Party"). Sounds like an HBO miniseries doesn’t it?
But all this is without even mentioning one of my favorite ski resorts, Northstar California, located mere miles from historic downtown Truckee. But while you probably just think fresh powder, ski runs, and après-ski (naturally) when you think ski resorts, I’ve teamed up with Northstar to share all things summer about one of my favorite corners of America. Because unlike a very familiar HBO series, winter is not coming to Truckee, or at least not right now, with summer having arrived this week with sunny 80-degree days.
One of the local sayings here is that people often come for the winters, but stay for the summers. So today I’m coming to you with the 4-1-1 on summer things to do in Truckee, California.
Summer Things to Do in Truckee
Festival Season. Festival season is the best season. That’s a saying, right? Whether it is or not, ‘tis the season in Truckee. While the 11th Annual Truckee Brew Fest just passed, there are still some great summer Lake Tahoe beer events, such as Northstar’s Beerfest & Bluegrass (best combo ever?), featuring nearly 30 breweries, which you can also combine with the 2016 Brewmaster Dinner Series (also taking place in September), both taking place next weekend during what’s possibly the biggest weekend around Lake Tahoe, July 4th. Other festivals include the following weekend’s Truckee Tahoe Airshow and Family Festival, Truckee Pro Rodeo, and Lake Tahoe Music Festival.
Truckee Thursdays. Truckee Thursdays, a local favorite among summer things to do in Truckee, deserves its own section, since it’s like a festival every week of the summer. Not to mention that there is no other summer event in Lake Tahoe that people have told me about more than Truckee Thursdays. Every Thursday during the summer, the hella charming Old West town of Truckee becomes an awesome street fair with live music, street food, and a beer garden.
Dining and drinking al fresco. For no bigger than Truckee is, the food scene is some of the best you’ll find from a mountain ski town like this. Trokay, for example, a fine dining restaurant in historic downtown Truckee is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Northern California, coming from two award-winning NYC chefs. In the summer, however, Truckee is all about the dining and drinking al fresco, starting first at one of the biggest and most beautiful patios, Martis Valley Grille, as well as Tavern 6330', both of which are at Northstar. In historic downtown Truckee, the al fresco dining and drinking ranges from Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar, which overlooks downtown Truckee, to other places along the main drag, such as Truckee Tavern and Grill, King’s Café, and 1882 Bar & Grill.
Wine Walk. I am all about a brewery (or cocktail) crawl, wine walk, or any of the like (of course, done responsibly). And you have a number of options for wine walks in Truckee, including this weekend’s Village Wine Walk at Northstar California (and again the last Saturday of July and August) and the Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop at the end of the summer. Or you could do your own version of a wine walk or hop, since Truckee has its own winery, Truckee River Winery, and wine bars that include Bluestone Jewelry & Wine, The Pour House, and Uncorked.
Mountain Biking. Between the nearby Pacific Crest Trail and the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe’s trail system is really second to none on the West Coast. The biking options are many, from paved trails that run along the Truckee River to mountain biking trails through the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains to Northstar’s Mountain Bike Park (yes, a bike park).
Craft beer. Craft beer lovers rejoice! This is both one of my favorite anytime and favorite summer things to do in Truckee, with one of the best après-ski bars in all of Lake Tahoe found here, Mellow Fellow. Here you’ll find more than 40 craft beers on draft, many of which are local and regional, with a patio to boot and a couple other locations around the lake. Elsewhere in Truckee you have a couple award-winning breweries, including FiftyFifty and Tahoe Mountain Brewing.
Historic Downtown. Downtown Truckee is a destination in and of itself in the summer. That Old West charm is exuded in dives like the Tourist Club and Pastime Club, which both feel a little bit like walking into an old Western saloon (antiques, taxidermy, and all). However, this co-exists with great, contemporary shops, such as California 89, a Tahoe-themed boutique shop, and Tahoe University, a beautifully designed and curated boutique inside Truckee's historic Star Hotel. Top it off with red velvet cupcakes from Cake Tahoe. Yeah, you’re welcome.
Soar over Truckee. No, seriously, you could literally soar over Truckee. Enter the appropriately named Soar Truckee, which lets you do just that, soar over Truckee in a glider. Flights take off from Truckee Tahoe Airport, where you're towed up several thousands feet above the valley floor, before you're released to glide silently over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and past Lake Tahoe.