Colm and I love Tahoe, it’s probably our favourite place. We try to visit as often as we can, especially in the Winter so Colm can snowboard (and I can play snow bunny with a cocktail in the lodge). We even got married there! In the Winter months, we usually stay close to South Lake Tahoe, but in the Summer, Truckee is one of our favourite weekend destinations. It has everything – character, good food, fun shopping and loads to do! It’s 187 miles from San Francisco (3-4 hour drive), and can be reached via train (Amtrak) if you want to take a more leisurely route.
There is so much to do in Tahoe – skiing in winter, hiking, biking and water-sports in the summer. Both North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe have a lot to offer, and both are worth a visit, but this post will focus primarily on the charming goodness of Truckee.
Downtown Truckee is a historic, railroad town that still holds a lot of it’s old-world charm. Truckee is bordered by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Truckee River runs through it. It’s most famous event, or claim to fame, was it’s association with the Donner Party in the 1840’s.
Downtown Truckee is pretty small, but it’s packed with great shops, bars and restaurants. Here are some of my favourites;
Dressed: Dressed is a great women’s boutique with a mix of brand name clothing, and some more unique pieces. They also have shoes, bags and accessories. I’ve bought something here pretty much every time I’ve visited.
Bespoke: Bespoke is my must-stop shop when I’m in Truckee. It reminds me of Etsy in store form. You’ll find gorgeous handmade goods here – books, candles, blankets, jewelry and clothes.
California 89: This shop has both mens and womens clothing and accessories in a quintessential California style. Your purchase here also gives back to the community – they donate a portion of each sale to the Tahoe Fund and the High Fives Foundation.
Gratitudes: Gratitudes is a gorgeous homewares and furniture shop, featuring high end pieces and fun mountain-inspired decor. I like to window shop for my dream Tahoe cabin here!
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Mellow Fellows: Mellow Fellows is a small bar chain, with locations in Truckee, Reno and Virginia City. It has a great rotating beer list, and serves delicious handmade sausages. The outdoor patio is dog-friendly, and makes for good people watching on a nice day.
Pianeta: This Italian restaurant is the best restaurant I’ve eaten in that wasn’t actually in Italy. Italian is my favorite cuisine, and this place is really authentic. It’s always busy so, make a reservation, arrive hungry and order the Tiramisu!
Jax at the Tracks: You’ll find lines out the door here at the weekend, but it’s worth the wait. Featured on the Food Network, it’s a gem of a diner. The menu is extensive, the food is great, and there is a menu for dog’s! The outdoor patio is dog-friendly.
Coffeebar: Two words – Nutella Croissant. That tells you all you need to know about this spot – the coffee is good too! It also has outdoor seating and is dog-friendly.
Moody’s: Moody’s Bar & Bistro has a great vibe, and a tasty, upscale menu. There is outdoor seating, but the bar area is really nice and features live music on weekends.
Tourist Club Bar: The Tourist Club is a dive bar, and is popular with locals. It has a laid-back atmosphere, cabin feel and popcorn (who doesn’t love popcorn?!)
FiftyFifty Brewing Company: This is the only recommendation that’s not in downtown Truckee, but is worth the short drive (or you can hike it like we did). It’s a local brewery with decent beers and food. They have outdoor seating and are dog-friendly.
Truckee, and Tahoe in general, is all about the great outdoors. There are a lot of great ski resorts in North Lake Tahoe (Northstar, Squaw and Alpine Meadows to name a few), if you visit during the Winter – Northstar is also a great mountain biking range in the Summer. In summertime, the area is prime for hiking, swimming and water sports. Donner Memorial State Park is our favourite spot to visit during the summer months. The park is based around part of Donner Lake. It has multiple campground areas for camping, several hiking trails, and some great spots to stop and lounge at the lake. Boats, jet skis and kayak’s are available for rental too. Some beach areas are off-limits to dogs, but there is one dog-friendly beach not too far from the entrance.
If you visit Truckee, I hope you love it as much as we do! It really is the ideal weekend getaway, especially if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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