There are so many fun tourist activities around Lake Tahoe that you’d be hard-pressed to fit them all into a single article. However, if you’d actually like to dive into the real culture of Lake Tahoe and enjoy it like the residents who call it home, there are some particular activities you can try beyond the ski resorts and paddleboarding.
Here are our top ideas for fun ways to get to know Lake Tahoe’s culture!
1. Go see live music
Live performances are a great way to meet both tourists and locals alike, and not one event will be the same twice! Big-name performers come to the Tahoe City area all the time, but we highly recommend experiencing some local flavor. Try attending a performance by an artist you’ve never heard of and you can sit back, relax, and see something you don’t see every day.
To find these performances, don’t go see a performance in the nearest resort or popular restaurant: you’ll just see tourists. Instead, check out outdoor music venues for live concerts in the area and see what strikes your fancy. You can also check events at a local art gallery or bar for the time you’re there.
2. Check out a local art gallery
Artists flock to the inspiring beauty and serenity of Lake Tahoe, and the laid-back culture of the surrounding region is full of artists who pour their hearts out for the place. You can enjoy their works and heighten your appreciation for Lake Tahoe in the process by visiting a local art gallery.
If you’re in the South Lake Tahoe area, you can’t miss the small-town vibe of the galleries and shops there. The community is fortunate to have a variety of local, contemporary, and classical masterworks on display at any given time, with some offering a year-long lineup of unique South Lake Tahoe events for art lovers. You can also check out places like Art Truckee, located in a historic building in Truckee, a place with weekly live music and community gatherings. Support local artists and add to your collection while you’re at it!
3. Go downriver
Lake Tahoe only has one outlet, and it’s a beautiful one! The Truckee River is full of whitewater rafting opportunities for the adventurous that’ll really get the blood pumping and show you a different side to the area.
You can also paddle along the more relaxed parts in a kayak or canoe, or simply float down at your leisure in an inflatable. It really doesn’t get better than drifting down a picturesque river surrounded by mountains and forests, and we promise it’s a great addition to virtually any vacation.
4. See the lake from above
Hiking is not exactly an “off the beaten path” activity for tourists, but it’s an absolute must in the region, no matter if you’ve lived there your whole life or if you’ve just dropped in for a weekend. The surrounding forests and mountains in the area are just as magnificent as the lake itself, and they’re also a great way to see the fabulous vista of the region from above.
We recommend hiking the Mt. Tallac Trail for a great view. It offers an intermediate challenge, but it’s not at all tough for people at a moderate fitness level, especially if you take it slow. You’ll be rewarded with a grand panoramic view that will surely take your breath away.
If you’re particularly adventurous, we highly recommend trying out mountain biking in the area. Lake Tahoe has one of the best regions for mountain biking in the western United States, and if you’re at all interested in the sport, you shouldn’t miss out. You can pack along a good gravel trail bike or visit one of the numerous bike rental areas you can find virtually everywhere around the lake.
5. Go back in time
Lake Tahoe has a rich history, from back when the area was populated by Native American people to when settlers moved in for nearby mining and railroad ventures. Now, you can find semi-modern castles and estates built by the richest of the rich throughout history, and you can tour them, too.
If you like history, you might enjoy seeing places like the Tallac Historic Site, an old, sprawling estate, and Vikingsholm Castle, a 1920s marvel of Norse-inspired architecture. You’ll be amazed at the extravagance on display in these old manor estates, where the elite would flock for some relaxation away from the cities. Visit the free Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum for more information.
Enjoy Yourself Your Way
Everyone wants something different out of their vacation. Maybe you’re toting around a family on the trip of a lifetime, or maybe you simply want to chill out and take some time to try and find yourself. No matter what, we’re sure you’ll enhance your vacation by adding some local flair and culture to your experience. Enjoy!