By Tim Hauserman
One hundred and fifty year old Tahoe City is perfectly situated at the meeting of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River. In its long history it has been a lumbering center, the end of the narrow gauge railroad, and the setting for the luxurious Tahoe Tavern hotel. Now the focus is on enjoying the beautiful lake and river, and having fun. While you can walk all of Tahoe City in a half hour, spend a few days, because there is a lot of good stuff packed into a small area. Here are ten favorites to get you started:
Take a Walk Along the Lake.
The paved Lakeside Trail saunters along the lakeshore from Fanny Bridge to the eastern edge of town. It’s a pleasant easy stroll passing the Commons Beach, stone cliffs, and several eating and shopping opportunities.
Head for a Museum.
Next to the Truckee River Dam, the Gatekeepers Museum is a beautiful log reconstruction of the original Gatekeeper’s cabin, where the person who controlled the gates of the Truckee River lived. The museum has an extensive Native American basket collection, 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympic exhibits, boating history and a well-stocked bookstore focusing on local history. In the center of Tahoe City is the Watson Cabin museum, built in 1909, it is Tahoe City’s oldest still standing structure.
Stick Out Your Fanny…at Fanny Bridge.
The bridge connecting the West Shore with Tahoe City is known as Fanny Bridge, because when the summer crowds lean over the bridge to see the large fish below, it creates a cavalcade of fannies for those driving by. Just upstream from the bridge, the Truckee River dam, includes a walkway showcasing the meeting of the river and the lake. Here you will find photos of the dam under construction, as well as a fascinating chart showing Lake Tahoe’s fluctuating lake level over the last 100 years. Nearby are picnic benches and seating areas, as well as the North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center.
Find Your Beach.
The Commons Beach, in the center of town and along the Lakeshore bike path, has a grassy area for a sit or frisbee toss, a sandy beach, a popular playground for the kids, restrooms, and picnic facilities, including one which can accommodate a large crowd. The Commons is also home base for the Tahoe City Farmers Market through much of the summer.
Do a Bit of Shopping.
Walk through downtown and discover art galleries, clothing boutiques, outdoor recreation specialty stores, gift shops, locally handmade goods, and a variety of other unique offerings from the creative minds of Tahoe entrepreneurs. In The Cobblestone, check out the Tahoe Art Haus Cinema showing an eclectic mix of first run movies, outdoor oriented films, and dance performances.
Hungry? You can find burgers and burritos, bagels and coffee, barbeque, seafood, grill fare, and just about anything else you can imagine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And many dining establishments feature views of the lake.
Follow the Truckee River.
The Truckee River Bike path travels from Fanny Bridge along the edge of the Truckee River five miles to the entrance of Squaw Valley. Or instead of being on the side of the river, be part of a true Tahoe tradition and get on it in a raft or tube. Choose one of the two rafting companies, or launch your own vehicle from the 64 Acres Parking Lot.
Golf It or Ski It.
The nine-hole Tahoe City Golf Course sits right behind downtown Tahoe City, providing golf with a lakeview. In the winter, it becomes the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park, where you can cross-country ski on groomed trails, or take the kids on the sledding hill.
Get Out on the Water.
At the eastern edge of town is the Tahoe Gal, a paddlewheel style excursion boat that takes trips onto the lake several times a day. Or you can take a ride on the 50-foot sailboat, The Tahoe Cruz. Then again, if you would like to combine two forms of transportation, you can ride your bike to the Carnelian Bay, Tahoe City or Homewood stops of the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle, then get off the boat at the stop of your choosing and ride your bike some more.
Check out an Event.
Whether it is the Snowfest Parade, Sunday’s wildly popular concerts on the beach, movies under the stars, the Lake Tahoe Dance festival, or one of the numerous athletic events such as Xterra, Big Blue and Ironman that go through town, Tahoe City is always looking for an excuse to gather together and have a great time. For a listing of upcoming events, contact the Tahoe City Downtown Association: www.visittahoecity.com