101 Fun Things to Do in Truckee

It is almost Thanksgiving and we’re not buried in snow – at least not yet. What does this mean? We’re having a blast exploring the joys of historic downtown Truckee, awesome hiking trails, fishing destinations and the splendor of a blossoming foodie scene. Not convinced? Check out this compilation of 101 fun things to do in Truckee.

FLOURISH IN THE Great Outdoors

1. Hike the celebrated Mt. Judah Loop: 1,700 ft elevation gain and two peaks in five and half miles.

2. Catch up with a friend over a relaxing walk in the Martis Creek Wildlife Area.

3. Hike the Donner Lake Rim Trail.

4. Mountain biker? Challenge yourself at Hole in the Ground.

5. Go fishing! Catch a Rainbow, Brown or Kokanee (fishing licenses and advice are available at Mountain Hardware & Sports).

6. Climb a rock face.

7. Learn to rock climb (or ski) with National Ski Training & Climbing Center

8. Go backpacking! Take in spectacular sunsets and fall asleep under the stars at Paradise Lake. Too chilly? Take in the incredible views on a Castle Peak day hike.

9. Hike to Martis Peak from the Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead just south of Brockway Summit off of Highway 267.

10. Slow down. Pick up the Historic Downtown Truckee Walking Map at the California Welcome Center in the Train Depot and stroll through little ‘ole Truckee

11. Shred on concrete. Visit Truckee’s Skatepark

12. Hike or bike Sawtooth Trail Ridge.

13. Soar over spectacular scenery. Take a glider ride!

14. Play disk golf: Truckee Regional Park or Sierra College.

15. Bag a peak.

16. Learn to fly fish.

17. Join Tahoe Trips & Trails for a guided snowshoe hike. 

18. Delight in an evening under the full moon: Dec. 17.

19. Create your own adventure! Find ideas on the Sierra Geotourism map.


20. Astounding lake and mountain views beckon. Write or sketch in your journal or get lost in a great book.

21. Host a fall harvest themed dinner party.

22. Find inspiration in a gratitude painting class or open studio at Arts in Wellness.

23. Explore your potential with Tangled Roots Writing.

24. Visit the Carmel Gallery.

25. Draft a Haiku based on something you see in Truckee today.

26. Take a glass fusing class at T Potts Pottery.

27. Check out the artwork on display at the Truckee Airport.

28. Host a pumpkin carving and seasoned pumpkin seed gathering with friends.

29. Jam (instrument of choice).

30. Bike or drive up Old Highway 40 for great views of Donner Lake.

31. Take photos.


32. Read Nona McGlashan’s Give me a Mountain Meadow, a captivating account of Charles Fayette McGlashan, Truckee’s dynamic lawyer and editor who publicized the story of the Donner Party and played a huge role in the town’s history. The book is available from the Truckee Donner Historical Society.

33. Welcome in the holiday season with Christmas Around the World presented by the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus of Sierra College.  The collection of works will include French, Irish, Spanish, Yiddish, English, Latin, jazz, Broadway and traditional holiday pieces from the sixteenth through twenty-first centuries. 

34. Immerse yourself in Donner Summit history: Markers along old Highway 40 identify sites such as where Native Americans and the first wagon trains crossed as well as the route of the first transcontinental railroad and the Lincoln Highway. The 20-mile museum includes 29 interpretive signs from Eagle Lakes (Interstate 80 exit 164) to Rainbow Bridge. Each sign includes historical photographs and tells a good story. 

35. Be wowed by the talented shows Arts for the Schools brings to Truckee for the whole community: Cedric Watson and Dirk Powell on Dec. 13. 

36. Bundle up for a late afternoon of bocce and refreshments at the Truckee River Winery.

37. Get in the spirit with Noel Nights. The Village at Northstar becomes a festive winter wonderland with ice skating until 9 p.m., fire pits, holiday carolers, shopping deals, pictures with Santa and more. Noel Nights takes place the first three Thursdays in December from 5 to 8 p.m. Sip and give during The Pour House’s weekly $5 Thursday wine tastings.

38. Tune into 101.5 for the latest local news and events.

39. Ditch the home theater. Catch a movie at the cozy Northstar Village Cinema.

40. Connect with community happenings – Discuss an interesting article from the Sierra Sun or Moonshine Ink.

41. Catch a Truckee High School football game.

42. Check out Moody's inaugural outdoor film festival on Nov. 23 and 24. What’s playing? Ski and snowboarding themed films, of course.

43. Enjoy a vacation at locals’ favorite destinations, the Cedar House Sport Hotel, Truckee’s year round adventure base camp.

Delight in Culinary TREATS

44. Try Truckee’s newest eatery – Spice. Healthy, flavor packed Indian food is replacing KFC (Hallelujah).

45. Enjoy each and every bite of lunch at the Red Truck Café. Don’t miss the delicious, chewy daily cookie selection.

46. Completely unwind at Stella. Enjoy a delicious dinner in the most intimate and relaxing venue in town – One October menu highlight includes the Louisiana Surf and Turf comprised of frog leg lollipops, sautéed crawfish and popcorn grits.

47. Savor the best coffee – and coffee art – in town at the CoffeeBar on Jibboom Street.

48. Catch up with a friend or make a new one over a craft beer at Mellow Fellow.

49. Fuel up at the Taco Station. Tuesdays feature $1.75 Mexican Tacos.

50. Host a beer tasting at home with a handful of brews from the massive 400 choices at Tahoe Mountain Brewery Artisanal Bottle Shop.

51. Treat yourself to one of the best sandwiches in town at the Full Belly Deli.

52. Ward off a cold or simply nourish your taste buds from the made-to-order juice bar at New Moon Natural Foods.

53. Pop into Dragonfly for a delicious bite. Local’s hint: November is Locals Appreciation Month offering all diners 50 percent off dinner menu.

54. Enjoy a slice or two of authentic New York style pizza at Best Pies.

55. Enjoy vegetarian chili with all the fixings and a cornbread muffin at Wild Cherries.

56. Enroll in a Friday evening hands-on cooking class at Manzanita.

57. Take pleasure in a St. Germaine cocktail over live tunes at Moody’s Bistro Bar & Beats.

58. Enjoy homemade pasta at Pianeta.

59. Splurge for a bite at Trokay.

60. Meet some locals over Grand Marnier French Toast at Smokey’s.

61. Head to Squeeze In for mimosas and brunch.

62. Enjoy a Cesar salad overlooking historic downtown Truckee from Cottonwood.

63. Indulge in Chef Marty Carlton’s new dinner menu at Marty’s Café.

64. Enjoy deals from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Bar of America.

65. Split two giant cupcakes at Tahoe Cakery.

66. Bring your favorite bottle of wine for No Corkage Tuesdays at The Lodge.

67. Burger, sweet potato fries and a thick milkshake at Burger Me. Yum.

68. Take the time to visit the lake for a great dinner at Wolfdale’s or Zia Lina in Tahoe City.

69. Pop over to the lake for the perfect size breakfast burrito at the Dam Café in Tahoe City followed by walk to Commons Beach.


70. Sip cocoa during the annual Downtown Holiday Festival & Tree Lighting Ceremony in historic Truckee. Caroling and decking the tree precede 5:15 p.m. lighting on Nov. 22.

71. Enjoy West End Beach before all the days of autumn slip by.

72. Hike on the dog friendly trails to Negro Canyon Overlook in Tahoe Donner.

73. Plan a special weekend meal including foraged pine nuts!

74. Test your ability to go with the flow at the Pump Track off Highway 267. 

75. Identify trees along the Nature Trail and check out the Pioneer Monument in Donner Memorial State Park.

76. Visit the KidZone Museum (especially geared for ages 2 to 5).

77. Collect pinecones and, after baking for 30 minutes at 200 degrees, decorate with gold spray paint and creative touches or collect pine needle, bark, lichen and whatever piques your interest for a nature art project at home.

78. Take a workshop at the Kindred Art and Folk Institute

79. Enjoy a family dinner at Zano’s Pizza.

80. Catch a free Friday night family movie at the Northwoods Clubhouse in Tahoe Donner.

81. The Family Resource Center hosts Family Fun Night at a different location on the last Friday of every month. Includes hands-on activities and dinner (only $5 per family). Call (530) 587-2513 for this month’s venue.


82. Stroll Historic Downtown Truckee during First Fridays, a time when many shops offer extended hours and refreshments from 5 to 8 p.m.: Dec. 6 (First Friday of every month).

83. Check out the diverse array of jewelry, woodwork, home goods and more at Sierra College’s annual Holiday art show, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7.

84. Spread the word about Truckee with any gift from California 89 or a treat from Sweets Handmade Candies.

85. Find children’s books and adorable outfits at the Tree House.

86. Find deals on climbing and disc golf gear at the Sports Exchange on West River Street.

87. Treat yourself to something original. My picks for not to miss shops in historic downtown include Riverside Studios, Bespoke, Carmel Gallery and Glasforms Glassblowing.

88. Find a great deal for yourself at one of the consignment or thrift shops: Mountain Kids, Echo Blue and Tahoe Forest Hospital Hospice Thrift Store.

89. Discover great gifts and stocking stuffers for everyone on your list!


90. Indulge with an autumn-inspired facial, massage or package of choice at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lake Tahoe.

91. Breathe, stretch, reach new heights. Choose your guru: Namaste Holistic Healing and Yoga Center, Yoga Studio Tahoe, Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center or Tahoe Mountain Martial Arts and Yoga.

92. Dance with InnerRhythms.

93. Embrace a new furry family member. The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe hosts Adoption Days every Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Visit hstt.org.

94. Strengthen. Enroll in a class with Rebel Fitness Academy or studio of choice.

95. Strengthen at The Bar Effect.

96. Find a splash of color or great cut at Truckee’s newest salon, Coupe Sixty-One at The Rock. Local’s hint: get in soon for 50 percent off standard rates. 

97. Peruse For Goodness Sake’s lending library and community workshops. 

98. Let your body be your guide and teacher. Bend, twirl and shift your weight with a respectful group of dancers any Friday night. 

99. Discover intriguing staff picks at Bookshelf.

100. Participate in Sierra College Insights, an interactive evening program located on the Tahoe-Truckee campus. Upcoming programs include “Unexpected Encounters in Nepal” at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 31. Reservations (530) 550-2290.

101. “Find your inner child and play!” ssays artist Nancy Lopez, founder of Trails & Vistas art hikes. And that, my new friends, is the spirit that attracts us to this magical mountain town in the Sierra. 

Did I miss one of your favorite fall activities? Comment below.