A Lake Tahoe Insider's Guide To Truckee

Category: General
  • Downtown Truckee
  • Truckee in the Winter
  • Downtown Truckee
  • Truckee in the Winter

The charming, historic town of Truckee is a mere 11 miles from the slopes of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

You’re coming to Tahoe to ski and ride Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. We get that. But that’s not all there is to do here. Once you’re off the mountain, if you’ve got any energy left, the neighboring town of Truckee offers plenty of other sites worth exploring. Plus, you can’t beat the charm of historic downtown Truckee, a railway town with restored 1800s-era architecture that looks like the set of an old Western movie but is now filled with modern eateries and electric shops. As the train whistles through town, you’ll sip handcrafted coffee or locally-brewed craft beer with views of the snow-capped Sierra. 

Start Your Day at a Coffee House

There’s no shortage of high-quality caffeine in the Tahoe area. Get your day going with some of the lake’s best-rated coffee. Head to one of Coffeebar's two Tahoe locations to enjoy Italian-style coffee and breakfast bowls and paninis (be sure to grab a donut hole for the road). Coffeebar also has a shop in The Village at Squaw Valley. Also in Truckee, you’ll find Zuri Coffee Co., serving up coffee, bagels, crepes, and avocado toast, and the locals’ favorite basement-level Dark Horse Coffee Roasters. Pro snowboarder Ralph Backstrom opened his own coffee roaster in Truckee, called Pacific Crest Coffee—if you show up on a Friday morning, you can grab pastries or freshly-baked bread at Sierra Bakehouse, which has garage bake sales on Fridays from 8am to 2pm.

Learn the History 

Truckee was a town that originally grew with the railway. The first train chugged through the area in 1869. You can learn more about the town’s rail history at the Truckee Railroad Museum next to the Train Depot in downtown Truckee. There’s more history to learn in the area, too. You can see the 19th-century jailhouse on Truckee’s Jimboom Street at the Old Jail Museum (which is open only during the summer but is still worth a walk by in the winter). And don’t forget this area once hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Squaw Valley’s Olympic Museum is now located at High Camp, atop the Aerial Tram.

Truckee in the Winter in Lake Tahoe
Shop for Locally-Made Items

At Bespoke, in Truckee’s historic downtown, you can pick up gift items or souvenirs, like hand-painted pottery, cozy wool blankets, or embroidered dinner napkins or throw pillows. Many of the items in this charming shop are made by local artisans. Inside the Train Depot in downtown Truckee, you’ll find woodwork, jewelry, fiber arts, and more at Mountain Arts Collective, started by three local artists in 2017. Or head down the road to visit Lorien Powers’ jewelry shop. 

Get Crafty at a Maker’s Space

If you’d rather make your own pieces, you can get crafty at a growing number of maker’s spaces in the Tahoe area. Atelier, in downtown Truckee, offers workshops on sewing, knitting, painting, basket making, and more. Or shop their store for supplies on whatever art project you’d like to take home. The Truckee Roundhouse opened in 2016 as the area’s first non-profit maker’s space. The space is home to workshops and classes that teach woodworking, metal, ceramics, technology, and textiles. 

Taste Craft Beer at Local Breweries

We’ve got a thriving craft beer scene in Tahoe, and it’s no wonder why. After a day in the mountains, a cold, refreshing IPA or pilsner goes down easy. Check out Alibi Ale Works in Truckee for 22 rotating beers on tap and fancy platters of nachos that taste especially good after a day of skiing or riding. FiftyFifty has an all-star pub and brewery in Truckee, as well as the relative newcomer to the scene, Truckee Brewing Company, which opened in 2018. The Good Wolf opened in Truckee in 2019 with a cozy taproom with a rotating tap of forest-inspired beers. Or take a tour of several of the area’s breweries and tasting rooms by signing up for a guided tour with Tahoe Brew Tours, which will escort you to the finest beer houses in the region.

Truckee Tavern
Dine Out

While Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has ample dining and après-ski options, if you’re looking to venture a little farther, you’ll find plenty of tasty places to eat and drink in the nearby towns. In Truckee, you’ll find the locals eating at the Truckee Tavern or Old Town Tap. Pianeta, in downtown Truckee, has some of the area’s best Italian food and Moody’s or Cottonwood are always a good bet for dinner and live music.