Truckee may be small but its known as the “base camp for a big life” because there is so much to see and do in Truckee itself and the surrounding area. Truckee has a naturally welcoming atmosphere and some interesting characters, so you’ll soon feel right at home! If you’re looking for the best things to do in Truckee, look no further as we’ve prepared this list as your guide!
1. Art classes at Art Truckee
Art Truckee is all about fine art, photography, glass blowing and theatre. Opened in 2016, this venue has already gathered a dedicated following, with regular open mic nights, gallery showings with artists and workshops to find your inner artist. It’s a fantastic place to hang out, share and experience. They also have a wine bar on site and wine and art make the perfect match.
Address: 10072 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee, California
Website: Art Truckee
2. Craft workshops at Atelier
More than just an art and crafts supply store, Atelier goes the extra mile to encourage the whole community to try a variety of handicrafts. As they say themselves: “Atelier strives to be the creative hub of the local art community by hosting workshops taught by the area’s most sought-after artists, illustrators, designers, weavers, painters and more, who share the vision to create always and inspire all.”
With their daily workshops, they try their best and it seems to be working, as Atelier workshops are becoming more and more popular, so be sure to book in advance. Atelier is a great place not just for their sense of community but also because they pay homage to traditional art methods.
Address: 10128 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161
3. Annual Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop
This entry is fairly self-explanatory but, just in case, we’ll explain. Since 2003, this popular festival sees over 1,000 local residents gather annually in downtown Truckee, to sample wine and test delicious food.
The festival has now grown in size and with the over 30 venues taking part, you’ll need the map that you’re given at the start to make sure you can happily take part in this wine, walking and shopping festival!
Annual Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop
Address: 10065 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161
Tickets: 40 USD
Website: Annual Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop
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4. Truckee historical haunted tour
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Something a bit different for our next entry, this haunted tour isn’t like any regular haunted tour. Here, fantastic performances take place in new haunted locations, each year, as you follow a skillfully written piece which encompasses dramatic and downright funny but scary stories. This sell-out event takes place each year so be sure to book your tickets in advance or you may be left disappointed.
As a reminder, tickets go on sale every year on the 4th of July, and the event itself takes place on October 19th and 20th. That gives you a whole three months between buying your tickets and the event itself, to organize the perfect fancy dress outfit.
Truckee historical haunted tour
Address: 10007 Bridge St, Truckee, CA 96161
Website: Truckee historical haunted tour
5. Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival
This time we’re going a short distance, for a day trip from Truckee. The extremely popular holiday location of Lake Tahoe is just 15 minutes car drive from Truckee and here you can take part in the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival, which happens every September at Northstar California Resort.
This premier, three-day event includes not just food and wine tasting but culinary cuisine workshops from some of the best chefs. The climax of the event is the Grand Tasting, which features food specially cooked by top local caterers.
Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival
Address: 5001 Northstar Dr, Truckee, CA 96161
6. Waterskiing on Donner Lake
Donner Lake and the surrounding area has a dark and morbid history, which focusses on the Donner Party. The Donner Party were a group of 60 19th-century pioneers, who set out in search of a new life. But tragedy fell when in 1846, early snowstorms stranded the pioneers in the mountains, with little food and water. Many of the 60 perished and as such the survivors soon discovered that storing the bodies in the snow meant that they could be preserved and eaten. Survival cannibalism was their only hope of outliving the storms.
This lake is named after the party and here, not only can you find out more information on the final story of the Donner party but you can also take part in many different watersports such as waterskiing and sailing.
Address: Donner Lake, Truckee, CA 96161
Website: Donner Lake
7. Hike Mount Judah Loop Trail
This moderate 5.1 mile (8.2 km) trail near Truckee offers fantastic views and beautiful wildlife. This hike is popular in the summer and so expect to see other walkers, unless you want a peaceful start, in which case aim to set off before 10 am. Some elements of the walk may be difficult but you are well rewarded with incredible views when you reach the summit.
Mount Judah Loop Trail
Address: Google Map
Website: Mount Judah Loop Trail
8. The Visitor Center at Donner Memorial State Park
This beautiful park is open year-round for visitors looking for outdoor activities. It is worth paying a visit to the museum in the park, to learn more about the emigrant tail that migrants took in the mid-1800’s. The Visitor Center also features exhibits that tell the individual stories of the Emigrant Experience, the Donner Party and the Chinese construction of the railroad.
The Visitor Center at Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center
Address: 12593 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161
9. Listen to live Jazz from Thursday to Sunday
Staying in Truckee for a long weekend? Be sure to check out the fantastic live jazz bands that play at Moody’s Bistro & Lounge, from Thursday to Sunday night. Not only have the menus received acclaim but the bands are generally nationally-touring jazz, Americana, soul, R&B and blues artists.
Moody's Bistro & Lounge
Address: 10007 Bridge St, Truckee, CA 96161
Website: Moody’s Bistro & Lounge
10. Old Jail Museum
Our final point on this list is the Old Jail, which was in use from 1875 until the 1960’s. The jail itself has held some famous historical characters, including George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly, Baby Face Nelson and Ma Spinelli and her gang, who were all imprisoned here for short periods of time.
Old Jail Museum
Address: 10142 Jibboom St, Truckee, CA 96161
Website: Old Jail Museum
Don't dismiss Truckee
There are not many travelers who have Truckee on their itinerary but it’s a fantastic place to call home for a few days, before moving on to explore Lake Tahoe. We hope this list has helped put it onto your traveling map!
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