15 Best Things To Do In Placerville, California

things to do in placerville california
Melanie
Melanie
Updated

For a small city, Placerville has a lot of attractions – and history – to offer to its visitors. Its roots can be traced back to the Gold Rush, when it was still known as Hangtown, by virtue of the fact that it was one of the first places that meted out justice through a hemp rope. Nowadays, it has put its grim past behind it, although its heritage can still be seen in the town’s architecture. Book your stay at one of the top Airbnb vacation rentals and follow our guide for the best things to do in Placerville during your visit.

1. Stroll across Main Street

Placerville California Bell Tower - panoramio
Source: Photo by user Noah_Loverbear used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Our first stop on the list of what to do in Placerville is Main Street. What better way to get a feel of the history of Placerville than by walking downtown, where the streets are lined with nineteenth century architecture? The buildings themselves are well-preserved by the city and its residents, so you need not worry about getting rundown buildings in your photos.

One of the most notable structures you will see there is the Bell Tower. Back during the Gold Rush era, mining camps were prone to catch fire because these were constructed of flammable materials. The Bell Tower was constructed in 1898 so that the citizens could quickly call the volunteer firemen in case of fire. Today, it serves as the gathering place for Placerville’s events, such as parades and celebrations.

Main Street

Address: Placerville, CA

Website: Main Street

2. Explore the artifacts at El Dorado County Historical Museum

150320 604 Placerville - El Dorado County Historical Museum, tombstones, Mahonia aquifolium Oregon Holly Grape
Source: Photo by user cultivar413 used under CC BY 2.0

The El Dorado County Museum gives people a peek at how life was back in the Gold Rush era. It also provides some information about the Native American tribes, such as the Miwok, the Washoe, and the Maidu, living in the vicinity. The museum is a top contender for Placerville’s points of interest.

El Dorado County Historical Museum

Address: 100 Placerville Dr, Placerville, CA

Opening Hours: 10 am – 4 pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays; 12 nn – 4 pm, Sundays

Duration: around 2 hours required

Access: The museum is located off Highway 50, and is next to the El Dorado County Fair Grounds

Contact: +1 5306215865

3. Find out more about the Gold Rush at the Gold Bug Park and Mine

VOLUNTEERS WANTED -- BIG REWARDS You can work in a REAL gold mine at Gold Bug Park! We're looking for tour guides,...

Posted by Gold Bug Park & Mine on Friday, 22 January 2016

If you are still not over the gold fever, you can visit one of the old gold mines in Placerville. Gold Bug Park and Mine is the only gold mine in California that welcomes visitors. The self-guided audio tour is narrated by a California Gold Rush miner, who talks about the tools of his trade, and how he uses these to mine for gold. Once you are done with your tour, you can have a picnic there. Outdoor lovers can also go hiking and explore the grounds of the park.

Gold Bug Park and Mine

Address: 2635 Gold Bug Ln, Placerville, CA

Opening Hours: April to October: 10 am - 4 pm daily; November to March: 12 nn - 4 pm weekends only

Duration: 1-2 hours

Access: Gold Bug Park and Mine can be found along the El Dorado Freeway 50, near the Gold Country Highway 49

Website: Gold Bug Park and Mine

4. Try your luck at Red Hawk Casino

Poker Chips
Source: Photo by user Images Money used under CC BY 2.0

If you want to make like yesteryear’s gold hunters and seek your own fortune, try your luck at the Red Hawk Casino, which is owned by the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. Red Hawk Casino is not just known for the gaming experience it provides visitors. It also offers gourmet food, being the home of five in-house restaurants. Also part of the casino is a sports bar, a stage bar, an indoor playground, a club, a video game arcade, and a gymnasium.

Red Hawk Casino

Address: 1 Red Hawk Parkway, Placerville, CA

Contact: +1 8885733495

Website: Red Hawk Casino

5. Go on a wine tasting tour

Grapes from a vineyard
Source: Pixabay

The El Dorado County, including Placerville, is known for its many wineries. There are tour groups that bring people on a wine tasting tour across the area. If you only have time to visit one winery, a good choice would be Boeger Winery, Boa Vista, Holly’s Hill Vineyard, and Chateau Rodin, as all four have wine tasting rooms for guests to sample their various vintages.

Special mention goes to Boa Vista, which does not just feature a winery, it also has its own bakery and farmers’ market, allowing visitors to buy fresh produce from them daily. It also offers crisp apple ciders and different fruit wines.

Boeger Winery

Address: 1709 Carson Rd, Placerville, CA

Website: Boeger Winery

Boa Vista

Address: 2952 Carson Road, Placerville, CA

Website: Boa Vista

Holly’s Hill Vineyard

Address: 3680 Leisure Ln, Placerville, CA

Website: Holly’s Hill Vineyard

Chateau Rodin

Address: 4771 Greenhills Rd, Placerville, CA

Website: Chateau Rodin

6. Explore El Dorado National Forest

#WeekendGetaway South Fork of Silver Creek, El Dorado National Forest Photo courtesy of 3datadesign.com

Posted by Bay Area FasTrak on Saturday, 15 April 2017

Those who love camping or picnicking can visit El Dorado National Forest, which is home to 80 camp grounds and picnic sites. Several picturesque lakes can also be found there, as well as streams and rivers. Those who like hiking can take one of the trails there to see the various flora and fauna endemic to the park.

El Dorado National Forest

Address: 100 Forni Rd, Placerville, CA

Opening Hours: 8 am – 430 pm.

Contact: +1 916-622-5061

7. Watch one of the races at Placerville Speedway

Five-time Placerville champion Andy Forsberg is one of the many in position and eligible to take home $4,500 if he can...

Posted by Placerville Speedway on Friday, 14 April 2017

Placerville Speedway holds races every Saturday night, with fans from all over the county trooping there to watch the competition. It is considered as one of the oldest racing venues in California, as well as a favorite among dirt track racing fans.

Placerville Speedway

Address: 100 Placerville Dr, Placerville, CA

Opening Hours: Ticket sales open at 3 pm. Racing starts at 6 pm

Website: Placerville Speedway

8. Get vintage treasures as souvenirs at Fox and Forage

I'm so excited to make these into signs. Exclusively in store only. I offer custom if you want it to say something special for a holiday gift. These should be in the shop soon!

Posted by Fox and Forage on Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Fox and Forage is a store along Main Street that sells vintage items, from jewelry to furniture. This is a great place to come and hunt for unique souvenirs and gifts to bring home to your loved ones.

Fox and Forage

Address: Main Street, Placerville, CA

Website: Fox and Forage

9. Checkout the Hangman’s Tree Saloon

Made it to Placerville. The statue with the stretched neck was kidnapped last year but found and reconditioned. The bar below is being rebuild.

Posted by Danny Perkins Sr. on Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Hangman’s Tree Saloon is one the bizarre and fun things to do in Placerville. It recalls the grim history of the city, not only for displaying an effigy of a man hanging from a rope on its second floor, but also because it marks the actual spot where the hangings took place in the 1800s. Those who like getting scared may also want to ask the diners or the barmen there about the ghosts that are rumored to haunt the place.

Hangman’s Tree Saloon

Address: Main Street, Placerville, CA

10. Go hiking or biking at the Rubicon Trail System

Posted by Jeep Jamboree on Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Rubicon Trail System is a good destination of choice for those who seek outdoor adventure, be it hiking, biking or even riding an ATV. The trail was originally made as a trading route, and then it evolved into a stagecoach route. Those who love taking four-wheel drives across the county can always go through here as well.

Rubicon Trail System

Address: Placerville, CA

Website: Rubicon Trail System

11. See the night sky at Community Observatory

Art Cort Sky Theater at the Community Observatory
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Someyawhoo used under CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the most profound ways to spend your night is to just look up the sky and ponder the world. That is exactly what you can do at Community Observatory. The founding of the observatory is a collective effort between Rotary International and volunteers from different institutions. Going to the observatory is one of the best things to do with your kids if you happen to be traveling with family in Placerville. While Community Observatory is open from Fridays to Sundays, admission depends on the weather!

Community Observatory

Address: 6699 Campus Dr, Placerville, CA 95667, United States

Website: Community Observatory

Opening hours: Fri - Sun: 7:30pm - 9:30pm (closed from Mon - Thu)

12. Overload on apples at High Hill Ranch

apples at Indian Ladder Farms
Source: Photo by Flickr user яіску ѕнояє used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you happen to love apples, then you know this place is for you. You don’t have to look far in Placerville just to pick the freshest apples or eat apple-related desserts! Take your kids out for an afternoon picnic and feed their sweet tooth at High Hill Ranch. The ranch sells their products at a good price, so if you are on the lookout for apple pies or donuts, or even freshly pressed apple cider to bring home with you, then look no further!

High Hill Ranch

Address: 2901 High Hill Road, Placerville, CA 95667, United States

Website: High Hill Ranch

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 5pm

13. Learn sustainable horticulture at Sherwood Demonstration Garden

Gardening
Source: Pexels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

We’d be the first to say that gardening probably isn’t a popular thing to do on vacation. Although, that makes the next item on this list all the more interesting! Sherwood Demonstration Garden is a place where you can learn sustainable gardening practices and is one of the most unique places to visit in Placerville. It is a project spearheaded by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. If you do partake in some gardening back home, you might learn a thing or two from this trip!

Sherwood Demonstration Garden

Address: 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville, CA 95667, United States

Website: Sherwood Demonstration Garden

14. Have a hearty meal at Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant

Burrito
Source: Pexels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

It is only fitting to top this list off with a noteworthy restaurant! Casa Ramos is a Mexican restaurant that has taken Placerville by storm. If you have no clue on what to eat at Casa Ramos, a few of their bestsellers are enchiladas bar, macho burrito, pollo fundido, molcajete, and camarones a la diabla. The place opens at 11 am daily, so you don’t have to wait until dinner to satisfy your cravings. You’ll go back for seconds once you have a taste of their food!

Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant

Address: 6840 Green Leaf Drive, Placerville, CA 95667, United States

Website: Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 10pm

15. See the Fence of Boots tribute

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The most poignant place on this list is Fence of Boots, or simply Boot Fence. Fence of Boots is a testament to a mother’s unconditional love for her son. Patty Navarro made the tribute for her son David, who died in a vehicular accident in 1989. David, according to Patty, loved working on the farm and always had his boots on. Instead of tucking the boots away in storage, Patty mounted each boot along her fence. Their neighbors, mourning the community’s loss, joined the memorial and paid their respect by placing boots on the fence as well.

Fence of Boots

Address: 1099 Coloma Road, Placerville, CA 95667, United States

Golden attraction

Placerville may no longer be visited today by gold seekers, but it nonetheless offers something equal to its visitors: memories of a wonderful visit to a historic town. Experience having a memorable trip worth its weight in gold in these Placerville attractions.

Frequently asked question about things to do in Placerville, California

1. What are the best attractions to visit in Placerville?

Placerville is known for its unusual vacation spots, which is where its overall appeal comes from. El Dorado County Historical Museum and Hangman’s Tree Saloon are two of the best attractions in the city.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Placerville?

Riding an ATV at Rubicon Trail System is one of the best outdoor activities in Placerville. Joining that list are looking at the night sky at Community Observatory and exploring El Dorado National Forest.

3. What are the most popular things to do in Placerville with kids and family?

For traveling families, one of the most popular activities to do in Placerville is to visit Community Observatory, where your kids will learn to appreciate the universe. Apple picking at High Hill Ranch is also a great way to keep your family busy during your stay.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling.

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