Modern Guide to Truckee: Comfort Eats and Drinks + All-Season Outdoor Adventures
The quaint town of Truckee is the gateway to skiing and more around Lake Tahoe's North Shore. (Paul Hamill, courtesy of Martis Camp)

Modern Guide to Truckee: Comfort Eats and Drinks + All-Season Outdoor Adventures

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There is much to do in the charming heart of Tahoe.

Truckee—originally known as Coburn Station after a resident stage operator and tavern owner—was established as a logging and ice harvesting center in the early 1860s. Following the arrival of the railroad in 1868, the townsfolk changed the rowdy outpost’s name to Truckee, in honor of a Paiute Indian chief who famously helped early emigrants navigate the region’s treacherous mountain passes.

Today, this quintessential mountain town is a delightful jumping off point for North Lake Tahoe's many outdoor adventures. Here's where to eat and how to play in Truckee.


The Best Restaurants in Truckee

(Courtesy of RMU)

A central ski town must have certain things, among them good wine, beer, and hearty comfort fare. And, of course, coffee. Here are the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in Truckee.

Restaurants in Truckee

A central ski town must have certain things, among them good wine, beer, craft cocktails, coffee, and delicious, hearty fare. Here are the best places to refuel, unwind, and get buzzed in Truckee.

The stylish black-and-white awning and sign is the first hint that Moody's Bistro(10007 Bridge St.), located on the ground floor of the historic, 149-year-old Truckee Hotel, is a sophisticated spot for lunch or dinner. The extensive list of primo cocktails, beer, and wine pair well with the elevated modern American menu (think crispy octopus with sunchoke puree; warm bread salad with chioggia beets and crescenza cheese; and lavender honey Muscovy duck). // RMU (Donner Pass Rd.) started out in Colorado as a small manufacturer of custom skis; today the brand has several locations including this swank downtown tavern/retail shop hybrid. Come for the gear, stay for après menu of burgers and sandos, festive cocktails like the Naughty Toddy, and wine. // Great Gold (11025 Pioneer Trail) serves up wonderful, locally sourced California-Italian fare and wood-fired pizzas. // Up for a drive? Technically located in Truckee but just up the hill is lovely Manzanita(13031 Ritz Carlton Highlands Ct.), the Ritz-Carlton’s stunning fine dining restaurant. This is the place for an epic “Endless Sunday Brunch,” elegant dinner starters (Maine diver scallops, Dungeness crab sliders), and French-leaning mains (Alaskan halibut with truffle-onion jus, red wine-braised short ribs). Don’t forget to enjoy a glass of bubbly out by the fire pit and reserve a seat by one of the picture windows. // Want comfort food closer to town? Cottonwood(10142 Rue Hilltop Rd.) is a perennial favorite that serves comforting dishes like braised pork shanks, grilled lamb, and pasta, as well as vegetarian and vegan offerings. // Small-batch brewery The Good Wolf has a romantic, cozy taproom with a fireplace, all the better to enjoy a diverse array of styles, including their signature “forest beers” made with foraged ingredients and flavors inspired by the Tahoe National Forest. // The mountains seem an unlikely place to order sushi, but regulars swear by the fresh, creative rolls at Drunken Monkey(11253 Brockway, Suite 105), which gets its fish from the same seafood suppliers serving SF restaurants. // Cornerstone Bakery and Cornerstone Kitchen (10087/10089 W. River St.) is the place for breakfast if you’re a fan of carbs; indulge with cinnamon bread pudding French toast, luscious pastries, and decadent breakfast sandwiches; there’s also a stellar lunch menu. // For something less sinful, pop over to Full Belly Deli(10825 Pioneer Trail), known for its loaded subs.

Bars in Truckee

Locals love The Pour House for wine, cheese, crackers, and other accoutrements (10075 Jibboom St.); there’s also a tasting bar. // Happy Hour means Bar of America for stiff drinks, juicy burgers, and a lively crowd. // Ask the bartender at Old Town Tap (10164 Donner Pass Rd. Suite 1) to recommend a whiskey from their lengthy and impressive list. For live music and late-night rowdiness, hit up Tourist Club (10110 Donner Pass Rd.); Truckee’s best dive is a great place to lose your inhibitions and/or dignity (10096 Donner Pass Rd.)// If you're staying at Sugar Bowl (629 Sugar Bowl Rd.) in the winter, make sure to get a bloody mary at the Belt Room. Don’t forget to study our guide to the best on-mountain bars in Tahoe.

Coffee and Sweets

The best pourovers in Tahoe are to be had at Coffeebar (10120 Jibboom St. Suite 101 and 12047 Donner Pass Rd.), but those in the know often skip the ever-present lines and get their beans and brew at tiny Dark Horse Coffee Roasters (10009 W. River St.) instead // Satisfy sweet tooths with some fudge from old timey spots like Sweets Handmade Candies (10118 Donner Pass Rd. Suite 1) and Bud’s Ice Cream (10108 Donner Pass Rd.). // Little Truckee Ice Creamery’s main outpost (15628 Donner Pass Rd.) is open year-round and worth a visit when the urge hits.

Outdoor Activities in Truckee

(Courtesy of Northstar California)

Ski Resorts Near Truckee

Palisades Tahoe (1960 Olympic Valley Rd.) boasts two mountains with 34 lifts and 6,000 acres on which to play. Being this big means the resort literally has something for everyone: Snowshoeing, tubing, and backcountry tours are available. In the warmer months, rent bikes, play disc golf, try the ropes course, or test your bravery on the Via Ferrata. // Hit Northstar (5001 Northstar Dr.) for a luxurious and family-friendly experience. Located on an extinct volcano, Mount Pluto, Northstar has over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain with 100 trails, 20 lifts, and additional offerings including Telemark and XC skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, and ice skating. // Sugar Bowl (629 Sugar Bowl Rd.) is great for low-key vibes. // Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will appreciate Royal Gorge(9411 Pahatsi Rd.), the largest terrain park of its kind in the U.S, and Sugar Bowl’s nearby sister resort. // Boreal (19749 Boreal Ridge Rd.) is known for its epic snow parks as well as night skiing, where they turn on the lights and you can get a few extra turns in until 9pm. It’s also home to Woodward Bunker, an indoor, year-round action sports hub with a skatepark, trampolines, drop ramps, and more. // Tahoe Donner Ski Resort (11603 Snowpeak Wy.) prides itself on being “the best place to begin.” The budget-friendly mountain has plenty of easy terrain and offers instruction for kids as young as three.


Hiking, Rock Climbing + More

Watch the sunrise from Donner Summit Bridge aka Rainbow Bridge (Donner Pass Rd.) overlooking Donner Lake. // Catch sunset at Boca Reservoir or the Truckee River Legacy Trail summit. Martis Creek Trail is another stunner during the golden hour. // Go paddle boarding, kayaking or boating at dreamy Donner Lake (15695 Donner Pass Rd), where there's also a public beach. In winter, you can snowshoe (not too close to shore!). // Climbers should check out 40-80 or Castle Peak for some fun scrambling. // For those who like to fish, there’s rainbow, brook and brown trout, and kokanee salmon at Boca Dam and Reservoir.

Where to Shop in Truckee

(Courtesy of @bespoketruckee)

Bespoke + Atelier (10098 Donner Pass Rd.) is a mercantile with beautiful handmade art, jewelry, decor, home goods, and books. // For boho-style attire, head to Nomad Boutique (10046 Donner Pass Rd.) to browse their selection of cozy sweaters, kimonos, shoes, and accessories.// Represent the Sierra Nevada by nabbing apparel from family-run California 89 (10156 Donner Pass Rd.). // If you're staying at an Airbnb and planning to cook—or just want a tasty souvenir to take home—shop dozens of flavor-infused oils, vinegars, honey, and more at Tahoe Oil and Spice (10091 Donner Pass Rd, Suite B).

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