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

A Modern Guide to Truckee: Comfort Eats and Drinks + All-Season Nature

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

Originally named Coburn Station after a saloon keeper, the name of Truckee came to be when Europeans crossing the Sierra Nevada encountered a Paiute chief who yelled at them, "Tro-kay!," which means "everything is alright." They assumed he was saying his name, and it stuck.

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.


Where to Eat + Drink in Truckee

Manzanita at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

(Courtesy of Cooper Carry)

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

The stylish black-and-white sign is the first signal that Moody's Bistro(10007 Bridge St.), on a prominent corner in town, is a somewhat sophisticated spot to fuel up. An extensive list of bourbons, beers, and wines will pair with Neapolitan pizzas, housemade pastas, burgers, and steaks. // Up for a drive? Technically located in Truckee but just up the hill is Manzanita(13031 Ritz Carlton Highlands Ct.), the warm and richly upholstered fine dining restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton. This is the place for elegant starters (bone marrow, Dungeness crab gnocchi), San Francisco–style mains (Mary's organic chicken), and truffle fries that are almost too good to share. Take a glass of bubbly out by the fire pit. // Want sophisticated flavors closer to town? Cottonwood(10142 Rue Hilltop Rd.) is a a perennial favorite that serves hickory salmon, cacio e pepe, stuffed whole Idaho trout, and special prix-fixe menus on holidays. // At Northstar, grab seasonal Mediterranean-inspired grub—think roasted garlic hummus with toasted bread, beet and ricotta salad, and cocoa-rubbed bavette steak—at Petra(3001 N. Village Dr., Suite 311). // SF chef Michael Mina's Bourbon Pub (Northstar Village, across from Big Springs Gondola) serves high-end but hearty fare along with a well edited wine and cocktail list. // Head to Rubicon (6001 Northstar Dr.) for their notorious barbecue chicken pizza. // The mountains may not seem like the first place you'd order sushi, but regulars swear by the freshness at Drunken Monkey(11253 Brockway, Suite 105), which gets its fish from the same seafood suppliers serving SF restaurants. // For lunch, pop over to Jax at the Tracks (10144 W River St.) for their crab cake, Reuben, and old-fashioned milkshakes. // 1882 Bar and Grill (10009 E. River St.) has a taco salad that's not to be missed.


Wine Shops and Bars in Truckee

Pick up a bottle of vino to take back to your cabin or hotel room at Uncorked Truckee(10118 Donner Pass Rd.), where you can also enjoy a glass or join the wine club or an in-store class. // Ask the bartender at Old Town Tap (10164 Donner Pass Rd. Suite 1) to recommend a whiskey. // If you're staying at Sugar Bowl (629 Sugar Bowl Rd.) in the winter, make sure to get a bloody mary at Belt Room. Plus, take our guide to the best on-mountain bars in Tahoe.


Coffee and Sweets

For breakfast, get the chicken fried steak at Coffee And (10106 Donner Pass Rd.). Plus, coffee is free. // The best pour overs in Tahoe are to be had at Coffeebar (10120 Jibboom St. Suite 101 and 12047 Donner Pass Rd.). // Satisfy sweet tooths with some fudge fromSweets Handmade (10118 Donner Pass Rd. Suite 1).

Outdoor Activities in Truckee

(Courtesy of Palisades Tahoe)

Ski Resorts Near Truckee

The freshly rebranded Palisades Tahoe (RIP Squaw) promises not one but 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 up Northstar (5001 Northstar Dr.) for a luxurious and family-friendly experience. Situated at the extinct volcano Mount Pluto, Northstar offers up 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 skiiers and snowshoers will also appreciate Royal Gorge(9411 Pahatsi Rd.), the largest terrain park of its kind in the U.S. // Boreal (19749 Boreal Ridge Rd.) is known for tricks and flips, as well as night skiing, where they turn on the lights and you can get a few extra turns in until 9pm. // For cross-country skiing, check out Royal Gorge and scoot over to Sugar Bowl on your skis, grab a drink, and then sail back. // Tahoe Donner Ski Resort(11603 Snowpeak Way) prides itself on being “the best place to begin.” The budget-friendly resort 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, and then the sunset at Boca Reservoir or Truckee River Legacy Trail top. Martis Creek Trail is another stunner during the golden hour. // Go paddle boarding or boating at beautiful Donner Lake (15695 Donner Pass Rd), where there's a public beach. It's also pretty spectacular to sit and gaze out at the water, immersed in snowflakes after a storm. // If you're a climber, check out 40-80 or Castle Peak for some fun scrambling. // For those who like to fish, catch rainbow, brook and brown trout as well as kokanee salmon at Boca Dam and Reservoir.

Where to Shop in Truckee

(Courtesy of @bespoketruckee)

Bespoke + Atelier (10098 Donner Pass Rd.) is a General Store–esque shop brimming with beautiful handmade art, jewelry, decor and home goods, and books. They also offer occasional arts and crafts workshops. // For boho-style attire, head over to Nomad Boutique (10046 Donner Pass Rd.) to explore a selection of cozy sweaters, kimonos, shoes, and accessories. They also have a robust online store. // Rep your pride with with local apparel at family-run California 89(10156 Donner Pass Rd). // If you're staying in 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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