Over the holiday break we decided to venture out of the city and head into the Sierra Mountains in Tahoe. I have been dreaming of going into a "winter wonderland" for months and we were so lucky to arrive just the right time. The scene was so beautiful, the snow had just fallen and for miles everything was covered in fresh powder. Snow typically falls in Tahoe from November to May, give or take a month.
"Sleigh bells ring, Are you listening
In the lane, Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight, We're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland"
Where to Stay in South Lake Tahoe
By far my favorite hotel accommodations in South Lake Tahoe is Basecamp. The decor is very rustic-meets-trendy and was tailor-made for millenials.
We stayed there for a baby moon when I was pregnant with my daughter and it was the perfect place to chill with some great South Tahoe views. It would be a magical place to spend the holidays.
Finding a comfy and cozy place to stay during the winter months in Tahoe is key because you are likely to be spending plenty of time indoors to defrost from the cold. Basecamp has community areas where you can socialize with friends and play board games and such. See our complete Basecamp Hotel review here.
Best Winter Eats in South Lake Tahoe
Revive Coffee & Wine - Serving up artisan coffee and teas along with healthy fresh eats. I’m in love with the rose cardamom latte and the goat cheese avocado toast.
Basecamp Pizza - Gourmet pizza joint with fresh topping options and fancy side dishes.
Sprouts Cafe and Juice Bar - All natural healthy menu for lighter eats.
Blue Angel Cafe - A local’s favorite restaurant for an eclectic menu of fresh innovative food from around the world.
Black Cabin Coffee - Hours of operation are 6am - 3pm and you can enjoy some really fancy barista drinks here. A few of my favorites are the pistachio rose latte, lavender matcha and a nutty hot chai. Perfect for cold winter days!
Edgewood Bistro - If you’re looking to incorporate some fine dinning into your holiday festivities, Edgewood Bistro has been voted the Best Fine Dining in South Shore. The restaurant’s decor is probably the most modern and city-like you’ll find in all of South Tahoe, and the cuisine is fresh and also reminiscent of what you’d find in a trendy urban restaurant.
Winter Snow & Holiday Festivities
Ice Skating at Heavenly Village - Enjoy one of the most classic winter holiday activities, complete with music, twinkle lights and winter ambiance. The ice skating rink opens on November 1st and runs through the Easter Holiday.
Play at the Snow Park - There’s two major snow parks in South Lake Tahoe, Sierra at Tahoe and Adventure Mountain. You can grab your gang and have all kinds of snow fun such as sledding, tubing, build a snowman and make snow angels.
Hot Springs - Get the chill out of your bones by relaxing in natural geothermal mineral hot springs. Both David Walley's Resort and Steamboat Hot Springs Spa are relaxation retreats build around the notion that there are healing powers in these natural waters.
Heavenly Holidays Tree Lighting - It wouldn’t be Christmas without a giant Christmas tree shinning bright. Join fellow onlookers and singing carolers as the huge 60 feet tall tree twinkles with lights.
Everything to Prep Before You Head Into the Snow
Be Prepared with Snow Chains or a 4-Wheel-Drive Car - While Tahoe is so beautiful under a blanket of white snow, it does present logistical and traveling challenges. Our first time heading out to the Sierras in the winter, we unexpectedly awoke to several feet of fresh snow. Because we hadn’t anticipated this happening, we didn’t have any snow chains for our Honda Civic.
At the end of our trip while trying to leave Tahoe to drive back to San Francisco, we were forced to turn around at the checkpoint by state troopers to go purchase chains. The second issue we encountered was that almost every place in Tahoe was sold out of the chains that fit our specific car. Learn from our mistakes and be sure to come prepared with a 4-wheel-drive car or snow chains that fit your car.
Check to See Who’s Open - Many establishments in all parts of Tahoe are seasonal, so don’t automatically assume that something will be open in the winter months. Make an effort to call or do some research ahead of time before you venture out into the snow.
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