Growing up and visiting Lake Tahoe, downtown Truckee wasn’t much more than a town we passed through when exiting Highway 80. I have fond memories of the quaint town and liked its brick buildings, feeling as though I had stepped into a history book I was studying at school. Mostly, it signaled that we had almost reached Lake Tahoe and the drive was ending! But besides that, I really didn’t pay attention to it. Then, three years ago when I relocated to Lake Tahoe I started talking to locals to find out where the hot spots to dine and socialize. To my surprise, universally all of the North Lake Tahoe locals’s replied… Truckee.
Today Truckee is the epicenter of North Lake Tahoe. At a first glance, it doesn’t look much different from its historic days as an old railroad town, but don’t be fooled like I was. Inside the historic brick buildings of the from the 1860’s a new generation of posh restaurants, trendy boutiques and emerging small businesses have been sprouting and making deep roots with their reputation on a world stage. This year, Truckee was names one of the World’s 25 Best Ski Towns by NationalGeographic.com thanks to its central location amongst world class skiing including Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Northstar California. Truckee is also home to boutique accommodations such as the historic Truckee Hotel as well as quaint artisan shops and art galleries, most notably The Carmel Gallery. It is also home to world class restaurants and one of my favorite places to visit in Lake Tahoe due to its variety of culinary options.
A few of my favorite restaurants in downtown Truckee to Try & Why
Best Coffee: CoffeeBar – Their coffees look as good as they taste! And, it’s Italian
Best Breakfast: SqueezeIn – Make sure to go hungry, lots to choose from and generous portions!
Best Mexican: Casa Baeza – Let’s just say they call it “Casa Blackout” for a reason
Best Burger & Fries: Burger Me! – If it’s good enough for Guy Fieri it’s good enough for me.
Best Restaurant with a View: Cottonwood – Enjoy a great bar scene from above the Truckee River
Best New Restaurant: Trokay Cafe: Cutting edge culinary & unique blue bottle coffee creations
Best Date Night Spot: Pianeta – Homemade pastas and great happy hour specials, Mangia, mangia!
Best Bar & Place to Meet Friends: Bar of America – an iconic watering hole for over three decades
Downtown Truckee also hosts a variety of great events year-round that visitors enjoy. My favorite Truckee event, along with many North Shore locals, is Truckee Thursdays which begin on June 13th and continue weekly until the end of August. More to come on these events when summer gets closer! To learn more about all there is to do in Truckee as well as view a calendar of events, visit the city’s official website. Truckee is located 12 miles North of Lake Tahoe via Highway 267 at the intersection of Highway 80. It lies along railroad tracks and the Truckee River both which originally made it famous.
I strongly recommend visiting downtown Truckee on your next visit to Lake Tahoe and trying one of my recommendations above. Share in the comments below if there is a place in downtown Truckee you most enjoy!
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