Lake Tahoe is split into two areas—South Lake and North Lake. The majority of summer tours such as biking, boating, and Jet Ski rental run out of South Lake Tahoe, opposite the lake from Tahoe City. Those staying on the south shore can visit Tahoe City on a tour that circles the lake by bus or bike, stopping along the way for photo ops.
Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are popular ways to get out on the lake, and a paved path runs along the water for walking and biking. Or take a rafting tour on the Truckee River, which flows from the lake. In winter, Tahoe City provides rental shops for ski and snowboarding gear and restaurants and bars to visit after a day on the slopes.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Tahoe City overflows with visitors in winter and summer; plan for heavy traffic along Interstate 80 and State Route 89.
- If you visit in winter, come with tire chains or travel in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle with snow tires; the California Highway Department conducts checkpoints during heavy snowfall.
- Tahoe City’s walkable main drag—North Lake Boulevard—runs parallel to the lakeshore, so wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate layers if exploring on foot.
- Spring or fall sees fewer visitors, but plan for rainy, muddy, or cool weather, and some closed businesses.
How to Get There
Tahoe City is located 15 miles (24 kilometers) off Interstate 80. Most visitors arrive via State Route 89 south from the town of Truckee. Find street parking and a few small parking lots along North Lake Boulevard.
When to Get There
Its busy seasons are winter and summer, with fewer visitors in full and spring, but Tahoe City hosts popular events year-round. Watch fireworks on the Fourth of July; head to Commons Beach in the summer for a farmers market or outdoor concerts; visit in June for the Tahoe City Food and Wine Classic; or celebrate Mardi Gras at the Tahoe City SnowFest Parade.
The most accessible ski resorts from Tahoe City are Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. These neighboring resorts off State Route 89 are about five miles (8 kilometers) from town, and can be skied on the same pass. Northstar California Resort is a family-friendly resorts and about a 30-minute drive in normal conditions. The smaller Homewood Resort, about 15 minutes south on 89, is a local favorite.