15 Best Things to Do in South Lake Tahoe, CA

South Lake Tahoe, CA
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South Lake Tahoe is probably everyone's dream vacation destination.

Also known as the "Sapphire Heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains," the city offers plenty of beautiful things for a traveler like you.

It was founded on November 30, 1965, and became part of El Dorado County.

South Lake Tahoe mainly thrives on tourism as millions of vacationers from California and Nevada flock to this small picturesque city.

It's a famous destination for outdoor recreation combined with top-notch leisure and breathtaking natural beauty.

If you're a traveler who wants to visit this Californian city, you're in for many beautiful treats.

Your itinerary will likely take you to ski resorts, picturesque lake vistas, cozy cabins, festivals, and upscale shopping centers.

Start curating your vacation by checking out the best things to do in South Lake Tahoe, California!

Go on a Shopping Spree at The Shops at Heavenly Village

Beautiful view of The Shops at Heavenly Village
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The Shops at Heavenly Village is an upscale commercial complex widely known for its eclectic collection of shopping and dining choices.

You can find this attraction along Heavenly Village Way.

It offers you an upscale leisure opportunity to shop, dine, and pamper yourself through dozens of shops, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques.

Beautiful view of The Shops at Heavenly Village
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This place offers the latest shopping and dining trends and features the best local products you can't find anywhere else.

Over 40 shops, restaurants, and art galleries are packed in the Shops at Heavenly Village, giving you plenty of leisure opportunities.

Besides shopping and dining, get serenaded by its regular live musical performances free to the public.

Beautiful view of The Shops at Heavenly Village
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Celebrate Local Arts at the Annual Artist Studio Tour

The Tahoe Art League organizes the fun-filled Annual Artist Studio Tour, which runs for two weeks from July to August.

This unique art festival tours you through various art galleries in South Lake Tahoe.

Besides art gallery tours, you're also taken to various public art installations and meet local artists throughout the festival.

It's a recommended event in the city for art lovers and those who want to discover the local arts scene.

Don't miss visiting gallery after gallery as all of South Lake Tahoe's art community welcomes everyone to see their respective artworks during the festivities.

To complete your experience, don't forget to buy some artwork from one of the participating artists of the Annual Artist Studio Tour.

Ski on the Snowy Slopes of Heavenly Mountain Resort

Snowy Slopes of Heavenly Mountain Resort
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Located along Saddle Road, Heavenly Mountain Resort is probably South Lake Tahoe's most famous ski resort.

It features 4,800 acres of pristine snowy terrains.

Since 1955, this ski resort has remained famous up to this day.

It has some shared base facilities in Nevada and California, with the latter under South Lake Tahoe's jurisdiction.

Snowy Slopes of Heavenly Mountain Resort
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Besides being a skiing and snowboarding destination, it transforms into a vast outdoor attraction during summer.

Thousands of hikers and off-road mountain bikers test their mettle by climbing its scenic mountains.

To enjoy your visit to Heavenly Mountain Resort, find the best spot for a perfect view of Lake Tahoe's sapphire-blue waters.

Snowy Slopes of Heavenly Mountain Resort
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Travel Back in Time at the Valhalla Renaissance Faire

The annual Valhalla Renaissance Faire is a unique and fun-filled event at the Camp Richardson Historic Hotel.

This one-of-a-kind event happens every June.

It mainly features a 16th-century-themed festival where you'll come across over a thousand actors dressed in Renaissance and medieval fashion.

Some of the festival highlights you'll be enjoying are theatrical performances, Shakespearean plays and vignettes, jousting, sword-fighting, and educational demonstrations.

It's an immersive event taking you back to the bygone era of the Medieval and Renaissance.

To complete your Valhalla Renaissance Faire experience, proceed to its marketplace and shop for unique arts and crafts as your souvenirs.

Pamper Yourself at Kings Trading Post

Kings Trading Post is a shopping and leisure center along Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

It mainly features shops, restaurants, and salons, making it an excellent place to pamper yourself after a tiring day exploring South Lake Tahoe's attractions.

While visiting, you can drop by Just Kuts Hair Salon to get your hair and nails done.

You can also satisfy your cravings at the Artemis Mediterranean Grill.

If you're into Italian food, head to Grand Central Pizza and Co, or grab your drinks at Kings Beverage Co Liquor Store.

You can also spend your happy hour at Turn Sports Bar.

Kings Trading Post has something for you, whether you're hungry or yearning for some relaxation.

Learn Fascinating History at the Tallac Historic Site

View of Tallac Historic Site
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The Tallac Historic Site offers a fascinating adventure taking you to a well-preserved 1800s summer resort and casino.

You can find this historical attraction along Heritage Way.

It mainly features the original cabins and log houses used as the main facilities of the resort and casino.

Before modern resorts popped out everywhere in Lake Tahoe, this historic site once held the title of "Grandest Resort in the World."

View of Tallac Historic Site
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Visiting this centuries-old resort offers a glimpse of Lake Tahoe's bygone era and fascinating history.

While touring through the Tallac Historic Site, you'll be amazed to read interpretive signs and see up close the well-preserved wooden buildings and structures that served as the resort's facilities.

Besides the cabins, you can also visit and tour the Baldwin Museum for more history.

View of Tallac Historic Site
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Drop by the Taylor Creek Visitor Center

The Taylor Creek Visitor Center is an important place to drop by before you proceed to explore South Lake Tahoe's attractions.

You can check out this visitor center along Visitor Center Road.

Since the visitor center is near Camp Richardson, it offers a wide range of wholesome attractions and outdoor activities.

Besides grabbing the brochures, maps, and wilderness permits, you'll also enjoy guided tours and self-guided tours through its nature trails.

Likewise, inside the Taylor Creek Visitor Center are kid-friendly activities and exhibits, making it a fantastic place to visit before heading out.

Shred Some Ice at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena

This city always enjoys winter, thanks to South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.

You can visit this ice skating rink along Rufus Allen Boulevard.

If you're visiting during the summer, don't worry because it has a vast ice skating rink that you can enjoy to your heart's content.

This ice skating rink is one of the numerous similar facilities you'll come across in the city.

Still, this one offers you some of the best amenities for an enjoyable figure skating session.

You can display your figure skating prowess at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena or perhaps hone your skills through lessons.

Besides figure skating, you can enjoy ice hockey with the locals or watch tournaments on the sidelines.

Hike through Van Sickle Bi-State Park

View of Van Sickle Bi-State Park
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Van Sickle Bi-State Park spans over 725 acres of pristine outdoor terrain, excellent for various activities.

You can access this vast state park along Lake Parkway.

After opening in 1988, this state park has become a favorite place for outdoor enthusiasts to do hiking, trail running, off-road mountain biking, and sightseeing.

View of Van Sickle Bi-State Park
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Its location straddling the Nevada and California borders provides you with stunning views of Lake Tahoe and other natural areas.

If you're looking for an outdoor adventure, visiting Van Sickle Bi-State Park is highly recommended.

View of Van Sickle Bi-State Park
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Get Serenaded during the Big Blue Music and Brews Festival

One of the sought-after events in South Lake Tahoe is the Big Blue Music and Brews Festival.

This three-day festival happens during Memorial Day weekend.

It mainly features over 40 artists performing in a dozen venues at Heavenly Village.

One of this music festival's highlights is the classic beachside concerts.

It's where you'll be serenaded by various musicians while enjoying the stunning view of Lake Tahoe.

The three-day festival gathers thousands of visitors across California and Nevada to celebrate with the locals.

At the same time, you'll enjoy overflowing craft beer and delicious food courtesy of various microbreweries and vendors across the city.

The Big Blue Music and Brews Festival is a fun-filled event you mustn't miss when visiting South Lake Tahoe during this holiday.

Treat Your Taste Buds at Zephyr Cove Restaurant

Zephyr Cove Restaurant is not your typical eatery.

This restaurant has remained a local favorite since the early 1900s, making it one of the food icons in South Lake Tahoe.

Also known by locals as The Lodge, this restaurant is best known for its outdoor deck for dining, reminiscent of its original furnishing in the early 1900s.

Its main dining room highlights a cozy and gorgeous large stone fireplace, while its windows offer the best view of Lake Tahoe.

Zephyr Cove Restaurant's menu mainly centers on classic American comfort food from breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Meanwhile, it also serves a wide range of beer, cocktails, and wines to pair with its menu items.

For a scenic dinner with your loved ones, Zephyr Cove Restaurant is your go-to place.

Take a Dip at Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach

People at Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach
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Your visit to South Lake Tahoe won't be complete without swimming in the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe.

So, spend your day swimming and doing various water activities at Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach.

You can find this famous lakeside beach along Sacramento Avenue.

This beach is perfect for swimming in the famous lake since it has shallow portions and breathtaking views.

Likewise, it offers a more secluded environment than other city beaches.

Spending your day there lets you experience top-notch activities ranging from swimming, picnicking, kayaking, and sightseeing.

With all that in mind, Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach is one of the city's best spots for worthwhile family bonding.

Celebrate the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series

The Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series is a must-attend event, whether you're a music lover or an average tourist visiting the city.

The event takes place for the entire duration of summer at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena.

It features some of the best musicians performing at the 4,000-seater amphitheater.

Notable artists, including Lady Gaga, Paul Simon, and The Who, have performed in the concert series' past editions.

Don't miss attending the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series for a one-of-a-kind musical experience.

Chug a Pint of Craft Beer at South Lake Brewing Company

Head to South Lake Brewing Company if you're looking for a spot to take a break from exploring South Lake Tahoe.

This brewery along Lake Tahoe Boulevard is the largest craft beer producer on Lake Tahoe's southern shores.

It mainly features various signature craft beers, which you can enjoy at its cozy beer garden or scenic front patio.

In addition, it also has an indoor tasting room where you can enjoy a cold pint of its signature craft beer.

Moreover, it has live music and entertaining games for you to enjoy at the South Lake Brewing Company.

For a one-of-a-kind activity, spend time at Marcus Ashley Gallery along Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

It mainly features Ashley's finest artworks that express his unique art style inside this 4,400 square feet gallery.

You can see his famous works through permanent exhibits up close, while numerous rotating exhibits happen regularly during art events.

You'll be amazed to see various types of paintings ranging from acrylic, oil, watercolors, prints, and other artworks.

Visiting Marcus Ashley Gallery offers you not just some of the best artworks in South Lake Tahoe; it's also a therapeutic experience to spend a few hours appreciating his works in this charming place.

Final Thoughts

Chances are you're ready to book a trip to the city after reading this list of the best things to do in South Lake Tahoe, California.

You'll be amazed to see or even swim in Lake Tahoe's magnificent sapphire-blue waters.

You may even want to glide through its famous ski resorts and enjoy the stunning views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains!

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