What to do in Tahoe City with Kids
Explore Tahoe City on the western shore of Lake Tahoe with lots of wintertime fun for all. Find ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing trails and more in the quaint mountain hamlet, minutes from the top Lake Tahoe ski resorts.
Tahoe City Winter Sports Park
First on my kids’ list is ice skating. All the winter sports are conveniently located next to each other and rental equipment is available at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park.
TAHOE CITY ICE RINK
Tahoe City features an ice rink with jamming tunes and festive lights, perfect for kids of all ages. Located in the center of town (251 North Lake Blvd), this rink offers families a place to strap on their skates for some outdoor fun.
We laced up our skates and hit the ice under a canopy of twinkling lights. My kids grabbed the seals that beginners use to push around the ice for confidence and stability.
Rental skates are available or bring your own. Admission for skaters and tables for non-skaters.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI TRAILS IN TAHOE CITY
For outdoor enthusiasts, Tahoe City Winter Sports Park offers 4 km of groomed trails. Meander through a meadow in the center of Tahoe City enjoying the sights and scents of the season. Find trails for traditional cross country and wide lanes for skate skiing too.
The Tahoe City Winter Sports Park offers ski rental. And trail passes are required.
Tip: Teens enjoy cross-country skiing though not suited for the youngest kids.
TAHOE CITY SLEDDING HILL
Looking for more outdoor kid fun? Tahoe City Winter Sports Park offers a small sledding hill steps away from the ice skating rink. Admission based on age.
SNOWSHOE TRAIL IN TAHOE CITY
Snowshoeing requires no new skills, just strap on snowshoes and walk with a couple of poles. I found a snowshoe loop that’s dog-friendly at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park. Grab a toboggan and pull the littles for family fun.
Special shoes aren’t required and the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park offers snowshoe rental. I just strap them to my snow boots. Admission for the snowshoe loop pass.
Note for 2020: Advance Reservations required.
After a couple of hours on the ice, we needed to eat. Steps away from the Tahoe City Winter Sport Park ice rink I found Café Zenon. With a large menu of upscale comfort food offerings, I found entrees that satisfied my palate along with the kids.
The mac-and-cheese is not just a kiddy staple. Adults can order it with pride. The chicken tenders with fries are cheat-worthy. Don’t tell the kids! But the fries are really frites–yummy.
Café Zenon offers a full bar with inventive and signature cocktails. For the kids, order a hot chocolate.
Located at 251 N. Lake Blvd. Open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Note for 2020: Open for take-out only.
Tops for Sledding
Nestled in the evergreens, Granlibakken Tahoe offers lodging and a small ski operation, although my kids love their crazy fast sledding hill. For nearly half what other ski resorts charge for an hour of snow tubing, Granlibakken offers a full day of sledding fun.
For $20 per person ($25 during holidays), kids get unlimited rides down their monitored hill and a saucer sled for one-and-a-half hours. Kids can climb Granlibakken’s hill over and over, racing each other and even Mom.
After a few sledding runs, time for s’mores! The ski hut at Granlibakken sells s’mores packages with enough chocolate, grahams, and marshmallows for a family of four to toast at the fire pit. Or bring your own in your snack bag. The ski hut also features hot drinks, soups and Mexican favorites in an authentic log cabin with a pot belly stove.
Find Granlibakken Tahoe at 725 Granlibakken Road. It features a small ski hill with a rope tow and inexpensive lift tickets ($30 – $40 per person for a full day).
THE TAHOE ART HAUS AND CINEMA
Evening comes early in the winter so escape to the movies. Sit in the cozy couch seating or rock away in a leather seat, the Tahoe Art Haus Cinema shows the latest blockbusters.
As Lake Tahoe’s only cinema draft house, order a local draft beer or coffee drink. Don’t miss the popcorn spice bar and I found hotdogs and cheese pizza too.
Note for 2020: Limited Capacity and online reservations available.
COMMONS BEACH PARK AND PLAYGROUND
If the snow isn’t too deep then let the kids play along one of most picturesque walking paths at Lake Tahoe. The Common Beach Park features open spaces for running, a walking path and a playground.
The divided path offers a lane for cyclists and walkers along with interpretive signs.My kids found playground gold at Commons Beach Park. Even my 14-year-old scrambled over the climbing wall.
Since I found plenty of seating, a few picnic tables and a restroom located next to the playground, families congregate here year-round. Even the little kids have a separate play structure. Free
Where to Shop in Tahoe City
Quaint, locally-owned shops line the streets of Tahoe City. As a bonus, you can walk between all the shopping in Tahoe City.
Skiing and Sledding Near Tahoe City
Lake Tahoe offers world-class skiing for families, including some of the best ski schools around. And Tahoe City is minutes from several top resorts.
Offers families Olympic skiing and history with lots of mountaintop green runs served by a large gondola.
Find a luxury ski getaway with a premier kids learning center.
Ski a locals favorite in Incline Village.
Find lots green runs just for kids in the Enchanted Forest.
Then I’ve got a couple of FREE sledding hills nearby too.
First Time Skiing?
What do you need to pack for family ski trip? I’ve been there. And here’s a list to prep and pack.
Need some advice on picking a ski school for your kids? I’ve got some tips for families to find the best program.
My family was hosted for part of our visit to Tahoe City. Consideration for locations listed.
Know Before You Go:
- The ice rink is open everyday throughout the winter season though check after a heavy snowfall when snow removal temporarily closes the rink.
- Outdoor ice skating rinks have faster ice than indoor rinks. Bring a helmet for kids learning since falls are common.
- Park at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park and walk to the park, movie theatre and shopping.
- Before heading out check out road conditions at NVroads.com for tire chain requirements. I use Nevada’s website for the Lake Tahoe region since it’s easier to use on a mobile device than California’s website.