Located on the west side of Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City is a personal favorite for family fun during the winter. Visitors of all ages can stroll quaint Tahoe City and find lots of outdoor activities like ice skating and sledding. With several parks and a small ski hill, it’s a perfect place to spend a day during your Lake Tahoe getaway. It is a destination for shopping and offers a movie theater along with restaurants. Here are the top things to do in Tahoe City during the winter.
What to do in Tahoe City with Kids
Tahoe City Ice Rink
Sledding at Granlibakken Tahoe
Common Beach Playground
Snowshoeing at Tahoe City
Walk by Lake Tahoe Dam and Gatekeepers Museum
Take a Winter Walk at the William B. Layton Park
See a Movie at Tahoe Art Haus
Tahoe City Ice Rink
First on my kids’ list is ice skating. Tahoe City features an ice rink with jamming tunes and festive lights, perfect for kids of all ages. It is part of the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park.
We laced up our skates and hit the ice under a canopy of twinkling lights. One of my kids grabbed the seal that beginners use to push around the ice for confidence and stability.
Located at 251 North Lake Blvd., in the center of town. Rental skates are available or bring your own. Admission for skaters and tables for non-skaters. Opens Thanksgiving Weekend through Spring Break. General admission for non-residents is $20 (rentals included) for a 1 1/2 skate session. Reservations are recommended.
Granlibakken Tahoe for Sledding
Nestled in the evergreens, Granlibakken Tahoe offers lodging and a small ski operation. However, its sled hill is one of the top things to do in Tahoe City.
Granlibakken offers 1 1/2-hour sledding sessions. On select evenings it offers night sledding with music and LED lights.
For $25 per person ($35 for weekends and holidays), kids get a saucer sled with unlimited rides down their monitored hill. Reservations recommended.
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 – $45 per person for a full day).
Commons Beach Park and Playground
If the snow isn’t too deep, then let the kids play along one of the 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.
Located at 400 N. Lake Blvd. Free
Tahoe City Winter Sports Park
All the winter sports are conveniently located next to each other and rental equipment is available at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park.
Located at 251 N. Lake Blvd.
Note: The Tahoe City Winter Sports Park depends on natural snow to operate.
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.
Admission and Equipment Rental is $30 for non-residents. Reservations are recommended.
Tip: Teens enjoy cross-country skiing though not suited for the youngest kids.
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.
Admission and Equipment Rental is $25 for non-residents.
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. It’s a small hill best for preschool kids. It is $15 per person, and a sled is included.
Gatekeeper’s Museum and Lake Tahoe Dam
Visit the Gatekeeper’s Museum for a lesson in Old Tahoe. See exhibits on Washoe history, the boating legacy on Lake Tahoe along with highlights from the 1960 Winter Olympics.
The Gatekeeper lived in a cabin to tend to the Lake Tahoe Dam gates for the Truckee River.
William B. Layton Park
Located next to the Lake Tahoe Dam is William B. Layton Park. It offers a three-acre park on the lake with a self-guided nature walk.
Located at 130 W. Lake Blvd. Free and open from sunrise to sunset.
Burton Creek State Park
With 2,000 acres of wilderness at the edge of Tahoe City, it offers six miles of unpaved roads for cross-country skiing.
Located on Highway 28 near Rocky Ridge Road.Free and open from sunrise to sunset.
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 at the Tahoe Art Haus Cinema while watching 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.
Located at 475 N Lake Blvd. Open in the evening for two showings.
Where to Eat in Tahoe City
After a couple of hours on the ice, we needed to eat. Steps away from the Tahoe City Winter Sports 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 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 Tuesday to Thursday 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Get good hot sandwiches, a selection of salads and a dose of Old Tahoe at the same meal. Your server might also be a local tour guide and definitely your go-to for info on the area. Rosie’s Cafe has extended breakfast hours along with a full bar so brunching at noon on the weekends isn’t a problem. Dinner menu with American classics along with dessert. Find lots of Tahoe City memorabilia on the walls.
Located at 571 North Lake Blvd. Open Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Skiing and Boarding Near Tahoe City
Lake Tahoe offers world-class skiing for families, including some of the best ski schools around. Tahoe City is minutes from several top resorts.
Palisades Tahoe and Northstar California are both located near Tahoe City.
My family was hosted for part of our visit to Tahoe City. Consideration for locations listed. Affiliate links in this article.
Know Before You Go:
- The ice rink is open every day 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.