Apres Ski Fun

Top Things to do at Lake Tahoe in December

Lake Tahoe's Squaw Valley. How to celebrate the holidays in Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe offers families the best skiing in North America, along with a full calendar to celebrate the holidays. Credit: Catherine Parker

Imagine spending your holiday season at Lake Tahoe with its glistening fir trees and bluebird skies. This year is shaping up to be a great season, with lots of snow anticipated. Many of the ski resorts will open for skiing and boarding for Thanksgiving. This might be the year for a Lake Tahoe winter holiday. To start, the area boasts a dozen mountain resorts ringing the lake that never freezes. With lots of sun, outdoor activities reign, so travelers will find sledding, snowshoeing, XC skiing and more. Here are Top Things to do at Lake Tahoe in December.

Top Things to Do at Lake Tahoe in December

Head to a Mountain Resort
Go Sledding for Snow Tubing
See the Holiday Decorations 
Go Snowshoeing
Best Place for a Sled Rides in Lake Tahoe

Why Visit Lake Tahoe during the Winter 

As a top winter destination in the U.S., one of the Top Things to do at Lake Tahoe in December is to visit a ski resort. Visitors will find more than a dozen ski resorts within an hour’s drive. For first-time visitors, both skiing and snowboarding are both popular.

Top Things to do at Tahoe City

Top Things to Do at Palisades Tahoe

Formerly Squaw Valley, Palisades Tahoe is located at 1960 Squaw Valley Rd. in between Tahoe City and Truckee.

Thanksgiving at Palisades Tahoe 

For the 2022-2023 Ski Season, Palisades Tahoe opens on November 22, 2023.

Thanksgiving Buffet 

In a lavish buffet, enjoy locally sourced holiday favorites. Two seatings are available at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 23. Adults are $90, kids (5 – 12) are $29 with kids 4 and younger free. Reservations required.

Snow Tubing 

Located in the SnoVentures area, 55-minute snow tubing sessions scream fun.  Starting at the top of the hour.

Must be 40-inches tall to participate. One person per tube with adult and kid-sized tubes available. Sessions are $42 on weekdays and $54 on weekends.

Learn to Ski and Ride 

For $109, those new to the sport will get a 2 and 1/2 lesson with rental equipment and a beginner ski lift ticket. This event is from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11.

Guided Snowshoe Tour Under the  Stars and Dinner 

Take a guided snowshoe tour from Chalet at Alpine Meadows then finish up at a four-course Bavarian-inspired dinner.

Departing from the Last Chair Bar at 4:30 p.m. on December 22 and December 27. Adults $140 and 21 and over only. Advance reservations required.

Under the Stars Snowshoe Tour

Departing from the Plaza Bar, snowshoers will take a .75-mile tour on Thursday, December 7, Sunday, December 11, and Wednesday, January 3. Adults $125 and 21 and over only. Advance reservations required.

Sunset Happy Hour

This popular event celebrates the view from High Camp. Board the aerial tram for happy hour specials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, December 22; Saturday, December 23; Thursday, December 28; and Friday, December 29. Adult admission is $21 and tram ticket and first beer or wine included.

Disco Tubing at Palisades Tahoe

Tubing is fun and Disco Tubing is fab! Add LED lights, lasers and a live DJ and the SnoAdventures area comes alive after 5 p.m. Timed hourly admissions at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. with 55 minutes to tube for $63. Saturday, December 17, Monday, December 26 through Saturday, December 31. Advance online reservations required.

Must be 40-inches tall to participate. One person per tube with adult and kid-sized tubes available.

Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet

In a lavish buffet, enjoy locally sourced holiday favorites. One seating is available at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 24. Adults are $90, kids (5 – 12) $29 with kids 4 and younger free.

Winter Guide to Lake Tahoe
Northstar California Skating Rink. How to celebrate the holidays in Lake Tahoe
The Holiday fun at Northstar California centers around the village skating rink. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Holiday Events at Northstar California Mountain Resort

Northstar California’s alpine-inspired village offers a charming backdrop to celebrate the holiday season. Located at 5001 Northstar Drive, in between Tahoe City and Truckee.

Ice Skating 

Opening for the season on December 3, bring your own skates and skate for free daily from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Skate rental is $20. Located in the Village.

NorthStar Winter  Music Series

The Village is your destination for apres on Saturday with live music, fire pits around the ice rink. Every Saturday from mid-November  until mid-April.

On Firdays and Sundays, the Village ice rink  hums with music from a local DJ from mid-November till mid-April. Free and open to all.

Winter Wonders

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from mid-December through New Years Eve, head to the Village for live music, Santa sitings and ice skating.  Free and open to all.

S’mores Fun

Visitors should head to the Village Overlook for s’mores at one of the fireplaces. Maybe grab a cocktail at the nearby bar (additional cost) then watch the sun set. Free and open to all.

New Year’s Eve Celebration

All day long there will be activities in the Northstar Village, like face painting and a parade from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Top Things to do in Tahoe City
Hard to beat a freshly roasted marshmallow at the end of a day. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Holiday Events at Mt Rose Ski Tahoe

A local favorite for the large range of terrain, Mt Rose Ski Tahoe offers a signature event for the holiday season. Ring in the season with some Santa Cheer.

Come dressed in a full Santa suit to ski or snowboard in unison down the mountain. Kick off the holiday season on Saturday, December 9, with $99 lift tickets.

Celebrate an early New Year’s Eve at Mt. Rose. See the Snow Cat Parade at 5 p.m. then there’s the kid’s torchlight parade at 5 p.m., finishing up with fireworks at 5:45 p.m.

Mt Rose Ski Tahoe is located at 22222 Mt Rose Highway between Reno and Incline Village.

Mt Rose Ski Tahoe Family Review

Diamond Peak Ski Resort

Another favorite among local families is Diamond Peak Ski Resort with interchangeable lift tickets for parents and kids under 6 ski free.

To celebrate the season, Santa and Peneguin Pete will visit on December 24 and December 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Take a picture with Santa and then see his moves on the slopes.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort is located at 1210 Ski Way in Incline Village on the north shore.

Granlibakken Tahoe

Granlibakken Tahoe is a intimate resort on the western shore and minutes from Tahoe City. Offering a secluded property rich in Tahoe history and it hosted the 1932 Olympic ski jumps trails.

Sunday, December 24 is the annual Torchlight Parade at 5 p.m. free and open to all.

Monday, December 25 is the Christmas Buffet. Adults are $88 and $44 for kids 6 to 12 and free for 5 and younger.

Located at 725 Granlibakken Rd. in Tahoe City.

Tahoe Film Fest

Film fans will want to check out the line-up of independent films in the Tahoe Film Fest. From November 30 to December 3, more than a dozen films will be shown at several theaters in Tahoe. For the most up-to-date information, head to its website.

Skiing and Sledding at Granlibakken Tahoe
Horse-drawn sleigh ride.
A horse-drawn carriage ride through the evergreens is a must for families. Photo Credit: Pixaby

Sleigh Rides at Sand Harbor State Park

A holiday tradition since the 1960s, take a one-hour horse-drawn sleigh ride through the postcard perfect scenery at Sand Harbor State Park on the north shore with Borges Sleigh Rides.

Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November until March and daily through Christmas Break from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Reservations are recommended. Adults are $50 kids 2 to 10 are $20. Located at 2005 Nevada Highway 28, outside of Incline Village. State park admission required.

Lake Tahoe Snow Mobile Tours

Celebrate the beauty of nature with a snowmobile tour through the pristine forests surrounding Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours arranges 2-hour groups and private tours through Lake Tahoe’s national forests at Brockaway summit.

Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours is located on Highway 267 Brockway Summit in Tahoe Vista. Must be 16-years-old to drive and 5-years-old to participate. Reservations recommended and clothing available for rent. Tours depart every day in December at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. prices start at $230.

Tahoe City

Located along the western shore of Lake Tahoe, it’s a hub of activity.

Tahoe City Winter Sports Park

Take the kids ice skating at Tahoe City Winter Sports Park. Also find a small sled hill great for toddlers along with groomed snowshoeing and cross country ski trails (dependent on snow).

It’s open every day in December and advance reservations required. Located at 251 N. Lake Blvd.

Free Sledding at Lake Tahoe

Capture the nostalgic charm of finding a perfect sled hill in the largest national forest outside of Alaska. Find hills for everyone from bunny-suited toddlers to dare-devil teens. Best of all it’s free.

Find off-highway parking and a year-round restroom. Located in Tahoe Meadows, a year-round outdoor destination about seven miles from Mt. Rose Ski Resort. It’s just pass the Mt. Rose Summit on the Mt. Rose Highway (Hwy 431) on the way to Incline Village.

With off-highway parking and a steep hill, this area attracts a crowd quick during school holidays and weekends. Find parking in front of the sledding hill and along the short access road off the highway but no restrooms. Located just pass Spooner Summit on U.S. Highway 50 at the turnoff for Nevada Highway 28.

Best Free Sledding in North Lake Tahoe


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Celebrate the Holidays on Lake Tahoe. Find lots of activities like torchlight parades, fireworks, sledding and even Santa. Get all the 2021 Holiday Events at Lake Tahoe's West Shore and North Shore here. What to do at Lake Tahoe over the Holidays | Where to find Santa at Lake Tahoe | Iceskating at Lake Tahoe | Sledding at Lake Tahoe


Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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