Lake Tahoe Area EventsIn addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, Lake Tahoe hosts a number of exceptional festivals and events that may coincide with your visit.
It's winter; why not celebrate the white stuff? North Lake Tahoe SnowFest! offers more than 120 activities occurring over 10 days in March at resorts like Palisades Tahoe and Diamond Peak. A kickoff party on opening night is followed by a torchlight parade, a spectacular fireworks show and the SnowFest! Queen Coronation. Daring souls take to the lake for the Gar Woods Polar Bear Swim (definitely more fun for spectators). Other events include a dog pull, pancake breakfast, ice cream eating contest, tortilla toss and snow sculpture competition. You'll be so busy enjoying all the fun things to do, you won't even notice the cold.
The Highway 50 Association Wagon Train —complete with covered wagons and costumed settlers—rolls through South Lake Tahoe in early June as part of a weeklong trip along US 50, the old Pony Express trail, en route to Placerville. Events in honor of the 1-mile procession through South Lake Tahoe include an evening barbecue, a square dance and a staged gunfight.
With the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop, fine wine never tasted so good. The Squaw Valley Art, Wine and Music Festival , held in mid-July at the base village, features wine tastings and a street fair featuring art and craft booths and exhibits. There are also two stages for live performances.
From early-July to late August, get thee to Sand Harbor State Park in Incline Village for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival . Wriggle your toes in the sand while a talented cast performs nightly onstage at the park's outdoor amphitheater. Savvy audience members know to bring a blanket, a picnic supper and a beach chair. Spectacular Tahoe sunsets provide a great backdrop for some of the Bard's most beloved plays.
Sponsored by the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation, the Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance wooden boat show in mid-August showcases antique water vessels. More than 110 classic boats, some dating to the early 1900s, float on gleaming display in all their teak and mahogany glory. The celebration on land features dances, picnics and parties with a nautical theme. It all happens at Obexer's Marina on the California side of the lake.
Also taking place in early August is the Brews, Jazz and Funk Fest at Palisades Tahoe. Quaff some suds and get down to seriously funky sounds at this 2-day party, which features performances on two stages and a selection of beers from more than 30 area breweries.
The Roaring '20s come to life at Tallac Historic Site in South Lake Tahoe during the Great Gatsby Festival on the second weekend in August. Highlights include antique car displays, strolling musicians and a raffle. Sip Earl Grey and have your fill of dainty finger sandwiches on the Valhalla Grand Lawn at the Gatsby Tea and Fashion Show. Costumes aren't mandatory, but get into the spirit and wear one anyway. The beautiful Tallac grounds are also a lovely spot for a picnic lunch.
Polish up the 'ol saddle and dust off your chaps for the Truckee Pro Rodeo in late August. This 2-day weekend event takes place at McIver Memorial Arena and offers steer wrestling, bull riding, bronco taming and lasso throwing. Among the things to do with kids is a Mutton Bustin' riding competition and a Calf Scramble for teens. There's also a barbecue and plenty of toe tapping to fiddle music.
Palisades Tahoe welcomes fall (and thinks ahead to ski season) at Oktoberfest , held on the last Saturday in September. Bavarian music, folk dancers and of course a Biergarten are all on hand at this traditional celebration. Festivalgoers also have the option of participating in a yodeling contest or games like the Bratwurst Toss, a spirited competition that sees these German sausages flying through the air at a fast and furious rate.
Celebrate salmon spawning season during the first weekend in October at the Fall Fish Fest . Watch these intrepid fish swim upstream through an aquarium-like viewing window the Taylor Creek Park visitor center, 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe. Other activities include nature walks, trail runs, T-shirt sales and, for kids, a treasure hunt and a visit from Smokey Bear.
Lake Tahoe is especially magical during the holidays, and seasonal events take advantage of scenery that is very much a winter wonderland. In late November, the Valhalla Holiday Faire at Tallac Historic Site brings together local artisans. It's the perfect place to find that special handcrafted decoration.
See all the AAA recommended events for this destination.
Lake Tahoe Area, CA
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.