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Winter Wonderland: Lake Tahoe


Published On: March 27, 2024
adults in winter wear walking near ski resort holding skis
Photo above courtesy of Margaritaville Resort Lake Tahoe

One of the country’s top recreation destinations, Lake Tahoe is a mere three-hour drive from Napa. From north to south, the region features innumerable activities to please every interest: miles of hiking and biking trails, marinas, sandy beaches, golf courses, and, of course, skiing. Heavenly Mountain Resort looms large over the South Shore; its hilltop runs visible from across the lake, while North Shore’s Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley) features a rich ski culture legacy that dates to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Whichever side of the lake one chooses, and whether a skier or fireside book reader, a winter wonderland of warm and cozy hotels and restaurants in which to stay, wine, and dine await. Here are a few favorites:



Where to Stay:

Nestled mid-mountain at Northstar California Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is an all-season recreational wonderland with coveted ski-in/ ski-out access to the slopes. Located just six miles from historic downtown Truckee and the North Shore, the resort features a 17,000 square foot spa and fitness center and an inter-mountain gondola connecting the resort to the nearby Village at Northstar. What sets the resort apart from others is its service. It’s easy to source hiking, biking, and skiing within the Sierra Basin, but it’s not so easy to find the sort of luxury afforded by The Ritz-Carlton. // www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/rnorz-the-ritz-carlton-lake-tahoe/overview/


Where to Wine:

Tahoe Wine Collective, a community gathering spot features limited-production wines and beers from little-known regions and producers. Fans love the laid-back, carefree vibe and the weekly (and sometimes daily) events such as comedy nights. // www.tahoewinecollective.com


Interior of Sage Leaf Restaurant with wood floors, green bar with countertop and lit antler chandelier

Photo by Lauren Lindley, courtesy of The Sage Leaf

Where to Dine:

The welcoming Fire Sign Café has been a Tahoe breakfast and lunch tradition for 45 years. Featuring handcrafted baked goods, varied Benedicts, scrambles, and omelets, Fire Sign is all about comfort food. // www.firesigncafe.com

Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique, another 45-year Tahoe mainstay, is considered North Shore’s premiere restaurant. Chef Douglas Dale fuses Asian, European, and California influences in a menu that accommodates gluten-free and vegan guests. // www.wolfdales.com

Lara and Shane Hammett’s Incline Village restaurant, Sage Leaf Tahoe, is a beloved North Shore gathering spot serving hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees. It’s an intimate, friendly space where menu items are made from scratch with love and care. Don’t miss Shane’s sage and cheddar biscuits with gravy. His 1/3 lb. “The Burger” is also a fan favorite. // www.sageleaftahoe.com


Interior of Edgewood Hotel Great Room with large windows, high ceiling and modern decor

Edgewood Tahoe Great Room, courtesy of the hotel


Where to Stay:

Edgewood Tahoe’s sumptuous and sustainably designed mountain lodge treads lightly on its 235 South Shore acres while delivering service worthy of its Preferred Hotels & Resorts, LVX Collection affiliation. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a glass of sparkling wine and the 38-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the lake. This chalet-like Great Room features cozy seating areas warmed by a mammoth fireplace. Design elements throughout are inspired by the setting: deep blues, dark woods, and neutral leathers. // www.edgewoodtahoe.com

Baby boomers may remember the Coachman Hotel as the Green Lantern Motel. Centrally located by the lake and nearby Edgewood golf course, the Coachman is hip, with sleek rooms that feature luxury linens and fully stocked minibars. The check-in desk doubles as a bar serving local draft brews, and the lobby opens to a cozy seating area and outdoor fire pit where guests enjoy complimentary s’mores. A pool and hot tub soothe sore muscles after hiking or skiing. // www.coachmantahoe.com

In the heart of South Lake Tahoe, at the base of Heavenly, the newly rebranded Margaritaville Resort Lake Tahoe is within walking distance of some of the area’s top attractions, including Heavenly Mountain Gondola. The resort fuses a classic island vibe with distinctive Lake Tahoe charm. It features a variety of thoughtful amenities for all ages, including an indoor, heated pool and a nine-story open-air atrium. // www.margaritavilleresorts.com/margaritaville-resort-lake-tahoe


Where to Wine:

The Idle Hour, a “wine and bubbly bar” offers guests an array of boutique wines to be enjoyed by the glass or bottle while soaking up sunset views from its lakefront location. // www.theidlehourlaketahoe.com


plate of sashimi tuna with carrots and slaw on top

Photo courtesy of The Landing

Where to Dine:

Jimmy’s Restaurant, The Landing Lake Tahoe features perhaps Tahoe’s most impressive wine collection, showcased in a spectacular 1,500-bottle wine vault, Jimmy’s is a fine dining favorite. Try the Braised Short Ribs or the Maine Lobster Pappardelle. // www.thelandingtahoe.com

Call ahead if you want to snag one of the 11 tables at what is considered one of Tahoe’s finest restaurants, Evan’s American Gourmet Café. Continental cuisine is served just west of the “Y” in a vintage cabin surrounded by towering pines. // www.evanstahoe.com

Zephyr Cove Restaurant, a rustic Tahoe classic, is a local favorite, voted multiple times as the “South Shore’s Best.” No visit is complete without ordering one of their famous, old-fashioned milkshakes. // www.zephyrcove.com