TA­HOE CITY: Re­cre­ational Cap­i­tal

Travel Guide to California - - CITIES -

At an el­e­va­tion of 6,250 feet, Ta­hoe City, on the north­west shore of Lake Ta­hoe, Cal­i­for­nia and Ne­vada’s lovely fresh­wa­ter alpine lake, is all about the wa­ter and sur­round­ing moun­tains. The Placer County com­mu­nity is a jump­ing-off point for ski­ing and snow­board­ing in win­ter and boat­ing, swim­ming and fish­ing in sum­mer. Call­ing it­self a city is a whim­si­cal touch, as the un­in­cor­po­rated town has just 2,000 res­i­dents. Sit­u­ated near the head­wa­ters of the Truc­kee River, Ta­hoe City of­fers pop­u­lar re­cre­ational out­fit­ters, ho­tels and re­tail, as well as craft beers and hearty food. The an­nual Ok­to­ber­fest fea­tures ex­cel­lent beers such as La­gu­ni­tas and the aptly named Sierra Ne­vada. The Ta­hoe Art Haus and Cin­ema has nine beers on tap, leather rock­ing seats, movies, mu­sic and dance.

NE­VADA CITY: Gold Rush Pedi­gree

In 2010, this post­card-pretty in­land com­mu­nity in the foothills of the Sierra Ne­vada counted 3,068 res­i­dents—1,000 fewer than it had in 1880 in the af­ter­glow of the 1849 Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush. These days, trav­el­ers jour­ney to Ne­vada City’s woodsy set­ting on the western slopes to ad­mire im­pec­ca­bly re­stored 19th-cen­tury build­ings, take in scenic hill­side views, ski the nearby moun­tains, and head to High Coun­try at­trac­tions such as nearby Lake Ta­hoe. The Gold Rush is memo­ri­al­ized at the Min­ers Foundry Cul­tural Cen­ter and by his­tor­i­cal min­ing ex­hibits in City Hall. Eye-pleas­ing and walk­a­ble, much of down­town Ne­vada City is listed on the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places. The Ne­vada The­atre, a smartly re­stored her­itage build­ing, hosts a va­ri­ety of live en­ter­tain­ment.

SANTA CRUZ: Beach, Board­walk & More

This clas­sic beach town is lo­cated 75 miles south of San Fran­cisco on the north­ern

HIS­TORIC DOWN­TOWN NE­VADA CITY, left; en­trance to the Santa Cruz Board­walk, be­low; Long Beach sky­line, bot­tom.

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