A last minute trip to Tahoe means last minute hotel reservations, dinner reservations, and activity planning. I am a planner, so this is a hard topic for me but I managed! If you go to Tahoe, which I highly suggest, this list may be helpful.
*IMPORTANT* Let me start by saying this is where we ate and stayed, not where I suggest eating or staying. Don’t scroll, read the names, and think that’s what I suggest. I basically let you know what we tried and what we thought.
Riva Grill *for lunch*: Ask for a table outside, the view is amazing. Really cute atmosphere, you get to watch the boats come in and out. The drink list is extensive and the names are pretty funny. I got the “Razberry” and it was DELISH. We ordered the the shrimp & lobster soup *TO DIE FOR*, a shrimp Caesar salad and chicken lettuce wraps- both were amazing. There was a chicken sandwich with Franks Red Hot Sauce I will for sure be trying next time.
Evans *for dinner*: Staff was soooo nice. Really good bread and unique menu-a little different than something traditional. The atmosphere is super cute but you are right next to a main road so traffic can be a little loud.
Ten Crows BBQ *for dinner*: Fun for a late dinner, I got the Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Sandwich and it was great *I got mine spicy + buffalo sauce* Atmosphere is fun and cozy with fire pits and they usually have live bands.
Cafe Fiore *for dinner*: LOVE this place. Best Italian food and cute cozy romantic atmosphere. The restaurant is covered in art made by the chef and is for sale. Super unique and the food was really good. Also the white chocolate ice cream is super good and SUPER rich- I’d recommend getting a half portion if you go for it.
Jimmies at the Landing *for dinner*: You definitely pay for the atmosphere here. The food was definitely good but the bartender was a little bit stubborn. He designed every drink on the menu so if you try to ask for something changed like a flavor or type of alcohol he might say no. Which I get but also like bud people like what they like. Make the damn drink. Kidding but also not really. I ended up getting a dirty martini because everything else was a little much. Their bread and whipped butter is amazing, there are black olives baked into the bread and I lovedddd it.
Red Hut Cafe *for breakfast*: Cute little spot for breakfast. They are known for their waffles and I can see why, would definitely eat there again.
Blue Dog Pizza: Good pizza and super nice staff- Also the salads are really good. Would definitely be back again for a late snack or quick lunch. Their menu is pretty extensive for a little pizza joint so I’ll definitely try some new things next time- like the buffalo chips.
Glazed and Confused Donuts: When we got here we noticed a line so I was definitely thinking these donuts were gonna be good. Unfortunately not so much. Donuts were like a 3/10. Atmosphere was a little weird and it wasn’t what I thought it would be. Very unique donuts, some with cereal, fries, and animal crackers on them, but even with that being said I would rather try somewhere else then go back there again.
Tahoe Bagel Company: This wasn’t open yet when we visited, but I will for sure check it out when we go back. I loveeee bagels and this looks like the cutest little joint.
Nestlé Toll House Café By Chip: Honestly, need I say more? We got little bite sized cookie cups. It was basically a perfect bite of a cookie cake and it was amazing.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory: I got a s’more on a stick and I literally have not stopped thinking about it. Go here, get that, and thank me later. They also have a wide variety of covered apples I would recommend trying.
The Baked Bear: The home of the cookie ice-cream sandwich. A selection of ice-cream to be sandwiched between a wide variety of fresh oven baked cookies. I did vanilla ice-cream and s’more cookies and I loved it. When in Tahoe, pick s’mores for everything.
A MUST MUST MUST for Tahoe is going to Emerald Bay. We rented a boat from Ski Run Boat Company and traveled to Fannette Island which hands down was one of the best experiences of my entire life. People get off their boats, swim to the island and jump off of it into the lake which is scary but if you’re into that go for it. We stopped our boat and I jumped in and when I say Tahoe is the cleanest, prettiest most refreshing water ever I mean it. I could have been in that water all day- there is truly nothing like it. We traveled farther down the lake and docked at Chambers Landing. This wasn’t planned, and you need a reservation but they let us slide. Their menu was…interesting. The only two things they had on the dock were turkey tacos and hot dogs. I’m not kidding. Apparently the tacos were amazing- I didn’t try but they did smell good. There seems to be a restuarant or extension of Chambers behind the dock- so that is something I’ll look into next time. Other than that it was a cute little spot to have a drink and relax. There are more restaurants down the lake to dock at so I’ll definitely do that next time. OH and you need reservations for those as well apparently. MY suggestion is pack snacks on the boat, stop to dock for a drink/the atmosphere and go back to have real food at Riva Grill.
Ski Run Boat Company: We rented an executive boat with a tube. This was soooooo fun being in the middle of the lake tubing. 10/10 recommend and I think its anywhere from $50-$75 to add different types of tubes to your rental.
Hiking: Duh, it’s Tahoe. I suggest finding your own little place to explore. That’s easy to do there. I would also suggest renting a bike to get around in, too. We didn’t have enough time but I would definitely recommend paddle boarding or kayaking. The water is so still and calm there’s no reason not to.
Hard Rock Casino: Fun, kinda weird but fun. A little outdated.
Our trip was very last minute. I can’t stress that enough. When we visit again I will make sure to have a lakeside Airbnb ready. Not knowing the area we decided to just stay at a hotel, and the first to pop up was Harvey’s and Harrahs- being right across the street from each other. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT STAY HERE. We checked in and out within 15 minutes and got a full refund. Sheets and pillow cases were dirty, the room was soooo outdated and had a smell to it, and the worst of all there was a giant clump of hair on the shower wall. It looked like the grudge was coming through the shower. Also, the shower towels were dirty so I had to air dry. I hate this place.
We then stayed at 3 Peaks for a few nights and then Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe for the next two nights. Both of these places were cute but I wasn’t exactly thrilled. 3 Peaks was a little outdated but it was a great location, and Beach Retreat was basically right on the lake but had more of a modern motel feel. For this trip, it was fine, but next time I will 100% be renting a lakeside house/cabin.
Stay in South Lake Tahoe, it seems that there is more to do there. Make reservations way ahead of time, especially given the pandemic has certain restrictions for restaurants and be very sure to check where those reservations are so you know the distance from the hotel. Many times we made reservations at places that looked great but they were up north, being close to an hour away. Bring hiking shoes, sneakers, and comfy clothes/athleisure more than anything. The “nice” restaurants we went to a pair of jeans and a cute shirt were as fancy as you needed to be. Another tip is although gift shops are nice, and believe me I bought some really cute crew necks and hoodies, really see what’s around you. I took rocks from the lake and pinecones to clean off and use as decorations for the upcoming holidays. It’s little things like this that make Tahoe so special.