What are the five best things to see and do in Tahoe & Yosemite?

Yosemite and Tahoe’s infinite variety are enough to keep anyone busy for a lifetime, so it’s no task to spend a vacation soaking up the area’s wild beauty. Given all the activities you can pursue here, it’s hard to pick just five of the best things to see and do in Tahoe and Yosemite. Here are the things you definitely shouldn’t miss seeing, though:

1. Explore Yosemite National Park. In the spring and summer, Yosemite is home to some of North America’s highest and most breathtaking waterfalls, including famed Yosemite Falls. Take a park shuttle and walking tour around the falls, and be sure to keep an eye out for bears.

2. Lake Tahoe. If it’s summer, get out on Lake Tahoe. You can do something as quiet and peaceful as a dinner cruise, or rent a Sea-Doo and go wild, but either way, enjoying the water is paramount.

3. Take a hike, literally. Whether you’re near Lake Tahoe or in the middle of Yosemite, this area is home to some of the nation’s loveliest and best maintained hiking trails, and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t see at least one or two of them.

4. Yosemite Valley Moonlight Tour. For an exciting nighttime adventure, don’t miss the Yosemite Valley Moonlight Tour, a late-night open tram ride through the park that allows you to see some of the park’s most iconic landmarks, including El Capitan, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.

5. Tour the Ansel Adams Gallery. Walk around the space, which displays the acclaimed artist’s original photographs. It’s fitting that Adams’s memorial gallery is in the park, since his iconic nature photography put Yosemite on the map. It’s also amazing to see the photos in their “home,” and an excellent way to grab a moment of reflection during what could otherwise be a very busy vacation.

  • On July 31
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What are the best restaurants in Tahoe and Yosemite?

    Visitors to Yosemite cannot do better for fine ding than the Forbes 4-Star Erna’s Elderberry House within the Forbes 5-Star Chateau du Sureau, 16 miles from the park. Erna’s focused on local and farm to table cuisine decades before it became trendy, and offers daily multi-course chef’s menus with wine pairings. In South Lake Tahoe, the Ciera Steakhouse within the MontBleau Casino hotel is a very pleasant surprise, with top quality steaks, appetizers and sides, very professional service, and a great wine list. It is on par with better big city steakhouses, and easily the best in the area. Manzanita in the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe at the Northstar ski resort is modern upscale California cuisine at its best, with specialties such as chilled melon gazpacho and a drunken goats cheese and prosciutto pizza, all with a very heavy emphasis on local farms and natural meats, including bison.
  • On July 31
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Where can I go to watch sports in Tahoe & Yosemite?

    Every casino has a sports bar, but some are better than others. Harvey’s in Stateline is home to the Straw Hat Sports Bar & Grille, with 20 large HDTVS and more than a dozen beers on draught. A top local choice away from the hubbub is the Brook’s Bar & Deck at the Edgewood Tahoe golf clubhouse, rated one of the world’s top 19th Holes by Golf Digest. Eat inside or out, with lots of flat screen TVs tuned in to the big game. The Hyatt in Inline Village has one of the more upscale casino sports bars, just inside the entrance to its Grand Lodge Casino, as well as one of the better equipped Sorts & Race Books, where you can enjoy cocktails – and place bets – while watching the games. Locals love the sports book at the Crystal Bay Casino, with its abundance of high definition TVs and friendly service.
  • On July 31
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Where are the best places to hear live music in Tahoe & Yosemite?

    If there is one thing casino hotels do very well it is live music, and many have both small lounges with local entertainment nightly and bigger showrooms for name bands. In Stateline, the top venue is the South Shore Room at Harrah’s where touring groups from Robert Cray to Los Lonely Boys to Drive By Truckers perform. The hotel’s smaller but no less lively Center Stage Lunge is home to the “Party With Arty,” DJ, keyboardist and consummate performer Arthur Hervey. Across the street Harvey’s Casino has Tahoe Live, with two bars and a performance stage featuring area bands nightly. The MontBleu casino resort has both a main theater and outdoor summer performance center, both of which host known name touring acts. On the North Shore, the undisputed live music spot is the family owned Crystal Bay Casino, home to the Red Room and Crown Room, both of which hosts repeated musicians in every genre, from reggae to blues to rock.
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  • On July 31
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What are the best places to stay in Tahoe & Yosemite?

    For Yosemite the choice is easy – the Forbes 5-Star Chateau du Sureau is 16 miles from the park and simply one of the finest luxury lodgings in the country – with just 10 rooms. Lake Tahoe is dominated by casino resorts, but the best lodging is found at its ski resorts. Top of the heap is the Forbes 4-Star Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, at the Northstar ski resort. Another top choice is the Hyatt Lake Tahoe on the water in Incline Village, near Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak. In South Lake Tahoe, the Marriott Grand Residence Club is located in the gondola plaza at the base of huge Heavenly Ski Resort and offers the best location in town, steps from the lifts but also steps from the casinos and restaurants of Stateline, but without the crowds and hassles.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best restaurants in Tahoe and Yosemite?

    Nothing goes better with a great view than a great meal. Here are two fantastic restaurants to try when you’re in the scenic Lake Tahoe and Yosemite areas:

    Since 1984 — well before the farm-to-table movement gripped the U.S. culinary community — Erna’s Elderberry House has been serving its customers California cuisine made with farm-raised meats and local produce. The restaurant’s prix fixe menus change on a daily basis but always include six courses and several bottles from its 725-bottle wine list. Given that the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant is situated in Yosemite, it offers guests amazing views — windows frame vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the valley. You can even enjoy your meal on the terrace to be closer to nature. If you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, be sure to dine at Manzanita, which serves California cuisine with a touch of French flavor. The food is delicious and locally sourced, and the views from this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant’s perch are lovely — you can gaze out at the snowy slopes while you dine. The hardwood tables and centrally placed fireplace bring the eatery a warm look in the winter. Grab a more casual bite here between ski runs during the day, or dress up and dine at Manzanita for dinner — on something like rack of lamb or pan-seared salmon.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best restaurants in Tahoe and Yosemite?

    Nothing goes better with a great view than a great meal. Here are two fantastic restaurants to try when you’re in the scenic Lake Tahoe and Yosemite areas:

    Since 1984 — well before the farm-to-table movement gripped the U.S. culinary community — Erna’s Elderberry House has been serving its customers California cuisine made with farm-raised meats and local produce. The restaurant’s prix fixe menus change on a daily basis but always include six courses and several bottles from its 725-bottle wine list. Given that the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant is situated in Yosemite, it offers guests amazing views — windows frame vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the valley. You can even enjoy your meal on the terrace to be closer to nature. If you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, be sure to dine at Manzanita, which serves California cuisine with a touch of French flavor. The food is delicious and locally sourced, and the views from this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant’s perch are lovely — you can gaze out at the snowy slopes while you dine. The hardwood tables and centrally placed fireplace bring the eatery a warm look in the winter. Grab a more casual bite here between ski runs during the day, or dress up and dine at Manzanita for dinner — on something like rack of lamb or pan-seared salmon.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best restaurants in Tahoe and Yosemite?

    Nothing goes better with a great view than a great meal. Here are two fantastic restaurants to try when you’re in the scenic Lake Tahoe and Yosemite areas:

    Since 1984 — well before the farm-to-table movement gripped the U.S. culinary community — Erna’s Elderberry House has been serving its customers California cuisine made with farm-raised meats and local produce. The restaurant’s prix fixe menus change on a daily basis but always include six courses and several bottles from its 725-bottle wine list. Given that the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant is situated in Yosemite, it offers guests amazing views — windows frame vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the valley. You can even enjoy your meal on the terrace to be closer to nature. If you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, be sure to dine at Manzanita, which serves California cuisine with a touch of French flavor. The food is delicious and locally sourced, and the views from this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant’s perch are lovely — you can gaze out at the snowy slopes while you dine. The hardwood tables and centrally placed fireplace bring the eatery a warm look in the winter. Grab a more casual bite here between ski runs during the day, or dress up and dine at Manzanita for dinner.
  • On April 15, 2013
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best spas in Tahoe & Yosemite?

    A day of skiing or hiking the gorgeous natural surroundings of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite calls for some downtime at the spa. For unmatched personalized service, make an appointment at the tiny but lovely, art deco-style Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Spa du Sureau. The exclusive spa has just three treatment rooms and one wet room, but that wet room features a special Hydrostorm shower that incorporates relaxing aromas and color therapy for a unique thermal experience. If you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe on the lovely Northstar Resort, be sure to schedule in some Zen time at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lake Tahoe. Unwind by the fire in the relaxation lounge, enjoy the heated lap pool, or sit for a while in a pine-scented steam room or dry-heat lodge. And of course be sure to enjoy a treatment or two — perhaps an organic seaweed wrap and massage.
  • On May 27, 2012
    Château du Sureau answered the question: Château du Sureau

    What is Tahoe & Yosemite's restaurant scene like?

    Tahoe and Yosemite's restaurant scene is considered rather casual. Erna's Elderberry House Restaurant definitely offers the best experience between the Sierra Nevada and San Francisco (the food and atmosphere are outstanding; it is not comparable to anything in the Fresno/Sierra Nevada area).
     
    Most of the restaurants in our area are family-style places or chain/fast-food restaurants; they offer Mexican, Italian and Cajun/Louisiana, as well as American fare. In the vicinity there is also a restaurant called Narrow Gauge, which resembles the atmosphere of a cozy Swiss chalet and is located in the forest. Their cooking style is American with international influences.
  • On May 27, 2012
    Château du Sureau answered the question: Château du Sureau

    What are the five best Tahoe & Yosemite food experiences?

    Don’t leave the Tahoe and Yosemite area without having these five food experiences:
     
    1. Erna's Elderberry House Restaurant. This is one of the best restaurants in California. Sitting on the outside patio and enjoying a wonderful dinner under the stars with the lit-up fountain and Château du Sureau in the background will definitely be a memory that you will cherish forever.
     
    2. Narrow Gauge Restaurant. Their cuisine is American with Alpine influences, served in a cozy chalet-like atmosphere (on Road 41, near Sugar Pine Railroad, approximately a 20-minute drive north of Oakhurst).
     
    3. Savory's Restaurant. Serves international cuisine (in Mariposa, approximately a 40-minute drive west from Oakhurst).
     
    4. Woody's in Oakhurst. The owner/chef is from New Orleans and the atmosphere is smart-casual. If you enjoy rather spicy Southern-style cooking, this will be the place to go.
     
    5. Ahwahnee Hotel Dining Room in Yosemite Valley (approximately a one-and-a-half-hour-drive from Oakhurst).
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