Ideas for ways to have fun while avoiding smoke at Lake Tahoe

Miranda Jacobson

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With the smoke from wildfires hurting air quality in the Lake Tahoe Basin, residents and visitors are looking for ways to have fun while not inhaling the fumes.

There are things to do indoors for a memorable day at the lake.

For those looking for a family fun event and are ready to get away from the heat, a great option is the year-round South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena. While 88% of their ice time is used for local programs in town, including hockey and figure skating, there is still plenty of time for visitors and locals to come and skate.

Public skate times range from noon to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with an additional skate time from noon to 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21. Adults cost $15 with skate rental, and $13 if you bring your own skates. Children (ages 4-6) cost $6 and kids under 3-years-old are free with a paid adult.

The South Lake Ice Arena also offers “Skate Helpers” for beginners only. Hockey and figure skates are available to rent, and all ages and abilities are welcome.

For the arena schedule, check out their website at or call 530-544-7465 for more information.

Something for the Kids

The beach might not be an option for the kids to run around and enjoy the day, but the owner and operator of Tahoe Tot Spot has the solution for you.

Jennifer Goering is excited to offer one of the hottest places for kids to come play at to beat the smoke outside. The kids zone at Tahoe Tot Spot offers a variety of activities including a climbing wall, a trampoline, an interactive game room, and spots for younger children who aren’t walking yet to have safe fun of their own with a plethora of toys.

The kids have a wide variety of places to play within the center, along with toys, a trampoline, and more activities. Provided Jennifer Goering

“There’s a variety of activities in a pretty large space, lots to do, and they can easily kill two hours in there,” said Goering.

Tot Spot offers two hour “Play Dates” on Saturdays and Sundays for open play. They offer four, two-hour play dates per day, and due to COVID regulations, their space is limited to six families per two hour play dates.

Rates for play dates start $17.50 per child, with a $12.50 deposit required. Only one reservation is required per family, and admission includes two adults. All Play Date reservations are parent supervised, so if you sign up for this slot, make sure to plan on hanging out for a couple hours.

Locals receive a discount when paying their final fees, so make sure to mention if you live in town when you come in. Locals are also able to get a punch pack card of ten visits, which brings the price down to $10 a visit for play dates.

The playroom offers a fun trampoline and toys for kids of all ages. Provide Jennifer Goering

For those who’d like to go on date night, Goering has another fun option for kids.

Date Night reservations are also available, which include a four hour playtime session with the kids that comes with pizza and a movie. Children must be potty trained to attend the Date Night play dates. The time slot for Date Night play dates go from 5 to 9 p.m., cost $40, and require a deposit ahead of time.

For more information about Tahoe Tot Spot, visit their website at

Nighttime Fun

Check Out the Newest Movies playing in theaters on both the North and South shores.

Heavenly Village Cinema has got you covered with the biggest movies. Showcasing the highly anticipated sequel to the thriller “Don’t Breathe,” “Don’t Breathe 2” starring Stephen Lang is now available, along with the action comedy film starring Ryan Reynolds, Free Guy. Other films include the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” starring Jennifer Hudson, the newest edition of “The Suicide Squad,” Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” and “Stillwater” starring Matt Damon.

Film times vary and can be found on Heavenly’s Cinema’s website at

The Incline Village Cinema rotates their movies on a weekly basis. This week, they are featuring the Jungle Cruise at 5:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. For more information on their current movie showings, visit their website at

Wine Bars

Leave the kids with grandma and let the stress of the surrounding wildfires drift away with a nice big glass of wine while enjoying a gorgeous view.

Check out The Idle Hour wine tasting bar in South Lake Tahoe. Located right on the water, the bar offers quality, artisan wines, pizzas, paninis to order, and tasty chocolates. Special tastings are held weekly from 5 to 7 p.m.

Their operating hours range from 12 to 9:30 p.m., so those looking for a nighttime sip of wine can visit the Idle Hour Wine Bar after seeing a movie at Heavenly Village Cinema.

For more information about Idle Hour Wine Bar, visit their website at

For those who are on the North Shore, make sure to check out Glasses Wine Bar. They offer 26 different wines by the glass, along with beer, sparkling wines, ciders, and more. Light snacks are also available to order, but guests are more than welcome to bring in their own food or order delivery to the bar.

On Thursday nights, Glasses offers ladies night, where ladies get 20% off. Their hours range from 3 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with weekends more flexible, depending on the crowd.

For more information about Glasses Wine Bar, visit their website at

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