Christmas in Tahoe: Suggestions for family fun, adult-only parties and more |

Christmas in Tahoe: Suggestions for family fun, adult-only parties and more

Autumn Whitney
Zephyr Cove Resort hosts a Santa Cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie II on Saturday, Dec. 23.
Provided Zephyr Cove Resort / ARAMARK

Finally — Christmastime is here! From decorative lights to gingerbread houses, a fair share of goodies and (obviously) a visit from Santa Claus, it’s one of the happiest seasons. And spending the holiday in Tahoe only adds to the fun.

Whether you’re in the basin with family or hard-partying friends, there’s a way for you to celebrate the most wonderful time of year.

Family-friendly activities

Christmas is a time for family bonding — so for those spending the holiday season with kids, here are our top suggestions.

Nothing is more representative of Christmas in Tahoe than spending an afternoon on the water with Santa himself. On Saturday, Dec. 23, Zephyr Cove Resort hosts a two-hour Cruise with Santa on the M.S. Dixie II. Get a picture with Mr. Claus, enjoy views of Lake Tahoe and sip on hot chocolate. Learn more at

Heavenly Village’s nearly two-week party, Heavenly Holidays, kicked off on Monday, Dec. 18. Featuring sleigh rides, Christmas lights, ice skating and a 16-foot interactive snow globe (in which children can take a picture with Santa), it’s the hub for traditional festivities. On the mountain? Keep an eye out for Jolly Old Saint Nick and his elves! Learn more online at

For those wanting to go for a leisurely stroll and take in the sights, Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe are decorated with gingerbread creations — the bakery staff used over 1,200 gingerbread cutouts, 180 pounds of icing, 300 candy canes, 40 pounds of candy and 32 pounds of dark chocolate to bring the scenes to fruition. For an outdoor wonderland, check out the Beach Retreat & Lodge — lights and holiday décor fill the property, which also hosts Christmas-themed crafts and more. Visit for more info.

On the North Shore? Squaw Valley is the place to be. There’s storytelling with Santa, reindeer games, a children’s craft room, Christmas Eve brunch with Santa and much more. View a complete event schedule at

Adult-only festivities

If you’re celebrating Christmas in Tahoe solo or with a group of your closest ski bum friends, these are the events you’ll want to check out.

On Christmas Eve, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino hosts Vietnamese Concert and Dance, featuring performers such as Trinh Lam, Diem Suong, Dan Kim, the Lang Du Band and more. Doors open at 8 p.m. for patrons at least 21 years of age, and the ticket includes $20 match play for Backstage Pass holders. Learn more at

Adult guests skiing Heavenly Mountain Resort are invited to après-parties held at Tamarack Lodge from 3:30-5:30 p.m. daily. Featuring live DJs, half-priced drinks and food specials, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a day on the slopes. Additional information is found at

On the North Shore, Crystal Bay Casino welcomes performers to the venue each day to amp up the holiday season. On Christmas Eve, DJ MichMicheal and Durt Randall perform a free gig in the Red Room at 10 p.m., and Hellbound Glory takes the stage on Christmas Day (more details about the Monday, Dec. 25, show are found on page 6).

Holiday-themed dinners

Too lazy to cook? We don’t blame you. Luckily many South Shore restaurants will be open for business on the holiday.

Casino establishments such as Ciera Steak & Chophouse (in MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa), Harveys Lake Tahoe’s Sage Room Steak House and the Forest Buffet inside Harrah’s Lake Tahoe (which will also open Friday’s Station) will all serve holiday meals.

For those wanting to avoid the casinos, check out one of Edgewood Tahoe’s multiple eateries, or The Chart House (found on Kingsbury Grade) — all are higher-end dining. Casual options include Stateline Brewery & Restaurant, The Fresh Ketch and MacDuff’s Pub.

North Shore’s Lone Eagle Grille offers a classy Christmas Buffet that includes prime rib, lamb, chicken and seafood options, along with seasonal vegetables and — of course — dessert.

Disclaimer: Due to space restraints, we aren’t able to list every restaurant in our publication.

Learn more about the meals on participating restaurants’ websites.

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