5 Great Neighborhoods in the Lake Tahoe Area

Lake Tahoe has an eclectic mix of surrounding areas ranging from resorts to gated communities and on the water to nestled in the woods.
By: Tawnya Schultz
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Truckee, Calif.

Truckee, Calif.

The historic town of Truckee is popular with homebuyers for its easy access to schools, shops and community.

Photo by: Hayden Hubbard

Hayden Hubbard

Truckee, California

Truckee is a cute country-style mountain town that exudes historical preservation combined with the new. One of the largest towns (about 14,000) in the Tahoe area, Truckee is positioned 15 miles north of the lake, right off of Interstate 80, just 35 miles west of Reno and 100 miles east of Sacramento. The historical downtown area is the main hangout spot, lined with brick buildings, a train station and the Truckee river running through it. Downtown is where most of the restaurants, shops and bars are located. During summer events, including Truckee Thursdays, the street is closed down and local vendors set up shop selling art, jewelry, clothing and homemade goods.

The Truckee park on the river is one of the best and biggest in Tahoe, complete with an amphitheater that hosts concerts, a skate park, a river walk, baseball fields and more. 

While housing can be pricier and sometimes difficult to find, most residents think it's worth the money considering their access to schools and shops and the sense of community.

Tahoe City, California

Located on the north shore, right on the lake, Tahoe City (T.C.) is a quaint and bustling little town. With recent renovations including bike paths and updated storefronts, T.C. is a nice, safe, clean and friendly place to live.

Just a quick 15-minute jaunt to Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley Resort, T.C. is a good jumping point to many tourist attractions in the area. It's one of the easiest areas from which to access the lake in the summer, with a marina complete with boat tours, and kayak, WaveRunner and paddleboard rentals. There are also a number of yoga studios, coffee shops and boutiques on the main drag. A bike is a useful way to get around during the warmer months. Commons Park on the lake hosts weekly concerts and movies during the summer where people enjoy picnics and chatting with their friends.

T.C. is quite family and animal friendly. On any given day you will see kids running around and dogs hanging out outside of shops. Lit up at night, the town looks like a picture out of a storybook, with a European village feel. There are so many positives about T.C., it's no wonder why young adults and new families decide to live here.   

Incline Village, Nevada

If money is not an issue, Incline Village is where to venture. As Incline is located on the northeast side of the lake, many buyers looking to take advantage of Nevada tax breaks call it home or, more likely than not, their second or third home. The area is one of the wealthiest in Tahoe, but boasts a prominent community feel.

Kids across the country move to Incline to attend Sierra Nevada College so they can be closer to winter resorts. Others admire the lake access, golf clubs, shopping and restaurants. Diamond Peak is the local hill with sweeping views of the valley that are a must-see. There are a number of condos and apartments mixed among million-dollar mansions. Cruising down Lakeshore Boulevard will make your jaw drop. While Incline may sound costlier than most cities, there are reasonably priced homes to be found, and the access to amenities and the lake makes it a winner.

South Lake Tahoe, California

With a population of more than 34,000, South Lake Tahoe is the largest on the lake. Major casinos such as MontBleu, Harvey's and Harrah's sit on the border, making it a bustling town practically every season. Sitting on the south end of the lake, South Lake is spread over 16 miles, with Heavenly Resort as the prominent backdrop.

Near the casinos and at the base of the Heavenly Gondola, the village and surrounding area are easily accessed by walking, with plenty of good places to shop, eat and play. There are also a number of smaller motels and lakeside accommodations in this zone as well. The Tahoe Keys is a more upscale area located directly on the lake. South Lake overall is more affordable for the average buyer, with plenty of housing options at a range of prices. 

Christmas Valley, Calif., and the Truckee River

Christmas Valley, Calif., and the Truckee River

If you're looking for privacy and beautiful property, Christmas Valley is a great place to buy a home in the Lake Tahoe area.

Photo by: Vanessa Lowe

Vanessa Lowe

Christmas Valley, California

Located outside of South Lake heading west, Christmas Valley is a mellower zone in Tahoe. If you're looking to live more in the wilderness, with some land and room to roam, Christmas Valley is a great location. Families move to Christmas Valley to get out of the touristy South Lake. Many construction workers and maintenance families live in the area since it is a prominent industry around the lake. Others work at the resorts including nearby Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood.

While housing is a bit pricier than South Lake, people looking for more privacy and room enjoy the surrounding beauty in Christmas Valley. There are plenty of activities available right outside the door including mountain biking, climbing, backcountry skiing/snowboarding and fishing. Christmas Valley is a great locale for those looking to be off the radar.

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