28 Best & Fun Things to Do in Nevada City (CA)

Nevada City is a charming city located in Nevada County in California, United States. The city is the County’s seat.

Originally a Nisenan village, Nevada City is a small city with a population of 3,114 in 2021.

The city is famous for its energetic and thrilling street festivals, which are usually the talk of the town, such as the Victorian Christmas and the Nevada City Film Festival.

If you’re someone who celebrates culture and traditions and holds them in high esteem, this should be your next destination. There are a plethora of things to do and places to visit in the city.

Here are the best and fun things to do in Nevada City, CA

Things to Do in Nevada City, CA

1. Tahoe National Forest

Tahoe National Forest
Credits: Wasim Muklashy / Shutterstock
Tahoe National Forest

Tahoe National Forest is currently a well-celebrated attraction in Nevada City due to the presence of the historical Lake Tahoe.

This property extends for more than eight hundred and eighty acres, with its highest points at exactly 9100 feet above the level of a sea.

The magnificence of this national Forest truly cannot be over-emphasized, as it covers about six different counties.

Tahoe National Forest is home to hundreds of wonderful lakes and reservoirs isolated by snow-capped mountains and valleys.

You will find numerous artificial and natural attractions here, including canyons. Tahoe National Forest welcomes over ten million visitors annually.

If you want to see some wildlife, the best times to visit the Forest are during the Summer and Spring seasons, while landscape photography is best during fall. Nevertheless, the Forest is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Nevada City, CA.

Address: 631 Coyote St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

2. The Deer Creek Tribute Trail

Deer Creek Tribute Trail
Credits: Wasim Muklashy / Shutterstock
Deer Creek Tribute Trail

Explore the Deer Creek Tribute Trail, a popular destination for joggers in the city.

Deer Creek Tribute Trail is a highly used route that begins from the Miners Foundry and heads towards the western side of Factory street.

The Trail celebrates the early efforts and supports unique to the area’s history by local Nisenan and Chinese people.

You might find many visitors who visit this route to go for a scenic hike, take a stroll, watch birds, or go sightseeing.

Deer Creek Tribute Trail offers an easy route out of the town into an area not too far from the charming Deer Creek.

Address: Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

3. Crystal Hermitage Gardens

Crystal Hermitage Gardens
Credits: Ksenia Ragozina / Shutterstock
Crystal Hermitage Gardens

If you want a place to meditate and relax, visiting Crystal Hermitage Gardens should be on your list of the top things to do in Nevada City, CA.

Crystal Hermitage Gardens is one of the most frequented attractions in the town. It is mentioned in West Coast magazines as one of the best locations.

Locals and visitors are attracted to this location due to the charming tulips that bloom during the spring, featuring nearly 17,000 flowers every season.

The environment offers a soothing and relaxed atmosphere for visitors to relax, reflect and breathe in the fresh air.

Address: Ananda Village 14618 Tyler, Foote, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

4. Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
Credits: Rene Rivers / Flickr
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is found between the Sierra Nevada Foothills chaparral forest filled with pines.

It is home to the biggest hydraulic gold mine in California, a property of approximately three thousand acres.

This Historic Park takes visitors back in time as they explore the historic Diggins site and North Bloomfield town, which offers them an opportunity to feel the thrills of the Gold rush in California.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park features gigantic cliffs carved by powerful water fountains, following the washing away method of gold mining.

As you hike through the trails and attain the main mining pit, you enjoy gorgeous rock layers with different colors.

The Park is excellent for landscape photography, camping, and other nature-related activities.

Address: 23579 N Bloomfield Rd, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

5. Nevada City Winery

Nevada City Winery
Credits: Stokkete / Shutterstock

Nevada City Winery is the Sierra Nevada foothills’ oldest winery. It is owned and operated by individuals who utilize the highest quality grapes sourced from local farmers.

The city of Nevada hardly has freezing days; it is known for its warm climate, which makes it a good place to cultivate grapevines.

The Winery features open tasting rooms for visitors to come in and try out some of the award-winning drinks.

Nevada City Winery is graced with bold blends of flavors and aromas, which is evident in every sip of the drinks offered.

They have a partnership with a chocolate shop and a gourmet restaurant to deliver orders; you place an order, and it will be delivered to your table.

The Winery also offers charcuterie plates and cheese, including light snacks like chips, crackers, breadsticks, and more.

Address: 321 Spring St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

6. Summer Nights

Due to the talent the Nevada community has, this platform was created to help promote and support these talents.

Attending Summer Nights is one of the best things to do in Nevada City, CA. It would be one of your significant highlights during your time here.

Summer Nights showcases the creativity and talents of the people of the community. It is held on the 3rd weekend of July.

There are numerous booths offering beautiful jewelry, artisanal furniture, artworks, fine leather goods, trendy clothing, and more created by local artisans.

You will get to watch fire dancing presentations, face paintings, art demonstrations, live music entertainment, and more.

7. Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
Credits: Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum / Facebook
Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad was a significant mode of transportation during the 1800s and early 1900s, which linked the region to the Central Pacific Railroad.

The Museum was established to preserve the local transportation history beginning from the narrow gauge railroad era.

There are photographs, newspapers, artifacts, and other materials which offer glances into the fruitful past of the city.

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum offers visitors historical tours through the railroad, the museum, and the onsite shop led by tour guides.

Children and adults can stop by the small track, which offers scenic rides, and purchase souvenirs from the gift shop.

Address: 5 Kidder Ct, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

8. The Nevada City Classic

Nevada City Classic
Credits: tomstar3000 / Flickr
Nevada City Classic

There is a saying that you haven’t visited Nevada yet; if you don’t attend the Nevada City Classic. Therefore don’t hesitate to include it on your list of best things to do in Nevada City, CA.

The Nevada City Classic has existed since the 1960s. It has been proclaimed one of the most thrilling and challenging standard cycling competitions in the United States.

It is popularly known as the United States’ second oldest race, which is carried out every year, usually during father’s day.

Nevada City Classic started with about one thousand five hundred viewers, but currently, it welcomes about fifteen thousand persons annually.

The track used stretches for only 1.1 miles taking the competitors through the twisted and elevated areas, testing their level of persistence and focus.

Most participants are well-trained experts who must have competed in numerous events. The competition has had winners like Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, and Levi Leipheimer.

Address: Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

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9. J.J. Jackson’s

J.J. Jackson's
Credits: J.J. Jackson’s / Facebook
J.J. Jackson’s

An amazing gift store in Nevada City, J.J. Jackson’s, is located in the city’s downtown district. It is open throughout the week from 11 am to 5 pm.

J.J. Jackson’s has become a trustworthy brand known for its consistency, having been in business since 1978.

The store offers many carefully selected items such as home decor, textiles, gift cards, travel accessories, body care products, and more.

They consider themselves as a point of creativity and inspiration, which serve as a connection to the community.

J.J. Jackson’s is dedicated to offering the highest quality items to enhance the well-being of individuals and their lifestyles.

Address: 244 Commercial St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

10. Scotts Flat Reservoir

Scotts Flat Reservoir
Credits: Bob White / Flickr
Scotts Flat Reservoir

Scotts Flat Reservoir is one of the nearest water bodies to Nevada City. As a result, it has become a popular place for fans of water activities.

 In 1948, part of Deer Creek was dammed, which led to the creation of a lake of 850 acres at 3,100 feet above sea level.

The reservoir banks are lined by pine trees in a gorgeous mountain setting offering picturesque views making it a perfect place for lovely getaways.

Scotts Flat Reservoir is home to numerous campsites and picnic areas for those who want to stay overnight or have an amazing picnic.

There are sandy beaches and boat launches through which you can take a boat to the center of the lake and try making some impressive catches like smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and brown trout.

Address: 23333 Scotts Flat Rd. Nevada City, CA 95959 United States

11. Sopa Thai Cuisine

Sopa Thai Cuisine
Credits: Mike Linksvayer / Flickr
Sopa Thai Cuisine

If you’re wondering what to do in Nevada City, CA, dine in Sopa Thai Cuisine, one of the most outstanding Thai restaurants in Nevada City.

Sopa Thai Cuisine offers an elegantly designed interior with a family-friendly setting and comfortable atmosphere.

The restaurant offers a menu featuring a wide variety of meals catering to the needs of every visitor, including vegans and vegetarians.

All the meals served are made from scratch using the freshest and highest quality ingredients organically grown by local farmers.

Sopa Thai Cuisine offers properly made chicken curry & coconut soup, sticky mango rice, Pineapple Fried Rice, vegetable soup, Steamed Mussels, spring roll, Papaya Salad, Crispy Wontons, and more.

Address: 312 Commercial St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

12. The South Yuba River State Park

South Yuba River State Park
Credits: Wayne Hsieh / Flickr
South Yuba River State Park

The South Yuba River State Park has its headquarters in Penn Valley. However, a considerable part of it can be found in Nevada City.

This region is famous for its gorgeous vistas offered by the eponymous river; South Yuba River State Park features different bridges across the water body, including new and old ones.

Visitors are usually attracted to the South Yuba River Bridge, Edwards Crossing Bridge, Hoyt’s Crossing, and Purdon Crossing.

You can explore the blue waters as well as the banks lined with trees, bare rocks, and mountains on opposite sides.

Walking deeper into the park, you will find charming meadows, remarkable waterfalls, and other incredible sights.

Address: 17660 Pleasant Valley Rd, Penn Valley, CA 95946, United States

13. The Firehouse No. 1 Museum

Firehouse No. 1 Museum
Credits: Wayne Hsieh / Flickr
Firehouse No. 1 Museum

For the history enthusiast, ensure you stop at the Firehouse No. 1 Museum. The Firehouse No. 1 Museum is a true gem located in the heart of the town center of Nevada City.

The Museum is filled with uncovered treasures. It was originally built in a Greek revival fashion with a huge bell tower. The structure is considered the most photographed in the city due to its Victorian excellence.

The Firehouse No. 1 Museum features an extensive collection of items from the Victorian era, such as wedding dresses, tools, wedding dresses, miniature dollhouses, toys, and more.

This structure housed Nevada Hose Company No.1 from the year of 1861 to 1938, during which it was a home to hand carts, fire wagons, fire engines, and more.

Address: 214 Main St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

14. Miners Foundry Cultural Center

Miners Foundry Cultural Center
Credits: Wayne Hsieh / Flickr
Miners Foundry Cultural Center

Miners Foundry Cultural Center holds the city’s rich legacy of mining. The Gold Rush in California led to an uproar in this part of the United States and has left a mark that can not be forgotten.

The Center was founded to cater to the needs of gold miners and Lumbermen who wanted to convert their raw materials into different products.

Miners Foundry Cultural Center features essential exhibits such as commercial vehicles used for non-mining activities, ore cars, and the Pelton wheel.

The Center only doesn’t house these innovations but also serves as a host for different events which are open to everyone.

Some of the events held here include film festivals, live music performances, theater productions, and other educational activities. The Center is one of the best places to visit in Nevada City, CA.

Address: 325 Spring St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

15. Nevada Theater

Nevada Theater
Credits: Almonroth [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Nevada Theater
Are you ready for exceptional entertainment? If yes, add a visit to Nevada Theater to your list of fun things to do in Nevada City, CA.

Nevada Theater, also known as Cedar Theater, is California’s oldest surviving theatre structure.

This Theater has existed since 1865 and has stood firm for several eras of art and film performances, as well as the 1900s silent films.

Aside from being an important historical landmark, Nevada Theater is still functioning and serving an important purpose.

Nevada Theater features a seating capacity of two hundred persons with a stage for live music shows, theater production, silent films, and comedy.

Address: 401 Broad St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

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16. Nevada City Victorian Christmas

Nevada City Victorian Christmas
Credits: Bob White / Flickr
Nevada City Victorian Christmas

Although it depends on when you’re visiting the city, make sure you attend Nevada City Victorian Christmas.

Nevada City Victorian Christmas is a period when the sweet smell of chestnuts being roasted fills the air with loud noises created by street vendors.

The setting of the various hilly streets in the town is usually enchanting and charming, with original gas lamps and carolers wandering the streets.

This yearly family ceremony holds in December on two Wednesday nights and three Sunday afternoons.

Nevada City Victorian Christmas features lots of exciting holiday activities for everyone, such as live music entertainment, Father Christmas, and more.

Address; Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

17. Hirschman’s Pond

Hirschman's Pond
Credits: Bob White / Flickr
Hirschman’s Pond

Hirschman’s Pond is easily accessible through the Hirschman’s Trail. It is a significant historical landmark in the city.

It was formerly a site for hydraulic mining before it was filled with water after it was abandoned. Hirschman’s trail is ADA-compliant which means it is also excellent for people with disabilities.

You will find different eye-catching points, such as a long trestle of 40-foot constructed to duplicate the railroad structures erected in the 1800s.

Hirschman’s Pond is the major spotlight of the trail, which narrows through the west side of the Pond and meanders through grasslands, pines, and oak woodlands.

Address: Indian Flat Rd, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

18. Red Moon Ranch

Red Moon Ranch
Credits: eakkarat rangram / Shutterstock

Red Moon Ranch is a small horse facility found far away from Nevada County woods. Skip Bertuzzi fantasized that the Red Moon Ranch would be more than just a ranch the moment he arrived there.

The Ranch is a sanctuary for homeless horses and an educational facility for people of different ages, and it is encompassed by nature.

Here, people are taught how to ride a horse and communicate and take care of them effectively.

Red Moon Ranch offers interactive lessons, including training students into professional riders and creating an intimate relationship between them and the animals.

Address; 30395 CA-49, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

19. Riverhill Farm

Credits: Stone36 / Shutterstock

Have you ever had a U-Pick experience? If not, stop searching for what to do in Nevada City, CA, and head to Riverhill Farm, where you can enjoy picking berries.

Riverhill Farm is a ten-acre property irrigated by the river of South Yuba, allowing the owners to cultivate various vegetables and fruits.

The Farm has existed since 2001. It is one of the most loved locations in the Northern side of Nevada City due to the gorgeous environment and fresh farm produce.

Some of the fruits and all the vegetables are harvested only by the farmers to conserve their quality. At the same time, visitors are allowed to pick lush berries on one part of the land. Riverhill Farm has lasted this long due to the massive support from the community.

Address: 13500 Cement Hill Rd, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

20. The Earth Store

The Earth Store
Credits: The Earth Store / Facebook
The Earth Store

The Earth Store is owned and operated by a committed individual, a native of California, and an environmental zealot.

The main aim of Earth Store, which has existed for 20 years, is to make visitors’ outdoor moments worthwhile.

The store offers maps, books, and souvenirs to help solidify your recreation time. You can also purchase science equipment, apparel, and learning materials.

The Earth Store is open to the public as they browse through the displayed items and seek assistance if they find it difficult to locate the perfect item. Through the store, you get all the information and guidelines you need to explore the outdoors entirely.

Address: 310 Broad St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

21. Nevada City Farmers Market

Nevada City Farmers Market
Credits: kazoka / Shutterstock

If you want to integrate into the city and mix with the residents, go shopping at Nevada City Farmers Market.

Nevada City Farmers Market is a seasonal market that is open on Saturdays from May to December.

The city is known for its fertile lands and flavorful climate, which makes it perfect for growing a wide variety of crops.

You can purchase different fresh farm produce made available by gardeners, local farmers, and vendors.

Nevada City Farmers Market offers the finest coffee beans, vegetables, root crops, baked goods, fruits, and more.

The Market was founded to improve the quality of life and help in the economy’s growth by providing high-quality locally grown produce.

Address: 100 Union Street, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

22. Wheyward Girl Creamery

Wheyward Girl Creamery
Credits: Stone36 / Shutterstock

Founded in 2015, Wheyward Girl Creamery is a small cheese shop in the historic downtown district of Nevada City.

It offers full-time cut-to-wrap services with the license to produce cheese; Wheyward Girl Creamery was established by Jenness, who gained full ownership after six months of opening the business with her partner.

Wheyward Girl Creamery offers local, regional, and imported cheeses, including cheese classes, three times a month.

Every one of the classes focuses on a particular type of cheese, but it is accompanied by educating the students on waxing, salting, aging, and brine.

They also deliberate on various cheese-making equipment like PH meters, including its ingredients such as milk, salt, and more.

Aside from cheeses, Wheyward Girl Creamery also offers toffee, oat cakes, chocolate, salami, oat cakes, smoked salmon, jams, and more.

Address: 209 Commercial St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

23. The Doris Foley Library

Doris Foley Library
Credits: bormang2 [CC BY-SA 2.0], Wikimedia Commons
Doris Foley Library
If you’re one of those, who are enthusiastic about learning new facts about Nevada County, visit the Doris Foley Library in Nevada City.

The Doris Foley Library is a unit of the community library system of Nevada County, which is housed in a 1907 Carnegie Library designed in a Romanesque Revival style.

The Library is owned and managed by the city. The Library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

You will find an assortment of research materials relating to the history of Nevada County. Unfortunately, they are only used inside the Library.

The Doris Foley Library is concerned with collecting and preserving materials such as photographs, books, business records, maps, letters, manuscripts, reports, diaries, and more.

Address: 211 N Pine St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

24. Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co.

Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co.
Credits: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

After a day of exploration, unwind and cool off at Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co as you sip down a chilled mug of beer.

Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. is most locals’ favorite spot, including visitors, as they enjoy a large selection of beverages and light snacks.

The beers and pastries are made using freshly grown local ingredients sourced from local farmers in the city.

The beers brewed in their 7-barrel brewhouse are available, including hard cider, regional wines, coffee, espresso, and more.

Address: 211 Commercial St, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

25. LeeAnn Brook Fine Art

LeeAnn Brook Fine Art
Credits: LeeAnn Brook Fine Art / Facebook
LeeAnn Brook Fine Art

LeeAnn Brook Fine Art is a paradise for art lovers. It was situated in downtown Nevada City for five years before moving to a personal home studio in a new location.

There are lots of fun things to do in Nevada City, CA, and exploring LeeAnn Brook Fine Art is surely one of them.

The gallery is owned and operated by Lee Ann Brook, an award-winning artist specializing in large-format paintings inspired by nature.

LeeAnn Brook has been painting for more than twenty-five years. She meets with attracted art collectors strictly by appointment.

Address: 427 Sacramento St, Nevada City, CA 95959-3800, United States

26. Independence Trail

Independence Trail
Credits: Wayne Hsieh/ Flickr
Independence Trail

Independence Trail is a 2.2 miles out and back trail close to Rough And Rough, California. It is considered an easy hike, as it takes just about 1 hr 28 mins to finish.

Walking and hiking are popular activities to do on this trail. However, the area is usually tranquil at certain times of the day. It is an ideal spot to reflect and enjoy solitude.

The perfect time of the year to check out this trail is from March to October. The route is dog friendly, but they must be on a leash at all times.

Olmstead and Sally Cates founded the Independence Trail. It was established with assistance from numerous locals.

 Independence Trials is the nation’s first established handicapped accessible nature trail. The repaired wooden flumes once served as a transport medium for conveying water used in hydraulic mining. Parking spaces are available at the trailhead. 

Address: CA-49, Nevada City, CA 95959, United States

27. Ribald Brewing

Ribald Brewing
Credits: Odairson Antonello / Shutterstock

If you are a beer enthusiast, Ribald Brewing is an ideal place to check out during your visit to Nevada City. It is a mini brewhouse that produces excellent craft beers.

There is never a dull moment in the brewhouse as it plays different kinds of rock and roll music for you to listen to while you enjoy your beer 

Ribald Brewing features a vast selection of excellent beers ranging from traditional beer styles to the brewery’s unique creations, including their assortment of smoothie beers.

They have a variety of great foods on their menu, which you should try out when you visit. Great food plus a fantastic beer makes a perfect duo, be sure to check out this place.

Address: 124 Argall Way, Nevada City, CA 95959, USA

28. Nevada City Film Festival

Nevada City Film Festival
Credits: Nevada City Film Festival/ Facebook
Nevada City Film Festival

Over the last two decades, tourists who come to the Nevada City Film Festival have witnessed outstanding independent films from around the world in a festive atmosphere. 

The Nevada City Festival, since 2001, has been offering quality music, comedy, and independent films, including being an event that draws myriads of people, international movie makers, and others to this beautiful town.

The festival is frequently called the Sundance of the Sierra due to its influence on remarkable independent cinema that displays trailblazing and exciting new voices in movies. 

The USA acknowledged the Nevada City Film Festival as the #3 Best Festival in the country in 2020.

Over the years, the festival has played host to filmmakers like Mike Mills, Miranda July, Wesley Allsbrook, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks), Bill Nye (the Science Guy), Tim Heidecker, and Eric Wareheim (Cartoon Networks Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!).

It has also hosted comedians like Maria Bamford, Natasha Leggero, Mack Maron, Nick Thune, Tig Notaro, and Nick Kroll.

Address: Nevada, City, United States

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Plan Your Trip to Nevada City

Nevada City is a place that every history enthusiast, adventure seeker, food lover, art fan, or nature fanatic should visit.

The city features a diverse collection of fun places, events, and activities for children and adults. Come and take part in the exciting experience Nevada City offers.