Six Great Reasons to Spend Thanksgiving Weekend in Nevada County

Thanksgiving is coming soon, and if you’re still trying to decide where to go to celebrate your gratitude, consider making a short trek to Nevada County.  If you have family or friends here, that’s great!  But even if you don’t, the locals are so friendly and welcoming that you’ll feel like family wherever you go.

We have lots of lodging from hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts, and have many, many AirBnB and VRBO lodging options, as well.  Whether you want to travel solo or bring your entire extended family, you can find great accommodations here.  You can cook a feast in one of our whole house rentals, or dine at one of our many great restaurants so that no one has to do the dishes.

But more than just charming towns and scenery, Nevada County is a great place to kick off the holiday season.  Here’s six great reasons why you should spend Thanksgiving weekend here:

1. 13th Annual Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot


Start your Thanksgiving with a healthy 5k and 10k run/walk as a Benefit/fundraiser for the MEB2 Foundation.  The MEB2 Foundation, Inc. was founded in 2006 after Michael Edward Bratton II took his own life at the age of 25. In memory of beloved Michael, the foundation’s primary focus is to support local youth activities, A New Day, and suicide and depression awareness and prevention in Nevada County.

The event takes place on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, at 7:30 a.m. at Nevada Union High School’s Hooper Stadium located at 11761 Ridge Road in Grass Valley.  Call (530) 273-0521 or click HERE for more information.

2. 35th Annual Country Christmas Faire

Take a horse drawn wagon ride at Country Christmas Faire. Photo by Lenkaland Photography.

Enjoy a true Country Christmas at the 35th Annual Country Christmas Faire taking place November 23-25.  Shop for handcrafted items from unique vendors throughout the beautiful Nevada County Fairgrounds, enjoy strolling musical entertainment, a gingerbread house exhibit, wagon rides, and more.  Free babysitting with activities will be offered by the Girl Scouts, so parents can enjoy some solo shopping time while the kids have fun.

3. Take a Hike

Photo by Laura Petersen

Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) is encouraging Nevada County residents and visitors to hit the trail on Friday, November 29, and create their own Turkey Trek with friends and family.  BYLT has built and maintains 27 trails in Nevada and Yuba Counties, for a total of 45 miles of trails that range in difficulty, length, history, flora and fauna.

Now with BYLT’s online trails portal, it’s easy to find a trail just right for you and your loved ones to explore.  BYLT encourages everyone to share their experience by posting photos on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #OptOutsideNevadaCounty.  Those who post using the hashtag will be entered into a drawing to win a set of BYLT’s trail cards.

Click HERE for more information on local trails.

4. Kick off Cornish Christmas

Photo by Jackson Starr

Started in 1967 as a way to preserve Grass Valley’s Cornish heritage and holiday traditions, Cornish Christmas remains one of the town’s most popular events. The iconic event takes place every Friday evening from 6-9 p.m. from November 29-December 20. Mill and West Main Streets are closed to motorized traffic and filled with the sights and sounds of an old fashioned Christmas; carolers, musicians, fire pits, mistletoe, and chestnuts. The event hosts craft and food vendors, and the town shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, tap houses and bars are open. The streets will be awash in festive holiday décor, lights and sparkling windows.

5. Holidays at Empire Mine

The magic of the season meets Empire’s golden past at this popular, two-day event. With lavish, old-fashioned decorations, docents in early-1900s attire, festive music and fun, it’s like walking through a turn-of-the-century Christmas card.  Holidays at Empire Mine will be held on Friday, November 29, and Saturday, November 30, offering a unique way to visit the past.  With special activities from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, it’s enjoyable for all ages, and everyone’s invited.   With turn of the century themed decor, docents in period attire, festive music, and traditional holiday activities, there’s something for everybody!

6. Penn Valley’s Small Business Saturday and Cowboy Christmas

Photo by Susan George

Penn Valley is off the beaten path, but they know how to do the holidays right! Just a short drive from Grass Valley and Nevada City, Penn Valley has a rich agricultural heritage that remains a way of life in the rural area to this day. Come celebrate the holidays Penn Valley style on Saturday, Nov. 30, beginning with Small Business Saturday at area businesses followed by Cowboy Christmas.  It’s a yee  haw good time!