The small towns in Nevada County, nestled in the Sierra foothills in Northern California just a short drive from the Bay Area and Sacramento, are full of romantic possibility. No matter the season, the backdrops of Victorian architecture, beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers, and photo quality sunsets make any location in the small county a paradise for lovers, whether you are in a new relationship or celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary. Here are some ideas to wow your partner with a perfect weekend (or longer) getaway:
Stay at a charming lodge or B&B
From the tiny Two Room Inn in downtown Nevada City to the Cedar House in Truckee, you can go from quaint to luxurious for your home base. With a wealth of old Victorian houses converted to charming bed and breakfasts to new construction state of the art hotels, whatever your vibe we have just the place for you. If you would like a little more privacy, we have hundreds of AirBnB and VRBO choices. Or, if you prefer camping, we have it all from rustic dispersed sites in Tahoe National Forest to upscale camping and even glamping at the Inn Town Campground.
Do some wine tasting
More than a dozen wineries have made the foothills of Nevada County their home, joining Amador, El Dorado, Napa and Sonoma counties. Even Truckee chimes in on the oenophile options with the Truckee River Winery, which has taken advantage of the high elevation and colder temps for more than 20 years.
While many wineries keep their doors open for those exploring the countryside, local tasting rooms have been thriving in downtown Grass Valley and Nevada City. Sierra Starr Vineyard was one of the first wineries to open their doors on Main Street, Grass Valley. It has been followed by Lucchesi Winery and Avanguardia. Downtown Nevada City is home to Clavey Vineyards, Nevada City Winery and Szabo Vineyards.
If you want to step it up and tour the wineries in style (and without worrying about who will be the DD), why not hire a limousine to take you to all of the best wineries in the county and then drop you off for a wonderful dinner at the end of the day?
Get lost in the beauty of nature (but don’t get LOST lost; that’s not romantic at ALL!) on a hike in Nevada County. From easy trails that lead to spectacular swimming holes, such as the one that leads to Emerald Pools in Tahoe National Forest featured this month in Narcity.com to the Pines to Mines Trail, which when complete will link Truckee. The Deer Creek Tribute Trail is a multi-use trail is a cultural and ecological path through Nevada City, California. The trail begins in historic downtown Nevada City and moves along scenic backroads and trails. The Tribute Trail is available for picnics, bicycling, hiking, swimming, fishing, and horseback riding. Walk a portion of the trail and then enjoy downtown Nevada City, or challenge yourself to complete the full 8.6 mile trail. For the best spring wildflowers, take the interpretive Buttermilk Bend trail at South Yuba River State Park, and make sure to bring a picnic to enjoy the beautiful river and forest views.
If hiking isn’t your scene, but you love to explore, try taking a drive to take in the majesty of Nevada County. From oak lands to forest, streams to rivers to lakes, choose a direction and take any road to find a gorgeous, photo worthy panoramic view.
Savor a delicious meal
Nevada County is filled with wonderful independently owned and operated restaurants and have a strong farm to fork theme due to the agricultural heritage that continues to thrive on the outskirts of our towns. For a romantic dining experience in Nevada City, try New Moon Cafe for a local gourmet experience, Lefty’s Grill for wonderful craft cocktails and a something for everyone menu, Sopa Thai for quality Thai cuisine in a stellar atmosphere, or Friar Tuck’s Restaurant and Bar, the most quintessentially Nevada City establishment there is, with live music every evening.
In downtown Grass Valley, Cirino’s on Main Street has not only a delicious menu and romantic atmosphere, they are a local institution. If you like bloody Mary’s you have to try one here! They’re so good that Cirino’s even sells the mix at local grocery and other specialty stores. If you prefer to go fancy, try Watershed at the Owl for a gourmet dining experience or for some spectacular Italian food in a converted Victorian home, go to Ristorante Alloro Cucina Italiana. For a fun, funky vibe and uniquely delicious South American food, Diego’s is unlike any other place, and a local favorite for date night. A little off the beaten path, but voted “Best Fine Dining” and “Best Overall Restaurant”by the readers of the Union newspaper, Twelve 28 Kitchen in Penn Valley is worth the seven minute drive from town to enjoy, but make sure to get reservations before you go!
And don’t forget dessert! Cake Bakery & Cafe in Downtown Grass Valley is a great place to linger over a decadent dessert and a cup of coffee, or head into Lazy Dog Chocolateria for the ultimate candy shop experience or a scoop of handmade ice cream or gelatto. Treats in downtown Nevada City has unique flavors of handmade ice cream, as well, using ingredients from local farms to create them. And the Nevada City Chocolate Shoppe, The Truffle Shop, and Chaquiero Chocolate are all in downtown Nevada City and create unique confectionery delights.
Hungry for something else? Click HERE for a complete listing of the restaurants in Nevada County.
See a show
Our local theater troupes are incredible, and worth making a trip to come see. Community Asian Theater of the Sierra (CATS) does only one production a year, focusing on quality over quantity. But these annual shows are something not to miss. In 2020, CATS will be producing The Joy Luck Club from April 9-May 2. Last year’s M Butterfly was a masterpiece in theatrical performance, and we expect more greatness from them this year. Sierra Stages Community Theater pulls out all the stops with their spectacular productions and sell out nearly every show. Their 2020 season includes Blithe Spirit February 28-March 21, Sweeney Todd July 17-August 8, and Escaped Alone Oct. 1-24. They also have smaller productions that occur throughout the year.
If you’re looking for something a little more lighthearted, check out Off Broadstreet in downtown Nevada City, a dessert theater that has lighthearted, original musical productions year-round.
Not a day goes by where someone, somewhere isn’t taking the stage. The Nevada Theatre, Miners Foundry Cultural Center, and the Center for the Arts host everyone from Kris Kristofferson and Ani DiFranco to regional performances of Shakespeare and local dance companies. Tony and Emmy Award-winning comedienne-actress, writer and producer Lily Tomlin has brought her live stage show to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Comedians, magicians, and acrobats have all found the spotlight in Nevada County. And while the drum beats throughout the year, the mountains truly resonate with music in the summer months with Music in the Mountains, and the Truckee River Regional Park’s outdoor concerts. Also, many of our local bars and restaurants have quality live music year-round.
Relax with a couples massage
Whether you’re here to play, perform or peruse, there’s always time for pampering. From upscale boutique day spas to spiritual yoga farms, Nevada County has a relaxation or revitalization escape for everyone. Day spas dot the main streets and reach back into forested enclaves, like Vela Massage Retreat, where services include outdoor hot tub and steam and sauna among the pines. Others include Wolf Mountain Day Spa and Revival Float and Wellness, a float tank retreat in downtown Grass Valley. Get a full bliss treatment at the California College of Ayurveda in Nevada City, where they offer both Ayurvedic and western massage styles.
For a deeper level of relaxation, the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, offers instructor training, meditation retreats, courses in positive thinking, and even yoga vacations. To find listings and to add one click here.
See a Burlesque show
Not only do we have incredible theater and music performances, Nevada County is fortunate to have two incredible burlesque troupes that perform regularly here. Truth or Dare Productions produces a monthly Nevada City Cabaret show that is sure to rev up the romance. This month, enjoy a day after Valentine’s Day treat with your honey when NC Cabaret presents Red Hot Love Letter! We cordially invite you, your partner, your beloved, and everyone you know to a provocative, entertaining, and spectacularly lovely cabaret romp on Saturday, Feb 15.
In addition, the Naughty Bawdy Revue produces a show at the Dew Drop Inn in South Nevada County with fun and outlandish themes every other month. If you like your romance a little spicy, these burlesque events are sure to do the trick.
One of the great benefits of getting out of the city, besides the clean air, slower pace, and natural beauty, is the ability to see the stars in the night sky. Pick a spot and bring a midnight snack and a bottle of wine from your wine tasting adventure, and enjoy some snuggle time watching the stars and talking about the meaning of life and the universe. If you are more of a joiner, Tahoe Star Tours has several events, as does the Nevada County Astronomers.
Explore our historic downtown districts
Before you head home, make sure to take some time to stroll hand in hand through boutiques, art galleries, wine tasting rooms and more in historic downtown Nevada City, Grass Valley, or Truckee. Buy your sweetheart a unique and unforgettable souvenir of your time together while you’re out and about; they are sure to cherish it, and the memory of a romantic getaway, for the rest of their days.
Plan a romantic getaway with your sweetheart in lovely Nevada County, located in Northern California, and make some memories to last a lifetime.