Explore Nevada City

The gold rush may have come and gone, but Nevada City still serves as a beacon for wanderlust souls looking for a richer life. Unlike the Eureka days of the 1800s when a miner’s life was full of grit and backbreaking work, today’s residents lead a life abundant with creativity and spirit, which is palpable throughout the downtown galleries and coffee shops.


Film festivals, artisan fairs, Mardi Gras celebrations, concerts in the park and Victorian Christmas gatherings showcase Nevada City’s true colors. And while an artistic thread runs through the community, a devout population of mountain bikers, fisherman, hikers, kayakers, and skiers also call this Sierra Nevada playground home. Next to gold, biking may be the area’s second oldest attraction. Locals have been celebrating the activity for more than 50 years with the Nevada City Bicycle Classic. The event draws cyclists from across the U.S. and is the largest and oldest bike race on the West Coast. In addition to die-hard local riders, the classic attracts the nation’s top cyclists and several thousand spectators every June.


The historic downtown corridor doesn’t look much different than it did 100 years ago, though instead of just the basic necessities and toe-curling whiskey, visitors can treat themselves to handmade ice cream at Treats, the Nevada City Chocolate Shoppe, a whimsical treasure from Mama Madrone’s Eco-Emporium, and even whacky gag gifts at the Gray Goose. Fine teas, toys, beads, books, folk art, fur hats, and fine fashion can also be found among the eclectic mix of shops and galleries.


Dining options seem almost paradoxical against the area’s wild west Americana architecture. Sushi, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, organic, fondue, and escargot are all available within the blocks that make up an area, including the famed National Hotel, that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.