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10Best Christmas shopping in Lake Tahoe and Truckee



Christmas shopping in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee area is made special with the views of the mountains and the snow but gets even better when you visit any of these 10Best boutiques, shops and stores in various locations around the lake. Many stores in the Tahoe area feature items created by local artists and those make some of the best gifts.

One of the best places in Tahoe to shop is historic downtown Truckee. Located on a walkable street, many stores feature beautifully handmade jewelry, scarves, paintings, ceramics and photography for reasonable prices. One of the best stores in the area for Christmas shopping is Bespoke, where you can find unique clothing items and the fabulous Cooking Gallery which has everything you need for the amateur or professional chef.

If you are shopping for the kids, take them with you to Barrels O' Candy in Virginia City or to Ruffles and Ruffnecks in Tahoe City for some funky clothing. If you are shopping for yourself, visit the clothing stores at the Shops at Heavenly or the Village at Squaw Valley offers some unusual and memorable clothing items, statues and other home decor. If you want to treat someone to an experience instead of an item, gift them a class at the North Tahoe Arts Center.


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Boatworks Mall
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


The Boatworks Mall is an indoor, enclosed mall right on the shore of Lake Tahoe with a wonderful view of the marina. The interior features several stores and restaurants as well as walking paths to the water and along the marina. The design is woodsy and typical Tahoe with lots of wood, large beams and an open and airy entryway. Inside is several clothing stores including a contemporary store for women and a resort and outdoor apparel shop, an art gallery, a yoga studio, a jewelry store and a chocolate shop. There is also a hair salon and a professional makeup salon that specializes in makeup for weddings.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Boatworks Mall is small, but has a beautiful interior, Japanese garden, and some popular restaurants such as Hacienda del Lago.

Christina's expert tip: Boatworks is the only indoor mall at Lake Tahoe.

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Atelier
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


Atelier (the French word for workshop) is located in historic downtown Truckee and offers workshops on everything from cheese making to photography and printmaking. Run by the owners of the Bespoke boutique (also on this list), the unique retail area also sells locally make and hand-sourced paintings, scrapbooks, cards, jewelry and found art items in their retail shop. Atelier also has regular art shows, openings, receptions and is open during Truckee's First Friday events each month. Workshops are open to the public and cost around $65. Choose from sewing and knitting workshops to classes on how to make pine needle baskets.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Atelier features handmade items not found in other locations around the lake.

Christina's expert tip: If you are looking for yarn, paper, calligraphy supplies, or other craft tools, Atelier will have what you are looking for.

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North Tahoe Arts Center
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


This cute gallery on the shore of Lake Tahoe offers the visitor everything from fine paintings and sculpture to handmade textiles and items for the home. The exhibits change on a monthly basis and include mixed media collage, photography, and sculptures of metal, glass and clay. From June through August, the gallery sponsors workshops taught by artists coming from all areas of the country. Watercolor, drawing, painting and collage are some of the classes offered. Admission is free. A gift shop features the works of local artists in all media. The North Tahoe Arts is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to support the arts in the North Tahoe-Truckee communities through exposure, education and participation.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The North Tahoe Arts Center features a revolving mix of local jewelry, weavings, woodwork photography, and paintings.

Christina's expert tip: The North Tahoe Arts Center is right in the middle of Tahoe City and a great place to buy local art.

Read more about North Tahoe Arts Center →


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Village at Squaw Valley
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


Give yourself over to the charm of Lake Tahoe at this alpine-styled shopping village, which invites folks to stroll about on cobblestone streets, tempted by a range of upscale goods. Various stores like the Kalifornia Jean Bar, Oakley, and Patagonia are stylish and accessible. Naturally, you'll encounter a host of shops specializing in ski wear and ski gear, but you'll also discover places that proffer trendy togs, eyeglasses, fine art, newspapers, bath and body products, and leather goods. In addition, you can make candles, get spa treatments, and sample everything from ice cream to steaming coffees to Irish pub fare. The Village is a great way to relax amid skiing jaunts.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The Village at Squaw Valley is located in the beautiful Olympic Valley with views of the mountains and special events during the holidays.

Christina's expert tip: The Village at Squaw Valley features great ski clothing from Patagonia and The North Face.

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Cabin Fever
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


Cabin Fever, located in Tahoe City, is the store for anyone who loves mountain- and lake-themed decor. This store features "lodge" style furniture, home accessories, handmade items, and garden decor for anyone who lives in a cabin, or wants to live in a cabin. The decor items are always changing and focus on many items that feature Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, the Sierras, local wildlife, pinecones, and wonderful metal art. The shop also features a large selection of 3D, wood maps of Tahoe and other bodies of water. The owners are always willing to give you information on what items will make a great gift or how to incorporate cabin decor into your own home.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Cabin Fever features an ever-changing selection of both rustic and contemporary cabin-themed items and furniture.

Christina's expert tip: Cabin Fever is tucked away in Tahoe City and you might walk right past it. Look for the carved bears crawling over the front of the building.

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Word After Word Books
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


Word After Word Books celebrates not only the written word but also local and regional authors and books on the Tahoe area. Located in historic downtown Truckee, Calif. this charming bookstore has a wonderful selection of fiction and non-fiction books, games, clothing, and gifts. Check out their children's section for great young adult series books, picture books, and board games. Along with maps, games, large photography books, and even mystery books about Lake Tahoe, the Sierras and California, you can pick up the latest from your favorite author. The owners and workers will also recommend the perfect gift or book.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Word After Word Books features an entire section on Lake Tahoe and California specific books, pictorials, and games.

Christina's expert tip: Along with books, Word After Word also features special events such as their Writing Series.

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La Galleria
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


La Galleria in historic downtown Truckee is an exquisite gallery that is dedicated to beautiful works of art from Asia and South America, jewelry and other accessories, statues and fountains and local arts from the Truckee area. They specialize in gifts from around the world and will deliver any purchase to your home address. The store is small and tight, but chock full of beautiful items that are also surprisingly affordable. They sell items like stone Buddha statues, handmade items from local pinecones, silver and gold jewelry, stone and marble fountains, handmade and knitted scarves and hats, paper items and handmade cards, and natural items made from local branches, flowers and tree bark.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: La Galleria really gets into the holidays with amazing displays of unusual decorations, trees and gift ideas.

Christina's expert tip: Check out La Galleria's amazing jewelry collection from artists around the region.

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This small, but beautifully curated boutique in the Cobblestone Shopping Center in Tahoe City has made a name for itself for selling only handmade items from over 30 different artists in the Reno, Tahoe and Truckee area. The friendly store is full of unique items like statues and vases, Sierra Nevada photography, original paintings, jewelry and clothing, Tahoe inspired lotions, essential oils and candles and the Lovin' Tahoe brand of clothing and bumper stickers. The prices at Trunk Show are affordable. The owner's own brand of jewelry is made of recycled items and a beautiful handmade necklace is around $40.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Trunk Show features local art and jewelry as well as Tahoe inspired soaps and candles.

Christina's expert tip: Trunk Show packs up your items in post consumer recycled paper boxes and bags.

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Cooking Gallery
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


The Cooking Gallery is located right in old downtown Truckee. This independent shop for both amateur and professional cooks is nothing short of a culinary lover's dream come true. The shop is two stories of beautiful cooking equipment, cookbooks, spices, cutlery, pots, pans and anything you can think of for the kitchen and dining room. They also have a load of bakeware and glassware, small appliances like juicers, coffeemakers and food processors. They also sell gourmet coffee and specialty foods. Their selection of candles and cloth napkins is impressive. The place is crammed full of so many items you could spend an hour or two just on the downstairs floor before you realize there's a second floor.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The Cooking Gallery has an amazing collection of gift items for any level of chef.

Christina's expert tip: A chef's Heaven on Earth. They do close a little earlier than most stores in the area, so head here first.

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Bespoke
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


Owned by a high fashion designer turned mountain girl, Bespoke is a fun and unique shop in historic downtown Truckee that celebrates everything vintage, kitschy and natural. The store specializes in unusual books and magazines as well as handmade items from local artists. Letterpress prints are scattered around the shop along with locally made pottery, clothing, scarves and hats, books, jewelry and unusual magazines. Bespoke also has special events like Ladies Nights, art workshops and classes on making your own print stamps or terrariums. Items in the store are actually very affordable and you will be sure to find the perfect gift while browsing.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Bespoke has some of the most unique gift items in the Tahoe area. Check out their selection of unusual books

Christina's expert tip: This shop is so much fun to browse around in and it changes all the time.

Read more about Bespoke →


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Meet Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors...  More About Christina

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