It’s easy to see why Tahoe South is home to a thriving arts scene: a striking landscape saturated with color, a laid-back, natural vibe, and some good old-fashioned mountain eccentricity. It’s a recipe for a decidedly unpretentious creative community.

South Lake Tahoe is dotted with working studios and exhibiting galleries, though you’re just as likely to find local artists and crafters showing their work at one of the many festivals while the weather is warm.

Live performances take center stage at the annual Valhalla Arts, Music and Theatre Festival. Once a favorite getaway for Northern California’s elite in the late 1800s, the historic Valhalla Grand Hall and Boathouse Theatre have been transformed into South Tahoe’s art and cultural center for more than 30 years.

Every summer and fall, the majestic estate comes alive with classical, jazz, Celtic, and popular music. The festival also includes plenty of opportunity for costumes, if that’s your thing. Break out the seersucker for a Gatsby tea party or gnaw on a turkey leg at the Valhalla Renaissance Faire. Holla!

But truly, Tahoe South’s culture extends beyond all this artsy-fartsy stuff. With a rich history and a majestic landscape, those seeking authentic local experiences don’t have to look far. Stay at historic Camp Richardson, providing city-folk a lakefront retreat since 1924. Or tour Vikingsholm, another grand estate of the 1920s (unfortunately, you can’t stay there).

For local character and sustainable tourism, nothing beats the great outdoors. Hike the Tahoe Rim trail or take a nature walk through D.L. Bliss State Park. Just be sure you only talk to local humans—the bears don’t want to chat.


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