A Meal To Remember Dining in Tahoe is much more than a menu

  • 4 Ways To Dine Differently
  • Aboard the M.S. Dixie II
  • The Borges Family sleigh ride
  • Reno-Tahoe Helicopters
  • Tahoe Star Tours

If you’ve skied the day away in Tahoe and still have energy to spare, worry not.   

Winter playtime continues through dinner on both the North and South shores. 

Maybe you’ve already soaked your sore muscles in the hot tub and a night on the water sounds good. Or perhaps you’re ready for more fun in the snow, minus the skis. 

Intrigued? Check out the following Lake Tahoe dining experiences.


On the lake

All aboard the 500-plus passenger M.S. Dixie II, which departs from Zephyr Cove Resort on the South Shore to take visitors on an early-evening tour of Lake Tahoe before plating up a four-course dinner.

MS Dixie II

It’s hard for a sunset dinner cruise to rise above cliché status, but the M.S. Dixie somehow manages the job.

The onboard narration educates passengers about Fanette Island and iconic Vikingsholm, a natural rock-formation ‘castle’ that draws the eye of adults and kids alike.

After dinner, a live band kicks up, and the experience is more romantic than hokey.

You might even dance! If you have kids, bring them; they’ll love it as much as you do…Or maybe that’s the signature cocktails talking.


Over the river and through the woods

Instead of arriving at Grandmother’s house, you’ll be whisked along a historic Pony Express route on a Borges Family Dinner Sleigh Ride.

Pulled by 2,000-pound Belgian Draft horses, guests will slip through the Sierra forests (rides depart from Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe) to Friday Station, a California historical landmark. 

Once there, patrons are transferred by shuttle to LewMarNel’s, a rustic, wood-paneled restaurant featuring steaks, pasta, and cheese fondue.

Flannel blankets keep sleigh revelers warm en route, and families may be coaxed into a rendition of “Jingle Bells” (the odds go up the closer you get to the holiday season).

This Tahoe family has been leading rides in custom handmade sleighs for more than 30 years, so you’ll be treated to family history as well as Northern California history.

View from above

Reno-Tahoe Helicopters can take you on a breathtaking, adrenaline-inducing flight over Lake Tahoe, then deposit you back at the Flight Deck Restaurant and Bar in the sleepy South Tahoe airport for a romantic dinner or fun family lunch.

Pro Tip

The Flight Deck is a casual yet unusual dining experience right in the heart of the airport. Not well-known by tourists, it boasts the best views in town, plus affordable food served by a hard-working staff.

Start with the scenic flight of your choice (I recommend the sunset tour), and forget about lengthy ticket lines: We were in the air in minutes, and takeoff was the most fun.

Keep in mind that many of the helicopters in the fleet can seat only two passengers at a time.

Plan on two separate, short trips or two simultaneous bookings.

The Flight Deck is a casual yet unusual dining experience right in the heart of the airport.

Not well-known by tourists, it boasts the best views in town, plus affordable food served by a hard-working staff.


Under the stars

This night under the stars at Northstar California resort is paired with dinner à la carte.

Photo by: @Abeblair

Start with a gondola ride and special family dinner at Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe’s Manzanita, where even kids will drool over the squash porridge (just trust me).

This fine-dining restaurant is casual, cozy, and perfectly paired with Tahoe Star Tours for an evening to remember.

Astronomy guide Tony Berendsen holds court in the lower parking lot of Northstar from 8:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., keeping everyone in the family hooked on the stars with a unique combination of poetry, science, and technology.

Even if you begin your evening uninterested in the night sky, Berendsen’s enthusiasm is contagious.

He uses telescopes, iPads, and the naked eye to help you see seasonal stars, planets, and constellations.

The fires are crackling in the fire pits, so all you need to bring are a few extra layers.

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