10 Things to do in December at Lake Tahoe

By: Sam Pinsky

Even though 2023 is almost behind us, there is still time to slow down and take it all in here in the Sierra Nevada mountains. With rockin’ concerts, scenic trails, and local ski areas open, there’s no better place to make memories and enjoy the holidays than the south shore of Lake Tahoe.

1. Light Up Some Smiles in the Heavenly Village

Holiday Tree Lighting Heavenly Village Lake Tahoe
Christmas Tree in Heavenly Village

The 65-foot tall Christmas tree in the Heavenly Village will light up Tahoe’s south shore every day at 5:30 pm. With a smorgasbord of restaurants and shops nearby, you and your family will surely find something special to bring home, or something delicious to scarf down.

2. Get a Jump Start on the 2023/2024 Ski Season

A Skier at Heavenly Mountain Resort Lake Tahoe
A skier at Heavenly Mountain Resort | Photo: @polevaulterchar.

Heavenly Mountain Resort is scheduled to open Tuesday, November 21, 2023, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort, is expected to open Friday, December 1, 2023. This being the case and storms permitting, December will be a lovely time to come for snow. Additionally, local favorite Sierra-at-Tahoe is looking to make its comeback on December 2nd.

Learn more about what to expect at Tahoe ski resorts this year.

3. Do Some Figure Eights at an Ice Rink

Outdoor Ice Skating Rink Heavenly Village Lake Tahoe
A group of people ice skating in the Heavenly Village | Photo: Heavenly Mountain Resort

The ice skating rinks in the Heavenly Village and Edgewood Tahoe Resort will be ready and waiting for you to lutz and loop to your heart’s (or ankle’s) content. December is all about family fun, so be sure to bring the little ones!

4. Catch a Magic Show

Magic Fusion at the Loft Lake Tahoe
The Loft, located next to the ice rink in Heavenly Village

Magic Fusion is a perfect blend of intimate magic and comedy that the whole family can enjoy. Eat dinner, watch a show, and enjoy world-class magicians from around the world. Visiting on a budget? Buy one adult ticket and get one children’s ticket for free on Sundays at 4:30 pm.

Looking for an unforgettable magic experience? Magic After Dark is an irresistible window into the edgy, sophisticated, and sometime sick mind of award-winning magician-comedian, Robert Hall. This 75-85 minute journey of unique magic, hilarious comedy, and adult mind games is reserved for everyone 18 and up.

5. Meet Your Favorite Characters

Heavenly Holidays; meet your favorite characters in the Village

Have you always wanted to meet Ana, Elsa, or Olaf from Frozen? How about Woody and Buzz from Toy Story? Don’t miss your chance to make memories and snap some photos with characters from Snow White, Paw Patrol, and more. You might catch a few characters on skates at the ice rink, with more roaming the Heavenly Village to meet you. This event runs from 3:00 to 7:00 pm every Saturday in December and runs Daily from December 26 through 30.

6. Take a Ride Around the Ferris Wheel in the Heavenly Village

Ferris Wheel, Heavenly
Ferris Wheel in Heavenly Village

Enjoy spectacular views of the most wonderful time of the year high up in the mountains on the Giant Ferris wheel at the base of the Heavenly Gondola from December 26 through 31. The photo opportunities can only be matched by the memories. Admission is only $5 per person.

7. Find Yourself on Santa’s “Nice List” Over Breakfast

Breakfast with Santa Heavenly Holidays Lake Tahoe Heavenly Village Fire + Ice
Breakfast with Santa

If you’re worried that all you are getting for Christmas this year is a lump of coal, there is still time to smooth things over with the big guy in red over a hearty breakfast at Fire and Ice Restaurant.

8. Ring in the New Year, Tahoe Style!

Gondola drop and Fireworks Heavenly Holidays New Year's Eve Lake Tahoe
Fireworks and Gondola Drop at the Heavenly Holidays event | Photo: Considine Media

Enjoy a rockin’ New Year’s Eve lineup from 2:00 pm – 9:30 pm at Heavenly Resort, with a range of acts to be announced. Don’t miss the gondola ball drop and fireworks!

9. Shine On at the Festival of Winter Lights

Festival of Winter Lights Tahoe 2023

This December 8th – 9th, enjoy this free market-style event with live music, light displays, hot drinks and food, Santa’s house, winter carriage rides, local vendors, and more at the Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum. Come from 4:00 to 8:00, and in the spirit of holiday giving, bring a new unwrapped toy to drop at the Toys for Tots booth. This free event will be held at the museum parking lot at 3058 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

10. Opal Ultra Lounge & Peek Nightclub

Opal Ultra Lounge; located inside Bally’s

If you’re looking for a late night, loud music, and a lovely club atmosphere, you should head to Opal Ultra Lounge inside Bally’s casino. Open on weekend nights, this is the place to go when it’s late, and you simply need to dance it all out. VIP tables are available for whichever special event you have in mind. Also, Peek Nightclub inside Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is back with an incredible lineup of DJs.

Bonus: Lovely Weather for a Sleigh Ride

Lake Tahoe Sleigh Ride
Sleigh Ride in South Lake Tahoe – Jamie Kingham / Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Embark on a nostalgic sleigh ride in the snow as the jingling of bells fills the air. Sleigh rides through the alpine scenery are truly unforgettable, with powerful draft horses pulling ornately decorated sleighs through snow-covered fields and past pine-filled forests near Lake Tahoe.

Winter in Tahoe

Lake Tahoe in December

Visit Lake Tahoe App

Start Planning

Plan Your Trip Today!

Make planning easy with this guide to all the must-see vistas, must-eat dishes and must-experience attractions.

Plan Your Trip