A Hotel Insider’s Guide to South Lake Tahoe

Where to find a Tahoe impossibility: “Good food, large portions and cheap prices”

August 12, 2022 6:30 am
Edgewood Tahoe Resort
Edgewood Tahoe Resort
Edgewood Tahoe Resort

This is Concierge Confidential, a series in which we learn about a city’s best-kept secrets from people who specialize the exactly that: long-serving concierges from the best hotels in town.

At Edgewood Tahoe Resort, you’ll find a beautiful lakeside enclave that includes new Villa Suites (opening this fall) on the edge of the forest, a Fazio-designed golf course and a full-service spa tucked away in the woods — a place, in fact, that you may not want to leave. 

But there’s so much to see and do around the lake that we had to ask the resort’s “experience manager” Jason Heapy for all the cool stuff South Lake Tahoe has to offer.

InsideHook: What’s a unique service that your hotel offers that I won’t find elsewhere?

Jason Heapy: Edgewood Restaurant has stunning lake and sunset views that have been voted Best of Tahoe by Tahoe Daily Tribune’s Readers’ Choice many times. No other restaurant view in South Lake Tahoe compares.

Where can I get a cup of coffee near the hotel and go for a good walk?

Black Cabin Coffee is a local favorite, then take it to the nearby Van Sickle Bi-State Park to walk about in both California and Nevada with great lake views.

Where do singles hang out?

With so many craft breweries in town, you could never go wrong on finding some new friends while taking a tour of South Lake Tahoe’s best breweries. To name a few: South Lake Brewing Company, The Hangar, South of North Brewing Company, Cold Water Brewery and Grill and Sidellis Lake Tahoe.

How about a restaurant where only locals go?

Taqueria Jalisco for quality authentic Mexican food, plentiful portions and reasonable prices. It’s an easy in-and-out location with the freshest salsa bar around.

Late-night spot where I can get into a bit of trouble (but not too much trouble)?

Lake Tahoe Aleworx at Stateline is a great spot to get a late-night drink and dance with an upbeat and energetic crowd.

Best cheap eats in town?

The Red Hut Café is your traditional American restaurant where you’ll find good food, large portions and cheap prices.

Where can I go for the best dessert?

Freshies Ohana Restaurant & Bar has the best homemade desserts and a beautiful rooftop deck to capture a Tahoe summer sunset.

Best place for a sunset cocktail?

Tiki Bar Tahoe is the only tiki bar in South Lake Tahoe — they serve great cocktails and have a prime beach location for summer sunsets.

Where to go if I want to see politicians making deals?

With all the history that comes with the Friday Station Steak & Seafood Grill at the top of Harrah’s Casino, I can imagine there have been some political deals made there. Then likely some high-stakes gambling to follow.

Where should I go in the area for a day spent outside?

Zephyr Cove Resort is a beautiful beach location where you can rent water toys, dine in for food, get drinks on the beach and catch a cruise any day from sunrise to sunset.

Where’s a good spot to snap an Instagram-worthy photo?

Emerald Bay on the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe has the most iconic view and is one of the most photographed locations on Earth.

Best neighborhood to take a four-hour stroll if I want to get acquainted with a more “authentic” side of the city?

Tahoe Keys is a great neighborhood for a nice four-hour stroll as there are great views, friendly locals and tons of streets to get acquainted with.

What’s the easiest way to get around town, in terms of transportation?

Lime and Bird scooters are a quick and easy way to get you around town, and you’ll find them almost everywhere to hop on when you need to.

What’s a lesser-known cultural institution worth visiting?

Valhalla Tahoe! The name “Valhalla” was taken from the Norse myth of the Vikings’ heavenly place. These lovely estates date back to the early 1920s and have beautifully kept grounds, lakefront access and old pine forest throughout. Try to find the secret garden!

What’s an underutilized part of your hotel?

Our shuttle service is one of Tahoe’s best. We’ll bring you to the most popular local hot spots and be back to pick you up shortly after your call.

What’s a cool architectural site that’s not mobbed with tourists?

Vikingsholm is a hidden mansion on the shores of Emerald Bay that’s said to be the finest display of Scandinavian architecture in North America. Emerald Bay is often crowded with tourists, but a mile-long walk down a paved road to the Vikingsholm may help isolate you from the crowds.

What’s the best thing you can only get in your city?

The most beautiful lake!! Lake Tahoe has crystal-clear water with a depth clarity of 65 feet and 99.994% purity, making it one of the purest large lakes in the world.

What’s the best thing you can only do in your city?

Hiking Mount Tallac and embracing jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe as well as the surrounding alpine lakes and mountains. A once-in-a-lifetime view that can really only be experienced at 9,739 feet.

What’s something I can say or do to endear myself to locals?

Above all else, Tahoe is a ski town, so if you can impress the locals with skiing knowledge or skills, they’ll give you more credit.

What’s something that tourists tend to do that really annoys locals?

Littering is a big issue in Tahoe. A lot of tourists don’t respect nature’s beauty, and they tend to leave a trail. We’re big on leaving no trace, so pack out what you pack in and don’t disappoint locals with litter.

What’s an item or activity that tourists tend to get ripped off on? Any tips on how to avoid that?

No better way to get ripped off than a good night of gambling. On the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe, tourists love to run their luck on the slots and tables at one of many casinos.

I’m looking for a low-key brunch. Where to?

Artemis Lakefront Cafe is a great casual brunch spot to enjoy a delicious Bloody Mary or bottomless Mimosas, Greek-style cuisine and great people watching from the patio at the heavily trafficked Ski Run Marina.

Best place to eat a meal or have a beer outside when the weather’s better?

Azul Latin Kitchen in the Heavenly Village is a festive place to grab some food, have a beer and enjoy live music on the patio.

Any potential issues I should be worried about or pay attention to when it comes to public transportation (busy times, delays, petty crime, etc.)?

Tahoe winters can be heavy, and serious snowy days can make it nearly impossible to get around at times. Whether it’s traffic, snow-removal delays or a full-on blizzard, always expect delays. Summertime brings traffic as well.

What’s the one thing everyone forgets to pack? Or the one thing everyone should remember to pack when visiting?

Tahoe summers are warm and beautiful during the day, but the air gets crisp in the evening. Don’t forget to pack some layers to throw on for dinner, sunset and late-night festivities.

Finally, what’s the best book to read about the area before I come?

Clarity: A Photographic Dive into Lake Tahoe’s Remarkable Water by Dylan Silver has phenomenal lake photography and interesting notes about Lake Tahoe.

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