Lake Tahoe, California

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What's it like to live in Lake Tahoe?

What are pros and cons of living Lake Tahoe, CA?


It’s one of the most beautiful places in the US. If you love the outdoors this is a great place to live. All sorts of snow sports. Snowmobile, cross country skiing and ski resorts are abundant. River rafting, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing, and boating are the alternatives for spring and summer activities.

Weather. The Spring, Summer and Fall are perfect, mild weather.


Tourists. Great for the local economy but sometimes they’re just annoying. Most don’t know how to drive in the snow.

Cost of Living. Housing prices are very expensive. Gas, food, etc. are all higher. Locals will travel the 30–45 miles to Reno once a month for supplies.

Weather. It can snow heavily with power outages, road closures and school closures.

Lake Tahoe really is a beautiful place. Come visit anytime of the year.

How can you describe what is like to live in Lake Tahoe?

Phew! Well that is a pretty broad question. And it deserves a pretty thorough answer. But I am going to try my best to describe what it is like to live in Tahoe from my point of view. I live in the city of South Lake Tahoe so I am going to focus on what it’s like to live here. Although, I have lived in just about every town around the lake at one time or another. South Lake Tahoe is the biggest city in the Tahoe basin with approximately 21,000 in population.

Get a cup of tea because describing what it is like to live in Tahoe will take some time. I cannot sum it up like a previous person who answered this question by saying that Tahoe is, in short, summed up in a bad experience with food service. I’m going to write a novella here based on the seasons. Maybe someone will get something out of it. If it’s too long for you, well…too bad.

First of all, some caveats: I DO NOT SKI. All I do for winter sports is snowshoe. My winter consists mostly of work, baking a lot of cookies, bread and cakes and watching the snow fall while drinking hot cocoa… and I watch reruns and movies.

I must say these things because so much of what Tahoe living is about is winter sports. I suppose my views of Tahoe life would be different if I enjoyed what 99.99% of the other locals like to do in the winter…SKI. I feel like to them me mentioning this is almost sacrilege! But what can I say….I’m originally from Scottsdale, Arizona and my family only came to Tahoe every year from spring to early fall. That all changed when I met my husband in 2010 and I spent my very first full year in any one place in my whole life. Tahoe has always been a part of my life, but up until 2010, I had only ever seen it without snow.

My first true winter (as in a real winter with the fluffy cold white stuff) was the winter of 2010–2011. That winter was recorded as the 3rd heaviest snowfall in Tahoe history. The kind of heavy stuff like the Donner Party suffered through. I met my husband the previous August and so decided to stay to keep seeing him. I was driving a rear-wheel drive car at the time. I learned fast about the value of tire chains. This was not a “normal” winter. The berms on the roads were like snow castles; you could not see anything on the other side of them.

What life is there in Lake Tahoe?

Well I am a bit biased here, but the “best life” might not be an overstatement.

It is an outdoor recreation paradise. Lake Tahoe offers Four season recreation and outdoor activity. Boating, fishing, hiking, backpacking in the summer. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobile in the winter.

Course you have to be ready to handle cold snowy winters, and crowded streets and beaches filled with vacationers in the summer. With in 1 hour of Lake Tahoe you can escape to wilderness areas that will make you feel like your the only one around, or you can be in downtown Reno enjoying professional sports action or crazy national events.

South lake Tahoe has a decent nightlife area with the casino corridor and the outdoor music scene is great during the summer. Carson city, The Carson Valley and Virgina City provide unique culture and lifestyle options in the region as well.

Considering moving to Tahoe, thoughts/advice?

Great idea.

This is exactly what we did a couple years ago as we both have remote jobs with tech companies. I think the lifestyle depends on what you're into, but I've never been a city person so I was itching to leave.


Cost of living. I don't know where /u/jjjrrreee is living that is nearing Bay Area prices, but it's much cheaper where we live than the bay (South Lake). We own two properties in town and both combined cost less than what you'd buy a studio for in SF

Literally everything you can think of is cheaper except for maybe gas. This includes stuff that you probably didn't think of like registering your car, insurance, not paying for parking (or parking tickets) etc. The list goes on. Except snow removal. Buy a good snowblower.

you'll also save $$ because instead of spending $ at restaurants/bars/businesses for fun, you're largely spending time at the lake, mountains etc

Quality of life is just better if you're not a big city person. I feel like there's more time in the day up here. Being able to casually walk to the lake or get a couple runs in during the afternoon is very refreshing and beats the hell out of stepping over human shit when trying to go get milk at the corner store.

It's a community. People are just in a better mood and nicer to each other because well, they're in Tahoe. People help each other out and you'll quickly learn that you're probably no more than two degrees of separation from anyone in town. Don't worry about meeting people here, it's very easy

The obvious world class recreation, year round, and beautiful landscape. You'll hear it all the time from locals living up here, this shit just doesnt get old. It's true.


tourists… On any given weekend, South Lake is only around ~10-15% local, and honestly most of them are working. You'll be surrounded by tourists, but honestly I like it. They're here to have a good time. Sure, they suck at driving because they're looking at the nice views and don't know where they're going. They also cause weekend traffic, but let's be real… you don't need to get anywhere quickly up here. It's also nice to meet new people all the time because it is a small town

Politics are interesting. I'm just going to assume you're liberal because you're from the bay. All of the towns themselves surrounding the lake are blue, but overall the counties are red so it's a much more diverse place politically than the bay. You'll occasionally see maga hats/stickers, but generally I don't see politics being divisive up here even though I have friends all over the spectrum. Personally, I'm registered independent and enjoy that it's politically diverse but I could see it not being desirable if you've only lived in a political bubble like the bay. I don't say that to sound rude, but I lived in the bay for 8 years and that's the reality and many people enjoy it.


shoveling has gotten a little old this winter

locals only bs. Some locals definitely have a sense of elitism for being a local to the point of "you're not a real local unless you've been here ", but it doesn't actually matter

When meeting new locals, I don't initially say I work remotely for a tech company. People like to shit on the bay up here and blame people like us for making housing prices go up and they're not entirely wrong.

There's also a lot of people here that bust ass, stringing together multiple odd jobs, just to be able to live here… so you might imagine it puts a sour taste in their mouth when remote tech workers get to live/work here much more easily.

Restaurants… there's not very diverse options

In terms of location, I love living in South Lake, despite it's reputation as being the slummy side of the lake. The fact that it's the cheapest place to live on the lake is just a bonus. We had thought about Meyers pretty seriously, as well as other parts of the lake, but ultimately figured everything would eventually feel too small and isolating, especially in the winter. The only other place I'd consider is Truckee, but then you're far from the lake in summer, and a longer drive from skiing. There's also just more stuff to do in South Shore throughout the year due to all the resorts and casinos (i.e. outdoor concert series at Harveys).

As a remote employee, this place really is a bubble of permanent vacation. When I'm not in meetings, I get my work done under a cabana or on our boat in the summer, and at the lodge during winter. PM me if you have any questions about neighborhoods or anything South Lake specific.

A Normal Day Living In The Mountains | Lake Tahoe