Summer is officially upon us, and with its heat comes an endless search for the perfect shaded patio—and if you’re anything like me, ambiance is everything. Look no further than these nooks and crannies nestled around Truckee. From artisanal ice cream cones at the lake to butternut squash ravioli on a hill, many of Truckee’s renowned food establishments also serve as impeccable spots to enjoy a view, catch a breeze, and escape the sun’s rays on an intimate patio.
These are my favorite spots around town to not only kill an afternoon with family but enjoy some shade while you’re at it. Get your camera ready—these patios and porches (along with the food and drinks enjoyed on them!) are just as memory inducing as they are mouth watering:
This recently opened handmade ice cream shop, steps away from Donner Lake, is a perfect recipe for those seeking a cold treat on long summer days. Open daily from 11-9 and located near the west end of the lake, this is the perfect spot to cool down in the shade. With a spacious patio, views of Donner Summit and plenty of seating, you’ll catch me here all summer long. Order the cookies and cream in a waffle cone!
Morgan’s offers catering, fresh seafood by the pound, and a terrific lunch menu—best enjoyed on their spacious and shaded back patio. Even better? They’re located directly across from the prize jewel of historic downtown Truckee and the Truckee River. Order a lobster quesadilla and enjoy amidst beautiful flowerbeds, the gentle roar of the river, and intimate conversation.
Did you know there’s a kid-friendly space in town open to the public with free Wifi? Meet the patio outside Tahoe University, the lifestyle boutique in the Old Star Hotel on West River Street. A perfect lunch or coffee date spot, Tahoe University’s porch, and patio are open to the public every day. Bring your laptop to get a peaceful hour of work done in the shade, and make sure to get a fortune from Zoltar!
The porch behind 1882 offers some of the best views in all of Truckee, hands down. Nestled against the Truckee River with a full food and drink menu, this is the perfect spot to show the town off to a newcomer. My recommendation? Bike the Legacy Trail then come here for a cold one when the sun starts to go down. Don’t forget your camera!
Moody’s—Truckee Hotel’s gorgeous downstairs bar and restaurant with a killer cocktail menu—has not one, but TWO outside patios! You already know about the fire pit seating in the front (my personal favorite après spot after a long day snowboarding) but did you know there’s a large shaded patio in the back? I didn’t and was stunned to discover this secret gem right in the heart of downtown. Make sure to specify the outdoor seating when calling ahead for a reservation.
I can’t say enough good things about Cottonwood, but all my praise can generally be summed up in their outside patio space. By far the best spot to catch the sunset in town, this picturesque patio is only made better by the historic Hilltop Lodge sign looming above. Now, this is the ambiance I crave! Ask the knowledgeable servers for a wine recommendation, order the butternut squash ravioli, and soak in the view of charming downtown Truckee below. If you’re unable to score patio seating, ask for a window seat inside the back room for equally epic views.
Laura Lawson Visconti is the owner of Geography Creative, a social media agency specializing in telling the stories of adventurous brands around the world. Additionally, Laura is the co-founder of Drink Coffee Do Stuff, a specialty coffee roastery based in Truckee. She is also a Sony Alpha photographer and author, and when not traveling on assignment, she enjoys exploring the mountains of Lake Tahoe alongside her husband, former professional snowboarder Nick Visconti. Keep up with her adventures on Instagram @lauralawsonvisconti.