Nevada City knows it's charming, but it doesn't like to brag. The shops sell prayer flags and chia smoothies, while the drinking holes sling all manner of liquid enlightenment. The person browsing the history museum with you is just as liable to be a crusty old-timer, a road-weary backpacker or a mystical folk artist. In the midst of all that are the requisite Victorian and gold rush tourist attractions – an elegantly restored town center and frilly B&Bs.
This is the gateway to Tahoe National Forest, but linger a few days to experience some inviting NorCal culture. The theater companies, alternative film houses, bookstores and venues put on shows almost every night; tune into radical local radio station kvmr.org at 89.5FM to catch the vibe and hear what's on.
Nevada City’s strollable streets are especially lively in summer. In December the snow blanket and twinkling lights are something from a storybook.