Top things to do

Historic Site in Grass Valley

Empire Mine State Historic Park

Atop 367 miles of mine shafts tunneling almost a vertical mile beneath the surface, Gold Country’s best-preserved gold-quartz-mining operation is worth a solid half-day’s exploration. From 1850 to 1956 the miners he…
Museum in Grass Valley

North Star Mining Museum

A museum for those who ache when they see machinery set aside to rust. The engineering-minded docents here have polished and oiled their extensive collection of 19th-century mining equipment to a shine. See stamp mi…
Bakery in Grass Valley

Cousin Jack Pasties

Cousin Jack and his kin have been serving flaky pasties – a meat-and-potato-stuffed pastry beloved by Cornish miners – for five generations. The pies – Basque lamb, pot roast and several vegetarian options – are all…
Italian in Grass Valley


Hugely popular with locals in the know, this creative restaurant has everything from salads to hearty steaks and seasonal specials like summer squash ravioli. Portions are burly and the patio is a treat.
Ice Cream in Grass Valley

Lazy Dog Ice Cream

This colorful ice-cream and candy shop explodes with sugar in all its forms. Besides scoops, there are hand-dipped bars, chocolates and old-timey candies from 'juicy wax sticks' to swirly suckers.
Arts Center in Grass Valley

Center for the Arts

Grass Valley punches above its weight with this excellent arts center. The varied program includes local and international music, dance, visual arts, comedy and literary events.