Things to Do In Grass Valley CA
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Grass Valley is the largest city in Nevada County, California. It is about 2,500 feet above sea level. As a northern Gold Country city, things to do in Grass Valley CA have a lot of history, which makes it a great place to visit for history buffs and people who love the outdoors.

Grass Valley is easy to get to from Sacramento, Reno, and San Francisco, making it a great place for a quick weekend trip or a stop on a road trip through California. Before you go, make sure to call the attractions and restaurants to find out what time they open.

Table of Contents

35 Best Things to Do in Grass Valley, California

1. Empire Mine State Historic Park

Many things make the Empire Mine State Historic Park stand out. The site has one of the largest, deepest, longest, and most productive gold mines in all of California. It is also home to one of the oldest gold mines in the state. The mine has been around for more than 100 years and made an amazing 5.8 million ounces of gold before it was shut down in 1956.

2. The North Star Mining Museum & Pelton Wheel Exhibit

The Nevada County Historical Society led a project to protect and keep the North Star Mining Museum and the Pelton Wheel Exhibit, a hidden gem in Nevada County. This place shows a lot of Nevada County’s long history of mining.

The best way to teach people about how mining was done in the past is to keep these things around. The North Star Mining Museum has a wide range of artifacts, photos, documents, and mining tools from the time of the Gold Rush. There, you can join a group tour or go on your own. Visit the museum’s website to find out when it’s open.

3. Try some wine at Lucchesi Vineyards Tasting Room

The Sierra Foothills are home to the 20-acre (8-hectare) Lucchesi Vineyards. It is proud of both the high quality of the grapes it grows and the beautiful view it offers of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This great spot makes the most of the sun’s rays and helps the fruit ripen to a point where its flavor, color, and texture are almost perfect.

Because the grapes are so good, the vineyard makes wine that tastes great. The vineyard offers free tours and tastings so that people can get a taste. These include a tour of the winery and tastings of the different wines made there.

4. Grass Valley Museum

The Grass Valley Museum is in the middle of California’s Gold Country. It has a lot of history that is kept and shown behind plain doors on the second floor of the St. Joseph’s Cultural Center. The museum is a hidden gem of the Golden State. It has artifacts and memorabilia that tell the history and story of Grass Valley, a small town that had two of the richest gold mines in California.

5. Eat Delicious Food at South Pine Café

The Carne Asada Burrito, the Spicy Jamaican Chicken Burrito, the Garlic Onion Burger, the Pine Burger, and the Southwestern Turkey Mel are the best things on their menu. South Pine Café is a popular place to eat in Grass Valley. You can find it at 6271-102 Richardson Street, Grass Valley. From 8 am to 3 pm every day, they start making their tasty meals.

6. North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum

The North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum, the Video History Museum, the Historic Firehouse No. 1 Museum, the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, and the Grass Valley Museum are all worth seeing.

7. Spend the night at the historic Holbrooke Hotel

The Holbrooke Hotel is the best hotel in the area and has a lot of history. It has been there during the Gold Rush, the fire in 1855 that destroyed most of Grass Valley, and when Ulysses S. Grant stayed there.

With big rooms and a full-service bar, this is a great place for people to stay when they come to see the cute little town. Best of all, the old-western feel will put you in the right mood to learn about the town’s history. Every night, you can go back to your hotel for Mexican food and a fun saloon-style atmosphere.

8. Bourn Cottage

Bourn Cottage
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The Bourn Cottage was built in 1897 in the Empire Mine State Historic Park. It was the home of the mine’s owner, William Bourn Jr. Willis Polk, a well-known architect from San Francisco, who planned the elegant layout of the cottage. When you go to the Bourn Cottage, you can explore all 4,600 square feet of the grounds, as well as the formal gardens around the cottage and estate. Some of the most interesting things about the cottage are its 1,500 rose bushes and its native and exotic plants. The inside of the cottage is also worth looking at because it has things from the Bourn family’s history.

9. Celebrate Local Art at the Center for the Arts

As its name suggests, this place is all about bringing the visual, literary, and performing arts to the people of Nevada County. The Center for the Arts Grass Valley has a huge collection of modern and contemporary art from the best artists in Nevada County.

It is in a large, 21,000-square-foot building that has a theater, galleries, a classroom, and different sections with exhibits. It has more than 150 performances every year, and new exhibits and galleries open there every month. To go to the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, California, at 998 Plaza Drive. Check out their website to find out when they are open.

10. The Louver

In Grass Valley, there are two places that sell art: The Art Works Gallery and The Louvre. Stop in to look at the art or maybe even buy some. You can look at photos, paintings, sculptures, and more at The Louvre art gallery, which is a family business that also restores art and works as a custom framing shop.

11. Or opt for one of the many other great places to stay

In Grass Valley, there are a lot of great hotels, and many of them are run by families who love making their guests feel at home. Grass Valley Courtyard Suites is one option. This is a beautiful hotel that is made up of small apartments that make you feel like you’re at home.

Get a room at The Pines Motel and Cottages if you want a hotel that feels like a cabin. There are also great chain hotels that feel like they belong in Grass Valley.

12. Del Oro Theater

With its art deco neon spire, the Del Oro Theatre is an iconic building in Grass Valley, California. United Artists built the Del Oro Theater in 1941, and it opened as a single-screen movie theater in 1942. It was built in the classic Art Deco and Moderne styles. Even though it has been fixed up, the Del Oro Theatre is still a time capsule of the culture of movies in the 1940s. Some of the most popular things to do at the Del Oro Theatre are the ghost tours, which tell scary stories about people running into dead ends, or visit the theater’s underground tunnels.

13. Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce

This is where you can see for yourself what it was like to live during the Gold Rush. Because it is a well-kept rustic building, the place where the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce is located is a must-see. Its look hasn’t changed since the days of the Gold Rush, which is almost like going back in time.

Also, it is the best place for people to figure out how to spend their time in Grass Valley. Their helpful staff will give you a list of places to go and things to do in and around Grass Valley. This place is at 128 East Main Street, Grass Valley, CA, if you want to go there. The Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce is open from 11 am to 4 pm, but on weekends they are closed.

14. Tour other gold rush landmarks

In Grass Valley, you can also see the Bridgeport covered bridge, the Historic District, the North Star Historic Conservancy, and Bourn Cottage, which are all related to the gold rush. I talked about Bourn Cottage before, but I didn’t say much about it because I thought the Empire Mine deserved its own praise. In a 45-minute tour of the beautiful cottage and grounds, you will learn about its history, as well as that of the owners. You can see and go inside the cottage, the Clubhouse, the ruins of the house, and the gardens.

15. Make some four-legged friends at The Animal Place

Animal Place is a great place to spend an afternoon if you are traveling with kids or want to learn more about the history of farming in Grass Valley. You can go on a tour that shows how the animals on the farm are cared for.

This is a great place to get to know animals you might never get to see in the wild. Pet cows, meet turkeys, feed goats, and cuddle a bunny!

16. North Star Historic Conservancy

Since Grass Valley has a long and rich mining history, it makes sense that visiting some of its old mines would be one of the best things to do there. This is what people can expect at the North Star Historic Conservancy, which is spread out over 700 acres. There are two main mine shafts, stamp mills, and other buildings that were all in use between 1851 and 1956 in the conservancy. The North Star Historic Conservancy is a great place to learn about history. It is also home to The Heritage Garden, a beautiful path of greenery that is often used for weddings by Nevada County residents.

17. Bring Your Kids to the 49er Fun Park

Grass Valley residents usually spend their Saturday and Sunday afternoons with their kids This small amusement park for families has lots of fun things to do, like arcades, go-karts, batting cages, and an 18-hole mini-golf course. If you bring kids to Grass Valley, they will probably find museums and old mines boring, so the best place for them to have fun is at the 49er Fun Park.

It has a lot to do in its arcade and redemption area, where kids can win tickets by playing arcade games, and its outdoor activities cover four acres. Their 18-hole mini-golf course is the best thing to do with your family and should not be missed. If you want more action, they have batting cages and a go-kart track. This amusement park for families can be found at 314 Railroad Ave, Grass Valley, CA.

18. Tour a vineyard and enjoy yourself

When there is more than one winery in the area, you know you’re in wine country. The Sierra Starr Winery, Lucchesi Vineyards, Smith Vineyard, and Naggiar Vineyards and Winery are all unique places with beautiful grounds to tour and taste wine. Why not make a day of it and go to all four?

19. Shop for antiques and gifts

Shop for antiques and gifts
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Grass Valley is a great place to find beautiful antiques to add to your collection if you like them. The Mill Street Vintage and antique store are small, but it has a lot of great things to offer. This shop, like most in Grass Valley, is run by a family, and the owners are always around to say hello. Grass Valley Antique Emporium is just down the road if you don’t find what you need here.

20. Naggiar Vineyard and Winery

The Naggiar Vineyard and Winery is a charming place that is just off the beaten path in the Sierra Foothills. It is an unexpected find on a road that not many people take. Even though Naggiar is one of the less-visited vineyards in California, it has some of the best grapes in the state and sells them to world-famous wineries all over the world.

Their most valuable fruits are saved for their guests to enjoy, and their winemaker, Derek Irwin, turns them into amazing wines. All of Naggiar Vineyard’s wines are grown, made, and bottled at the vineyard, and they always go above and beyond what people expect.

21. Sierra Starr Vineyard & Winery

The Sierra Starr Winery has both award-winning wines and a unique gift shop, so you can get everything you need there. The winery is in the historic downtown area of Grass Valley, where you can find many landmarks and historical attractions.

The winery has many award-winning wines, such as the 2013 Phils Zin and the 2014 Phils Selection Zinfandel. Also, they have a number of white wines that have won awards that you must try. The address of the winery is 124 W. Main Street, Grass Valley, CA. The Sierra Starr Winery is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

22. Hiking, biking, river rafting

There are a lot of outdoor things to do in Grass Valley, including hiking, biking, river rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding, sailing, and fishing. The list of hiking trails is even longer. Since I could go on and on, I’ll just suggest that you check out Grass Valley’s website, which has a lot of information about all of the above activities.

23. Towers Casino & Card Room

This family-owned casino is a great place for both new and experienced gamblers to have a fun and exciting time gambling in California. There are several poker rooms in the casino.

These rooms offer games like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and more. Pingo, a mix of poker and bingo, is another game where players can try their skill and luck. At Towers Casino & Card Room, you can also play other old-school games like blackjack. For people who just want to relax, the casino has a lively but laid-back atmosphere where they can watch their favorite sports games while sipping a beer or glass of wine from the bar’s selection.

24. Enjoy a Hearty Breakfast at Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro

Tofanelli is a favorite restaurant in Grass Valley. It is known for its hearty breakfast and cozy atmosphere. Tofanelli’s menu has a lot more than just their best breakfast items, but those are what made them famous.

Locals in Grass Valley love to go to this restaurant often for Eggs Oscar, Monterey Benedict, Jose’s Special Scramble, Banana Pancakes, Pecan Pancakes, Huevos Rancheros, and a lot more.

On the other hand, their lunch menu includes burgers, sandwiches, and vegetarian dishes made with fresh ingredients. If you want to have breakfast at Tofanelli’s, they are open every day from 8 am to 3 pm. They are in Grass Valley at 302 W Main Street.

25. Rush to Grass Valley

Grass Valley has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, wine, or adventure. There’s never a dull moment in Grass Valley, which is the perfect mix of fun and rest. If it’s not on your list of places to visit, it should be.

26. Shop for beautiful jewelry find

Crystal Empire Gems is a lovely jewelry store with pieces made just for you at a wide range of prices. This shop is run by a family, and they also sell unusual gems and minerals, so it’s fun to stop by even if you don’t want to buy anything.

If you want to do some shopping, you can find a unique item made by a local artist in this store.

27. Grass Valley Brewing Co., Grass Valley, CO

The Grass Valley Brewing Company is the place to go if you want to try some of the most creative craft beers in Grass Valley. Grass Valley Brewing loves beer, but they love their community even more.

They use their variety of classic and modern beers to bring together travelers and locals who all love craft beers. Grass Valley Brews are made with more than just grain, hops, and water.

28. Hike Around Condon Park

Condon Park is a city park in the southwestern part of Grass Valley that people love to go to on weekends and holidays. It is a popular place to go to relax and do things outside.

It has a picnic area, baseball diamonds, a skate park, a barbeque area, a community building, a children’s playground, a basketball court, a big pond, and a viewing platform. Make sure to stop at Condon Park for a short hike before you drive back home.

29. Visit a piece of local history

Visit the historic home of Lola Montez, who was known for her dancing and wild behavior, as well as for firing a gun into the crowd at the court of King Ludwig I of Spain.

You can also go to Mount Saint Mary’s Academy, which is the oldest Catholic school that has always been open west of the Mississippi. Visit Swan Levine House to learn about the history of the area. It was a hospital in the early 1900s when the Gold Rush was still going strong.

30. Lola Montez House

Lola Montez House
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The Lola Montez House is a California Historical Landmark. It was once the home of Lola Montez, a famous singer, and dancer who moved to California in 1853. Lola Montez used to have fancy parties in her salon, help Lotta Crabtree grow up, and even keep a pet bear at this house. Later in 1855, when Lola Montez moved away from Grass Valley, her house was kept and fixed up, but it was still condemned. The house at 248 Mill Street is a copy of the one that once belonged to Lola Montez. It is now a small museum and the home of the Nevada County Chamber of Commerce.

31. Grab something sweet at Corvus Bakery

This cute little bakery has yummy apple pie, cookies, and even paninis that are to die for. Get a cup of coffee or tea and sit in the cozy and charming Bakery to watch the street. Best of all, there are options on the menu for people who don’t eat meat or gluten.

The shop’s owner is usually there, and many of the servers have worked there for years and years.

32. Avanguardia Winery

The Avenguardia Winery is a small, or ultra-boutique, business with a winery in Nevada City and a tasting room in Grass Valley. Its specialty is non-traditional blends of wines. The winery makes sure that each bottle of wine has just the right amount of alcohol, tannin or oak, and acidity.

33. Get a pick me up with some coffee

There are a lot of restaurants and coffee shops in Grass Valley. This means that people who like coffee can choose from a wide range of unique, local coffee shops to get their morning cup of joe.

Fable Coffee makes its own coffee and has a beautiful coffee bar where you can sit and enjoy a cup. Carolines Coffee Roasters has been in the area for a long time. It started out as a small coffee cart.

Sierra Mountain Coffee Café is the place to go if you want to sit down in a café that specializes in artisan coffee. They make delicious pastries and baked goods in-house, and the cozy atmosphere will make you feel right at home.

34. Project Adventure

Since 1971, Project Adventure has been working to build learning communities. They combine active fun with hands-on learning to help everyone who takes part in their programs grow in a positive way that lasts. Project Adventure has been building teams and teaching for more than 45 years. They work with a wide range of people, including K–12 public and private schools, veterans, and sports teams. Their programs for social and emotional learning include full SEL programs for both teachers and students.

35. Admire the local scenery

Since Grass Valley is in the mountains, you will be able to see some of the most beautiful scenery you could ever hope to see anywhere in the world. If you like hiking, there are lots of places to do it around Grass Valley.

Go up the Hardrock Trail Loop for an easy hike. This is a nice, easy walk through beautiful places. Choose either the Hardrock and Osborn Hills Loop Trail or the Rough & Ready Ditch and Wildflower Loop Trail for a more moderate climb with better views.


Grass Valley is one of the main reasons why you should go to northern California and check it out. Its old rustic beauty was kept by its old mines, museums, and well-kept old buildings. You’ll also remember your trip there for its wineries and tasty food.

If you want to take a trip around northern California, make sure to include Grass Valley on this list, which will be your official plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Things to Do In Grass Valley CA

What is Grass Valley?

Grass Valley is the most important company in the live media and entertainment market when it comes to technology. We work with 90% of the world’s biggest media companies and power their media centers, mobile production units, 24-hour newsrooms, and sports streaming platforms.

What’s it like to live in Grass Valley CA?

There are a lot of parks and places to hike. It’s great to live in Grass Valley. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I think it’s a great place. Everyone who comes here says how beautiful nature is. The people are friendly, and it’s easy to get around.

Is Grass Valley worth visiting?

Grass Valley is both old-fashioned and odd, so it’s a great place to go. The historic downtown area has a great variety of stores, most of which are owned by different people. The town also has a hotel with a lot of history and some good places to eat. There are also a lot of outdoor things to do nearby.

What is Grass Valley CA known for?

In history, Grass Valley is known for the huge amounts of gold that were found and taken out of its rich underground mines. Grass Valley has been the richest gold mining town in California for more than 100 years, thanks to its mines.

Is Grass Valley Nice?

The sixth edition of “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire,” a guidebook to the best places to retire in the United States, named Nevada City/Grass Valley, California, as one of the best places to retire.

How did Grass Valley get its name?

The history of Grass Valley is important to our country and the rest of the world. Since travelers rested their cattle in the grassy fields after a long trip over the Sierra Nevada mountains, Grass Valley, California’s historic downtown has been the center of this small town.

Is Grass Valley in CA or Nevada?

Grass Valley is the largest city in the western part of Nevada County, which is in the U.S. state of California. Located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range at a height of about 2,500 feet (760 m).

Is Grass Valley in Northern or Southern California?

The surprising town in northern California is a great place to spend the weekend. You might not think of Grass Valley as a place to go on a weekend trip in Northern California, but you should put it on your list of places to go.

How did Grass Valley get its name?

The history of Grass Valley is important to our country and the rest of the world. Since travelers rested their cattle in the grassy fields after a long trip over the Sierra Nevada mountains, Grass Valley, California’s historic downtown has been the center of this small town.

How hot does Grass Valley get?

The summers in Grass Valley are hot, dry, and mostly clear, while the winters are long, cold, wet, and mostly cloudy. Most of the time, the temperature changes from 39°F to 88°F over the course of a year. It rarely goes below 32°F or above 95°F.

Does it snow in Grass Valley in December?

Grass Valley gets snow in January, February, March, April, May, November, and December. In Grass Valley, snow usually falls for 0.5 days and builds up 0.71 “Snowfall of 18mm. Grass Valley gets snow 6.8 days out of the year, which adds up to 14.41 inches “snow, or 366 mm.

How much rain did Grass Valley get?

The Western Regional Climate Center says that 14.84 inches of rain fell at the Grass Valley wastewater treatment plant through Sunday. That’s a long way from December 1996, when there was a total of 27.81 inches.

What happened to Grass Valley?

The new business is called Grass Valley. Belden Inc. put Grass Valley up for sale on October 30, 2019, calling it a “discontinued operation” on its books. On February 4, 2020, Black Dragon Capital and Belden Inc. made a final deal for Black Dragon Capital to buy Grass Valley.

What river runs through Grass Valley?

Wolf Creek starts in the hills east of Grass Valley, California, and flows about 25 miles until it meets the Bear River. This makes a watershed that is about 78 square miles in size. South Wolf Creek, South Fork Wolf Creek, Little Wolf Creek, and Rattlesnake Creek all flow into Wolf Creek.