Once outclassed by Glitzy Lake Tahoe, Truckee has lately acquired its own bright shine. In the railroad-era downtown, you'll find chic shopping and upscale dining along with vintage charm and innocent holiday fun—ideal for a break from the heady ski slopes. Area code is 530.
- Jordan's at the Truckee Mercantile stands out from dozens of boutiques with its hip mix of kids' items (cuddly Blabla knit dolls) and Euro designer clothes and shoes. 10052 Donner Pass Rd., 582-1252.
- Glide beneath evergreens at the Truckee River Regional Park ice rink, opening this year on November 22. If you're rusty, you can brush up with a weekend morning lesson; $12 covers instruction, skates, and a session on the ice. Or go for a night skate and bring marshmallows to toast at the fire pit. 10500 Brockway Rd., 587-6172, tdrpd.com .
- An admirable eco-consciousness reigns at Pacific Crest Grill and Bar of America, where even the to-go boxes are biodegradable. but the wood-fired pizzas, pastas, meats, and seafood are the real draw. For a happy hour pick-me-up, try a glass of biodynamic wine with a meze appetizer plate. 10042 Donner Pass Rd., 587-2626, pacificcrestgrill.com .
- At the western edge of down-town, Riverside Studios—owned by leatherworker Kahlil Johnson and ceramicist Alanna Hughes—showcases the work of up to 25 local artists, from sculpture and painting to jewelry made with Lake Tahoe stones. 10374 Donner Pass Rd., 587-3789, riversideartstudios.com .
- Sleek Moody's Bistro & Lounge offers top-notch jazz and such winter fare as house-made pastas, salamis, and pates, and platters with four different cuts of pork. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities. Paul McCartney dined here—twice—and got up for impromptu performances. 10007 Bridge St., 587-8688, moodysbistro.com .
Photography by Mitch Tobias 
This article was first published in November 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.