The locals’ favorite month of “summer” has arrived, as temperatures stay warm but crowds taper. September is a great time to visit, not only for the usually perfect weather and fewer people, but also for the lively events. This month, don’t miss a wine fest and Oktoberfest at Palisades Tahoe, the last weekend of the Heavenly Village Summer Concert Series over Labor Day weekend, and a beer and a chicken wing cook-off there a few weeks later, plus, the Truckee Reggae Fest, a family farm festival and Reno’s magical hot air balloon festival.
We’ve done the deep research for you on the best things to do in Tahoe including museums, cultural events, food tours, athletic events, hikes and more. Speaking of food, we also have an extensive list of our best restaurants in Tahoe, and if you’re planning a weekend, the the best places to stay.
Tahoe in September is sunny, but not boiling hot, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s.
Featured Photo: @renoballoon
North Lake Tahoe
Alpen Wine Fest
Taste your way through wines from more than 40 wineries and get your groove on to live music at the 33rd annual Alpen Wine Fest at Palisades Tahoe. Tickets include unlimited tasting, an Alpen Wine Fest wine glass, and live music from popular local musicians. Participating wineries include Dashe, Hirsch, Lioco, Lauritson, Ridge and Williams Selyem. Event is open to all ages, but must be 21 years or older with a valid ID to wine taste.
Beer will be flowing and festivities will be in full swing when Oktoberfest starts a month early at Palisades Tahoe. All the classic elements of a quality Oktoberfest are represented, including traditional Bavarian music and folk dancers, authentic German beer and hearty food offerings including brats, pretzels, Swiss slices and traditional European desserts like apple strudel and nussgipfel. You won’t want to miss ever-popular Oktoberfest games like keg rolling, a brat toss and a stein-rolling competition. Enjoy live entertainment by Joe Smiell’s 20-piece Bavarian band, the Almenrausch Schuhplattler and Alpentanzer Schuhplattler.
More info: palisadestahoe.com
South Lake Tahoe
Heavenly Village Summer Concert Series
The Shops at Heavenly Village wrap up their free, outdoor summer concert series this month with bands Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Shows take place on the stage between the Fire and Ice and Gunbarrel Tavern restaurants from 5:45pm to 9:15pm.
More info: tahoesouth.com
2023 Fall Ale Fest and Wing Competition
Dance the day away with a cold beer in-hand and a sampler plate of wings to get your fall started right at The Fall Ale Fest in Heavenly Village. Sample beers, spirits, kombucha and sodas from across the region. There will be live music and local restaurants competing in a chicken wing cook-off to win a 6-foot-tall trophy.
More info: visitlaketahoe.com
Truckee Reggae Fest
Get your groove on with classic Jamaican roots reggae at the third annual Truckee Reggae Fest, featuring Black Uhuru, Yaadcore, Prezident Brown, Soulmedic, live DJs and more. There will be food trucks, a beer garden and arts and crafts from local vendors. All will take place at the outdoor Truckee Regional Park Amphitheater, alongside the Truckee River.
More info: ticketweb.com
Family Farm Festival
Your family won’t want to miss the free farm festival at Truckee’s KidZone Museum. This community favorite features a petting zoo with bunnies, pigs, goats and more, pony rides, face painting, bulb planting, arts and crafts and a bilingual singalong. Plus, everyone can play for free and try out the interactive exhibits at the children’s museum that day.
More info: kidzonemuseum.org/farm-fest/
Great Reno Balloon Race
See more than 80 hot-air balloons soar over Reno’s skyline in this spectacularly colorful event — an area favorite for over three decades. The Great Reno Balloon Race is free and spectators can explore balloons up close on the field. Highlights include the Glow Show and Dawn Patrol, a predawn spectacle as balloons twinkle against the dark sky; Mass Ascension, when over 80 colorful balloons fill the sky; special shaped balloons as well as food, crafts, art and souvenirs.
More info: renoballoon.com