A Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, California

We discovered this little town of Nevada City, California when I heard about it from my friend Radhika.

Radhika would tell me stories of this charming town and the wonderful Victorian Christmas fair that was held every year in Nevada City and how it was always a beautiful nostalgic Christmas fair. She would describe Victorian style stalls and vendors in Victorian costumes selling hot apple cider and warm roasted chestnuts, with shops in town all beautifully decorated for Christmas and shopkeepers also dressed in period costumes. My friend has a way of making everything sound so romantic and nostalgic!! She made Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas sound so amazing that I decided: “That’s it, I want to go and check it out for myself!”


I finally made it out to Nevada City, California last year and took the twins during their December break. We went for a day trip to this lovely California Western town an hour outside of Sacramento and close to Lake Tahoe.


Nevada City, California

Nevada City is a charming Gold Rush town nestled in the Sierra Foothills. This is a beautiful town with rolling hills and winding roads. Hilly streets meander through town passing through art galleries, little boutiques, shops selling western gear and clothing, coffee shops and ice cream parlors.


Walking is a wonderful way to explore this beautiful little town 

We stumbled upon delightful little shops tucked away on hilly side-streets. Little foot bridges go over babbling brooks and streams, and cobblestoned sidewalks lead you though alleyways past little neighborhoods lined with cozy cottages all decorated for the holidays. Walking is a wonderful way to explore this beautiful little town and to get a sense of its appeal.


Chocolate shops, clothing boutiques, home decor stores, book shops, and art galleries give you a chance to shop for holiday presents, or just go window shopping on the beautifuly decked out streets of Nevada City.


Nevada City’s Annual Victorian Christmas Fair

Every December, Nevada City hosts an authentic Victorian style Christmas Fair that harkens back to the era of old Victorian times. Held for 5 days over a period of 3 weeks in December, this Gold Rush town is transformed into an old Victorian town ready for the Christmas holidays. All shops and boutiques are beautifully decorated with holiday decorations, and at night the streets are lite up with Christmas lights transforming the town into a lovely scene that is truly like a Norman Rockwell painting.


The Victorian Fair is a street fair in the style of old Victorian times. Tents are set up in the evening in the town’s Main St, with stalls selling wares from hand made jewelry, to pottery, candles, sweaters, scarves, and many other types of hand made goods. Most of the fun is just walking arround and enjoying the sights and sounds of all the festivities at the fair. When we went it felt like a big holiday street party.


Everyone is in good holiday spirits and you feel you are part of a festive celebration filled with laughter and fun. Food stalls sell hot apple cider, burgers, hot dogs, carmel corn,  tacos and hot noodle ramen.


In addition to enjoying the holiday fair you can also take an evening jaunt on a horse drawn carriage that will take you on a tour of this beautiful town. The fair is a wonderful way to spend an evening and celebrate all that the holiday season has to offer.


How to get there

Nevada City can be a long drive with traffic through the Bay Area and through Sacramento, but if you are looking for a Christmas holiday evening that will be memorable for the entire family, check out Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas Street Fair. It will be a unique experience that the entire family will enjoy.  The Nevada City Commerce Department describes their Victorian Christmas Fair in this way:

Welcome the holiday season in style in historic Nevada City, a quaint, Gold Rush town nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Sierra where each year the town’s picturesque downtown transforms into a genuine Christmas card come to life. It’s a magical setting with twinkling white lights and authentic gas lamps, wandering minstrels and carolers dressed in Victorian attire, and a myriad of visitors sharing holiday cheer and good tidings.

The enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty holiday foods fill the air, along with cries of street vendors hawking their wares and lamp-lit streets filled to overflowing with authentic Christmas treasures — hand-crafted candy, jewelry, pottery, perfume, dolls, and over 100 different items in all. It’s the one & only Victorian Christmas-full of new shows, sights, sounds and attractions.

This annual, family tradition takes place 2 Wednesday evenings and 3 Sunday afternoons in December and features holiday activities for all ages:  carriage rides, live entertainment, savory yuletide treats and libations, and of course, Father Christmas!

There is oh so much to see, hear, feast upon and experience at Victorian Christmas. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice…we look forward to welcoming the best of the holiday Season with you and yours!

For more information on Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas, take a look at this link Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas


7 thoughts on “A Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, California”

  1. It is a special little town that’s for sure. I’m happy you had a great experience there. I do agree with you that walking is a great way to see the town. It can be very challenging to drive on those narrow streets, especially with a big truck. I’ve had a few interesting experiences there..lol. I love seeing the old houses in their full Christmas attire. Thank you for sharing yet another beautiful post from our marvelous state!

    1. We really enjoyed Nevada City especially during their holiday fair. I know right? California is so gorgeous that I feel so fortunate to be living in such a beautiful part of the world!!

  2. Never knew about this city. Looks like a nice place. Beautiful pictures. Will make a trip one of these days.

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