Lake Tahoe has many summertime benefits. There is plenty of water to swim in. Access to the forest is simple with the plentiful amounts of easily accessible single-track trails. And there are beaches aplenty to indulge in the finer side of relaxation.
But what takes Lake Tahoe over the top is the plethora of outdoor concert opportunities. North, south, east and west, there are so many different avenues of listening to live music that if one desired they could boogie every night of the week.
Sundays in Tahoe City
Possibly my favorite, this weekly musical extravaganza happens directly on the shores of Lake Tahoe at the Commons Beach park and is host to many bands that are absolute local favorites. Held on Sundays from 4 to 7 p.m. through September 2, the series line up is impressive in its own right. But the greatness doesn’t stop there. This free concert series offers a beautiful opportunity to make a day of it by packing a picnic, arriving early and enjoying the stellar setting that is Tahoe City. If you don't bring a picnic, don't worry; there are a few booths offering local dishes and drinks. This Sunday, July 1, come out to see Jimmy Leslie's Guitarfish Family Band.
Fridays at Kings Beach
Another amazing opportunity to enjoy free live music on the sandy beaches of Lake Tahoe, the Friday concerts at King Beach offer one of the best views of the length of the lake. Beyond the great bands, there is beer, wine and soda available as well as food vendors serving up delicious treats. The series runs from June 29 to August 31 (except August 10), from 6 to 8:30 p.m. This Friday, June 29, see The Sextones.
Wednesdays in Truckee
An absolute favorite for all those who call Truckee home, Music in the Park is a wonderful way to enjoy a great amphitheater that has the backdrop of the rushing Truckee River. The music flows Wednesdays from June 20 to August 29. Times are 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and each showing has food and drinks available in the small food court, but picnicking is highly encouraged. There's no concert on July 4, but there will be fireworks at West End Beach.
Old Town Truckee
Truckee Thursdays is the place to be for all those who want to be a part of the cool crowd. Old Town Truckee is literally taken over by food vendors, small local businesses and different libation opportunities. This results in a boisterous and enjoyable block party that is enhanced by some live music (though music is most definitely not the main focus). A wonderful way to start the weekend off right, this get-together happens on Thursdays from June 14 to August 23, and the hours are 5 to 8:30 pm.
If you enjoy the good old sound of the blues, then check out Squaw Valley’s Tuesdays Bluesdays that brings in a new band each week to celebrate the music and surroundings. There are food vendors and drinks available. This happening occasion runs from June 12 to September 4 from noon to 8 p.m. On Tuesday, July 3, see Curtis Salgado.
Thursdays in South Lake Tahoe
For those who love South Lake Tahoe, Live at Lakeview, now in its seventh season, is another free opportunity to appreciate outdoor live concerts. Not only is the lineup impressive, but also the sandy beach, amphitheater, array of local vendors and stunning views are enticing. Other bonuses: There are paddleboard rentals available for enjoying the show from the water, and they offer free bike valet service! This series occurs on Thursdays from June 21 to August 30 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. On Thursday, June 28, see Jack Berry with Erick Baker.
Although not a free concert series, Harveys Summer Concert Series is your chance to see huge names in action. From comedians like Amy Schumer to global musical sensations like Stevie Wonder, the shows all are fantastic in their own way. The outdoor concerts happen from June until late September and range in start times. On Tuesday, July 3, country star Kenny Chesney is performing.
Friday and Saturday at Heavenly Village
Touted as Lake Tahoe's largest free concert series, Heavenly Village Summer Concert Series is certainly packed full of goodness. Happening from Memorial Day to Labor Day, it's a great way to enjoy the spectacular scenery, people watching, shopping treasures and fantastic musical acts that inspire the need to let loose. The shows happen every Friday and Saturday, plus July 4, directly in the village center, with music starting at 5:30 p.m. This weekend, June 29 and 30, see Mark Mackay on Friday and Thunder Cover on Saturday. On Wednesdays, July 4, see Musicole.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is putting on a three-part concert series. With the idea of bringing together different artists to create a memorable evening, this is a unique way of looking at collaboration on the music front. The first showing is one that celebrates alternative rock with a joining of forces from Everclear, Fuel, Marcy Playground, Local H and Oleander, happening on Saturday, July 7. On August 4 the second in the series mixes Ice Cube, Everlast and DJ Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys. The third, on August 11, appreciates the sounds of Papa Roach.