Weekend Getaway in Auburn, Ca

Weekend Getaway in Auburn, Ca Claimed

Weekend or Quick Getaway

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Trip Overview

Auburn, Ca is a great getaway spot for a weekend of restaurants, shopping and outdoor adventures.

Full Itinerary

If you are looking to break up your drive to Tahoe from the Bay Area or are looking for an interesting destination within 2+ hours of San Francisco, Auburn is an area with a lot of hidden jewels.  Located between Sacramento and Tahoe/the Sierras, Auburn has tons to offer for those looking for great hiking, biking, restaurants, shopping, and more. It can be very warm in the summer (often in the 90s) and the winters are fairly mild, with only rarely having a dusting of snow. So plan  your activities accordingly (ie in the summer be sure to hike early in the day and follow it with midday swimming, lunch and shopping!). 

Below is a list of some of our family’s favorites that will make for a great weekend, or even just a fun stop off en route to or from Tahoe from the Bay Area.

There are three main ‘areas’ of Auburn (plus a couple of other nearby areas I’ll point out as well) in terms of restaurants and shops. You have to drive between these different areas, and each has a very different vibe to it. I’ve broken the recommended restaurants/shopping up by area to make it easier to navigate.

Restaurants and Shopping

Old Auburn: 

‘Old Auburn’ is on the South side (on the right as you are headed toward Tahoe) off hwy 80 at the Lincoln Way exit. You can’t miss the large statue of a person panning for gold, and this couple block area around it is ‘Old Auburn’.  It is easily walkable, is filled with historic buildings from the gold mining days, and has a selection of restaurants and stores.

Shopping:

  • Shopping in this area is pretty touristy for my taste, and I don’t have any ‘go-to’ stores in this area, but it’s still a nice place to wander and browse gift shops. 

Restaurants:

  • The Pour Choice. This is a super popular local ‘craft coffee and tap room’. Come for coffee, beer, wine or a scone, salad, or sandwich.  More often than not there is a line, but it is worth it.  Sit outside on their patio with a cup of coffee and some avo toast and get your day started right.
  • Auburn Ale House and The Alehouse Annex. The Auburn Ale House serves up its own craft beer as well as lunch and dinner burgers, salads, and more. Their Alehouse Annex is across the street. This is a favorite spot of our kids’ for a family dinner out.
  • Carpe Vino – Wine bar with American cuisine and fine wines in a historic building. Double-check if opened. 

Downtown Auburn:

A few blocks away, but not really in walking distance, is ‘Downtown Auburn’.  This is my favorite part of Auburn as it has an old, small town feeling with local shops and no chain stores. Some of the stores feel like they are from another era (and I often wonder how they stay in business) but recently there has been a whole new crop of trendy spots, with more on the way.

Shopping:

  • Martin Mattox- This fun, beautifully curated store used to be in SF until the owners moved to Auburn and brought their cool, eclectic wares with them. Southwestern items, unique clothing for both men and women, home items and a super interesting, well-styled array of products guarantee a new exploration/shopping experience every time you go in. This is a “can’t miss” shopping spot.
  • The Aid Station: Trails and Ales There are some interesting ‘combo’ stores in downtown Auburn. This one is part running store and part draft beer pub, with a gym on the other half of the store as well. Grab a kombucha or beer on tap after you grab some new running shorts!
  • US Artisan Marketplace: In need of a candle, a home accessory or ‘artisan jeans’? Here you go!
  • Refillery: No more waste! Bring your bottles to be filled up with locally made soaps, detergents, and cleansers.
  • Little Bird Mercantile: Hit or miss here but worth checking out their vintage goods. 
  • The Naturalists Atelier: Opened this summer, this spot offers classes for pressing flowers, making floral-inspired jewelry and more. It also offers locally made products that incorporate flora and fauna.

Restaurants:

  • Josephine’s – Delicious fine dining french restaurant popular amongst the locals. Reservations needed. You can also sit at the bar for a great cocktail and food. Located a few blocks outside of downtown Auburn area.
  • The Station Public House – Casual outdoor dining with tap beer and gastro pub food.
  • The Baker and the Cakemaker – Come for a freshly baked loaf of bread (they supply other places locally but it’s made here), a cup of coffee, and an amazing cookie, muffin, or piece of cake.  
  • The Yeti Tavern – Offering that obvious combo of pinball, ice cream, and beer on tap!  Want a beer float? This is your spot.
  • The Auburn Bodega: Small high-end grocery store/deli with great sandwiches, as well as baskets! Great curated items.
  • Remedy Supply Co – This coffee spot is still under construction in a wonderful historic building so keep your eyes open for when it’s completed and open. 
  • Hanami Sushi – Fresh and delicious sushi spot.
  • Tap & Vine – Located between Old Auburn and Downtown Auburn, they have a great bar and American-style fine dining.

Regular ‘Auburn’

The area of Auburn on the other side of Highway 80, on route 49, is more the area with tire stores, Target, Best Buy, etc. Not a pretty area to wander at all, but there are a couple of places to check out for food/drink.

  • Katrina’s Cafe:  It’s been around since the ’70s and is the place to grab breakfast, lunch, or a quick bite. And now, after many years it finally accepts credit cards. Dog-friendly patio seating. 
  • Crooked Lane Brewery: Good craft beer on tap, and food truck options (check site for food times)
  • Auburn Thai Garden: Our go-to Thai spot. Delicious! 

Other Nearby Area Spots:

Just north of Auburn there are a couple of places definitely worth going to that are popular spots for people en route to Tahoe, as well as with the locals.

Restaurants/Fruit Stands:

  • Ikedas. Long-time favorite stop for travelers heading to Tahoe, Ikedas is the place to stop for a great burger, fries and a piece of pie from the restaurant section as well as to grab fruit, a whole pie, wine and delicacies from the upscale ‘fruit stand’ next door. 
  • Awful Annies: Long-time breakfast favorite, Awful Annies is a block from Ikedas.
  • Machados: On the other side of 80 is the smaller, family-un fruit stand (look for the ‘blimp’) which cooks up fresh pies daily and also offers great fresh fruit from its own orchards out back, along with dried fruit and other produce. It’s currently up for sale and we hope it survives and continues to thrive! 

A couple of other restaurants we like that are a bit east or west of Auburn, off of Highway 80:

  • In Newcastle we love La Fornaretta for great Italian food in this cozy, ‘red and whte checked tablecloth’ restaurant. 
  • West of Auburn in Colfax, Dine N Dash Pub offers casual and good breakfast and lunch, and has a good backyard patio area. You’d pass it on Hwy 80 without a glance, but it’s worth checking out. 
  • In Meadow Vista, just East of Auburn, the Tin Lantern Bar & Grill, open from 3-9, is just 10 minutes off of 80 and offers very nice dinner options. Reservations recommended.

Wine Tasting

There are a lot of wineries in the area and the Placer Wine Trail features extensive choices. A quick Google search will show you all the options.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking/Running:

Auburn has become a real hub of sports such as endurance running and mountain biking. It calls itself ‘the endurance capital of the world’, and is the end location of the Western States 100 race that starts in Tahoe each summer. Auburn is also home to the Tevis Cup 100 Mile Endurance Equestrian Ride.

The Auburn State Recreation Area is the hub for hiking and running trails.  The park, situated on two forks of the American River, is just off Interstate 80 and covers 40 miles of the North and Middle forks of the American River. There are numerous trails for running, hiking, biking, and horseback riding as well as multiple outfitters offering rafting of Class II, III, IV and V runs. 

Check their website for trail maps. Some of our favorite trails include:

  • HWY 49, up the Western States trail towards Cool, and back. You can add in the ‘training hill’ route to this as well, but be ready for 30 mins of a rocky uphill climb.
  • Robie Point FB Trail (3.6 miles)
  • Foresthill Divide Loop Trail (8.2 miles)
  • Olmstead Loop Trail (8.6  miles)
  • Quarry and Western States Loop Trail (6.3 miles)
  • Lake Clementine Access Trail – Walk out along the river towards, and then under, the ForestHill Bridge, ending at the dam of Lake Clementine 

Further up Highway 80 in Colfax is another trail we like which takes you out for great views over the American River, and you can swim as well before heading back. 

  • Stevens Trail (3.2 to the river, then another 3.2 back)

Mountain Biking

Lots of options in Auburn SRA, a quick Google search will bring the trails up for you.

Rafting:

There are tons of rafting options on the American River. Google ‘rafting Auburn, Ca’ and you’ll find lots of outfitters for a great day on the river.

Swimming:

You can swim in the American River – the easiest spot to access is at the confluence where you and park and easily walk to the shoreline for a dip. 

Enjoy!

Photos

Author

Time of year

July-Sept

Type of Trip

Adventure/Active, Food/Culture/Arts, Urban exploration, Nature, Combo

Duration

quick getaway/weekend

Who Went

Couple, Family with young kids, Family with teen kids, Family with adult kids, Girls trip

Budget

less than $200

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