South Yuba River

South Yuba River painting, Come Paint With Us

Entering the historic, picturesque beauty that is Nevada County is reason enough to celebrate nature and our rich Gold Country heritage. Our spectacular part of Northern California is a favorite for people from around the world to enjoy and experience all that makes our county unique!

1. Every Season is Beautiful in Nevada County

No matter the season of your celebration, our county will provide a spectacular natural backdrop! Experiencing all four seasons, Nevada County is a diverse wonderland just waiting for you to enjoy! Fall colors linger until the beauty of winter takes over. Long-lasting spring wildflowers welcome the abundance of summertime beauty and activities. Whether your plans include lakes, rivers, or mountains, there isn’t a wrong season to be here!
Our brilliant autumn colors have been called some of the most spectacular in the west. Attracting visitors and photographers to see and capture the picturesque colors, neighborhoods, and landscapes, we often see recognizable vistas in publications near and far! Fall Colors begin in early October and usually last until Thanksgiving. Ask the local Chamber of Commerce for a self-guided fall tour map.

2. Up, Down, Inside or Out…So Many Choices

Nevada County is one of the most desired (and affordable!) destinations for weddings and celebrations, only second to Napa Valley. There are also many options for corporate retreats, conferences, and cultural events. Steeped in a gold rush history, Nevada County communities offer a wide choice of indoor and outdoor venues, varying from rustic, modern, eclectic and sophisticated!
Brides looking for a rustic wedding love the myriad of options, such as Rough and Ready Vineyards, North Star House, and Empire Mine. Others wanting indoor events choose an indoor location such as the Miners Foundry, The Foothills Event Center, or Gold Miners Inn, all with inviting and unique features.

3. Nevada County is an Arts & Cultural Wonderland

No visit to the region is complete without taking in the local art scene. On any given day across the county, you will find many local artists exhibiting in the local galleries from Grass Valley to Truckee! With annual Art Walks and the Open Studios Tour, you meet the artist while taking in their paintings, pottery, sculpture, and more!
Nevada County is home to world-class music that attracts connoisseurs from around the world, including the Bluegrass Festival, Music in the Mountains, InConcert Sierra, WorldFest, and the Strawberry Festival. Many of these are held under the pines at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, named “California’s most beautiful fairgrounds!”
Throughout Nevada County, you will find plays and other unique entertainment offered by local and traveling writers, musicians, and artists. Whether you find a play Off Broad Street, live music at a pub, or our annual Storytelling Festival, there is always something to do!

Historic downtown Grass Valley

Painting of downtown Grass Valley, Come Paint With Us

4. We’ve Got History

One of the most important gold mining towns in the 1840s was Nevada City. With its gaslights and gold, the bustling town was called “queen city of the northern mines” with a history that few can compete with. As you stroll through the quaint streets lined with stately Victorian homes and historical landmarks, you become aware of the powerful draw it has – and it all began with the gold.
Grass Valley has its vibrant downtown as its centerpiece. Serving this community since 1849, you’ll find a historical hotel, galleries, award-winning restaurants, and one of a kind shopping. The Empire Mine is located here and is a must-see for history buffs and tourists alike! The most productive mine in California, the property is fully restored and a frequent site for photographers.
As the getaway to the Sierra’s, Truckee is a historical town with a rich history and an old town centered around the commercial row and the historic railroad. A growing community that has retained its small-town atmosphere, exploring the local sites and landmarks should not be missed! The Donner Memorial and Emigrant Trail Museum are a treasure — with interpretive displays and hiking trails, this area should not be missed!

5. You Can’t Beat our Cuisine and Libations

Nevada County has a vigorous and growing boutique wine industry which originated in 1852 when the first vineyard was planted. Winery tours offer a blend of experiences from the charm of downtown tasting rooms to the rural beauty in the countryside vineyards. Sierra Vintners offers wine trails seasonally to sample the wines and meet the vintners.
Many new breweries and taprooms have joined the local scene, offering award-winning craft-made local beers. Most offer food too with an emphasis on locally sourced meats and produce. At the Thirsty Barrel taproom in downtown Grass Valley, you can usually sample beers from local favorites like Ol’ Republic and Grass Valley Brewery.
Local restaurants rival big city fare, offering farm to table food for every palate! Vegan? Try Café Tara. Organic? Visit MeZe Mediterranean Eatery. There is something for everyone from local coffeehouses to fine dining. And don’t forget dessert! Decadent sweets are always a treat in our innovative ice cream and candy shops in every town.

Bridgeport painting

Bridgeport painting, Come Paint With Us

6. It’s Picturesque

With the natural Nevada County beauty as your backdrop, you can’t go wrong! Some of California’s most serene and picturesque vistas are found along the Yuba River, overlooking Donner Lake, and in the mountains in between. Lower in elevation, the rolling foothills of Penn Valley and Rough & Ready feature heritage oaks, many hundreds of years old.
Some of our historical sites, like the covered bridge at Bridgeport or the town at Malakoff Diggins provide incredible opportunities for both the professional and amateur photographer. Throughout the county, you can immerse yourself in the living beauty of wildlife, crystal clear waters, serene forests, and gentle pastures.
Want to see a wilder country? Head off on a backcountry hike or spend a few days backpacking! Featuring both state and national parks, there are trailheads, maps, and campgrounds for you to explore on your own. You might even discover the same solitude that the early Native American tribes loved about the area!

7. It’s Home

Not surprisingly, most of our residents moved from other areas after discovering the amazing richness of Nevada County. The quality of life is the biggest draw. The pace is slower with more opportunities for pleasure, all while enjoying the amenities found in a big city.
Our area also has continued to attract actively involved business owners, including advance tech companies that date back to 1958. Home to a diverse group of thriving businesses, you’ll find manufacturing companies, cottage businesses, entrepreneurs, organic farmers, technology and research companies, inventors, and developers. Others move here seeking an active retirement community, with opportunities to maintain outdoor activity and contribute to our community.
From horse properties to historic Victorians, miner’s cottages to farmhouses, homes here are as unique as the people who make Nevada County home. There are even gated communities with golf and lakes, equestrian properties, and neighborhoods built into the forest. There is something for every taste!

There’s always a reason to celebrate in Nevada County, and the
Foothills Event Center would love to host your next celebration!
Please call us at 530-271-1000 for info on how we can make your next event or celebration one to remember.


This article originally appeared in the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce’s magazine, Destination Nevada County, and is published here with permission from the author. 

Mardie Caldwell
Written by Mardie Caldwell

Mardie has been a successful and inspiring entrepreneur since 1981. The Foothills Event Center was created out of Mardie’s desire to enrich the community and provide a place to come together for celebrating, learning, sharing, and enjoying our rich Gold Country heritage. Rooted in her love of Nevada County, Mardie’s strong vision and desire to serve the community yielded the opportunity to revitalize the former Weaver property into a gathering place that we all can enjoy.

Her innovation and commitment to environmental responsibility contribute positively to our community and surroundings. With The Foothills Events Center, Mardie is creating the best experience for our clients and their guests, creating memories for generations.