You will never run out of things to do in Nevada City. We really are a little town with big intentions and you can see this all throughout the four colorful seasons.
People come to Nevada City for diverse outdoor recreation, history, fine arts and entertainment, popular restaurants, bars, overnight accommodations, wine tasting, our Railroad Museum, Firehouse Museum, the Miners Foundry Cultural Center and the Nevada Theatre and many festivals, fairs, and special events, throughout the year such as Hot Summer Nights, Victorian Christmas and the most recent addition, The Soap Box Derby.
Nevada City attracts vacationers in all four seasons and is a popular weekend getaway for visitors in Northern California and Nevada. Nevada City serves as a base for recreation in the nearby Tahoe National Forest, South Yuba River and High Sierra. Nevada City is just 45 minutes from Donner Summit area skiing and 60–90 minutes from Lake Tahoe ski areas. Nevada City's popular tourist attractions include:
- South Yuba River State Park — Four season hiking and gold panning, spring whitewater boating and summer/fall swimming on the federally designated Wild and Scenic South Yuba River.
- Historic downtown area — Much of the city's downtown area (bisected by Broad Street) is in the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the buildings date from the 19th century.
- Museums — The Nevada County Historical Society operates Historic Firehouse No. 1 Museum downtown and the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in the Seven Hills Business District area. There is a small museum at Miners Foundry Cultural Center. Many businesses also have displays of photos and historic artifacts dating back to the Gold Rush and pioneer eras.
- The Nevada City Classic — Since 1960, downtown is the site for a challenging professional cycling race. Races for juniors, men, and women are usually take place on Father's Day Weekend. The race attracts thousands of visitors. In June 2009, Lance Armstrong was the winner.
- Constitution Day Parade — Held the second Sunday of September since 1967, it is one of the oldest and largest Constitution observances in the western United States. The event features youth, business and nonprofit entries, the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band and, since 1987, the Famous Marching Presidents (and their First Ladies).
- Wild & Scenic Film Festival — Beginning in 2003, the festival has showcased films on a full range of environmental issues and films emphasizing outdoor adventure and extreme sports. The event takes place in January and occupies multiple venues in downtown Nevada City. It has become one of the largest film festivals of its kind in the United States
- Nevada City Film Festival — Started in 2001, the festival has grown from a showcase for local filmmakers to an international film festival hosting notable filmmakers from around the country. The annual festival is held over the course of four-days in August. The Nevada City Film Festival has been called "The Sundance of the Foothills"
- The Nevada City Soapbox Derby — Founded in 2011 with a mission to provide a fun event for the entire community that is family friendly and enjoyable for all ages, as well as raise money to benefit improvements at Pioneer Park.
- Nevada City Storytelling Festival — Located at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center in nearby North Columbia the festival has attracted major national and regional storytellers since 1985. The event takes place each July in a pine-shaded amphitheater built specifically for storytelling
Other annual major cultural events include Victorian Christmas (street faire), Hot Summer Nights (street faire), Mardi Gras, Fourth of July Parade, Teddy Bear Convention, The Celtic Festival and Psychic Faire.