Located up Northern California in Placer County, Auburn is the ultimate destination for outdoor adventures. After sharing my Auburn travel guide, I wanted to dive more into some of the best things to do in Auburn, California.
There is a ton going on in Old Town and with a few days’ time, you can really have a wide variety of experiences. These best things to do in Auburn, California range from the great outdoors to wine tasting.
I would recommend going for a long weekend, enjoying time at the river, and experiencing some of these hidden gems in the city. Enjoy some of the highlights of the best things to do in Auburn.
Best Things to Do in Auburn, California
Raft the American River
Is there any better way to pass a summer day? Rafting the American River is a classic and can’t be missed. I’d recommend booking a trip with Rise Up River Trips and getting a boutique experience unlike any other.
If you want an even more elevated experience, book their dinner float, where a chef awaits for you on the side of the river to prepare an incredible meal! This county is known for incredible river adventures.
Take a Farmer’s Market Basket to a Winery
Fill up on goodies from the market and spending the afternoon at a winery is one of my favorite things to do in Auburn. You can stop by the Placer Grown farmer’s market on Saturdays in Old Town — see here for more details on the farmer’s market.
I’d recommend going to Paza Estate Winery — their rosé is so refreshing on a hot summer day. They have set up a wonderful area to hang out at for the afteroon. There are Adirondack chairs at the top of the vineyards that give sprawling views over Placer County. Or bring a blanket with you and go settle down in the vineyards. Either way, it’s a beautiful way to spend an afternoon in Auburn.
Spend a Day Working Through the Wine and Ale Trail
If wine tasting is your thing or you love microbreweries, there are endless options. Auburn is home to some of the best small-batch breweries and wineries. There are now over 20 wineries in Placer County, each unique with different varieties of wine.
They have really intimate wine tastings here, you often feel like you’re with family. It’s part of the Sierra Foothills American Viticultural Area. My favorite wineries are Mt. Vernon Winery, Paza Winery, Vina Castellano Winery, and Fortezza Winery.
For the Ale Trail, Placer County is home to 12 award-winning breweries that are considered craft breweries. Some of the best IPA’s in the state of California come from Placer County. You’ll find the beers frequently on draft at the local restaurants. One other way to experience the beer is by visiting directly for a tasting. My favorite breweries are Crooked Lane Brewing Company and Knee Deep Brewing Company.
Use this map for the Wine and Ale Trail as your guide to help you plan your visit.
Hit the Open Trails
There’s plenty to do outside and if hiking is up to your alley, you’ll never run out of possibilities. Part of being located in the foothills, Auburn has a wide range of hiking trails that are diverse in difficulty. We grew up going often down near the American River.
I love the trails next to the American River like Lake Clementine Trail or a day out at Hidden Falls Regional Park. For Hidden Falls, it’s good to note you need to reserve in advance to access the parking lot.
Other popular trails include Stagecoach Trail, Robie Point Firebreak Trail, and Cardiac Hill. You can’t go wrong with any of these.
Stop Into Pour Choice For Coffee or Live Music
This awesome coffee shop always has something going on, whether it’s a latte competition or live music. The owners, Melinda and Jordan are friends of ours and what they have done for downtown Auburn is incredible.
They created this coffee shop that has now become the “living room” of Auburn. Everyone comes here to hang, grab a coffee or beer. This last year, they released their food menu that offers salads and charcuteries boards as well. You can also find kombucha and wine on tap.
Check out their social channels to see what’s on offer, or just stop in for a coffee!
Take a Day Trip to Nevada City
One of our favorite places near Auburn is the historic town of Nevada City, only 30 or so minutes north. We grew up going often for the day to pop into the local shops, grab lunch, and hike a trail. The town itself has been named one of the most charming historic towns in the US by Travel & Leisure.
During different seasons, you’ll find a wide range of events happening here as well. Victorian Christmas is one of my favorites for when the downtown transforms into a Christmas village.
Spend the Day at Lake Clementine
Located not too far from Auburn, this is a great option for time on the water. Lake Clementine has temperate waters in the summer, so you can easily go for a dip in the lake. It’s around a twenty-minute drive from Auburn depending on where you go at the lake.
My recommendation is to grab some chairs and bring a picnic. You can easily have a full day here enjoying the lake.
Shop Local the Saturday Farmer’s Market
There’s plenty to stock up on at the market, and I’d recommend getting coffee and breakfast here too.
You could take a few goods for a picnic in the local park. Our friends run Clementine Coffee and can’t go wrong with a pastry from one of the multiple vendors there.
Play a Round of Golf
For those who love golf, there are plenty to choose from. I come from a family of golfers, so often my dad, brother, and husband are out playing golf on the weekend.
As per my husband’s recommendation, his favorites are Winchester, Dark Horse, and The Ridge. It is recommended to reserve your round in advance. A lot of travelers from the Bay Area and Sacramento come to play golf on the weekend.
Swim at The River in a Swimming Hole
This was our childhood pastime. We’d all pack into a car, grab our towels and sneakers and walk down to the river. The best place and my personal favorite swimming hole in Auburn is the Auburn Confluence.
Located under the Hwy 49 Bridge, its where all of us locals head to cool off during the heat of the summer. You do need to pay $10 cash to enter, so be sure to bring some with you.
Dine at a Farm to Table Restaurant
One of the outstanding meals in Old Town Auburn is at Carpe Vino. They use fresh ingredients paired with vibrant colors to make an incredible meal.
You could even stop in at the wine bar for a glass of wine and some bites.
*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Explore Auburn. As always, all opinions are own.