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Updated August 2023

Auburn is a charming town located in Northern California, home to great food and drinks and access to the outdoors. First, I wanted to share a little story about where this ultimate weekend guide to Auburn, California began.

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The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Auburn, California

I smiled to myself as I got off the phone. My husband, who shares the same office and hometown with me, stopped and said, “Did I just hear we are going on a campaign trip to Auburn?” I couldn’t believe it myself. As we were booked in at the Park Victorian Hotel for our time in Auburn, I clicked through the photos on their site, grabbing Travis to look at them with me, gasping, “did you even know this place existed?”

Though I grew up in Auburn and was there until I was 20 years old, it was evident I was returning as a guest, better yet, a traveler.

I thought I knew everything about Auburn and often thought of my hometown as the place most recognized as a stop on the way to Lake Tahoe. As I started to dive deeper into the new business opening, the coffee shop that changed Old Town forever, and after seeing it on the cover of Sunset Magazine, I knew it was much more than my childhood memories.

On this trip, I came back for three nights as a visitor sojourning at the Park Victorian Hotel, not the usual stay at my parent’s home down the road. Auburn had so much more to offer and certainly, it’s a destination destined for weekenders and adventure seekers alike. So as I set out to rediscover Auburn, I couldn’t help but feel emotional.

Part of me was in disbelief that this was for work, that is, writing about my hometown. The other part of me felt the pressure to truly represent this wonderful, historic town in the foothills to who it is today and capture its full potential — a place filled with endless outdoor adventure and culinary experiences like wine tasting and farm-to-table dining.

I can’t help but feel overjoyed, to have tears rush to my eyes as I savor this chance to share Auburn with you. It’s the town I met my husband, where my parents raised me, and the place that largely shaped who I am today. So as I write and share about this slice of heaven in Northern California, bear with me if words can’t capture just how special this place is.

I’ll do my best, but trust me when I say, Auburn is even that much better experienced in person.

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Auburn, California

What to Know Before Traveling to Auburn, California

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Auburn, California

Getting to Auburn, California

Auburn CA to Sacramento is only a quick forty-five minutes. Right off Highway 80, we usually get there from San Francisco in around 2 hours (with no traffic). A car is needed to get around and it’s a perfect road trip kind of place.

Auburn California Weather

Auburn has a very seasonal climate. During the winter, you’ll want a few layers to bundle up in. The summers can get hot which is why you’ll find most soaking in the sun on the lakes or rivers. My favorite time of year to visit Auburn is in late Spring or early Fall!

A popular question is: does Auburn get snow? In my lifetime, I have only seen it a handful of times. It’s typically a light blanketing that melts off by the end of the day.

The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Auburn, California

Where to Stay in Auburn, California

The Park Victorian

The boutique, 6-room hotel sits overlooking the historic part of Auburn. The Park Victorian has the keys to the city in terms of location and is certainly the best for staying overnight. Chic rooms that are bright and cheerful, make for a cozy stay that feels like home. The beds are from Tucked In, Auburn’s natural bedding store — they are so good you’ll probably pick up one for yourself. It’s an intimate stay as breakfast is served family-style downstairs, with fresh cinnamon rolls, coffee, and hot dishes. Certainly, it’s one of the more memorable hotels I’ve stayed at in California in a long time. Book the best rates here.

Where to Eat in Auburn, California

The food scene is an ever-changing landscape in Auburn. Many new restaurants are opening and those classic institutions are still there. Here are some of the new, some of the old, and those you definitely cannot miss. I’ve listed a few highlights below, but check out my guide to the best restaurants in Auburn for the comprehensive list.

Restaurant Josephine

Josephine is one of the newest restaurants to open in Auburn offers a seasonal menu that is rooted in French and Mediterranean flavors. This is arguably the nicest restaurant in Auburn right now and is rightin the heart of downtown.

Address: 1226 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603

The Pour Choice

The Pour Choice is somewhere I find myself at least twice a day. A two-story, modern yet cozy cafe meets bar is where all roads seem to lead. I’ll go in for a great cup of coffee with avocado toast and then return for a charcuterie board paired with a local beer on tap. And I’m not embarrassed to say, sometimes I’ll even stop in the third time after dinner for a drink.

Address: 177 Sacramento St, Auburn, CA 95603

Tap & Vine

Situated in the Downtown area, Tap & Vine is putting together incredible food. I had the chance to dine there twice (lunch and dinner) and both times, was blown away. Their salmon tartar, the egg pasta, and of course, a refreshing beer cannot be missed.

Address: 130 Maple St, Auburn, CA 95603

The Stonehouse (Private Dining)

Family friends and the owner of the former Le Bilig French restaurant, Marc and Monica, are putting together these incredible dinner series at their house in Auburn, California. Named The Stonehouse as an ode to where you’ll be dining, incredible French food is served inside where views of vineyards lay in the distance. To book a private dining experience, email:

Katrina’s Cafe

A childhood staple, Katrina’s is the place to come for a weekend brunch or midweek breakfast — think your all-American classics.

Nectar Café

For those looking for healthy options with an array of vegetarian dishes, I love to come to Nectar for lunch downtown.

Taco Tree

I went back and forth on whether or not to include Taco Tree as it’s definitely considered fast food, but since it is my husband’s favorite place to grab a cheap taco and burrito (also a childhood staple), this diner-like stop is always around for those late-night eats.

Tango Frozen Yogurt

For a way to cool off, head here for self-serve frozen yogurt.

Things to Do in Auburn California

Rise Up River Trips — Rafting + Fine Dining on the American River

One of the highlights of my time this month in Auburn was the chance to whitewater raft down the American River. The best part? At the end of the river, a chef-prepared a fine dining dinner on the side of the river for us. This local, family-owned business creates intimate, high-end custom experiences in Auburn’s great outdoors. For those who love to fly fish, float down the river, or shoot through the rapids, Rise Up River Trips is your premier guide for a one-of-a-kind experience. You can customize a guided tour and find the best fit for you and the family.  

Auburn Co-Op (First Thursday of Each Month, May–September)

On the first Thursday of every month, the Old Town closes off the streets for a fun, community-oriented Co-Op. Local artisans, eateries, and shops set up in the street for everyone to come together and enjoy in one place. It’s lively with music and more.

Saturday Farmer’s Market

Each Saturday morning, the farmer’s market featuring locally grown produce and other vendors, come together. I love popping in to grab a fresh pastry and coffee.

Take a Picnic Farmer’s Market Basket Out on the Wine Trail

On this trip, we filled a basket full of goodies and made our way out on the wine trail to enjoy. We went to PaZa Estate Winery, grabbed a glass of rosé, and enjoyed the picnic in the vineyards.

Hike Your Way Through Auburn

Known as the endurance capital of the world, there are endless trails for hiking. Some of my favorites include Hidden Falls, Stagecoach Trail, and down into the American River Canyon on your way to Cool. The Lake Clementine Trail under the Foresthill Bridge is also incredibly scenic.

Enjoy Spanish Wines at Vina Castellano

Out on the Wine Trail of Auburn, I loved stopping at Vina Castellano to do a tasting inside their wine cave and then enjoying the afternoon at their scenic wine bar overlooking the pond.

Shop Locally at Martin Mattox

Well curated, this store everything you’ll want and more from vintage pieces to beautiful woven bags — let’s just say I stocked up on a few essentials for the house and myself.

Stop by Four Tines Farm

On Sundays, open from 9-1, this family-owned farm has fresh produce right from their backyard for sale. It’s a perfect stop to stock up for the week.

Work Your Way Through the Auburn Wine and Ale Trail

There are countless wineries and breweries that have been opening up in Auburn these past years. Moonraker, Knee Deep, and Crooked Lane are a few favorite breweries to stop in at. Take a look at this map to see everything on offer.

Here are more things to do in Auburn.

*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Explore Auburn. As always, all opinions are own.

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  1. phil boyte Reply

    I’m so glad you included Taco Tree. While it may not serve the spectacular food the other places you mention do . . . it is such a anchor for families on the go in Auburn! After living in Auburn for 15 years this is a fun reminder of what a cool town it is!! And for anyone taking a few days in Auburn be sure to check out Placer HS – it really is a cool high school that is about 100 years old! Thanks Jessica for a great tour of a town I love!

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Thank you, Phil! Taco Tree is such a classic and staple. It really is a special place!

  2. Melinda Minyard Reply

    I can’t imagine how many emotions you must’ve felt coming back home in this capacity! We are all so proud of you & the platform you’ve built to share your hometown with the world! It was such a pleasure meeting you, thank you for hanging out with us over coffee, beer & wine! 🙂

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      So many emotions! Thank you so much for welcoming Travis and I in, we absolutely love coming in. See you soon!

  3. Lydia Jones Reply

    Thanks Jessica for a fun, comprehensive look at our wonderful town! Phil also had some good points! Please don’t forget all the history we have stored up here and hidden treasures like Wreckclamation with its eclectic collection of vintage, antiques, quirky and fun items for sale!

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Thank you, Lydia! There is definitely a ton of history in Auburn!

      • Another great renovated addition to any visit to Auburn is seeing a show or music at the Auburn State Theatre!

  4. What a lovely peace about our wonderful town. I continuesly talk about Auburn to my friends, new people I meet, actually just about anyone who will listen. Your wonderful article shows just how much Auburn has to offer regardless of if you live here or are just passing through.

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Auburn is truly a special place and love getting to call it my home town!

  5. Love this!! Next time you will have to try The Healthy Habit in downtown.Auburn if you haven’t already!

  6. What a lovely testimony to the true heart of out foothill community. I’m definitely old Guard! Sun River Clothing celebrating over 24 years in Old Town!

  7. Thanks for spotlighting our little town. After high school and several years away we returned to the area. It has so much to offer. Loved that you mentioned the best “fast food” ever- Taco Tree!😄 Surprised Bootleggers didn’t make the list. Great for a date night or a special family dinner. So much Gold Rush and Chinese history in Old Town too. Thanks again for the small town shout out!❤️

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Thank you, Treece! It’s a special place and always love returning to my home town!

  8. Thank you for including us Jessica! What a great a few days, we enjoyed meeting you and look forward to your next visit!

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Tim! Thank you so much, we had a wonderful time. P.s. we are LOVING the Turkish towels — every time I use them, it brings me back to Europe. Love them!

  9. What a great article. We have lived here 15 years and have missed out on some of the places that were mentioned. Can’t wait to go explore and try them Thanks for writing about our Auburn.

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Absolutely Marcia! It such a special place and you can always go back and visit!

  10. Georgina kier Reply

    Thank you for mentioning Four Tines Farmstand. Going there is my favorite part of Sundays. There is so much to love about our little town- even Taco Tree 🙂
    Next time you’re in town, look for my car… license plate is I♥️AUBRN

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      It’s so magical there! And yes can’t get enough of Taco Tree!

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