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Best Holiday Window Displays in Charming Historic Downtown Truckee

Deb Wandell
December 14, 2023
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As the mountain air threatens to turn people into walking snowmen, historic downtown Truckee's festive storefronts beckon visitors into oases of warmth. Lean into the holiday mood, they say.

So bundle up for a twilight stroll down Commercial Row to soak up the vibes (and even some decorating inspiration). Window displays range from simple "I'm here to be festive" garland arrangements to "I'm here to seal the show" installations.

Some highlights:

Gratitudes Gifts and Home Decor decorative holiday window display in Downtown Truckee.

Most traditional: Gratitudes Gifts and Home Decor

Here you'll find Santa sitting outside on a bench, not inside a crowded mall. Julie Huck and her mom, Sue Moule, switch up their window display each year, though some staples — Santa, his sleigh and the elves — return. "Mom is a natural at seeing how things go together. It's not something we plan," says Julie, adding that she loves eavesdropping on kids' comments. “We enjoy the magic." 10112 Donner Pass Road; (530) 587-6858.

La Galleria decorative holiday window display in Downtown Truckee.

Most magical: La Galleria

The holiday finery game is strong at this boutique offering artwork, decor and jewelry. A Nordic wonderland includes a tree elaborately decorated in silver and white, white deer and an Old World Santa carrying a tree. 10112 Donner Pass Road; (530) 587-5444.

Cabonas decorative holiday window display in Downtown Truckee.

Most adorable: Cabona’s

Plush animatronic bears have been enjoying a snow day in the windows of Cabona's for decades. This Truckee tradition includes the work of noted local artist Pam Krone, who designed and built the horses and train about 45 years ago. "The children love it,” says owner Stefanie Olivieri. “Their favorite is the bear that pops out of the log." The dogs love it too. 10100 Donner Pass Road; (530) 587-3161.

Atelier/Bespoke decorative holiday window display in Downtown Truckee.

Most elaborate: Atelier-Bespoke

Wending across the storefront, the floral installation is the work of Love and Lupines Floral Design in Truckee. Atelier/Bespoke owner Heather River sketched the design and supplied most of the flowers from her flower farm in Sierraville. The 18-foot-long garland includes 20 varieties of dried plants. "Oftentimes people think flowers are pretty only when they're fresh, but they can be everlasting," says River. 10100 Donner Pass Road; (530) 582-5500.

Riverside Studios decorative holiday window display in Downtown Truckee.

Most Truckee-inspired: Riverside Studios

The windows, featuring a backdrop of torn paper trees and foraged branches entwined with tiny lights, are inspired by this snowy mountain community and the handmade goods curated by the shop. “We want the windows to reflect the season but also the artists we represent,” says owner Mary Guerra. 10060 Donner Pass Road; (530) 587-3789.

Word After Word Books decorative holiday window display in Downtown Truckee.

Most DIY: Word After Word Books

Fronting this locally owned bookstore are trees cleverly decorated with star-shaped ornaments made from repurposed printed pages. Make your own using pages from a thrift-store book. 10052 Donner Pass Road; (530) 536-8970.

Most unusual: Trout Creek Outfitters

Across from Commercial Row, this shop caters to anglers. Fittingly, the small tree in the window isn't just trimmed; it sports hand-tied flies. Yes, you read that right — nothing says Christmas  like a fly-fishing tree. 10115 Donner Pass Road; (530) 563-5119.

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