Top 15 Things to Do in Placerville

Nestled in the heart of California’s Gold Country, Placerville is a charming town steeped in history and overflowing with activities for visitors to enjoy. Once a bustling hub during the gold rush era, this picturesque locale now offers a delightful mix of historical attractions, outdoor adventures, and local delights that cater to every taste.

In this post, we’ll share the top 15 things to do in Placerville that will make your visit truly unforgettable. So, buckle up, and let’s embark on an exciting journey through this captivating town!

1. Learn About the Gold Rush Era in Hangtown’s Gold Bug Park

Hangtown's Gold Bug Park
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Step back in time and experience Placerville’s gold rush history at Gold Bug Park. Just a quick 5-minute and one-mile drive from downtown, this park features the Gold Bug Mine, where you can take a self-guided tour to see authentic mining equipment and learn about the miner’s life.

Wander through the eerie, cool tunnels and marvel at the perseverance of the miners who once sought their fortunes here. Don’t miss the Historic Stamp Mill used to crush gold-bearing quartz and extract precious metals.

2. Get a Glimpse Into the Past at El Dorado County Historical Museum

El Dorado County Historical Museum
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A mere 7-minute and 2.5-mile drive from the heart of Placerville, the El Dorado County Historical Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past. From Native American artifacts to gold rush memorabilia, this museum has it all.

Don’t forget to check out the outdoor exhibits. They feature vintage mining equipment and transportation vehicles. With interactive displays and knowledgeable staff, you’ll leave the Placerville Historical Museum with a newfound appreciation for the area’s rich heritage.

3. Take Some Photos in Front of the Bell Tower

Bell Tower
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Situated in the center of Placerville’s historic downtown, the iconic Bell Tower has been a symbol of the community since 1865. It once served as a fire alarm for the town, with its bell ringing to summon volunteer firefighters.

Nowadays, it stands as a proud testament to Placerville’s resilience and growth. It’s just a short walk from nearby shops and restaurants, so be sure to snap a photo of this landmark while exploring the charming streets of Placerville.

4. Go Wine Tasting at the Farms in Apple Hill

Apple Hill Railroad
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A 10-minute and 4.6 mile drive from Placerville, Apple Hill is a must-visit destination during the fall months. With over 50 family-owned farms, you can pick your own apples, sample delicious apple treats, and enjoy scenic hayrides. But it’s not just about apples.

Depending on the season, there are plenty of other activities, like wine tasting, pumpkin patches, and Christmas tree farms. The picturesque landscape, fresh mountain air, and friendly local farmers make Apple Hill an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

5. Take a Guided Tour of the Historic Stamp Mill

Located within Gold Bug Park, the Historic Stamp Mill is a fascinating relic of Placerville’s gold mining past. As you tour the park, marvel at this massive machine that played a crucial role in extracting gold from ore.

Witness the power of these mills, which once thundered with activity, crushing rock and forever changing the region’s landscape. Just a 5-minute drive from downtown Placerville, the park is easily accessible and a must-visit for history buffs.

6. Enjoy a Festival or Rodeo at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds

El Dorado County Fairgrounds
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Just a 7-minute drive from downtown Placerville, the El Dorado County Fairgrounds hosts various events throughout the year, including the El Dorado County Fair. Whether it’s a concert, a rodeo, or a local festival, there’s always something fun happening at the fairgrounds.

Check their event calendar to see what’s on during your visit. From thrilling carnival rides to mouthwatering fair food, the El Dorado County Fairgrounds offers a fun-filled experience for the whole family.

7. Go Apple-Picking and Fishing at the Family to High Hill Ranch

High Hill Ranch
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Part of the Apple Hill area, High Hill Ranch is a family-friendly destination perfect for a day trip. About a 15-minute drive from Placerville, you can enjoy apple picking, fishing in the pond, or shopping at the on-site craft fair.

Don’t forget to try their famous apple donuts and fresh-pressed apple cider sure to become instant favorites! Given the stunning views of the surrounding orchards and a relaxed atmosphere, High Hill Ranch is an ideal spot for a leisurely outing.

8. Learn More About Gardening in Sherwood Demonstration Garden

Sherwood Demonstration Garden
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Located in the El Dorado Center, about 10 minutes from Placerville, the Sherwood Demonstration Garden showcases various garden styles and sustainable gardening practices. Wander through the themed gardens, including a beautiful butterfly garden, a serene Japanese garden, and a vibrant Mediterranean garden.

Attend workshops to learn about water-wise landscaping, composting, and more. The Sherwood Demonstration Garden is a serene spot for a leisurely stroll and a great learning experience for garden enthusiasts of all ages.

9. Go Wine Tasting Wine at the Boeger Winery

Boeger Winery
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El Dorado County is home to over 70 wineries, many within a 30-minute drive from Placerville. Embark on a wine-tasting adventure and discover the region’s diverse wine offerings, from robust reds to crisp whites.

Some popular wineries in the area include Boeger Winery (only 4 minutes and 2 miles away from the town center), Lava Cap Winery, and Miraflores Winery. Savor the unique flavors, enjoy breathtaking vineyard views, and learn about the intricate winemaking process while supporting local family-owned businesses.

10. Enjoy Live Performances and Play Casino Games at the Red Hawk Casino

Red Hawk Casino
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Feeling lucky? Head to Red Hawk Casino, just a 9-minute and 7-mile drive from Placerville, for a thrilling gaming experience. With over 2,500 slot machines, table games, and a high-limit room, there’s something for everyone.

Enjoy live entertainment, dine at one of their restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, or simply revel in the excitement of the casino floor. Red Hawk Casino is an exhilarating destination for those seeking extra excitement during their visit to Placerville.

11. Get Freshly Baked Treats From Boa Vista Orchards

Boa Vista Orchards
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Another gem in the Apple Hill area, the Boa Vista Orchards offer a mirage of fruits, vegetables, and homemade treats. A 10-minute and 6-mile drive from Placerville, this family-run orchard is the perfect place to stock up on fresh produce and enjoy mouthwatering baked goods like apple pie and cider donuts. 

Boa Vista Orchards also features a charming gift shop, where you can find unique souvenirs and artisanal products to bring home as mementos of your trip.

12. Go Hiking in Eldorado National Forest

Eldorado National Forest
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Escape to the great outdoors with a visit to Eldorado National Forest, just about an hour’s drive from Placerville. This vast, pristine forest offers numerous hiking trails for all skill levels, providing breathtaking views and opportunities to spot wildlife.

Don’t miss the popular Horsetail Falls trail that leads to a stunning waterfall. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual explorer, Eldorado National Forest offers an unforgettable experience in the heart of nature.

13. Go White Water Rafting on the American River

American River
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For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, head about 40 minutes and 33 miles from Placerville to the American River for white water rafting. Several companies offer guided trips down the river, ranging from beginner-friendly to more challenging routes. It’s a thrilling way to experience the river’s natural beauty while creating unforgettable memories with friends and family.

14. Stuff Yourself at Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant

Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant
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After a day of exploring Placerville, satisfy your hunger with a visit to Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant. This local favorite, just a 50-minute or 45-mile drive from downtown, offers a wide selection of authentic Mexican dishes, like sizzling fajitas and hearty burritos.

With generous portions and a friendly atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to refuel and enjoy a tasty meal. Don’t forget to try their famous margaritas or indulge in their delicious homemade desserts.

15. Explore Placerville Art Walk

Immerse yourself in the local art scene and explore the Placerville Art Walk. Held on the third Saturday of each month in downtown Placerville, just a short stroll from the Bell Tower, this event features local galleries and artists showcasing their work.

Stroll through the historic streets, meet the artists, and perhaps even find a one-of-a-kind piece to take home as a memento of your visit. The Art Walk is an opportunity to support the local creative community and experience Placerville’s vibrant cultural scene.


Placerville offers a range of attractions and activities that cater to various interests, from gold rush history and scenic outdoor adventures to delicious local cuisine and vibrant cultural events.

With so much to see and do within an hour and a half’s drive from this charming town, you’ll have no shortage of memorable experiences to cherish during your stay. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore the best of what Placerville offers. Happy travels!

Hey, if you stick around the area make sure to check out these other towns:

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