Tahoe City is located in Northwestern Lake Tahoe, a region which attracts a multitude of tourists year round. The largest alpine lake in the United States, Lake Tahoe boasts 72 miles of shoreline, ranging from dramatic cliffs to popular beaches. A variety of television and movies have been shot there, and celebrities frequent the lake often, as they have since the middle of the last century, when the Rat Pack and Marilyn Monroe paid regular visits. With a myriad of outdoor and adventure activities to choose from, both during the summer and winter, it’s an outdoorsman’s (or outdoorswoman’s) paradise.
However, North Tahoe is split into 12 various villages and cities, some of which draw in more visitors than others. Compared to South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, Tahoe City does not attract the same large numbers of tourists and doesn’t always offer as many nightlife and cultural options. However, a new attraction has popped up in the city, adding new life to the downtown and a one-of-a-kind venue to draw in crowds of both locals and tourists.
In Tahoe City, a long-abandoned movie theater was recently transformed into the Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema, which visitors can expect to live up to its trendy name. The cinema is the creation of husband-and-wife team Melissa and Steven Siig, of which Steven is a movie buff and filmmaker. Steven had always dreamed of owning a cinema, but in today’s era of 3D films and ordering cocktails right from your seat, a small, local movie theater generally has little chance of making it out in the big bad business world. However, Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema has seen nothing but success.
“This place needed entertainment at night. We didn’t want just ski porn. We wanted big-time movies, independent films and outdoor films as a way to start bringing culture back to Tahoe City,” said Steven.
This is not any ordinary movie theater, though. Melissa and Steven gave the entire place a top-to-bottom overhaul, adding one particularly important touch — a beer and cider bar. They also serve wine and a popcorn bar that goes far beyond your normal selections, with a variety of spices and flavorings to personalize your movie snack. The film lineup is a creative mix, and many shows on display are suggestions from the public, both major motion pictures and independent films.
“Locals were hungry for a venue. People started coming to us with ideas for films to show. They were psyched to have a place to go,” adds Melissa. “There’s Netflix, there’s streaming…anybody can sit at home and watch a movie alone. We’re giving people a social setting to see friends and have a beer.”
With their overwhelming passion for the community, Melissa and Steven are partnering with other local businesses to keep the crowds coming. Local restaurants are offering dinner-and-a-movie deals, and theatergoers can show their ticket stub for dining discounts. Melissa and Steven have also opened up the classy venue for use by the local youth ballet, as well as musicians and speakers.