Looking for your next Luxury getaway with all the charm of a hallmark movie? Head West. To the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada and Nevada City and get set to experience one of two stunning renovations to California’s history that have to be experienced.

The National Exchange Hotel built in 1856, once considered the beacon for sophistication for western hotels, has been restored and reinvigorated with a few modern touches. Now providing visitors to Nevada City with an opulent hotel and dining experience that matches the spirited history of the streets and hills of Nevada City.

The View From the National Exchange Hotel in Downtown Nevada City – photo credit Kat Alves

Nevada City, California has historically been a center of the state’s influence regarding wealth and power. Nevada City in the late 1800s and early 1900s, housed some of the world’s most renowned gold capitalists and a spirit of the wild west that was enticing to many travelers.

The streets were littered with gold, but the legend of Nevada City was often best captured at the local bars and hotels, as guests would file in for entertainment and hopes of riches. Father Time, however, has often not taken kindly to the old relics of the past. Decaying buildings and hobbled infrastructure can often decimate an old historic town.

In 1973, The National Exchange hotel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Even by then, the old bones built to last in Nevada City’s downtown were starting to show their age. But in 2018, The National Exchange Hotel and the Holbrooke Hotel a few miles down the road, were rescued by the Acme Hospitality group out of Santa Barbara. Three years ago, they started a detailed process to restore and give the Hotel a new lease on life. After an extensive, three-year, floor-to-rafters renovation, guests are now welcomed to a place full of rich colors and patterns, opulent furnishings, and lovingly restored original features, with whispers of stories to be discovered around every turn.

Today the establishment not only provides its guests with beautifully designed suites with Black beauty rest mattresses and walk-in showers with gold accents but a host of extra amenities unique to the properties and history of these old walls.

Reserve Your Suite and have Restful Nights Sleep

Decorated with a Victorian flair of luxury, each of our 38 guest rooms at The National Exchange has its own unique story to tell. Curated vintage furniture and light fixtures complement modern amenities for an ideal stay, as well as:

  • Beautyrest Black Label mattresses
  • Down Inc. duvets and pillows
  • Mascioni Italian linens, including plush custom robes
  • Victrola Bluetooth speakers
  • Free wifi
  • Fellow electric kettle with delicious coffee and tea in most rooms
  • Fridge and safes in most rooms
  • Beekman 1802 bath and body products
  • Oversized bathrooms and spacious showers
  • Pet friendly ( No extra Charge or Fees )
  • 24-hour front desk service
  • Continental Breakfast buffet

Even the Food and Drink Have a Story to Tell

Guests to the Hotel or the city are also welcomed at the new National Bar or Lola Dining Experience. Each has a unique place and story to tell as a prominent part of the legend of the Exchange.

The National Bar, reimagined in the renovation, was recreated using the old radiator heaters from the hotel rooms. Its dark décor invites you to sit back and take in the moment. Seeking a local story of the ancient times, ask about the images hanging throughout as the stories of the National Bars’ past run deep in Nevada City.

The National Exchange Bar is well-stocked with all the good things: numerous beers on tap, cask ales, well-made cocktails, carefully chosen wines and spirits, splendid small plates to devour…and a dark, seductive décor to enhance every sip.

Take advantage of a visit to Lola during your stay. Inspired by western legend Lola Montez, reservations and an appetite you will want to bring. Not only is Lola locally inspired, but its plate is also as large as the stories of this Hotel. The cuisine at Lola is high-spirited and modern, sparked by the great wild west and a shine of European finesse.

I could tell you about the double-cut Pork Chops that melt in your mouth with fall flavors of maple, pear, sage, and dandelion that are intoxicating. Or the shared plate such as Steak Tartare (Recommended to us by a guest at the Bar) or roasted Brussels sprouts, some of the best I have ever eaten, but the menu is a dedication to beautiful ingredients, locally sourced, sustainable, and seasonally inspired. You may find a completely different menu if you go later. I can assure you that the Lola dining experience is exceptional. The portions are large, the flavors well crafted, and the options are sure to please your entire party.

Adventure Awaits in Nevada City

Vacationing in Nevada City could be filled with art and culture. This would be an excellent recommendation, with places like the Nevada Theatre just down the street and many locally owned art and cultural shops within walking distance of the hotel doors.

However, Nevada City today is an outdoor mecca of outdoor adventure. Trails, rivers, and mountains in every direction give outdoor adventure travelers a full palate of great options. After a great night’s sleep, wake up early and head down to the South Yuba river and Hoyts Crossing for a fantastic morning dip or take your pole and fish for a bit of sunrise trout fishing. From the Hotel, unload the bike or lace up the running shoes before heading out of downtown down to deer creek and experience a great suspension bridge and trails that carve the mountainside along the creek for miles.

Seeking a little less adventure and a leisurely afternoon or evening stroll among the trees. Check out the Canal trail about 2.5 miles from the Hotel up Banner Mountain. The path is wide and flat, plus it will lead you into a region with a Woodpecker Preserve and a great view of Down Town of Nevada City from the hillside.

When to Visit Nevada City and the National Exchange Hotel

Is there ever really a bad time for an exceptional vacation stay? No? Here are a few times of the year that the Hallmark Downtown area of Nevada City might bring extra joy to your visit.

The National Bar features weekly local entertainment and constantly changing events to keep the vibe fresh and fun for visitors and locals. Entertainment included Grammy Award-winning musician Tommy Coster on Piano every Saturday and Celtic sessions every Thursday, as an example.

The California Arts Council has formally recognized the downtown area as a Cultural District, honoring the evolution from a rough gold-mining camp to an arts and music magnet and a haven for outdoor adventures. Where gold-hungry miners once toiled, culture now thrives. Each new day in Nevada City is full of adventures waiting to be explored. On Going featured Events in Nevada City

  • Nevada City Fall Colors – October and November – The Nevada City-Grass Valley area is one of California’s best areas to view autumn foliage. The best fall colors are located in the old-fashioned Victorian neighborhoods surrounding the downtown historic districts.
  • Nevada City Victorian Christmas – Welcome the holiday season in style in historic Nevada City, a quaint Gold Rush town, where each year the town’s picturesque downtown transforms into a genuine Christmas card come to life.
  • Wild And Scenic Film Festival – February – The 21st Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival has a new weekend in 2023. February 16-20
  • Mardi Gras Parade & Street Faire – February – Enjoy a Mardi Gras Parade & Street Faire as this colorful Sierra foothills town again celebrates Mardi Gras in Nevada City.
  • Nevada City Summer Nights – The Annual Summer Nights in Nevada City celebration, an outdoor art and music festival, will be held on three Wednesday evenings in July. The best FREE entertainment for the entire family
  • Nevada City Film Festival – August –Top independent cinema in the foothills of Northern California. Stellar programming of short and full-length films, great audiences, and a truly festive environment makes Nevada City Film Festival one of the most innovative, exciting, and fun events on the west coast.


Publisher of Sierra Rec Magazine. An avid hiker and explorer of mountain lifestyle and adventure. I love to discover new trails, hike along rivers and hang a hammock along the shores of a mountain lake. I often great people on the trail and have found some of my favorite places from the advice of people I meet in the Wilderness. I love the sierra and just like sharing what I know.

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