Living in Sacramento
1. Cheer for the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena. Nearly losing the NBA team to Anaheim a few years back, this is all the more reason to cheer on our local Sacramento royalty. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to feel the energy. The tougher the competition, the louder the fans. So put on some purple, head out to the arena, and hear the roar of the fans cheering on the Sacramento Kings.
2. Visit the “old towns”. Folsom, Fair Oaks, Roseville, Elk Grove, and Sacramento have a little bit of history and knowledge of what life once was like in the region. In Fair Oaks, step back in time in the Oaks Hardware store, where purchases are rung up on an old-fashioned cash register—a far cry from the impersonal “self-checkout” at big box home improvement centers. In Folsom, smell the aged wood as you wander through the creaky antiques shops on Sutter Street, where you can pick up old 45s for a nickel apiece. Take a stroll through Old Sacramento with Riverfront restaurants, museums, and nightspots.
3. Tour the State Capitol. It’s architecturally stunning, rich with history and free to the public. The California State Capitol Museum is open daily, except for major holidays. Note: The museum and the Capitol are one and the same, so as you are walking the halls, you are right in the heart of California’s working seat of government. The Capitol is located on 10th Street between L and N streets, downtown Sacramento.
4. Ride the rails along the river.Both the Sacramento RiverTrain and the California State Railroad Museum offer rides. RiverTrain’s 28-mile ride begins in Woodland, passes through Fremont Trestle and stops in Luvdahl to prepare for the return trip. RiverTrain also stages special events such as a Murder Mystery Dinner train and a Great Train Robberies train. The railroad museum offers themed 40-minute train rides at Halloween and Christmas.
5. Head to a Sacramento River Cats game at Raley Field in West Sacramento. Grab a hot dog and a beer and enjoy a little bit of Americana while overlooking West Sac’s River Walk and Sacramento’s skyline in the distance. On Kids’ Days, expect face painting, balloon artists and other attractions for the little ones. After the ballgame, the kids can go out on the playing field and run around the bases.
6. Dine at a neighborhood joint. You know the type: may not be much to look at or located in the hippest part of town, but the food’s so good, it sends you straight to the moon. Squeeze Inn, Zelda’s, Gunther’s and Pancake Circus all fit the bill. Need more suggestions? Just ask any Sacramento local where to eat and they will point you in the right direction.
7. Tour the Crocker Art Museum.This museum, housed in a historic 1870s-era mansion, presents the state’s most extensive collection of art, both old and new. Works from European, Asian, and North American masters are rotated in from the extensive permanent collection, and holdings in Californian art and European drawings are particularly strong. Other offerings include photography and international ceramics. Special exhibits and a broad array of programs also foster a love of art and creativity. The museum is free to the public every Third Sunday of the month.
8. Fairytale Town in William Land Park, a low-tech children’s play park where fairy tales and nursery rhymes come to life. How can you go wrong at a place where Humpty Dumpty greets you at the entrance? Watch the calendar in July for Wacky Water Day, when kids of all ages are invited to swim in the “lazy river” and challenged to break into King Arthur’s Castle past staff members armed with water weapons. Just don’t try to sneak into Fairytale Town without a youngster: All adults must be accompanied by a child.
9. Trip up the hill to Apple Hill.With more than 50 ranches to visit, wineries and a microbrewery, arts and crafts vendors, an annual fun run, apple delicacies and more, a visit to Apple Hill is a must-do for fall. Pick your own at Denver Dan’s, where a guy cuts an apple into a spiral, cores it and plops it on your child’s thumb. Or sink your teeth into a moist and fluffy apple doughnut from Abel’s Acres—you’ll be forever hooked and we guarantee you’ll be coming back for more.
10. See a show at the Crest Theater. Opened in 1949 with celebrities and dignitaries in attendance, the Crest closed its doors for many years and reopened in 1986. Today, the theater is host to concerts, comedians, speakers, films and more. Enjoy an indie film in the main theater, with its original 1949 interior featuring a guilded art-deco ceiling and waterfall main drape.