Words & Photos by Ellen Baker

Sacramento reminds me of my uncle who I never thought was cool until I finally realized, “holy shit, my uncle is really fucking cool!” I have heard many stories, some of which even I perpetrated, about the rebellious teenagers who hate Sacramento, only to be greeted with the love and warmth that Sacramento has to offer upon returning to the motherland—usually a year later.

In honor of my (almost) 10-year anniversary of once again living in Sacramento, as well as Submerge’s 10-year anniversary of badassery, I have constructed a list of 10 reasons why I love Sacramento.

American River Parkway

1) American River Parkway

The river that meanders through our city—home to river otters, mallards, mountain lions and rattlesnakes, with paralleling scenic trails. I have taken my grandma on this parkway for an evening walk and I have eaten shit on a mountain bike riding the trails.

2) Old Fair Oaks

While on the American River Parkway, a must-stop is my hometown of Old Fair Oaks. Wild chickens, the best vegetarian restaurant I have ever eaten at (Sunflower Drive-In, 10344 Fair Oaks Blvd.), Concerts in the Park, cute pubs, dive bars, cafés and one of my favorite hot yoga studios in Sacramento (Hot Yoga at Sunrise, 4009 Bridge St.).

3) Country Living near the City

Just on the outskirts of the City of Sacramento you can go to shoot guns (my favorite being Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, 15501 Meiss Rd., Sloughhouse), practice archery (Yolo Bowmen, 8605 County Rd. 104, Davis), or grab a dirt bike, ATV or other off-road vehicle and ride at a local state park (Prairie City OHV, 13300 White Rock Rd., Rancho Cordova).

4) Yolo Causeway

I’ve talked about it before, and I’ll do it again. Head to the Yolo Causeway to watch the bats at dusk and the egrets at sunset. Get lost on the winding levee roads and wave goodnight to the silhouette of our city.

5) Old Sacramento

All aboard the Delta King for a cocktail on the bow of the ship, and perhaps even a night spent in the Captain’s Quarters, if you’re lucky. Take a walk along the boat dock, cobbled streets, underground tours and museums.

6) Food and Coffee

The crème de la crème of our home. With the new slogan, “America’s Farm-To-Fork Capital,” (I won’t say I don’t miss “City of Trees,” I mean, how appropriate for 2018?) I think we’re definitely headed in the direction of best food in California. Some of my favorites include: La Bonne Soupe Cafe (920 8th St.), Temple Coffee (all over the place), Block Butcher Bar (1050 20th St.), Sunflower Drive-In (as I previously mentioned), Mother (1023 K St.) and the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op (2820 R St.), as I shop here at least three times a week.

Sunflower Drive-In Natural Foods

7) Theaters

Oftentimes, I think about living in a different era; I think about being in the 1930s at talkie films in the cinema, or the early 1960s at the drive-in theaters with a bunch of friends. I imagine what it must have been like, and then I realize Sacramento is home to all of this entertainment, still. From the Sacramento 6 Drive-In (9616 Oates Dr.), the Crest Theatre (1013 K St.), Tower Theatre (2508 Land Park Dr.) to the newest of the bunch, Studio Movie Grill (5140 Commons Dr., Rocklin), Sac is inundated with fabulous movie theaters and cinemas throughout the city.

8) Sacramento to San Joaquin River Delta

If you own a motorcycle, bicycle or simply like to drive along beautiful roads, this day trip is one of my favorites, especially in the summertime.

9) Health and Wellness Facilities

I may be biased because I worked at Sacramento Pipeworks Climbing and Fitness (116 N. 16th St.) for six years, but the selection of health and wellness centers in Sacramento is another favorite of mine. I will be the first to admit that I have taken advantage of the “30 days for $30” deal at just about every yoga studio in Sacramento, and all the teachers I have encountered have been outstanding.

10) Location

One of our city’s best attributes is its accessibility to so many different landscapes. In a three-hour drive or less, you can get to the mountains, ocean, desert or forest. Whether you want to hike, climb, hot spring, taste wine, surf, snowboard, ice climb, paraglide, experience one of the hottest places on earth, wakeboard, sail, mountain bike or trail run, California is home to world renowned locations for all of these experiences, and Sacramento is the absolute best home base to access them all.

**This piece first appeared in print on page 11 of issue #258 (Jan. 29 – Feb. 12, 2018)**

    Ellen Baker

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    Rock scrambling, exploring and taking photos along the way.