Affogato from Temple Coffee (find a boozy one at Hot Italian!)

My home, Sacramento—a forever “up and coming” city—is sometimes just the vacation I need. A weekend at home consists of catching up with friends who I see far too little of, a little rest and relaxation and an obligatory jaunt in the wilderness. The city rings with live music, breweries and coffee shops, local events and art. This two-day itinerary barely scratches the surface of things to do in Sacramento, but it is my attempt at providing a varietal sample of our sweet city.

Sacramento street art

Friday Evening: I’m taking it easy this weekend by starting it off with a beer and a slice (or five) of pizza from The Federalist Public House (2009 Matsui Alley). With or without friends, finding ample people to chat with, or to observe if you’ve had a really long week, is never an issue.

Other dining options I consider as a chill night out:
Midtown’s Cantina Alley (2320 Jazz Alley)
Tres Hermanas (2416 K St.)
Grange (926 J St.)
Empress Tavern (1013 K St.)

Katherine Verseman and Riley Kleeman learn to throw pottery at Sincere Ceramics

Saturday Morning: Welcome the morning with a free yoga session at McKinley Park (601 Alhambra Blvd.) at 9 a.m. (other local options are Maidu park near the library in Roseville, Lions Park near the community center in Folsom, and Community Park near the library in Davis). A short walk over to Temple Coffee (2829 S St.) or Old Soul (812 21st St.) leads you to two Sacramento-famous cafés with a host of caffeinated drinks, snacks and local food (also nearby, you can find Tiferet Coffee House and Identity Coffee, both of which are also fantastic. Again, Sacramento is a coffee capital).

Saturday: Pack a picnic and take a tour of Sacramento’s parks. Beginning with California State Capitol Park (1300 L St.), where there are far too many rules but majestic groves of trees, enjoy a packed lunch on one of the well-watered lawns. Make sure not to throw a frisbee, climb trees, or set up a slackline. For that, we move on to another park: Southside Park (2115 Sixth St.). A part of Sacramento culture is the homeless population, which you will most likely find here, though I have yet to encounter anyone I haven’t gotten along with. Here at Southside Park, throw a frisbee, climb trees, practice your slackline skills, take a walk around the pond and do whatever public park activities you enjoy taking part in. Just keep ‘em legal.

Saturday Evening:
Check the schedule and head on over for an hour or two at Sincere Ceramics (5931 Power Inn Road, Ste B). Learn how to throw clay to create bowls, cups or vases, or if that college ceramics class paid off, create something lavish. Used as a meditation by many, Vogue claims, “Pottery Is the New Yoga!”… take that as you will. To finish off the evening, head to Shady Lady Saloon (1409 R St.) for Southern fare and live music at what to me feels like a popular speakeasy.

Flower bouquet from the farmers market

Sunday Morning: Wake up and slowly rise anytime from 8:00 a.m. to noon to catch the Farmer’s Market (Eight and W streets, under the freeway). Fresh and local food, flowers and other goods take over the large open space. Bonus: If it’s raining, the entire market is covered by the bridge.

Sunday: With all the events happening in Sacramento recently, check online for what’s going on this weekend. Whether it’s a brewers festival, a fermentation festival or live music and good food, something is happening. If none of that sounds interesting, go for an outdoor jaunt in Auburn (Cronan Ranch), head up to the Yuba River, wine taste at the Old Sugar Mill (35265 Willow Ave., Clarksburg), or rent a boat (Sacramento Boat Rental) and cruise the Sacramento River while the last bit of summer sticks with us.

Sunday Evening: Wrap up the day with a full relaxation routine from either Capitol Floats (3513 Broadway) or Asha Urban Baths (2417 27th St.). At Capitol Floats, submerge your body in a tub filled with warm water and epsom salts, and observe gravity, temperature, touch and sound fall off your radar as the body’s senses are calmed. Asha Urban Baths is a less intense version of relaxation, filled with warm tubs, hot tubs, cold dips and massages to bring your mind and body back to stasis for the coming week.

Fresh cherries from the farmer’s market

Pack the calendar with all sorts of activities or choose one to become re-introduced into the beauty of Sacramento. Rest, relax and adventure on.

**This piece first appeared in print on page 13 of issue #274 (Sept. 12 – 26, 2018)**

    Ellen Baker

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    Rock scrambling, exploring and taking photos along the way.