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Need a little rest and relaxation, but don’t want to stay holed up in the house? You’ll find welcome respite across the causeway in Davis.

Start downtown at de Vere’s Irish Pub (217 E St.) for an early dinner—5:30 p.m. is a safe ETA for dodging the raucous weekend crowd. With the pub’s intimate traditional “snugs” and multiple rooms filled with cushy leather couches made in Ireland, you’ll be sure to find a cozy spot—the perfect perch to indulge in some serious comfort food, such as authentic shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, and a perfectly golden grilled cheese. A 20-ounce pint of Guinness or glass of rare whiskey will warm your soul on a chilly evening.

Next, grab dessert at Let Them Eat Cake! (Third and C streets). Ask for the cupcake flavor of the month and check out the crafty cookie selection.

Now it’s time to decompress at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. On Jan. 19–21, it hosts a Guitar Festival that showcases some of the best jazz and flamenco guitar talent in the country. The Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. shows cost $20 for adults, $8 for children.

Top off the evening with a tranquil cup of decaf organic fair-trade coffee or tea at Mishka’s Cafe (610 Second St.), open until 11 p.m. (Tip: When you pay with cash, you pay less.) Unlike most weekdays, when students take over every table to study, there should be plenty of space to sit and wind down. It’s the perfect place to prep for bedtime.


Carefully curated and undeniably urbane, this evening is all about taking advantage of the capital’s cultural scene. Start with a visit to the Crocker Art Museum (216 O St.). The current exhibits—Florence and the Baroque: Paintings From the Haukohl Family Collection and The Art of Disegno: Italian Prints and Drawings From the Georgia Museum of Art—will fill your late afternoon with an illustrious look at Italian art. The audio tours, which we recommend, will ensure no symbol, sketch or brushstroke goes unnoticed.

Stay inspired with an exquisite meal at The Firehouse (1112 Second St., Old Sacramento), famous for its historic location and for having the most extensive wine collection in the Central Valley. Ask for a quick tour of the wine vault downstairs. Some of the bottles are as old as the building itself. Accordingly, the expert sommelier staff can school you on what wine to pair with your meal.

Next, catch a film at the Crest Theater (1013 K St.). Options always include something international (there’s no better place to watch French cinema) and the indie films on everyone’s lips. Chances are good that something showing will be nominated for an Academy Award.

If there’s time and if it’s Thursday, pop across the street to Dive Bar. Sure, there’s a live “mermaid” in the tank above the bar, but the real reason to go is to experience Dueling Pianos With Jason and Greg. We’re not sure if it’s high art, but it’s fun to watch the guys duke it out on the keys.

The last stop on this worldly whirlwind is Temple Coffee & Tea in its new digs (1010 Ninth St.), open until 11 p.m. Order a French-press coffee and peruse the schedule of coffee education classes, tastings and hands-on trainings. If one strikes your fancy, sign up now, as they tend to fill up about two months in advance. Soon enough, you’ll be learned in the fine art of brewing, too.


Shopping, sipping, socializing—Historic Folsom’s Sutter Street has a handful of destinations prime for a night out. Start with an afternoon of treasure hunting in the antiques stores on Sutter Street. It’s often a good idea to divide and conquer here, since the street is dense with dealers. Once you meet back up, you can all share your favorite discoveries with each other, then make purchases based on what everyone has vetted.

Be sure to hit Gracefully Vintage (611 Sutter St.). The assortment of shabby-chic-style furniture always is well-edited, well-upholstered and undeniably well-priced. You also can buy Stella & Dot accessories here, without having to sit through a jewelry party. For more of the Parisian apartment esthetic, go exploring at Not Too Shabby (306 Riley St.).

Take a break from shopping at Wine Styles (915 Sutter St.). Broken down by flavor profiles, the menu makes it easy to order. You also can ask Aussie proprietor Erik for a recommendation—he’s an absolute ace at translating your tastes into a glass of vino you’ll love. He’ll even share some fun facts about each label while he pours it. We love the ripe fruit flavors in the Josh Carr Cabernet on a chilly winter day. Even better: It’s completely affordable, as are most bottles on the shelves.  

Hungry? Head to Chicago Fire (614 Sutter St.) for dinner. Since it recently opened a second location in Folsom’s new Palladio mall, you might have a shorter wait time than usual. The deep-dish pizzas take about 45 minutes to bake, so we suggest noshing on some wings or a baked artichoke in the meantime.

If you feel like staying out after stuffing yourself with pizza, Powerhouse Pub next door likely will have one of your favorite local bands on stage any given weekend night, so prepare to get your shuffle on.

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