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Life is short, and then you die. While we can’t always live each day as if it were our last, we can pack a lot of fun into our years. Here’s our list of must-do activities in the Sacramento region.
Here are 10 things to do from Sac's Bucket List featured in the January 2017 issue. The printed issue contains the full 51 things to do in Sacramento.
1. Go to an event at The Barn. From food truck roundups to live music to a 50-bike outdoor spin class hosted by TEAMride, West Sac’s newest gathering spot declares once and for all that this formerly rural outlier is totally worth the river crossing. Check out thebridgedistrict.com for a full calendar of events.
The Barn; Photo by Chad Davies
2. Pack a picnic with items from Corti Brothers. The “Tuscany” deli sandwich, loaded with salami, sun-dried tomato, pesto, Gruyere and spinach is not to be missed. Pair it with some salads from the cold case, an Italian chocolate bar and a bottle of wine (Darrell Corti won the James Beard Award for outstanding wine and spirits professional in 1995, after all), and you’re good to go. Save on gas by tossing it all in your bike basket and riding to nearby East Portal Park, where you can watch a game of bocce ball. Dinner and a show!
The Tuscany from Corti Brothers; Photo by Suyen Torres
3. Cheer on the dachshund races. Doxie Derby is a 30-plus-year tradition at UC Davis’s annual Picnic Day (happening on April 22 this year). With 100 wiener dogs dressed in costumes, jumbotrons replaying the notable moments in all their ear-flapping glory, and thousands of spectators cheering for their favorite dog, it’s no wonder this quirky event is legendary.
4. Join the Tower Bridge Battalion at a Sac Republic game. If you think professional soccer is just for Europeans, you’ve never been to a football match in the States. And if you think Americans only get excited for American football (as opposed to the football we know as soccer), you’ve never witnessed the Tower Bridge Battalion at a Sac Republic game at Bonney Field. This group of crazed fans is on their feet, chanting in unison and waving custom flags and banners at each and every match.
5. Wear white after Labor Day at Diner en Blanc. First you’ll have to sign up on the interest list, then wait to see if you get an invitation to this BYO everything dinner. The Parisian-inspired event occurs at a secret location, revealed to ticketed guests just before they are to arrive, dressed head-to-toe in white, toting their own table, linens, chairs, place settings (no plastic allowed) and meal. Last October’s inaugural event saw 1,000 people dining and dancing together in the brand-new Golden 1 Center plaza. À votre santé!
Diner in Blanc
6. Take a friend to the drive-in. If anyone ever accuses Sacramento of getting too big for its britches, load them into your car and take them directly to the West Wind drive-in movie theater. It shows the newest releases seven nights a week, but the packed-dirt lots and ’50s-era concession building are about as humble as it gets. You’ll see families in sleeping bags and lawn chairs at the Pixar movies (kids get in for $1.75 on Tuesdays!), and couples in late-model SUVs at the latest rom-com release. Because who doesn’t love the drive-in?
West Wind Drive-in; Photo by Ken James
7. Take a walking tour of the Christmas lights in the Fab 40s. Some people will rent horse-drawn carriages, traffic will back up for blocks, and you’ll even see a few small tour buses get in on the action. There’s still something special about bundling up, packing a thermos of your favorite warm beverage and walking the streets on foot. This way you can fully appreciate the work that goes into stringing matching sets of lights in a continuous zigzag pattern down two city blocks (as is the tradition on 42nd Street between Folsom and J streets). It’s enough to make you believe in Santa Claus.
8. Take a historic river cruise. You may have heard a Sacramento history lesson or two in your day, but have you heard one on a yacht? Hornblower specializes in just such a history lesson, chartering hourlong cruises during which the captain narrates historical stories and facts about Sacramento and patrons enjoy views from under Tower Bridge and other iconic landmarks.
9. Tour the Capitol. The beauty and history of the Capitol building might be the most taken-for-granted civic asset in Sacramento, often the backdrop but rarely the star. With free tours offered to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., there’s really no excuse for not cultivating a deeper appreciation of all the stories contained under that glowing dome. If legislators are in session, ask about access to public galleries to watch bills being debated or votes being cast—this architectural beauty is more than a pretty face.
California State Capitol
10. Grab a late-night sweet at Rick’s Dessert Diner in midtown. Offering dozens of cakes, pies and pastries, Rick’s has an answer for every after-hours sugar craving. It’s open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, making it the perfect stop for a post-show treat.