9 Perfect Saturdays


It’s spring, it’s Saturday and the day stretches before you. How to spend it. With nice weather moving in and spring weekends punctuating the calendar for the next few months, Saturdays beckon us to get out of bed and live life out loud. Looking for some fresh ideas for what to do? Pick a theme or simply mix and match from the following to create your perfect day.

Who better to weigh in on how to spend a Saturday in the grid than Lisa Martinez, marketing force at Downtown Sacramento Partnership and resident of the neighborhood? We share some of her personal picks, plus a few of our own.

8 a.m. Take an early morning class at one of the countless yoga studios that have sprung up in midtown in recent years, from Asha to Zuda, or jog through the Civil War Memorial Grove at Capitol Park.

9:30 a.m. Repair to Chocolate Fish Coffee on P Street near the Crocker Art Museum. The New Zealand-style cafe gets its name from the fish-shaped chocolate and marshmallow confections popular in the South Pacific country.

10:30 a.m. Hit the Saturday Midtown Bazaar, with its live music, food and some 30 ever-changing vendors. Keep current with the bazaar’s  happenings on its Facebook page.

Noon: Lunch on local and seasonal fare at Magpie Cafe (if you’re in luck, mac ’n’ cheese with Brussels sprouts, blue cheese and smoked bacon will be on the menu), or pop into a neighboring eatery along the savory stretch of R between 14th and 15th streets.

1:30 p.m. Walk off your meal with a little shopping in Old Sac, and discover it’s much more than just a souvenir or barrel-candy mecca. The owner of Mea Vita clothing boutique makes handcrafted jewelry (and does custom work). Browse the new Chef’s Mercantile and Christmas & Co. stores.

Keep The Kids Busy—Let  the rugrats build a birdhouse at Trail Mix, right across from the California State Railroad Museum.

3 p.m. Duck into The California Museum, home to the California Hall of Fame and multiple engaging exhibits celebrating California life, and spend the rest of the afternoon in awe of our great state.

5:45 p.m. Every third Saturday of the month, learn about the city’s Prohibition past on Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s Speakeasy and Pub Crawl Tour. It runs two hours with stops (and no-host drinks) at The Crescent Club, the River City Saloon and two other Old Sacramento bars.

8:15 p.m. For dinner, drop by Revolution Wines’ new tasting room and bistro in midtown. Order a flight of wines and make a meal from an interesting selection of wine-friendly small plates.

10 p.m. Face your toughest decision of the day: evening entertainment. Options abound, from drinks and a show at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret to a return to R Street for billiards, big-screen TV and munchies at R15 Bar or a movie at the Crest Theatre. By all means, check out K Street’s new entertainment complex, including Pizza Rock, Dive Bar (don’t miss the “mermaids†and “mermen†above the bar) and District 30 nightclub.

Midnight Finish up at Ink Eats and Drinks. It’s open until 4 a.m. on weekends and dishes up one of the most expansive late-night menus in town: sloppy sliders, sausage scramble, spinach dip. . . . Just think: You can work it off with a jog through Capitol Park on Sunday morning.

HOW SWEET IT IS—There are many ways to cut a dessert craving in the 916. Here are five.

1. Stop by The Citizen Hotel’s Grange Restaurant & Bar, where pastry chef Elaine Baker turns out sophisticated desserts made with locally foraged seasonal and organic ingredients. Everything from the cream to the honey is carefully sourced from local producers.

2. Folsom’s Rockin’ Cupcake Cafe opened this past September. Owner Lynn Armitage bakes fresh goods three times daily, sells vegan and gluten-free cupcakes on certain days, serves Gunther’s ice cream, and has the karaoke machine up and running.

3. Have your cake and make it, too, at Cake Castle Bakery, which offers classes across the sugary spectrum, from cake decorating and cookie art to fondant rolling and truffle making. (The classes take place in the 66th Avenue store, not the bakery’s Carmichael location.)

4. Create your own dessert at The Melting Pot. At this downtown fondue restaurant, you get a pot of warm chocolate and a plateful of DIY dippers, including fresh strawberries, chunks of
brownie and cheesecake, and marshmallows coated in graham cracker crumbs. Dive in!

5. Satisfy your sweet tooth and your crafting urge at the Paper Garden Boutique in Town & Country Village. Owner Stephanie Nishikawa offers free “make and take†projects (such as candy holders) on Saturdays, and many involve M & M’s. “Candy is my life,†she says.

The Davis Farmers Market in Central Park is a worthy Saturday sojourn in itself, but there’s much more to do in this college town.

Open Your Owl Eyes—The burrowing owl is diurnal, likes to make its home in ground squirrel holes and can often be glimpsed from the trail of the Wildhorse Agricultural Buffer adjacent to Wildhorse Golf Club in northeast Davis. Watch out for wayward golf balls.

Contemplate Nature—The UC Davis Arboretum showcases some 22,000 species of plants and trees. Tucked therein is the new Native American Contemplative
Garden. This spot of serenity pays homage to the native Patwin, who settled the land the campus sits on.

Lunch Stop: Segundo Dining Commons—The Segundo Dining Commons on the UC Davis campus is the best bargain buffet in town. Eat your way across the globe, from burgers to Indian and wokked-to-order Asian fare, all for under $10 per person. It’s open to the public on Saturdays for brunch and dinner.

Art Walk—“Ceramics is drawing in the third dimension,†the late artist and UC Davis professor Robert Arneson once said. Start at Mrak Hall, the campus’s admin building, to view two of the five sculptures in his “Egghead Series.†Finish up at “Stargazer†near the East Gate.

Just Creepy—Good news for bug lovers: The R.M. Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus is now open one Saturday a month. Billed as the seventh largest insect collection in North America, the museum also features a gift shop to stock up on merchandise celebrating California’s official state bug. (It’s the California dogface butterfly.)

History lesson—Delve into the heritage of the town that got its start as Davisville at the Hattie Weber Museum. The museum is named after “Miss Hattie,†a volunteer-turned-paid-librarian who shepherded growth of the public collection from 200 books in 1906 to 23,144 volumes by her retirement in 1953.

BOOK IT—Even die-hard bibliophiles will want to look up from their books to take part in these pursuits.

Head Out to Book Lovers—Downtown bookstores have their followings (think Beers Books), but Book Lovers secondhand bookstore at Madison and Manzanita avenues has become a destination in its own right, with writers groups on Saturdays, available space for book groups, and collections of food, blankets and clothing for the homeless.

Behold the Printed Word—Newsbeat caters to magazine hounds in midtown and Davis with hundreds of titles, from Allure to ZYZZYVA (“the journal of West Coast writers and artistsâ€).

Get Your Greek On—Some titles are viewable by appointment only, but parts of the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection are available to scholars and other students of all things Greek during regular Saturday hours at the Sacramento State library.

Write Your Own Darn Book—The Sacramento branch of the California Writers Club meets for lunch the third Saturday of most months at Luau Garden Chinese buffet near Arden Fair.

Such a Deal—Sign up for e-mail alerts from booksalefinder.com. You’ll be notified of good-size sales in the region. The Friends of the Sacramento Public Library also keeps limited Saturday hours at The Book Den off Power Inn Road.

Did You Know? Industrialist Andrew Carnegie changed the literary landscape in the 1800s, helping build libraries in 2,509 English-speaking communities throughout the world. Pack a picnic lunch (smoked salmon and oat cakes in honor of Carnegie’s Scottish roots, perhaps?) and visit the region’s Carnegie-funded buildings in Roseville, Woodland and the tiny town of Yolo. The older part of the Sacramento Central Library also was built with Carnegie money.

Recession or not, everybody loves a good bargain. Here are a few places to find them.

Garage sales—Saturday’s your best bet for garage-saling. For listings, check Craigslist, “Good Day Sacramento’s†online garage sale finder or The Sacramento Bee. Our favorite spots for great finds: Granite Bay, El Dorado Hills, Sierra Oaks, Arden Oaks and East Sac’s Fabulous Forties.

Deals on Clothing—What America’s Affordable Luxury Expert Recommends:

Snowline Hospice—Granite Bay author Jennifer Basye Sander, billed as “America’s affordable luxury expert†for co-writing Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Living on a Budget and 573 Ways to Save Money, loves Snowline Hospice, which has stores in Folsom and El Dorado County. A recent find: a long down coat from The Company Store, reversible and just $4.

Secondhand in Granite Bay—The Designer Consigner, in the Raley’s shopping center, carries all kinds of women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. In the window recently: Hermès, Jimmy Choo and Chanel.

Go Vintage—In downtown Sac at 12th and J, Vintage YSJ has deep bargains on vintagewear and name brands.

Lunch Stop—Bistro La Petite—Definitely not secondhand, but a delightful lunch spot in Granite Bay for French fare. Sit on the patio.

If You’re Building It . . .Off Florin-Perkins Road near Fruitridge Road, Sacramento Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore sells high-quality new and used construction materials.
Wheeling and Dealing in Roseville—Across the tracks from Old Town Roseville, Denio’s remains the region’s best swap meet, and the produce offerings at the farmers market are among the most diverse around.

As Seen on TV—The A&E channel’s new series, “Storage Wars,†has put the spotlight on a little-known secondhand sport: the storage locker auction. You take your chances when you bid but come home with a lot of stuff. Saturday is prime time, and storageauctions.com will lead you to the best Sacramento locations.

Hop on—the region spins with stuff to do for cycling buffs.

Twofer for Two Wheelers—Ed Hakari of Fast Eddie Bike Tours leads two great rides; box lunches are provided. Choose from a Sacramento River Delta ride, with wine-tasting stops in postcard-pretty Clarksburg, or a sightseeing trip to Sutter’s Fort and other local landmarks.

Stoke the Fire—Nothing enhances a ride on the American River bike trail like a latte and a fresh-baked bagel from the Carmichael Bella Bru. Exit William Pond Park onto Arden Way and come up a few blocks to the Five Points Shopping Center.

Fix Up the Clunker—Vintage Bicycle Supply in Hollywood Park specializes in bikes and parts from the 1930s to the 1980s. The aim is not to restore vintage rides for collectors but to get cool bikes back into (affordable) circulation.

Lunch Stop—It’s a coin toss between OneSpeed Pizza in East Sac (owner Rick Mahan is a Schwinn cruiser aficionado) and Spin Burger Bar at 16th and J, where the place is decked out in bike parts, and the burgers come in varieties that include corned beef, ostrich, buffalo, turkey and, oh yeah, beef.

Ogle the Greats—At the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis, admire bicycling memorabilia and find out more about America’s cycling stars, including Greg Lemond, Eric Heiden (yep—not just a Olympic gold medaling speedskater and local doc), Lance Armstrong and others.

Off to the Races—In the warmer months, head to Roseville for Saturday night dirt-track races at Oak Creek BMX.

Did You Know? Practical Cycle in Old Sacramento rents electric Pedego bikes and extra battery packs to cover more distance.

GET ARTSY—Discover your artistic side with these creative activities.

Do It Yourself—Paint a platter, a toothbrush holder or a tchotchke for Grandma at Alpha Fired Arts. The studio, off Auburn Boulevard in Sacramento, boasts a dizzying array of clay items—and free cookies for snacking.

Roseville Arts! Blue Line Gallery offers free art projects for 5- to 15-year-olds every Saturday afternoon. Themes cover the spectrum, from collage to pointillism.

Why, Watercolor!—Claude Monet had Giverny. Watercolorist Kathrine Lemke Waste has Land Park, and her sumptuous garden figures prominently in her artwork. The South Natomas Community Center isn’t nearly as scenic, but that’s where Lemke Waste holds five-hour workshops the last Saturday of every month.

Lunch Stop—Where else but the Crocker Cafe? Admission to the Crocker Art Museum’s cafe is free, but you’ll want to check out “Drop, Yak, Splat! A Museum Adventure for Families,†which takes place in the museum’s spankin’ new studio space on certain Saturdays.

Let SMAC Help—Pack an Art in Public Places map from the Sacramento Metropolitan Art Commission, lace up your walking shoes and wander among the dozens of outdoor artworks in the city center, such as African American artist Elizabeth Catlett’s limestone sculpture, “Sojourner,†by the Sacramento Convention Center. Prefer a guide? SMAC docents lead public art tours one Saturday a month.

Booking the Arts—Browse titles on Swedish home crafts, Byzantine painting and every other artsy topic from esoteric to mainstream at Richard L. Press Fine & Scholarly Books On The Arts. The F Street shop carries 15,000 titles—new, old and out of print.

Art Walks—take place throughout the Sacramento region, but not all on the same Saturday—and not all on Saturday. Be sure to check the newspaper or gallery websites before you head out.

Second Saturday: Sacramento (East Sacramento, midtown, uptown)—2nd-sat.com/galleries

Third Saturday: Roseville—3rdsatartwalk.com

Second Friday: Davis Second Friday ArtAbout—davisdowntown.com/events/2nd-friday-artabout

Immerse yourself in local history from above ground, below and various other perspectives.

Take a Tour—The Historic Old Sacramento Foundation reprises its popular underground tours this spring, affording visitors a glimpse of downtown before streets were elevated in the 1860s and 1870s for flood protection. Call ahead or check historicoldsac.org to make sure the one-hour tunnel tours are running and that spots are available.

Read All About It—Riffle through old city directories, local histories, maps and photos in the second-floor Sacramento Room of the Central Library, open Saturday afternoons.

Tend to the Dead—Landscape and tend to a pioneer gravesite in the Old City Cemetery, then use cemetery records or outside research to flesh out the genealogy of its residents. The “adopt a plot†program is so popular that some volunteers oversee multiple sites.

Lunch Stop—Frank Fat’s or Morgan’s Central Valley Bistro—Order a side of history with your lunch. Frank Fat’s is still de rigueur dining for local politicos and bears the distinction at nearly 72 years as Sacramento’s oldest eatery. Alternately, Morgan’s Central Valley Bistro inside the downtown Sheraton is the perfect perch to admire the work of Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan, who designed the Public Market in 1923. Crowned with an atrium during restoration, it has since become the cornerstone of the J Street hotel.