Think of Roseville and your first image may be of the Galleria, the massive mall off Highway 65 that just added a wing and draws crowds of recession-resistant shoppers every weekend. Or of the Fountains, the gorgeous new shopping complex across the street, where the region’s second Whole Foods Market dishes out samples, Sur La Table inspires folks to cook with the coolest in kitchenware, and other restaurants and shops lure the hungry, the coffee-craving, and the fashion- and shoe-obsessed. Retail is all the rage in Roseville.
Yet a few miles away, remnants of Roseville’s past remain, where visitors to this South Placer city can find respite in taking a step back in time. Historic Roseville sits at the edge of the railyards and invites slow-paced exploration of shops, galleries, museums and restaurants along Vernon, Lincoln and Main streets.
Magic Circle Theatre
Catch a production put on by Magic Circle Theatre at one of two locations on Vernon Street: Roseville Theatre and Tower Theatre, both stunning historic properties that only add to the dramatic experience. Through Aug. 8, see My Fair Lady (Roseville) or Perilous Gravity in a Loopy Universe (Tower). Worth a try: a show-themed dinner before the Friday and Saturday evening main stage show at Roseville Theatre. 241 and 421 Vernon St.
A Dash of Panache
Get a load of pink in this French-deco tearoom—it’s a girly-themed combination lunch cafe, ice cream parlor, birthday-party venue and gift shop. Don a lovely hat and feather boa and crook your little finger as you sip loose-leaf tea and nibble delicate petite sandwiches or scones. 217 Vernon St.
Ding ding ding ding! Cover your ears as you walk into this museum—entering the front door sets off a railroad crossing sign. With a model train display that takes up a whole room in this old house, Carnegie Museum reminds visitors of Roseville’s railroad roots. You’ll see plenty of historic paraphernalia, including old sewing machines, books, spice containers, typewriters and model airplanes. Admission is free. 557 Lincoln St.
Turn the Page Press
The loose-brick floor rattles beneath your feet as you enter this charming bookstore, which sells books recommended by childhood educator Bev Bos, who owns the store with her family. The bricks, held in place by the pressure from surrounding walls, remain loose because securing them would mean using materials considered too toxic for young folks. Flip through the books and play with the wooden train set (it’s really for little ones), and you’ll glean a cozy sense of preserving the purity of childhood. 213 Vernon St.
The Vernon Street Grill
Order a big ¹/³-pound burger. It comes piled high with lettuce, tomato and sharp red onion on a plump bun and is served with fat, golden fries. Or try the house specialty: Buffalo wings in one of seven styles—mild, medium, hot, inferno, nuclear, insane or sweet-and-hot—and six sizes. Bring family and friends, order 100 wings for $57 and crowd around the suspended TV to watch the game. 211 Vernon St.
Grab a window seat at Eva’s and order a Mexican breakfast any time of day. Try chorizo and eggs, huevos rancheros, a Spanish omelet or machaca (scrambled eggs with shredded beef, onions, tomatoes and peppers). Washed down with a cup of stiff coffee, these specialties will fuel you for the rest of the day. On weekends, dip into a large bowl of menudo or take a quart to go. 242 Vernon St.
Denio’s Farmers Market & Swap Meet
Across the railroad tracks off Riverside Boulevard, this outdoor flea market lures thousands of people every weekend to dig through piles of merchandise. Come home with (among other things) cell phone cases, iPod covers, gloves, bungee cords, power tools, leather furniture, appliances, huge camouflage bras or $1 bags of clippies like those your grandmother once used to make pin curls. Stop by the farmers market on your way out and load up on corn, tomatoes and peaches. For a thinned crowd and free parking, shop on Friday—the market’s smaller, but plenty of deals abound. Vineyard Road and Foothills Boulevard.
Blue Line Gallery
Wander through this extraordinary arts space, where local artists’ works are on display and the Eli and Edyth Broad Children’s Gallery reminds us where creative minds start. Home of Roseville Arts!, the city’s most active arts-advocacy organization, Blue Line Gallery holds rotating exhibits throughout the year, plus workshops, musical performances and lectures. 405 Vernon St.
Ride Your Bike
While you’re in Historic Roseville, pop into the city’s parks and recreation department at 316 Vernon St. and grab a Parks, Trails & Bikeways Map. You’ll discover that behind Roseville’s suburban sprawl exists a lush natural habitat to explore the next time you’re in town, bike in tow.
Third Saturday Art Walk—Don’t miss this event every month, which includes at least five galleries in Historic Roseville.
Take Interstate 80 east to the Riverside Boulevard exit. Turn left on Cirby Way and right on Vernon Street.