Think Ink


The prospect of a tattoo may be daunting to newcomers who associate the act with biker bars and punk-rock attitude. Though tattoo culture has seen countless media perpetuations as an alienating niche, a number of Sacramento-area shops are both approachable entryways for beginners and reliable resources for tat enthusiasts. Tattoo parlors stretch from Auburn to Davis and beyond. Whether you know the difference between neo-traditional and American traditional or have never been within 10 feet of a needle before, these locally owned spots have you covered.

Sac City tattoo
Co-owners Alex Garcia and Adam Andrews value tattoos that are meant to last. Garcia aims to give every customer “the time of day,” saying, “We don’t like the cost of the tattoo to be the driving factor.” Sac City, which Andrews insists is a parlor rather than a shop, offers free paper sketching for tattoo designs before any skin gets ink. The parlor operates on one-time charges, so newcomers need not worry about extra hourly rates. 8294 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 388-2414

C/S Tattoo
With a name abbreviated from the Chicano term “con safos,” C/S Tattoo provides a “more intimate” environment between artists and clients, according to owner Sergio Chavez. It’s open seven days a week and offers lettering of single-needle work and multiple fonts alongside the usual tattoo art. This shop fills a very particular niche in Woodland: “We’re the only (tattoo) shop in town, so we do get backed up,” Chavez says. 26 Main St., Woodland; (530) 402-1230;

White Buffalo Gallery
This stylish East Sac spot is a tattoo shop open to “Grandma, Mom and Dad,” according to owner Ryan Lewis. A variety of artists with their own schedules provide for customers here, with dramatic works of realism being standouts. Don’t expect discounts, but do expect passion and commitment from the artists. “We enjoy and love what we do, and that shows in our work,” Lewis says. 3671 J St.; (916) 970-5004;

Lighthouse Tattoo
This Auburn shop is full of multitalented artists and touts itself as “family oriented.” Owner Danny Warner, who’s been in the industry for 16 years, says the staff does its best to educate people on the ins and outs of tattooing. Japanese body suits and body piercings round out the offerings. 3009 Bell Road, Auburn; (530) 887-8918;

Death or Glory
In downtown Davis, this second-story shop offers both realistic and more traditional tattoos. Manager Chelsey Daskalos says she prioritizes thorough, friendly service and aims for customers to see it as “a place where they can ask questions.” Oil and acrylic artworks are also displayed on a case-by-case basis, but you won’t see any discounts on tattoos. “If you discount a tattoo, you cheapen your work,” Daskalos says. 219 E St., Davis; (530) 400-9622;

Wild Bill’s Tattoo
A staple of the Roseville community since 1974, Wild Bill’s operates on the unique talents of its 10 artists, one of whom specializes in the dark, high-contrast trash polka style. Owner Bill Hill aims to avoid perpetuating prejudice toward tattoo culture, so customers are advised to properly plan out the size, content and location of each tat before scheduling an appointment. Hand, neck and face tattoos are a no-go at Wild Bill’s. Everyone is welcome during the shop’s annual Tattoo-A-Thon—all proceeds benefit the UC Davis Children’s Hospital. 115 Lincoln St., Roseville; (916) 783-9090;