Cities of ModSquad: A Locals’ Guide to Sacramento, California
Now that we’ve checked out some wonderfully weird things to do in Austin and told tales of what’s on in Derry/Londonderry, the time has come to travel back to where it all began. No, we don’t mean the virtual sports bar, The Thirsty Tiger, where our Mods originally banded together. We mean the home of our first brick and mortar location, where we set up shop more than a decade ago — California’s capital city, Sacramento.
Sacramento shares many traits with our other Cities of ModSquad, all river cities with a healthy dose of quirk. But what makes Sacramento so unique? We sat down with our Sactown locals to find out.
Describe the City in Three Words: When asked to describe the city in three words, Director, People Operations Gina Miller says, “Location, location, location!” Account Manager Matt H. describes the city another way: “Cooler than yours!” (He says it with a cheeky smile, so don’t take too much offense.) Project Manager Rabbit K., one of our born-and-raised Sacramentans, offers these words: “Diverse, vibrant, and history.” That seems to sum it up perfectly. In fact, Sacramento was once named the most diverse city in America by Time magazine.
Things to do: There’s so much to do in Sac that it’s hard to narrow down our top recommendations. One thing all of our guides are passionate about is the California State Railroad Museum, a journey back in time to learn about how the Golden State became connected to the rest of the country.
Rabbit also encourages you to check out the Delta King Riverboat, which has been converted to a permanent floating hotel and restaurant. Take a selfie on the iconic golden Tower Bridge while you enjoy a leisurely stroll down the Sacramento River waterfront to the California Automobile Museum, or spend an afternoon at the famous Crocker Art Museum viewing works from the Gold Rush era to modern times. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, you can use Old Sacramento State Historic Park as your starting point for a bike ride down the Sacramento River Parkway Trail, which follows along the Sacramento River and takes you through multiple waterfront park areas. You can also take a riverboat cruise down the Sacramento River and learn about Delta and Dawn, the humpback whales who thought that Sacramento was so neat they swam all the way here from the San Francisco Bay back in 2007. Of course, as the big star in the heart of California, Sacramento is home to the beautiful Capitol building, surrounded by a lovely park — perfect in any season!
Great eats: Rabbit is proud that her city is famed for being the nation’s farm-to-fork capital, with year-round farmer’s markets supplying local ingredients from the Central Valley and beyond. The city boasts festivals aplenty to suit all palates, from beer to bacon to almonds. There’s even a festival for mandarin oranges (you heard it here first)! For delicious vegetarian cuisine, try Mother, which offers a monthly ten-course tasting menu, a local favorite for both Rabbit and Matt. Gina recommends Squeeze Inn, or “Squeeze Burger” as it’s known, home to the famous “cheese skirt.” (Google it, you will not be disappointed!) For burger lovers, Sac might just be your own slice of paradise, home to the famous #sacburgerbattle, a cook-off event where local restaurants show the city what they’re made of. (Best of all, it’s for charity!) Burgers aren’t the only food up for debate. There are some pretty intense ice cream wars currently gripping the city. Although we don’t like to take sides, Rabbit does highly recommend Gunther’s Ice Cream, which has captured more than a few hearts with its higher-than-average butterfat content. This not-so-secret ingredient has made Gunther’s creamy cones a town favorite for nearly 80 years.
Get out and Explore: A two-hour drive from the city, Lake Tahoe is a freshwater oasis offering the perfect setting in which to relax and enjoy nature. Gina and her family love Lake Tahoe, but also find the Folsom Lake reservoir on the American River a great spot for water activities and soaking up the sun. A fall favorite for Gina and her family is Apple Hill, home to a growers association of 55 ranchers who produce a wide range of crops from Christmas trees to vineyard grapes to (as the name suggests) apples. Nearby is the Black Chasm Cavern, a national natural landmark that’s home to helictites, a beautiful cave-formed mineral that draws crystal enthusiasts from far and wide. Even in the city itself there are many off-the-beaten-track treasures to discover. Whether you’re looking for obscure old tunes or new favorites on vinyl, Rabbit urges you to check out Phono Select Records for a “curated assortment of underground and indie records that you won’t find anywhere else.”
Black Chasm Cavern (photos by Gina M.)
The best time to visit: Like our other Cities of ModSquad, any time is the right time to explore Sac. Winter is a welcoming season, with mild weather that offers a lovely haven from the cold winters in other regions. For foodies and festival goers, there are special events throughout the year to mark on your calendar, such as the Taco and Margarita Festival and the Sacramento Water Lantern Festival at year’s end. Of course, in any season, you’ll find us here at work and play. Drop us a line if you’re in town — we’ll be more than happy to show you around our city.This entry was posted in Offbeat. Bookmark the permalink.