Things To Do in Elk Grove, California
October 19, 2016

Things To Do in Elk Grove, California

Elk Grove was the first city to incorporate in California in the 21st century, but its history in our state goes all the way back to 1850. Back then, in the middle of the California Gold Rush, Elk Grove was just one hotel and a stagecoach stop. Over the years it grew slowly until eventually, it became a cornerstone for community gatherings and activity. Today, its historical and agricultural history provide rich outdoor spaces — including wildlife preserves, wineries and over 90 parks — while its modern development allows for local business growth and endless fun!

We found some of the best things to do in the area so you can appreciate all Elk Grove has to offer. Whether you’re looking for food, festivals, parks, or all of the above, there’s plenty to go around in Elk Grove. Read our favorites and start planning your trip today!


Start with a Pick-Me-Up

The best way to start your adventure through Elk Grove is a locally made caffeinated drink. You’ll want to be wide awake so you can take it all in! Whether it’s coffee, tea or sweet treats you’re craving, there’s a bit of everything.


Rescate Coffee

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Rescate Coffee

Elk Grove’s only local coffee roaster, Rescate roasts their beans on site three times a week to keep us caffeinated and happy. Then — starting with the freshest and the best — they prepare every drink artfully by hand. Stop by anytime during the day to get a dose of caffeine and grab one of their delicious scones while you’re there!


Coffee Spot Co.

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Coffee Spot Co.

Coffee Spot Co. is a drive thru or walk up coffee stand, so it’s the perfect place to swing by on your way to one of the awesome places or activities in Elk Grove! Located just at the beginning of Old Town, they invite you to park your car in their lot, grab a coffee, and explore downtown.


Moo Moo Tea House

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photos courtesy of Moo Moo Tea House

Moo Moo serves plenty of tea, as well as several coffee drinks, to get you caffeinated. Or, opt for a sugar rush instead with their delicious shaved snow desserts! We suggest combining your treats with a Green Tea flavored shaved snow.


Get Outside

Elk Grove was founded amidst booming agriculture and California wildlife. As a result, we have sprawling parks — over 90 — and 18 miles of off-street trails for exploring the area. All of this in addition to several preservation areas! With a temperate climate year round, there’s no excuse to stay inside. Start by exploring some of our area favorites!


Cosumnes River Preserve

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Cosumnes River Preserve

The Cosumnes River Preserve covers more than 50,000 acres of pristine greenery, nature and wildlife land. You can spend the day on over 11 miles of hiking trails, paddle the flat-flowing river by canoe or kayak, or do a quick driving tour through the landscape. With over 250 bird species — including Greater and Lesser Sandhill Cranes and multiple raptor species — you’re guaranteed to catch a glimpse of wildlife!


Stone Lakes Refuge

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Stone Lakes Refuge | Rich Keen 

Stone Lakes Refuge covers over 17,000 acres and — before it was a National Refuge — was a natural hot spot for elk, pronghorn, and even a few grizzly bears! Today, you can experience the wildlife first hand along Blue Heron Trails, wildlife observation guided walks and paddle tours as well as environmental education opportunities.


Elk Grove Regional Park

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Cosumnes Community Services District

Elk Grove Regional Park is one of our largest parks. It includes typical park amenities — a lake, a playground, picnic areas — and unique landmarks, including a dog park, horseshoe pits and even a Bike Park! Great for every skill and age level, the Elk Grove Bike Park is a BMX style dirt track. Follow their Facebook page for event updates and info!


Derr-Okamoto Park

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photos courtesy of Cosumnes Community Services District

Derr-Okamoto Park has a state-of-the-art playground and sprayground! You and the kids can stay entertained all day at the skate park, basketball court, walking track and soccer fields. Or, grab lunch from a local spot and picnic at one of the gorgeous picnic areas.


Enjoy Endless Entertainment

Surf Xtreme

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Surf Xtreme

At Surf Xtreme you can practice indoor surfing, play on the indoor trampoline park and play a game of paintball on their state-of-the-art outdoor field — all in the same day! For less than $50, you can try a bit of everything. And don’t worry if you don’t know how to surf. There are coaches on hand to teach you and keep everyone safe.


McConnell Estates Winery

For a quieter and more relaxing outing, we suggest spending an afternoon at McConnell Estates Winery. The Wackman family has been farming Elk Grove land along the Cosumnes River for five generations and have opened their vineyard and tasting room for visitors. Open every weekend year round you can sample and purchase some of our area’s best wines.


Emerald Lakes Golf Course

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photos courtesy of Cosumnes Community Services District

Whether you’re an old pro or you’re just learning the ropes, Emerald Lakes Golf Course is the perfect place to take a few swings. Bring the kids along and try the Kids Camps and Tournaments — like the El Niño Tournament coming up on November 19!


Old Town

Old Town is the heart of Elk Grove and the historic location that was developed and grown from a hotel, stagecoach stop and railroad in the 1850s. Today, you can walk amongst the history while shopping at several charming boutiques and shops. We suggest stopping by The Red Door Antiques for home inspiration and eye catching, vintage decor!


Dine Out


Mel Dog’s Café

Mel Dog’s Café is locally known as one of the best breakfast places in town. It’s always filled with a bubbly and fun atmosphere and you’re guaranteed a delicious local meal. If you’re looking for something sweet, we recommend the Cinnamon French Toast. It’s the best in town!

Black Bear Diner

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Black Bear Diner

Black Bear Diner has been serving California for 20 years and it’s a must-try in Elk Grove whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We recommend them for breakfast especially because you’ll start the day with a hearty, filling meal and a smile! Try the Sweet Cream Pancakes for a real treat.




Brickhouse has been family owned and operated since the beginning and they serve some of the best casual fare in town. We love their homemade ravioli, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. If you’re around on a Sunday, stop by for brunch. You have to try the Chocolate Mousse & Banana crepes!

Double Nickel Smokehouse

Stop by Double Nickel Smokehouse if you’re looking for lunch with an extra side of fun. It’s located in the Pins N Strikes Family Entertainment Center, so you can get a gourmet burger, fried calamari and a game of bowling!



Boulevard Bistro

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Boulevard Bistro

Located in Elk Grove, Boulevard Bistro won Sacramento Magazine’s Best of Sacramento Award and Open Table’s Award for Top 100 Restaurants in the Nation. They focus on serving locally grown produce, locally raised meat and seafood from the cold waters off the coast of Northern California. All that to say, this is a must-try in Elk Grove for a high-end dinner.

Thai Chili

For a more casual setting, Thai Chili serves some of the most flavorful and delicious Thai food in the area. They have all the classics — from orange chicken and pad thai — to more luxurious options like the Catfish in Spicy Black Pepper Sauce.




Things to do in Elk Grove

Photos courtesy of Leatherby’s

The Leatherby family opened their ice cream parlor in 1982 hoping to create a community gathering place where everyone could be a part of the family. Over the years, they’ve done just that — with the help of Daddy Dave’s Sundae, the biggest sundae we’ve ever seen! Stop by and you’ll be able to watch (and smell!) the homemade ice creams, fudges and caramels being made.



Tilted Mash Brewery

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photo courtesy of Tilted Mash Brewery

Tilted Mash began as a garage brewing hobby, supplying beer for family get-togethers and sporting events. After brewing so much their mash tun started to tilt, Derrick and Jonathan decided to start brewing full time and Tilted Mash was born. Now we can all taste their artfully crafted brews.

Flatland Brewing Company

Flatland’s tasting room is only open Thursday – Sunday; make sure to plan your trip accordingly because you’ll definitely want to stop in! Their small batch brews are some of the most unique in the whole Sacramento area. To introduce fall, they tapped into their Apricot Tarte, a kettle soured saison with tons of apricot flavor!


Celebrate at an Annual Event

Elk Grove loves to celebrate — especially when it involves food, parades and the rich history of the town! We picked out some of the most memorable events but see a full list of annual events here.


Dickens Faire

As Elk Grove’s traditional welcome to the holiday season, the annual Dickens Street Faire is held in Old Town the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. The whole community comes out for live music, Christmas carols, magic acts, Christmas characters and more! You’ll also have the opportunity to shop and visit with local craft vendors and community organizations. This year the Faire is set for November 26!


Giant Pumpkin Festival

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photos courtesy of Cosumnes Community Services District

The Giant Pumpkin Festival wrapped up earlier this month. This fall harvest celebration started in 1994 and has since grown into one of the largest festivals in the area — with over 40,000 guests each year! Pumpkin growers from all over the state compete for the prize of largest pumpkin while visitors can enjoy live entertainment, participate in a pumpkin pie eating contest and marvel at magic shows and circus acts. This free festival is a must-see if you’re anywhere near Elk Grove in early October!


Western Festival

April 2017 will be Elk Grove’s 60th Annual Western Festival, celebrating our agricultural and western gold rush history. Each year, the streets are filled with our neighbors, family and friends as one of the most entertaining parades passes by. The most recent addition to the festival is the Elk Grove BBQ Festival — a competition and food festival everyone can be happy about!


Multicultural Festival

Things to do in Elk Grove

Photos courtesy of Elk Grove City Hall | Richard Pochop

Elk Grove’s Multicultural Festival features demonstrations, shows and interactive events from our community members and neighbors. You can come face to face with an alpaca at the petting zoo, learn how to wrap your own turban and watch traditional Tae Kwon Do and world dances. Usually scheduled for late August, this festival is a perfect chance to experience the various cultures represented in our community!


So when are you visiting?  

Share your adventures in Elk Grove with us! And once you’ve fallen in love with the area, flip through some of the most beautiful homes available in the community and find out all the necessary neighborhood details.

If you’ve been in town before — or if you’ve lived there for years — let us know what your favorite things are about the city.

Category Elk Grove, Neighborhood Guides

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