A Local Bucket List: 18 Things To Do in the Sacramento Area in 2018
No matter how much time you have spent in the Sacramento area, there is still so much to do, taste and see. You may have lived here your whole life and still not experienced some of the quintessential sights and activities that many visitors do on a quick trip to the city.
The start of a new year is a natural time to set goals, create a bucket list, and make plans for the year ahead. Take a look at the 18 things you should do in 2018 if you haven’t done them already. And if you have, here’s your chance to do them again!
1. Travel down the river.
Sacramentans admire the scenic rivers that run through the city on a regular basis. But when is the last time you actually went in them? Raft down the American River, or cruise down the Sacramento River with Hornblower Cruises or atop the Delta King.
2. Tour the Capitol building.
Sometimes the most obvious “touristy” must-dos can be overlooked by locals. Take a look at the inner workings of the state’s government with a Capitol Museum tour. Plus, you have no money-related excuse because admission is free!
3. Visit the Wineries at Old Sugar Mill.
Photo Courtesy of Old Sugar Mill
Located just 15 minutes from downtown Sacramento, Old Sugar Mill hosts 13 unique wineries serving varietals from all over Northern California. Plus, this former beet sugar refinery in Clarksburg is family- and dog-friendly, so you can bring the whole crew!
4. Pick apples at Apple Hill.
While there is so much to do at Apple Hill all year long (especially in the fall), one of the most popular activities is picking apples. But with an overwhelming variety of apple and fruit farms, bake shops, wineries, a spa, flower gardens, and Christmas tree groves — there could be an entire bucket list solely focused on Apple Hill.
5. Drink a local beer.
Photo Courtesy of Nikkita Miller via Track 7 Brewing
In a region known for its impeccable wineries, it is easy to overlook the many local breweries in our midst. There are plenty of places to grab a beer in the city. Some of our favorites include Yolo Brewing Company, Track 7 Brewing, New Helvetia Brewing Company, and Device Brewing Company.
6. Attend a Farm-to-Fork event.
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Nottingham and Visit Sacramento
Sacramento’s standing as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital is celebrated at a number of events throughout the year. Mark your calendars for Restaurant Week in January, or the Tower Bridge Dinner, Legends of Wine, and the Farm-to-Fork Festival in September. Or simply sample the region’s finest farm-fresh fare at a local restaurant.
7. Go to a Sac Republic game.
We have all cheered on the Kings, the River Cats, and our kids’ sports teams over the years. But have you been to a Sac Republic soccer game? You may even become a member of the Tower Bridge Battalion, the team’s rowdy group of diehard fans.
8. See a drive-in movie.
Travel back in time in the comfort of your car with a visit to West Wind Drive-In. This retro drive-in features modern technology that brings this age-old experience to the next level. The low prices for admission and snacks will feel old-school as well!
9. Bike along the American River Bike Trail.
As you know, the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, also known as the American River Bike Trail, is a renowned bike trail hugging the banks of the American River. It runs for 32 miles between Discovery Park in Old Sacramento and Folsom Lake’s southwestern banks at Beal’s Point. With several access points along the way, there are various stretches of this paved multi-use trail you can conquer throughout 2018.
10. Travel by train.
Photo Courtesy of Sacramento RiverTrain
Sure, you’ve seen the area’s scenic vistas of farmland and wineries by car, or the charming Fab Forties neighborhood by foot, but have you explored the Sacramento area by train? Hop on board the Sacramento RiverTrain for a new perspective of this beautiful region.
11. Dig for gold.
Photo Courtesy of Gold Rush Days
Each Labor Day weekend, Old Sacramento’s 28-acre district transforms into a scene straight out of the 1850s. Gold Rush Days features costumed performers portraying historical figures, old-timey musicians bringing history to life, gold panning, arts and crafts stations, and much more.
12. Go to Punch Bowl Social.
This is definitely something you haven’t done — and no one else has either! Punch Bowl Social, the renowned Southern-inspired gastro diner, bar, and old-school entertainment spot, just opened in Sacramento. Be one of the first to visit this exciting all-in-one hangout spot that is well-loved in several major cities, including Denver, Portland, Austin, Detroit, Cleveland and more.
13. See a show at a historic theater.
Photo Courtesy of Crest Theatre
Make a point to see a performance, movie, concert or some sort of show in one of the many historic theaters in the Sacramento area. Crest Theatre, the Guild Theatre and the Tower Theatre are all excellent venues for a retro experience.
14. Travel underground.
Did you know an entire city lies underneath Sacramento? And no, we’re not talking about “The Upside Down” from Stranger Things. Embark on an Underground Tour of Old Sacramento, providing a glimpse of life in the city over 150 years ago. Travel below historic buildings, explore excavated foundations, and walk through enclosed pathways in this fascinating guided tour.
15. Try not to scream on the Screamer.
The Scandia Family Fun Center’s renowned ride, “The Screamer” has banned screaming so as not to disrupt its neighbors. Enduring the ride without sound may be difficult, as it spans 165 feet into the air and travels up to 65 miles per hour.
16. Compete in the World’s Oldest Triathlon.
Photo Courtesy of Eppie’s Great Race
Considered the World’s Oldest Triathlon, Eppie’s Great Race is a unique triathlon that replaces the traditional swimming portion with paddling. There are a number of other races throughout the year, including the California International Marathon and the American River Parkway Half Marathon, or shorter races such as the Fab 40s 5K Run/Walk.
17. See mermaids at Dive Bar.
Photo Courtesy of Dive Bar
Don’t let the name Dive Bar deter you from this unique bar in the heart of downtown. With refurbished brick walls, dark wood, vintage furniture, and a large tank over the bar with a mermaid or merman making an occasional appearance. This perfectly subtle play-on-words completes the quirky experience you’ll have at Dive Bar.
18. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through Old Sacramento.
Photo Courtesy of Top Hand Ranch
Create a fairytale ending to this list with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the charming streets of Old Sacramento. This is perhaps the best way to match the era of this historic district reminiscent of the Gold Rush era.
Happy New Year!
How many of these have you already done? Let us know your favorites, or activities you would add!
Category Local Events, Neighborhood Guides, Sacramento
Cathy Harrington is Lyon Real Estate’s director of marketing, overseeing the content on the Lyon Local blog, website and social media channels.