Sacramento Summer Bucket List
It’s hard to believe, but we’re already midway through summer. Long days and warm nights will soon be behind us, so now is the time to take advantage of all that summer has to offer. There are still plenty of things to do, places to go and adventures to have before the leaves start turning. Following are some of the must-do activities in Sacramento that need to go on your summer bucket list, pronto!
Cool Off at the Lake
Photo courtesy ray_explores on Flickr
Bask in Sacramento’s late-summer sunshine by spending an afternoon at the lake. Folsom Lake, that is! There are plenty of spots to spread out and relax along the shore. Make a day of it on the sandy beaches of Granite Bay or Beal’s Point, jump off the boulders at Negro Bar or rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the inlets of Lake Natoma.
Float Down the River
Photo courtesy Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr
There’s no better to while away a summer day in Sacramento than a mellow float down the American River. Bring your own raft (no wimpy pool floaties please!) or rent one from American River Raft Rentals in Rancho Cordova or River Rat in Fair Oaks. Bring a few water blasters to battle it out in an epic water gun fight with fellow rafters, a Sacramento summer tradition.
Watch a Free Outdoor Movie
Photo courtesy Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District
It’s not too late to catch a free flick under the stars! In fact, Sacramento’s warm summer nights make it the perfect place to relax outdoors far after the sun goes down, and many parks are showing free outdoor movie nights through September. Some options include Missing Link at North Natomas Regional Park Aug. 9; The House with a Clock in its Walls in Vernon Square in Roseville Aug. 16; Mary Poppins Returns at Quarry Park in Rocklin Aug. 16; and How to Train Your Dragon at Central Park in Davis Aug. 24.
Catch a River Cats Game
Photo courtesy Alice Mercer via Flickr
An evening at Raley Field watching a River Cats game is one of the best ways to spend a summer night in Sacramento. Tickets are reasonable, and there’s a large grassy area (known as Home Run Hill) where the kids can play and you can spread out and relax. August 8 and 29 are Thirsty Thursdays, where 12-ounce beers are just $2 and craft Lagunitas are $5.
Have Dinner on a Patio
Photo courtesy The Firehouse Restaurant
Sacramentans love the outdoors, and just about all restaurants in the area have designed their spaces with al fresco dining in mind. Evenings usually cool off enough to enjoy outdoor dining even on the hottest days, thanks to the Delta Breeze. Some of the best patios in Sacramento include The Firehouse in Old Sacramento, Paragary’s in Midtown and Scott’s Seafood on the River. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, check out Crawdads.
Go to the Drive Ins
Yes, Sacramento still has a drive-in theater. No, it’s not closing (despite years of rumors). It may not have the reclining seats or high-tech sound systems of newer, fancier theaters, but the $8 admission ($5.50 on family night) makes it a worthy tradeoff. Plus, nothing beats cozying up in the back of the car and watching a movie under the stars. Check the latest showtimes and take advantage of the double feature.
Visit a Waterpark
Photo courtesy Raging Waters
It’s no secret that Sacramento summers are HOT. Luckily, the many waterparks around town will cool you off while providing fun for the entire family. Raging Waters in Sacramento has waterslides, a lazy river and a play structure for the little ones, plus mom and dad can rent a cabana for the day. Golfland Sunsplash in Roseville has waterslides and a wave pool, plus miniature golf, laser tag and an arcade.
Hit the Farmers Market
Even the nation’s Farm-to-Fork Capital slows down in the winter. Although some of Sacramento’s farmers markets stay open year-round, most are seasonal and close down when the weather cools. Now is the time to enjoy the city’s farmers markets, not only for their summer bounty, but also their outdoor music, entertainment and grab-and-go food offerings.
Drink Beer on a Bike. Or a Boat.
Photo courtesy Sac Brew Boat
Sure, you can drink beer anywhere, anytime. But imagine drinking a beer while pedaling around midtown on a giant bicycle. Or while powering a paddleboat along the river near Old Sacramento. Yes, you can do this in the winter, but it’s much more fun on a pleasant summer day. Get a group of friends together and reserve your spot on the Sac Brew Bike or Sac Brew Boat before summer’s end.
Listen to an Outdoor Concert
Photo courtesy Davis Farmers Market
On any given day in summer, you’re sure to hear music wafting from area parks and public spaces. Tuesdays and Thursdays, come see local musicians during Music on the Terrace at DoCo. Or, head over to Curtis Park for Music in the Park on Aug. 25. Fair Oaks hosts Concerts in the Park at Village Park on Thursday evenings through Aug. 22, and Carmichael Park also concerts every Saturday through Labor Day. In Elk Grove, Hot Summer Nights bring free concerts to Laguna Town Hall every Friday, and down in Davis, the Picnic in the Park continues every Wednesday evening through October.
Cool Off with a Sweet Treat
Nothing says summer like cooling off with a frozen dessert, and Sacramento has plenty of options! Old-school ice cream parlors include Gunther’s and Vic’s, or try the unique flavors at Devine Gelateria in Midtown. Another quintessential summer treat in Sacramento is the shaved ice served out of a sidewalk window at Osaka-Ya downtown. Or, check out the newest kid on the block, Milk House Shakes in Old Sac.