End of Summer Bucket List
Don’t let the triple-digit temperatures fool you — the end of summer is right around the corner. Although the official last day of summer isn’t until Sept. 21, the unofficial cap to the summer season is traditionally Labor Day weekend. In non-pandemic years, Labor Day weekend is usually chock full of community events and festivals, drawing revelers from throughout the greater Sacramento region. But this year is a bit different. With social distancing in place, large gatherings are a no-no, so it’s best to stick close to home with your family or “quaranteam.” There’s still much fun to be had this summer, so if you haven’t already done so, be sure to check these must-do summer activities off your summer bucket list.
Go on a Hike
Living in the Sacramento area means you don’t have to travel far to get a dose of nature. There are plenty of scenic hiking trails within our own backyard. Some easy spots include Effie Yeaw Nature Center Preserve along the American River in Carmichael, the Davis Arboretum, a flat, mellow trail that follows Putah Creek in Davis, the Placer Nature Center, with a five-acre preserve near Auburn, and the El Dorado Trail, which stretches from Placerville to Camino.
Indulge in Ice Cream
Nothing says summer like cooling off with a frozen treat, and the Sacramento area has no shortage of ice cream shops. Old-school ice cream parlors include Gunther’s and Vic’s, or try the unique flavors at Devine Gelateria in Midtown. Devil May Care in West Sacramento has unique flavors like cardamom coffee and carrot cake, and Cià di Gelateria in Folsom has gelato on a stick with flavors like peanut butter or mango.
Dine al Fresco
Sacramentans love the outdoors, and many restaurants have designed their spaces with al fresco dining in mind, especially now that indoor dining is prohibited. Many have well-spaced patios with fans and misters to keep diners cool even on the hottest days. Some of the loveliest restaurant patios in the Sacramento area include Paragary’s in Midtown, La Provence in Roseville, Milestone in El Dorado Hills and Selland’s in East Sacramento.
Go to the Drive-Ins
Yes, Sacramento still has a drive-in theater, and yes, it’s actually open, although social distancing guidelines are in place. You can catch new releases as well as popular films from past years for just $8.50 per person ($5.50 on family night). Nothing beats cozying up in the back of the car and watching a movie under the stars on a warm summer night. Check the latest showtimes and take advantage of the double feature.
Hitting the river on a hot summer day is a Sacramento tradition! You can bring your own raft or rent one from American River Ranch 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, stops along the banks to stretch your legs, and admire the scenery from the water.
Find a Food Truck
Although food trucks are usually associated with large community gatherings, there are still some small meetups where you can grab a bite. SactoMofo hosts food truck events across the Sacramento area, including Natomas, Tahoe Park, Elk Grove, and Rancho Cordova. Food offerings run the gamut, and include everything from gyros and empanadas to boba and donuts.
Take a Dip
The hot weather isn’t going away anytime soon, so you’ll probably need to find a way to cool off. Sacramento is surrounded by lakes and rivers, and there are plenty of spots where you can relax in the sun and go for a swim. Some spots to consider are the American River Confluence in Auburn, the American River Parkway in Sacramento, the Nimbus Flat Recreation area in Folsom, and the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area near Granite Bay.
Hit the Farmers’ Market
Sure, some farmers’ markets remain open year-round in the Sacramento area — after all, we are the nation’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. But many others wrap up when the weather cools. Take advantage of the summer bounty by hitting some of the smaller farmers’ markets around town.
Available camping sites are few and far between this late in the season, but there are a few spots to be had. Some campgrounds close to Sacramento include Scott’s Flat Lake near Nevada City, Sly Park Lake in Pollock Pines, and Union Valley Reservoir in El Dorado County. Don’t feel like heading out of town? Why not camp out in your own backyard? You can build a campfire, roast hot dogs, tell ghost stores and of course, make s’mores.
Take a Free Yoga Class
Sacramento Free Day of Yoga is a Labor Day tradition, when studios across town offer free classes to budding yogis. This year, they’re taking the event online, offering free virtual classes. Whether you’re an advanced student or a beginner, there are a variety of classes to get you twisting, turning and upside-down! Check the website for the most up-to-date schedule.