There’s a lot to love about California’s capital city. Especially if you ask Marc Edwards, general manager at HI Sacramento hostel, who’s lived in four major cities including San Francisco and Washington D.C. Apart from being rich in history as a state capital and Gold Rush town, Sacramento is one of the most bike friendly cities in California and also happens to be America’s farm-to-fork capital, making it a great destination for all kinds of travelers.
At a loss for where to start? “I’m a huge fan of ditching your guide book and just asking questions at the front desk,” suggests Marc. So, with that in mind, here’s the GM’s guide to where to eat, drink and play in the capital like a local.
Where to get Coffee in Sacramento
Temple (1010 9th St) – “Arguably the best coffee in Sacramento and they have the awards to prove it,” Marc says. “The staff at all the locations are incredibly friendly and take pride in the work they do. Another great thing about Temple is they know they’re good at what they do, but they’re not pretentious coffee snobs. They’ll take the time to explain what they’re doing. Each visit is an educational journey.”
Where to Eat in Sacramento
Dad’s on J (1004 J St) – It’s a rarity to find a sandwich shop with salads as delicious as sandwiches, but Dad’s on J is exactly that. This hole-in-the-wall is owned and operated by chef Mick Stevenson, who does phenomenally well to make his shop feel like home. The interior is decorated with great memorabilia, like classic Coca-Cola displays, posters from previous concerts in Sacramento, and license plates from around the USA. Dad’s is synonymous with amazing bites that won’t break the bank. Most combos are under $10!
Streets Pub & Grub (1804 J St) – “This London-themed pub is one of the best kept secrets in Sacramento. Tuesday night’s they offer $2 Taco Tuesday with the BEST fish tacos in all of Sacramento (best in the country in my humble opinion). On any given evening you can walk in and be greeted with a smile and a joke from the pub owner Thaddeus, but you’ll find me there every Tuesday night for karaoke, tacos, and a game or two of darts.”
Hot Italian (1627 16th St) – “You know how some people say they’ve had the best pizza ever? Well, if they’ve eaten at Hot Italian, that’s true! If they’re talking about another pie shop, fuhgetabouddit! Hot Italian takes the cake for best pizza and atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. The building is decorated with real Italian bikes, scooters, motorcycles, cars, and soccer games are always on the big screen. Make sure to save room for dessert because Hot Italian has a gelato bar with a variety of delicious post-pizza treats! Of all the great things Hot Italian has to offer, the most notable is their commitment to local issues and charitable causes. They’ve partnered with HI Sacramento in the past for our bike in movies and we couldn’t be more thankful for the partnership and the pies!”
What to Do in Sacramento
American River Trail (Old Sacramento) – “This is by far my favorite bike route in Sacramento. Guests can rent one of our bikes for $18 a day and ride over to Old Sacramento, which is the trail head of this bike route. From there, you’ll ride along the American River, seeing why Sacramento is known internationally as “The City of Trees.” This route will take you across two bridges and past the Blue Diamond Almond Factory, which has a fantastic gift shop. I pick up my almonds directly from the factory. Afterwards, you can end your ride over in mid-town, which is filled with bars, restaurants, and clubs galore! My favorite thing to do after a bike ride is stopping by Low Brau’s (1050 20th St) outdoor patio for a cold brew.”
Capital Park (Capitol Ave & 15th St) – “Just a stone’s throw from HI Sacramento by walking or bicycle, Capital Park is the quintessential picnic destination. Whether you wish to rest under the canopy of trees or soak up the sun and scents in the rose garden, Capital Park is my ‘go to’ spot for an afternoon of relaxation and peacefulness.”
Looking for something completely different to do while you’re in town? Take a look at these drop-in classes in Sacramento and go home with a new skill!