For those traveling sans auto but Zipster-friendly, Midtown Sacramento is trending. Locavores flock to the escalating dining and libation epicenter of America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. The neighbourhood embraces loca-everything. From sidewalk art and local theatre to gastronomic delights à la carnivore, veghead and vegan. Rake through Midtown’s burgeoning recycled and secondhand retail, from high fashion and grunge to reclaimed bicycles, vinyl records, and gently used furniture. It’s urban, but there’s plenty of open space for hiking and biking along park paths and tree-lined boulevards. Pedestrian- friendly, alternative transit lovers arrive via Amtrak and Megabus and easily transition to Zipcar.
If you can count and know your ABCs, Midtown is an easily navigated grid.
An invitation-only collective of more than 20 Midtown dealers, Scout Living showcases high-end used furniture, haute couture, home accessories, art and decorative pieces. Voted “Best Home Furnishings” in a local readers’ poll, it displays exceptional collections and styles from antique to shabby chic, with Danish modern, mid-century modern and locally produced crafts predominating. Your turntable will love the cool collection of old vinyl.
Across the way, down Liestal Row alley, Edible Pedal advocates a peaceful style of bicycling. Commuter-friendly touring bikes are rebuilt and rentable. This very one-of-a-kind bike repair, food delivery, recycled eclectic bags, vintage cycling gear, and bicycles-for-sale shop is the totally cool place to hang out. Talk bikes, buy bikes, or have food delivered by bikes. And the bike bags and clothes are absolutely fashion-forward. Food can be pedaled right to your door or your picnic spot, wherever that might be.
Take an urban hike across Midtown’s metro border! In the heart of downtown, the California State Capitol Museum and Park is 40 lush acres of pathways and gardens. Numerous landmarks include the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Firefighters Memorial, and Native Plant Garden. Lose yourself among 650 rose bushes at the International World Peace Rose Garden. There are benches on every path; cuddle-up and enjoy! Bike, picnic or tour the Capitol, Sacramento’s crown jewel. Resident red-tailed hawks and other wildlife call Capitol Park home.
Upcycling is hipcycling with Rossi Sculptural Design. At last count, 21 über-cool sculptural bike racks create a functional sidewalk art exhibit throughout Midtown; interesting conversational pieces where you can hitch your faithful two-wheel ride. Welding queen Gina Rossi brings new life to salvaged and found scrap metal. Golf clubs, fused glass, rebar and horseshoes live again as an over-sized corkscrew or whimsical dragon. An ideal selfie, Tweet or Instagram moment, these traffic-stopping racks are enjoyed by non-cyclists, too. At Rossi Sculptural Design, individual and group classes teach the fine arc of welding and fused glass design. Learn the basics of mig welding and take home the ultimate souvenir.
Vegan or whatever? Here’s your holy grail! Leave health conscious concerns behind at Pushkin’s Bakery. Dairy free, gluten free, and wheat free never looked or tasted so delicious. Sweets and carbo addicts will find plenty to devour. From Bahn Mi and spicy grilled cheese sandwiches to strawberry scones and double chocolate walnut cookies, taste buds and tummies say, “OMG!” New menus are posted daily.
Embrace your coffee- and tea-geekdom at local fave Temple Coffee. Laze away in the cool, dark interior or on sundrenched patios while practiced baristas press, drip, steep and craft fair trade farm-to-cup coffees and single-sourced teas into selected beverages. The espresso and French press are Yelp worthy. Free Wi-Fi? Mais oui! The laptop crowd is well represented.
Modern Italy meets urban California at Hot Italian! When it comes to pizza with attitude, HT is hot in more ways than one. Hand-tossed brick-oven pies, seasonal salads and creative cocktails draw a packed house. The signature Fiori pizza—prosciutto, arugula, mushrooms, mozzarella and Bariani truffle oil—is a Sacramento farm-to-fork vs. Italian classic. The sleek décor spills over into a retail space where custom cycling apparel is for sale. A sidewalk window view of gelato piled high is molto Italiano.
A damn sexy whiskey bar, Butcher Block Bar features more than 200 curated whiskeys. Based on farm-to-fork inspirations, full-time mixologists focus on handcrafted cocktails with seasonal ingredients. It’s recommended you bring your DD along. Where’s the beef at this bar? Check the butcher and block under glass, and the chalkboard for house-cured meats and gourmet “Sammy of the week”. Food is what’s fresh and featured! The Zipcar-sponsored Midtown Farmers Market is literally outside Butcher’s front door every Saturday, 8am to 1pm.
After a day of dining, wining and freewheeling, settle into an evening of award-winning theater. At California Stage/R25 Art Complex, a reclaimed industrial warehouse, local artists and theater companies are creating art not reproducing entertainment one-act plays, Latino theater, and literary, social and political points of view. The complex houses three diminutive stages – small, smaller, and smallest – you could almost be off-off Broadway. You’ll be up-close and personal with the cast and other patrons. California Stage was urban and cool well before its time.