It’s a funny thing when you live in California for 17 years and never visit the state capital, AKA Sacramento, and I speak from experience. When I first flew in to Northern California to visit my friend Kayle, I landed at Sacramento Airport. It was really hot, in the 90’s or so (Fahrenheit) but we didn’t let that keep us from our adventure!
We started the day off at Temple Coffee Roasters, which is a beautiful place to check out if you’re into coffee. I just ordered an iced almond milk latte but it was honestly one of the best I ever had, and it really helped cool me down while we were sitting in the sun. Right around the corner from the Temple Coffee location we went to was Pushkin’s Bakery, which was a treat all in itself. Pushkin’s offers many clearly-labeled vegan treats like cupcakes, breads and cookies, plus they have savory offerings like sandwiches (over 6 of which are vegan!).
Kayle and I drove by the capitol building in the center of the city, but parking was hard to come by and there was an event going on (and my photos didn’t turn out that great). We made our way over to Old Town Sacramento right by the water, and managed to find some metered parking right by the Crocker Art Museum. It was later in the day, and the museum was about to close…otherwise we would’ve spent more time there checking out the Andy Warhol exhibit. Note that the building in the photo above is part of the E.B. Crocker Art Gallery, the longest continuously-operating art museum in the West. You enter the actual museum at the more modern-looking building to the right, we just enjoyed taking a look at the Crocker residence and original gallery building, built in the early 1900’s.
You can walk a little past the art museum right to the water, then make a right (you don’t really have a choice since the water is straight ahead) and make your way to the bright yellow Tower Bridge. I love to be near water, so being able to walk right alongside the Sacramento River was incredibly calming. I didn’t notice a lot of tourists, but there were some people nearby resting on the benches, boats going by, and even some feral cats by the water who looked VERY well fed.
As far as bridges go, this one was pretty awesome. You can only drive under the bridge or walk alongside it (like crossing the street right in front), but either way, it makes for a cool photo! If you keep walking past the bridge along the water, you end up reaching Old Town Sacramento. If you haven’t been and you find yourself in Sacramento, this is something not to pass up!
Old Town Sacramento has lots of photo-worthy buildings that make you feel like you’re right in a Gold Rush town. Many of the old buildings remain, but are filled with modern outlets like clothing and costume stores, tattoo shops, gift shops, candy and toy stores, and more. There are attractions here like the California Automobile Museum, State Railroad Museum, History Museum and more, if that’s your kind of thing.
I didn’t really look for places in Old Town Sacramento to eat, because there are plenty of 100% vegan spots around the city. There are likely some accidentally vegan candies and food you can find in the shops, and cafes may offer at least some vegan-friendly beverages for you to enjoy. Either way, I recommend eating before and after you visit this cute little town.
As for vegan restaurants, we first lucked out with this place called Garden to Grill for lunch. I wish we got to try more than a salad and appetizer, but they do have items here like nachos, sandwiches and burgers, and even some baked desserts. It’s not really within walking distance to Old Town, so you’ll need a car or public transportation to get from one place to the other.
For dinner, Kayle and I met up with @toniokamoto (who also joined us for lunch) at this cool place called Anna’s Vegan Cafe. If you go, be sure to pay attention to their hours because they are closed Mondays and closed between 2 and 3pm on most days. This place has great lunch specials and inexpensively priced menu items overall. I really love their vegan meats and noodle dishes and I recommend getting a few things for the table to split. It was great getting to catch up over delicious food, and overall a lovely day spent in Sacramento.
Kayle and I drove back to Grass Valley as the sun set. At this point, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am to know so many people who share my values in compassion, travel and good food. Not too long after visiting Northern California, Kayle and I flew up to Portland (also a new place for me to visit) where we got to attend Vegan Beer Fest. I ended up meeting up with @jaclynmiller and some other cool people for a Vegan Food Crawl that I also wrote all about. Just a warning, there’s lots of food…but I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing! Stay tuned for yet another post on where I went after Portland. Hint: it’s north of Oregon 😉