Regular traffic aside, it’s easy to forget that our state capital is merely 90 miles from San Francisco. It’s your go-to stop on the road to Tahoe, but Sacramento also makes a great weekend trip on its own, featuring Northern California's most up-and-coming food and drink scene. Here are the ingredients you need for a delicious weekend in Sac.
If you want to dine on inventive tasting menus, Localis is the place to go. Chef Christopher Barnum-Dann's dishes can be ordered a la carte but the five-course tasting menu is a steal at $79. We recommend the wine pairings for an additional $47; it's worth it to try the restaurant's fine collection of under-the-radar Burgundys.
Ella has served impeccable dishes like stuffed quail with chorizo bread pudding for over a decade. Exquisite cocktails from lead bartender Reagan Ellena make the bar just as much of a draw.
Amaro is a local gem for Neapolitan pizzas, gratifying pastas and refreshing spritzes in an industrial space that looks like the Medici family decorated a modern warehouse.
Seeking comfort food? The popular South turns out generous portions of hush puppies, fried chicken, gumbo and Nashville hot chicken sandwiches.
Located inside Citizen Hotel, Grange continues to be a local gathering place not only for quality food, cocktails and wine. Try chef Oliver Ridgeway's classic dishes like trout served with cauliflower puree, Asian pear and mushroom "soil." Look out for a new restaurant and cocktail bar opening upstairs this winter.
Want a haircut and quality cocktails? Both are available at Bottle & Barlow. Some of the barbershop's creative drinks come rimmed in prosciutto, while others, like the Pickle Me Pink, pack a punch with a shot of pickle brine.
Get your tiki on at the delightful Jungle Bird, where cocktails come in giant copper parrots. Check out their themed nights exploring different islands and countries where rum is produced.
Sacramento’s coolest summer newcomer, The Flamingo House brings a Miami-meets-California vibe. Pink flamingos, velvet purple couches and tropical-etched wall mirrors set the backdrop for killer guacamole, Cubano sandwiches and weekly rotating drinks.
With its cool analogue music design and flat screens showing campy movies, B-Side is a late night industry hang. Pre Flight Lounge is worth a visit for the striking alley mural alone. Feel as if you’ve slipped away to Mexico drinking margaritas and tacos at open air Cantina Alley, or chug beers on the front porch at The Golden Bear.
Drink like a local at Temple Coffee Roasters or Chocolate Fish, but don’t miss one of our favorites, Insight Coffee Roasters, with its charming downtown location around the corner from The Citizen Hotel. Oblivion Comics & Coffee doesn't roast its own beans, but does offer a hip space lined with comic book art where you can sip a cup of joe and read for a while.
Other local gems
Those who adhere to a vegan or gluten-free diet will love Pushkin’s Bakery, which draws lines of locals for its tasty baked goods and irresistible breakfast sandwiches.
For the most eclectic spirits selection you’ve ever seen at a grocery store head to old-school Corti Brothers, a Sacramento institution that also has a great deli for to-go sandwiches.