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Okay, first question I know you’re asking. Why the hell did you choose to go to Sacramento of all places?
Answer, in three or four, okay five, parts. First (and foremost), I caught this wild (probably mistake) airfare on United Airlines for $89 round trip EWR-SMF and I just couldn’t say no! Second, I have friends who live nearby and this was a good opportunity to spend time with them. Third, my boyfriend is a public school teacher and, amazingly, the dates of the flights coincided with a school holiday. Fourth, I visited Sacramento five years ago to run the California International Marathon and liked the city. Fifth, I really liked the Hyatt Regency hotel right in the center of Sacramento, across the street from the California State Capital, and was happy to return there. In addition, after I started planning the trip, I learned that Sacramento has a plethora of street art. In fact, it is a Mecca of street art which got me even more excited for the trip!
We had a 7 pm flight out of Newark Liberty Airport, so I first schlepped a suitcase to work and then went to Penn Station to meet Dave to take the NJ Transit train to the airport. I was waiting at Penn Station but Dave was no where to be found. Turns out, he was confused and was waiting at the PATH train (Dohhhh). Once that was solved we got on the next NJ Transit train and were on our way.
Once at Newark Airport, we went to a priority pass airport lounge that is is landside. It is called Art & Lounge and, while I appreciate having a lounge, it is just a strange place. It was also very crowded. However, the food was better than I remembered. Dave consumed more than a few meatballs.
The flight was on United Airlines. The plane was full, but the middle seat between Dave and I was open (YAY!!). To my surprise the flight attendants were quite nice, and one (I think her name was Allie) brought me a half bottle of Chardonnay from first class for free!
Dave said he didn’t sleep. Ha.
We arrived after 11p.m. and took an Uber to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento (see HOTEL REVIEW). By the time we got settled in, it was after midnight and we called it a night.
The next day, it was time to explore downtown Sacramento on foot. It’s always odd when you first arrive in a place late at night – so the morning is a good time to start exploring. The streets in Downtown Sacramento are ordered by numbers and letters, so it’s not difficult to navigate. We walked around the Capitol building and the Capitol Park surrounding it.
Within the park perimeters there is a beautiful rose garden. We saw plenty of wedding parties taking photos.
Nearby is the Vietnam War Memorial.
We continued on our way and walked through Old Sacramento. It’s a cool old gold mining town.
On our way back, we passed through some nice areas and some sketchy ones too. This is the Golden 1 Center – the arena built in 2016 – where the basketball team, the Sacramento Kings, plays.
Before finishing up our walk, I was determined to find the new street art by Shepard Fairley of Johnny Cash. With a little Googling, I found it (of course we later realized this street art was right down the block from our hotel, but . . . like . . . isn’t that typical for the first day in a new place?).
In the following days, I pursued my quest to see Sacramento street art – including much of the art attributable to Wide Open Walls (see, Sacramento: Amazing Street Art Everywhere You Turn!).
Another day, we went with our friends to a few of the many wineries in nearby Amador County, about 45 minutes from Sacramento. We visited Young’s Vineyard and Villa Toscana, both in Plymouth, California. The tastings were cheap, and the wine was good.
We also went to HIgh Hill Ranch and Apple Hill Farm, a seasonal market specializing in everything apples.
Ready for a nice happy hour? We had a redeye flight home, so even with a 4 p.m. late checkout from our hotel, we had some time to kill. Mayahuel, right around the corner from the Hyatt Regency, was an excellent choice!
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