How I spent my summer vacation

Lisa Martinez

The kids are out of school. It’s 100 degrees outside. So, now what? Here are our favorite ways to chill out downtown.

Go Big or Go Home
There’s nothing like retreating into a dark, air-conditioned theater when the Sacramento heats up in the summer. The IMAX has all of the big summer blockbusters like Jurassic World, Ant Man, and Mission Impossible. With a movie screen that’s several stories high and a monster sound system, these movies are larger than life. Buy your tickets in advance, so you can chose your seat and skip the lines at the window. The best seats in the house are in the center of the theater.

csrmexcursiontrain_03_06_12_webAll Aboard
If you’ve got a toddler at home, turn off that episode of Thomas & Friends and take your kiddo to the California Railroad Museum for the real deal. They can explore real-life “steamies”, stretch their imaginations with toy trains, and hop aboard a Summer Excursion Train Ride along the river on weekends. If you think you’ll be back for another visit, think about springing for a family membership. (Membership has its perks. You get advance access to Polar Express ticket sales during the holidays.)


ana appleMake Something
Let’s be real moms. Those epic Pinterest fails are a real thing. I’ve been there. But don’t despair. Go get crafty at Ana Apple’s Greenhouse in Old Sacramento. Check out their website for their workshop schedule. You’ll find everything from No-Peek Painting, photography, and Throwback Thursday Movie + Craft Nights. July 2 is The Princess Bride and a royal dress-up party!


snow iceChill Out
I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice scream. There are plenty of options to get your next brain freeze. Frozen in Time Treats is a go-to spot in Old Sacramento with their chocolate dipped strawberries and bananas. Goodie Tuchews on L Street is known for their fresh baked cookies. But did you know? You can also order an ice cream cookie sandwich with Gunther’s ice cream. For a little something different, swing by Vampire Penguin on K Street for snow ice. (What is snow ice? Glad you asked. Think shaved ice that is so fine that it is as light and fluffy as fresh fallen snow. It’s infused with flavors like chocolate or strawberry and then you get to add the toppings just like fro yo.)

Get Creative

The Crocker Art Museum will get your creative juices flowing. Check out Family Fridays from 11 am – 12:30 pm. The Crocker celebrates the art of children’s books with music-making, art-making, and fun for the whole family. Or wait till the sun sets and the delta breeze picks up, and catch the Courtyard Classic Film Series on the first Friday of the month with classics like Moby Dick and Jaws.

Take A Break from the Kitchen
Sometimes it’s just to darn hot to cook. So, let Downtown’s chefs do the work for you. Mother on K Street has laid back vibe and more importantly puts veggies on center stage. Even my carnivore hubby can’t get enough of their fresh approach to food. You can’t go wrong with the chile verde (always add the fried egg) or the avocado and squash salad. Oh yeah, save room for the brown butter cookie. Grab a table at Pizza Rock, if you want to a lot of choices and a fun, high-energy atmosphere. deVere’s Irish Pub is a great anytime, but is one of my family’s favorite breakfast spots. Their French toast is to die for. Plus, they have a bookcase full of board games not to mention a family bathroom. (Yeah boys, diaper duty isn’t just for mammas.) Everyone thinks of Mikuni when you say sushi in Sacramento. But, did you know their downtown restaurant has a killer happy hour menu at the sushi bar on weekdays from 2-8 pm and Saturday & Sundays from noon to 4 pm. Cuz, you know – It’s always happy hour somewhere!