How Local Can You Go? Explore Sacramento’s Trendy Midtown
BY BARBARA L. STEINBERG // PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CLEMENS
Midtown, Sacramento is trending. It helps that the neighborhood—America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital—embraces an ethos of loca-everything, from eco-conscious dining to indie theater. While it’s urban, there’s plenty of open space; and with its easily navigated grid, it’s easy to get around. What better excuse to go out and explore Sacramento?
For those seeking expertly fresh-roasted java, Temple Coffee is your sanctuary.
For those who count themselves as bean or brew geeks (i.e. most Midtown locals), Temple Coffee is the best place to start your day. If it’s sun you’re after, its pretty patios are the spot to be. Chill out while practiced baristas press, drip, steep, and pour over farm-to-cup coffees and single-origin teas. Even if you don’t know your Ethiopian from your Arabica, never fear: The café roasts its own beans, all of which have earned 90+ points on CoffeeReview.com.
Savor fancy pastries made for all dietary prefs at Pushkin’s Bakery.
Need a sweet treat alongside your cup of joe? Leave health-conscious concerns behind (somewhat) at Pushkin’s Bakery, where dairy-free, gluten-free, and wheat-free taste, well...really delicious. Strawberry scones and double chocolate walnut cookies are ideal sweet-tooth fare; if you’re craving something a bit more substantial, banh mi and spicy grilled cheese sandwiches stick to the dietary mission while still tasting scrumptious.
Farm-to-fork and fresh out of the oven: Hot Italian’s signature pizzas are a Sacramento staple.
DINING AND IMBIBING
For when a sandwich won’t quite sate your appetite, there’s always Hot Italian; the eatery specializes in Italian pizza with a California twist. There are no missteps on the menu of brick-oven pies, seasonal salads, and creative cocktails, though the signature Fiori pizza—topped with prosciutto, arugula, mushrooms, mozzarella, and truffle oil—is a Sacramento farm-to-fork classic. Thinking about your post-carb fitness plan? The sleek décor spills over into an adjacent retail space, where custom cycling apparel is for sale. If not, a sidewalk window view of gelato piled high is molto Italiano—and molto tempting.
Sandwiches, custom cocktails, and a Saturday farmers market make Block Butcher Bar the best of, well, all worlds.
For those who plan to explore Sacramento alongside a designated driver, plan a pit stop at Block Butcher Bar, a sleek and sexy whiskey bar with a menu counting dozens upon dozens of distillations. For local flavor, you can sample California varieties neat, or pick from the house menu of custom cocktails. Where’s the beef? Check the chalkboard for house-cured meats and gourmet “sammy of the week.” Pro-tip: Swing by on Saturdays and you can hit up the Midtown Farmers Market, held just outside the bar from 8 am-1 pm.
Spruce up your space with curated vintage delights from Scout Living.
SCOUT AND ABOUT
Continue your Midtown tour at Scout Living. A curated collective of more than 20 expert dealers, it showcases high-end used furniture, home accessories, art, and decorative pieces. Voted “Best Home Furnishings” in a local readers’ poll, the boutique displays exceptional collections and styles from Danish modern to shabby chic. Bonus: Your retro turntable will love the cool collection of old vinyl.
Spoke (er, spot) everything you need for two-wheeling fun at Edible Petal. Just across the way, down Liestal Row, Edible Pedaladvocates a peaceful style of bicycling. This one-of-a-kind bike repair, food delivery, recycled accessories, vintage cycling gear, and bicycles-for-sale shop is the cool hangout spot for the neighb’s two-wheeler types. Talk bikes, buy bikes, or have food delivered by bikes—deliveries can be pedaled right to your picnic spot, wherever that might be.
Soak in the sun and admire the verdant view while strolling through the California State Capitol Museum and Park.
Speaking of picnic spots: If you’re in search, the California State Capitol Museum and Park is found on the very edge of Midtown and offers 40 lush acres of pathways and gardens. It’s also home to key Sacramento landmarks, like the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Firefighters Memorial, and World Peace Rose Garden. There are benches on every path, where you may just spy the resident red-tailed hawks and other wildlife that call the park home.
Like your art best when it’s upcycled? You’ll be right at home at Rossi Sculptural Designs. Midtown welding queen Gina Rossi brings new life to salvaged and found scrap metal in her pieces. Golf clubs, fused glass, and horseshoes all find new use in her large-scale sculptures and installations. (Keep your eyes open: Her bike racks and other pieces can be found around town.) Looking to give upcycling a try yourself? Rossi also hosts individual and group classes that teach the art of MIG welding and fused glass design.
California’s thespians aren’t all clustered in Hollywood. Discover up-and-comers in the intimate California Stage/R25 Art Complex.
After a day of dining, wining, and freewheeling, there’s no better way to cool down your Midtown explorations than an evening of award-winning theater. At California Stage/R25 Art Complex, housed within a reclaimed industrial warehouse, local artists and theater companies put on shows ranging from one-act plays to literary events. The complex houses three diminutive stages—small, smaller, and smallest—meaning you’ll be up close and personal with the performers. Bravo!