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The best Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping, Art,Cultural Attractions, and just plain Fun Stuff to do and see in California’s Wine Country.

 

HOTELS: SACRAMENTO

Surround yourself with swank at the new Citizen HotelVisit Website

Sleep on land but overlook the Sacramento river at the Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront PromenadeVisit Website

  

RESTAURANTS: SACRAMENTO

Dine in style at the historic Firehouse, the building that once housed the guys who put out train fires. Visit Website

In the Bella Bru Café, bikes outnumber cars in the parking lot. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying their excellent breakfast. Visit Website

The Park in midtown Sacramento offers a chic nightclub, two upscale restaurants, and a trendy bar in the center of the square with couch cabanas to lounge on during happy hour. Ranks of curtains hang near the Park Courtyard bar, and restaurants like Mason’s and Ma Jong’s Asian Diner. The unusual setup, tied together by a modern fire-and-water theme, draws Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other VIPs from the nearby state Capitol. Wrap up your evening at Ultra Lounge. Lines form at the club’s back-alley door as early as 8 p.m. DJs specialize in top 40 and house music. Reserve a VIP room with fur-padded walls and a 50-inch plasma-screen TV—for only $1,000. Visit Website

Enjoy a riverside table—and a helping of herb-crusted Atlantic salmon—at Rio City Café near the Tower Bridge. Visit Website

Stop in for coffee at the Naked Lounge, where the name is not to be taken literally. Visit Website

 

ART: SACRAMENTO

Stroll your way to culture at the Second Saturday Art Walk, when art galleries throughout the city hold open houses. Visit Website

 

SHOPS: SACRAMENTO

Stock up on Gold Rush-era boots, bonnets, union suits, and accessories at Sacramento City Dry GoodsVisit Website

 

CULTURAL/HISTORIC: SACRAMENTO

Whether you’ve never even set foot on an Amtrak or love the smell of rail yards in the morning, you won’t regret exploring the California State Railroad Museum. It’s the most popular of its kind in the United States and is located hard by the original Union Pacific tracks. You can wander in and out of cars that look like the set of a 1940s film noir. You can eyeball the “lost” golden spike, cast at the same time as the one that finished the Transcontinental Railroad, and resurfaced only a few years ago. Upstairs, away from the array of real-life trains, more than 1,000 classic toy trains whir away on an elaborate 3,300-square-foot exhibit. Visit Website

Go behind bars at Folsom State Prison, located about three miles from the trail. Johnny Cash made the correctional facility famous in “Folsom Prison Blues.” Visit Website

Many Sacramento highlights aren’t even on terra firma. A boutique hotel, a restaurant that always makes the local media’s “best-of” lists, a bar featuring a rocking three-person band, a dinner theater that presents murder mysteries, and the city’s best professional theater troupe all reside on the Delta King. The historic 285-foot paddleboat floats on the Sacramento River, leaving happy travelers in its wake. Most of the staterooms provide impressive views of the river. A mix of old and new, the accommodations include wooden pull-flush toilets and HD flat-screen TVs. You can also see the river from the Pilothouse Restaurant. Its wood-paneled décor reflects the boat’s 1920s heritage, but many opt to dine on the deck. Grass-fed beef and locally grown organic produce combine to create the best brunch in town. Visit Website

 

FUN STUFF: SACRAMENTO

Take in a show without leaving the bar at the Cosmopolitan. The small nightclub/cabaret/theater also hosts big musicals. Visit Website

Avoid taxi fees by getting around town on a Bikes and Bites cruiser bike. Visit Website

Take a 40-minute, six-mile train ride from April through September at the Central Pacific Railroad Freight DepotVisit Website

Drive 12 miles west to see true bike culture in Davis. The small town boasts Davis Wheelworks and five other bike shops. Visit Website

See the river up-close with a Sacramento Yacht Charters cruiseVisit Website

Want to experience the great outdoors? Trails.com once named the American River Parkway the country’s best biking trail. Visit Website

You can rent a road or mountain bike from City Bicycle Works for $20 a day. Ask a staffer to give you directions to the nearest trail access point, only about a half-mile away from the shop. Visit Website

 

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