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10 Amazing Things To See & Do In East Sacramento

Picture of Catrina Pang
Updated: 9 February 2017
In the cozy eastern neighborhood of California’s capital city, residents and visitors alike are treated to many unique community-centric local attractions. Whether you have a passion for the Sacramento community and its history, or simply appreciate art, cuisine, and culture, you’ll find plenty of things that will amaze you in the area. Below, we guide you through ten things to see and do in East Sacramento that you definitely won’t want to miss.
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McKinley Park Rose Garden

Sprawling over 1.5 acres, McKinley Park Rose Garden is the largest of Sacramento’s rose gardens as well as its oldest classic public rose garden. The development of the current rose garden site began in 1928 under the direction of the city’s first parks superintendent, Frederick N. Evans, with the ‘City Beautiful Movement.’ Initially home to 400 rose plants, the garden grew to 944 rose plants in 1940, and today, the rose garden holds over 1,200 roses. When Evans originally designed the park, he wanted to have the garden arranged into definite patterns with all the rose varieties labeled with both their English and Latin names so that the garden could be an educational place where Sacramento residents and visitors interested in flowers and plants could come and study their culture. The garden is now run by the Friends of East Sac with help from the Sacramento Rose Society, who strive to improve and maintain this historic public garden through nonprofit management and private funding when the city has been unable to use its own resources. The rose selection includes disease-resistant plants that do not require spraying, meaning that the garden is organically cared for and both environmentally and river-friendly. One of only 130 All-American Rose Selection display gardens, the well-known garden is a popular site for daily visitors, weddings, and memorial services.

McKinley Park Rose Garden, 601 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 452 8011

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Run to Feed the Hungry

In 1994, 796 participants turned out for the inaugural Run to Feed the Hungry event on Thanksgiving morning. This Sacramento tradition, now celebrating over 28,500 participants, is not only the largest run in Sacramento, but also the largest Thanksgiving Day fun run in the country. Run to Feed the Hungry is owned by Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, and all profits directly benefit the organization. The costs associated with putting on this event are kept low as a result of generous sponsors, contributions of goods and services, and the incredible volunteer efforts of the community. Offering both a 5K Run/Walk and a 10K Run, the race starts on J Street just west of the entrance to the Sacramento State campus and runs through the beautiful tree-lined streets of East Sacramento, extending into midtown for the 10Kers, and ends just east of Elvas Avenue and H Street with locals cheering everyone on along the way. The top three overall male and female finishers in the 5K and 10K receive custom plaques as well as varying amounts of prize money, and the top three finishers in each age group also receive custom medals. Whether or not you win a prize, though, the run is a fun-filled truly Sacramentan experience for all.

Run to Feed the Hungry, 6000 J St, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 456 1980

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The Fabulous Forties

Every year since 1973, residents of the famous East Sacramento Fabulous Forties neighborhood have opened their homes to the public for the Sacred Heart Parish School Holiday Home Tour. Proceeds from the tour help to offset tuition and offer assistance to those who might not otherwise be able to afford a Catholic education. Anyone can take a self-guided walking tour of five of the magnificent homes in the Fabulous Forties neighborhood, which have all been decorated for the holidays by top area interior designers and florists. Bound by J Street and Folsom Boulevard, and 38th to 47th Streets, this historic neighborhood boasts wide avenues, sweeping green lawns, and picturesque pre-WWII homes that have housed many of the city’s most prominent residents, including Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who lived there during Reagan’s term as Governor. The neighborhood features houses that were custom built in the early decades of the 20th century, when architects were looking to Europe for design inspiration. As a result, the Fabulous Forties is known for its eclectic Revival-style architecture, which includes English cottages, Tudor-style homes, Dutch farmhouses, Mediterranean villas, and Craftsman bungalows. The beautiful historic streets make for a wonderful scenic stroll at all other times of the year as well.

The Fabulous Forties, 38th to 47th Streets, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 456 1576

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East Sacramento Farmer’s Market

A local certified Saturday farmer’s market near downtown and midtown off H Street under the trees in McKinley Park, the East Sacramento Farmer’s Market showcases certified organic produce, farm stand products, and artisan and fair trade crafts. Open every Saturday morning from April to October, the market was the winner of the 2014 Special Place Award from the East Sacramento Chamber of Commerce. With great events like tomato taste-offs, monthly raffles with special gift baskets as prizes, and local wine tastings, the East Sacramento Farmer’s Market is truly a local gem. In addition to the incredible products from local farmers and entrepreneurs including nuts, coffee, organic produce, dog treats, and more, the market is home to unique attractions that are sure to delight people of all ages, like arts from the women of Madagascar, live Celtic music, and the beautiful paintings of local artists. People who go to the market early in the morning can even get extra savings and coupons to use with their favorite vendors. It’s a fun place for families, especially at Halloween, when they have a fantastic pumpkin patch complete with bales of hay and an adorable scarecrow, and kids can paint pumpkins and even trick-or-treat at the vendor booths.

East Sacramento Farmer’s Market, 3330 McKinley Blvd, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 203 0146

© White Buffalo Gallery

© White Buffalo Gallery

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White Buffalo Gallery

Established in 2014 as home to one of the area’s top tattoo artists, Ryan El Dugi Lewis, White Buffalo Gallery showcases the cutting edge of Sacramento’s art scene, as well as some lesser-known up-and-coming artists in its Art Gallery. Each month exhibits the works of a different talented artist, each with their own unique, modern, and interesting style. With its roots strongly planted in the culturally diverse art that comprises Sacramento and California, White Buffalo Gallery also houses a group of dynamic tattoo artists, capable of all styles, though each artist has their own style that flows. From Realism to Japanese and Asian styles, to New School Neo-Traditional and American Traditional, to Watercolor and Hyper-Realism, Comic and Graphic Art, White Buffalo Gallery’s award-winning artists can do it all. Owner Ryan El Dugi Lewis has won many awards all over California for his eye-catching lifelike color realism tattoo art. He specializes in realism and portraits, and is best known for his Dia De Los Muertos, Native American, Aztec, Flowers, and Movie Portraits. Working in color as well as black and gray, he has a passion for art that shows in each tattoo. Currently being featured is the piece below by Madelyne Joan Templeton titled ‘Tropical Blend’. As both a stellar tattoo shop and an amazing art gallery, White Buffalo Gallery attracts flocks of tattoo fans and art lovers alike everyday.

White Buffalo Gallery, 3671 J St, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 970 5004

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Sierra Sacramento Valley Museum of Medical History

The Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society’s Museum of Medical History showcases developments in medicine with a special relationship to the region, from the mid-1800s through today. The museum is organized by various themes: patent medicines and pharmacology, basic science and laboratory medicine, antibiotics and infections diseases, medical diagnosis and therapy, surgical diagnosis and therapy, nursing, Asian medicine, radiology, quackery, and local medical history. A variety of larger artifacts are also displayed, including examination tables, a 1920-era x-ray machine, wheelchairs, nurses uniforms, a doctor’s office cabinet, skeleton, 1950-era iron lung, Civil War amputation kits, live leeches, and a variety of medical art. In addition, you can find an array of classical 19th century instruments including cups, various tools for bleeding, ether masks, and medicines with mercury, arsenic, and strychnine. The Museum of Medical History is also home to an extensive library containing early medical textbooks and journals. Staffed by the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society’s Historical Committee, the museum is operated entirely from donations from the community and is completely free and open to the public every weekday.

Sierra Sacramento Valley Museum of Medical History, 5380 Elvas Avenue, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 452 2671

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Sinister Creature Con

A horror convention unlike any other, Sinister Creature Con celebrates both the past and present, from the nostalgic to the contemporary, offering something for every horror artist and fan alike. The Sinister Creature Con’s expansive tentacles ensnare a massive array of horror genre craftsmen and craftswomen that give monsters and the genre its tangible essence, such as painters, filmmakers, sculptors, tattoo artists, comic book artists, graphic designers, practical FX companies, actors, writers, haunted attraction engineers, and much more. The convention is held every year in October at the Scottish Rite Center, and there, you can learn how your fears are imagined so you can celebrate in the conquering of them. Sinister Creature Con strives above all to serve and promote the art and artists, with events like cosplay competitions, makeup application workshops, foam fabric and airbrush classes, and panels led by the interesting people of the industry. Over 80 exhibitors introduce guests to numerous spectacular horror-related items ranging from masks to antiques and oddities, and people get the chance to meet celebrities like Evan Michelson, Judith O’Dea, John Russo, Barry Bostwick, Patricia Quinn, Neil Campbell, Mary Woronov, and Miko Hughes, just to name a few.

Sinister Creature Con, 6151 H St, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 869 8954

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Cabana Winery and Bistro

An urban winery known for producing award-winning wines, Cabana Winery and Bistro is home to an exciting tasting room and bistro that offers live music every Friday and Saturday night. The name Cabana came from the thought that tasting wine and eating great food is like a day at the beach. Owned by the Smerling family, who had 17 years of winemaking experience in the foothills before deciding to open the winery, Cabana was encouraged by Sacramento’s people to add a bistro to the wine business, an unusual luxury. As a result, the family selected vineyards in Napa and Lodi, then set about making their award-winning wines. The bistro menu is made fresh daily using the finest ingredients. Appetizers include cheese boards and charcuterie boards, and patrons love the wood fired pizzas and daily specials. The tasting room has many wines for guests to try, or they can buy a glass or bottle and sit and relax with it on the outside patio. Inside, romantic bistro seating provides the perfect location for a date night or special occasion made all the more special with the addition of a perfect wine. Cabana sells wine by the bottle or case, and there is also a backyard that holds numerous concerts and private parties, including fundraisers and weddings.

Cabana Winery and Bistro, 5610 Elvas Ave, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 476 5492

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The Limelight

Home to a bar, a café, and even a cardroom, The Limelight wows its visitors on every level imaginable. A Sacramento landmark since 1975, the newly refurbished Limelight bar boasts a full bar, local wines, and rotating popular local beers on tap. The Limelight Café features elevated American bar food including burgers, tacos, wings, salads, artisan pizzas, and breakfasts. In addition, the Limelight Cardroom is the oldest standing privately held card room in Sacramento. There are two exhibits in The Limelight — one in the bar and one in the café. The bar is currently showing ‘Mikacich & McNamura: Friends & Teammates for Life, 1940s, 1950s, & 1960s’ with rare photos from the private collection of Johnny McNamura’s nephew, Joe, who wrote interesting captions for the display that you won’t want to miss. In the café, guests can check out an amazing collection of images of Sacramento baseball history generously shared by Sacramento Solons Expert Alan O’Connor, entitled ‘Sacramento Professional Baseball History from the Start.’ Alan has curated an informative and interesting exhibit that features important moments in Sacramento baseball history from 1886 to 1976. Limelight also showcases a few more recent Sacramento Major League stars, and a display describing the history of Edmonds Field. Each photo has text highlighting the importance of Sacramento’s most stellar players and describing the importance of watershed baseball moments.

The Limelight, 1014 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 446 2208

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Fe Gallery

An art gallery extremely popular with artists and art enthusiasts alike, Fe Gallery is owned by metallist Stephen Lyman, who wanted to have a building devoted to the unique talents performed by metal smiths working with recycled and scrap iron. Local artisans present their work for viewing, demonstration, and for purchase. Visitors can spend quality time there gazing at the displays and speaking to the artists. Exhibits are shown almost daily, and the place isn’t strictly limited to metals. People can find a wide range of artwork there from paintings and drawings in all kinds of media, from glassware to sculptures using everyday materials. The gallery is also open during Second Saturdays, offering wine samples and appetizers to enhance the art loving experience. What makes Second Saturdays at Fe Gallery especially unique, though, is the fact that it also features a live iron-working demo in the back, where guests can see the forging hammer smashing things with a few tons each strike, or watch the chiseling of a key chain fob or middle world figure from a white iron rod, or even see several layers of metals repeatedly folded and beaten into the blade of a sword. Whether you visit on a regular day or Second Saturday, you’ll be treated to an experience unlike any other.

Fe Gallery, 1100 65th St, Sacramento, CA, USA, +1 916 456 4455