Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Neighborhood and Favorite Hangouts

I promised my out-of-town friends that I will take pictures of my neighborhood and take them on a tour of Sacramento and show them my favorite hangouts.

I live in Old Land Park which was developed in the mid-1930's and considered one of the older, well-established neighborhoods in Sacramento. It is close to downtown, less than 2 miles, and surrounded by an eclectic mix of businesses and amenities - cafes, coffeehouses, bakeries, ice-cream parlors, specialty markets, stores, parks - all within easy walking or bicycling distance. Most of the businesses are the non-chain variety and owner-operated which are more prevalent in older urban settings.

We bought our home more than 34 years ago and one of it's appeal was the mature tree-lined streets. It gets hot in the summers so having a big canopy of shade trees gives our street a lot of cool relief. The homes were constructed before WWII when the builders were small and built only a few homes at a time. These older neighborhoods have that Father Knows Best quality because of the individual styles and unique designs of homes.

Patti's pretty red Prius sits in front of my house. Ironically, I bought this super fuel efficient car for her to commute in between Loomis and home. I now consider it her farewell gift to me. With the high cost of gas, I am more appreciative than ever. Thank you Patti!

My neighborhood was developed in the mid-1930's so the street trees are fully matured providing much appreciated shade during the hot summers. This view is across the street from my house.

This beautiful tudor-style house a few doors down from my house was just finished, a total remodel, fits right in with the 1930's architecture of the neighborhood.

Peter and Susan live a few blocks away. Their beautiful home was designed, built and occupied by Leonard Starks, a well-known local architect.

A famous Sacramento landmark, the Tower Theater, is only two blocks away. I can walk to this classic art-deco theater which shows foreign movies. One of the unique amenities of Old Land Park neighborhood.

The popular Tower Cafe (TC) is housed in the same building as the namesake theater. The menu features "world cuisine" food. Jim Seamons, the owner, is a good friend of mine. This is one of several favorite eateries in the neighborhood and serves wonderful food at reasonable prices.

For you music history buffs, this is where Tower Records was born originally located in the back of Tower Drugstore which occupied this building. The neon sign featuring the jitter-bugging couple was saved from the record store and sits atop the entry to the cafe.

TC's outdoor dining courtyard is a virtual jungle. This is a great place to dine during the hot summer months.

Harry's Cafe on 16th Street is another one of my favorite good-value eateries. Harry serves a unique mix of Asian and American cuisine which is quite good.

Oto's Market is the best Asian market in town. Besides a wide array of Asian foods, they also serve wonderful take-out meals (bento box). This is the place to shop for sashimi-grade fresh fish.

Bento boxes line the counter. You need to get to Oto's early before they run out.

I got here in time today. This is my salmon teriyaki lunch . . . yum yum GOOD!!

Another Old Land Park fixture is the Freeport Bakery, annually voted Sacramento's best bakery . This is where I bought the beautiful birthday cake for Patti's 60th. See next blog entry for pic of cake.

Another one of my good-value eateries is Wakano Ura, a long-time eatery serving down-home Japanese-Chinese cuisine. This restaurant holds a nostalgic place in my heart since this is where my parents hosted our wedding reception banquet nearly 40 years ago.

Right next door is Osaka Ya, a Japanese bakery, the only place in town where you can buy monju, a rice-cake filled with smooth black-bean paste. A yummy desert!

Aaah, what can you say? Vic's, the best ice-cream parlor in town and within walking distance. This local Land Park institution is now run by the third generation of the original owners.

William Land Park is the center-piece of our neighborhood and is largest urban park in the city. The park contains a zoo, a children's fairy-tale land, golf course, baseball diamonds, fishing ponds, and vast expanses of picnic areas.

A really cool Airstream space-ship sculpture occupies South-Side Park, another neighborhood park near my home.

An alien sits atop the jet pod of the Airstream space-ship

A couple of my favorite bike shops in Downtown - City Bicycle Works

The Bicycle Chef is another bike shop run by a very nice owner

If I were ever to move, this is where I would go. Tapestri Square, a new east-coast Brownstone development in the downtown area. Talk about KOOL!!

Another street-front view of the Brownstone row houses

We're talking coffeehouses now. Java City was one of the original coffeehouses to open in the downtown area more than 20 years ago. When I was working, this was one of my favorite after-work hangouts.

With the renaissance of downtown, there are coffeehouses on every street corner. Peets is one of the best new brewhouses.

Sacramento has an active art in public places program. Neat and funky art is found everywhere. I like this keep on trucking dude. Cool shoes!

Another neat modern sculpture

Work is underway to modernize the old train station into a multi-modal transportation center.

Hard Rock Cafe occupies the east-side of the Westfield Mall. The City and Mall owners are working on plans to upgrade the old shopping mall.

Anchoring the west entry into the city is the classic Tower Bridge which connects Sacramento with the City of West Sacramento over the Sacramento River

Can't have a tour of Sactown without a shot of the state capitol building.
Home of Aaa-Nold, the Guvenator.

Sactown has become big town - light rail trains and high-rises

Cafes line the Historic Old Sacramento waterfront

A little like New Orleans with paddle-wheelers plying the Sacramento River


dAwN said...

Oh My....what a wonderful place...I love that you live on such a tree lined street....I love that you can walk to all those wonderful places...i love that there are some nice green spaces around...Good food..Cant wait to visit and dine there..Never thought I would put sacramento on my list of places to see in California..I love the trees...thanks for the tour geno...loved it...

Rob McQuade said...

Isn't there something magical about living in these old neighborhoods? They're what make Sacramento a real city, a place to be—and the trees are the best! I live and work in Midtown Sacramento but Land Park has that great "old neighborhood" feel while still being close to everything! Thanks for posting the photos, Geno. It's always fun to see the neighborhoods through somebody else's eyes! :-)