“I hate California. I want to go to the East Coast,” says Saoirse Ronan in the trailer for Lady Bird.
“I want to go where culture is like New York. Or at least Connecticut, or New Hampshire where writers live in the woods.”
Ronan plays a capricious teenager in the coming-of-age comedy, which has been nominated for five Oscars. It’s written and directed by Greta Gerwig, who grew up in Sacramento and paints an affectionate portrait of California’s capital.
Here are eight reasons to visit Greta Gerwig’s hometown.
There are over 450 murals and dozens of public artworks around the city. The annual Wide Open Walls mural festival in August celebrates street art, transforming walls and neighbourhoods across the city. Head to the American Market and Deli store in midtown Sacramento to see the colourful murals in Lady Bird – real-life cashier Gurpreet Singh played an extra in the film.
2. Chardonnay and craft beer
Sacramento Valley boasts dozens of vineyards and is famous for its full-flavoured chardonnay. Unlike in touristy Napa Valley and Sonoma County, many of the wineries and tasting rooms are off the beaten track and offer tastings for no cost or a minimal fee. In Old Sacramento (the city’s historic district), The Underground Tasting Room offers an educational wine-tasting class in a traditional setting.
Alternatively, take a tour of one of the region’s 50-plus breweries. Sacramento’s craft beer scene is thriving and the city hosts multiple beer festivals throughout the year. Sac Brew Bike Tour combines a cycle around the sights with a taste of locally produced beer.
Sacramento is the farm-to-fork capital of the US. It’s surrounded by 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches that grow more than 160 crops for markets around the world. 96% of the country’s tomatoes come from within 250 miles of the city, as well as 95% of California’s sushi rice. The largest almond processor in the world, Blue Diamond, is based in Sacramento.
The Local Roots Food Tour allows you to sample some of the town’s locally grown menus, while you learn about the rich history and architecture of the city. For the finest farm-to-fork experience, splash out on a five-course dinner at the Kitchen Restaurant, or create your own dinner at a cookery class by the Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op.
4. Hipster warehouses
In the 19th century R Street was home to California’s booming railway industry. Now its warehouses house hip restaurants, bars, galleries and coffee shops.
5. The Old Town
Step back in time and ride in a horse-drawn carriage around the historic sights of Old Sacramento. To learn more about the history of this Gold Rush town, take Sacramento’s History Museum’s underground tour and learn how the streets and buildings were lifted to avoid flooding in the 1860s and 70s.
6. Sacramento’s Beverly Hills
This East Sacramento neighbourhood has been long considered one of the city’s most fashionable quarters and is known as The Fabulous Forties. The streets showcase classic architectural styles, including Tudor-style homes and Californian bungalows. This area was home to Ronald Reagan during his time as the governor of California from 1967 to 1975.
7. Off-road cycling
Rent a bike and cycle on more than 32 miles of paved bike trail along the scenic American River Parkway. The trail begins at Discovery Park in Old Sacramento and ends at the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area in the city of Folsom where you can find more biking trails, horseback riding and water activities.
In 1854, Sacramento was chosen as the state capital because it was a key transport hub during the California Gold Rush. The Capitol Museum is surrounded by 40 acres of gardens with trees and shrubs from around the world. Guided tours are available for visitors, including of the World Peace Rose Garden, a Victorian garden featuring 650 roses in over 140 variations.