AYCJ Day 9: Capitol City, California

IMGP5182I have previously flown through Sacramento, California but I never left the airport on that trip. Having met a great friend from Sacramento last November, however, I was rather excited by the opportunity to hang out with her again and to actually see a bit more of the city. Among other things. it meant crossing another state capitol off my list as well as two new lines for my collection (LGB-SMF and SMF-JFK).

Flying in to Sacramento was, like pretty much every flight I’ve taken so far with the All You Can Jet pass, smooth and easy. The flight was rather empty – maybe 60/150 seats filled – which gave me the opportunity to spread out across three seats in the back and get a quick nap in. Much needed given the flying schedule I’m on these days. I did wake up in time to enjoy some of the awesome views of the surrounding farmland during our final approach into the airport.


The heart of Sacramento is a grid, making navigation quite easy around town. Add on hourly bus service into town from the airport (20 minutes, $2, at :22 after the hour most of the day) and getting around in Sacramento is phenomenally easy.

IMG00311-20100915-1351First stop on arrival was a farmer’s market that runs in Chavez Park on Wednesdays. I had no idea it was happening and just stumbled upon it as the bus was headed through town. I needed lunch and they were there. It was a meeting made in heaven. After a quick snack I actually had to get some work done so I headed to the local Regus office space. I have the membership through my American Express card. I rarely use it. Still, in cases like this it really proved itself invaluable. Maybe I won’t be cancelling the card after all.

After work wrapped up I finally had a few minutes to walk around town and see the highlights. First up was this funky statue outside the Convention Center:


After that I wandered over to the State Capitol building. Typically impressive.

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IMG00312-20100915-1848And then the good stuff got started. I met up with my friend, Karla, and we headed for drinks and dinner. Drinks were at The Shady Lady, a relatively new bar in town. The bar has a speakeasy feel to it, from the pictures on the wall to the dress of the staff to the impeccable drink concoctions being mixed behind the bar. We watched a bunch of a lilac colored drink walk away from the bar and were quite intrigued. The Aviation is a gin-based drink with lemon, sugar and Creme do Violette. It is also quite delicious and, as Karla noted, glows like it is from god in the photo. Seems like a pretty good reason to keep drinking them.

IMG00314-20100915-2000We had to cut ourselves off, however, as we were headed just next door to Magpie’s for dinner. The restaurant is relatively new but the folks at Magpie have been cooking for quite a while. They started as a catering company and haven’t looked back. The food was simply outstanding. Seriously, everything that walked out of the kitchen looked great. The few plates that we managed to get dropped off at our table were divine. I had the risotto with duck. Yummeh!

After that it was off to Old Sacramento for a Yelp! event. Lots more food and drink to be had there, plus guys with flaming swords, face painting and a tickle tunnel. The line for that was too long, unfortunately, as I had to get back to the airport by 10pm for my 10:35pm flight. But we didn’t leave downtown before I was able to snap a (moderately awful) shot of one of the main bridges downtown.


And then one of my least favorite experiences ever, the domestic redeye. A 4:33 flight duration is just not enough time to get anything resembling a reasonable amount of sleep. And I get to do that twice more next week. Just a small sacrifice for the joys of AYCJ.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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