So you've decided you're going on a quickie road trip with the kids to Sacramento to watch the Rivercats play some ball. Where should you stay? And what else should you build into your trip?
Let's start with kid-friendly hotels.
The husband and I are fans of Joie de Vivre hotels. Simple, comfortable and classy. We decided to try out the Citizen Hotel located in downtown Sacramento. It was close to the ballpark and another spot we wanted to visit during our road trip. It's right across the street from Cesar Chavez Park, which holds summer movie nights, concerts, and a farmer's market. At the time, they had a reasonable family getaway package so the price was also right.
The kids fell in love with the hotel because it was darkly lit and fancy ("a cool cave," according to Nol.) Plus they could snag candy at the lobby desk. As soon as we checked in, Nol and his dad played chess at an ornate chess table while Q. and I explored the hotel…including scoping out where we could get an afternoon nosh.
Our room had double beds with an okay view pointing at the State Capitol. All three boys, however, could have cared less because smack dab on the wall in the middle of the room was a flat-panel television and they could watch baseball games to their hearts content. This is what happens when you don't own a television at home.
Sadly (for them), we needed to grab a bite before the Rivercats game. We decided to visit Grange, the hotel's restaurant. It was empty at four on a Saturday afternoon, save for one couple. It did busy up as we left for the evening.
The bartender gave us top-notch service and was super nice to the boys, answering their many questions about the menu and drinks they could enjoy (we were sitting near "a bar, Mom!" and this tidbit concerned them). Fancy lemonade for the boys, fancier libations for mom and dad.
We also decided to snack on this feast:
Grange was the highlight of our visit. We had breakfast at the restaurant the next morning and it was so delicious that I look forward to visiting again. I was floored by how sweet the staff was with our kids. Cozy warm cranberry and chocolate chip muffins were put in front of us as soon as we sat down.
The kid's breakfast menu was a pleasant surprise: no Mickey Mouse waffles or chocolate chip oatmeal! Instead, simple pancakes and waffles. They also offered to make anything off the main menu in a half portion. The boys opted for French Toast so this worked out well; they devoured it. As they ended their meal, our waiter approached and asked if he could bring the boys a treat because they were so well-mannered. I, of course, swelled with pride. I also noted that yes, he was watching their behaviour and I appreciated that he went out of his way to commend them. Because guess what? They remembered, too. Talk about incentive to show off good manners while eating out.
(The adult breakfasts were delish, too! All organic, locally-grown food.)
Now, there is one downside to Citizen Hotel.
And when you're in Sacramento during the summer…with kids…you want to swim.
On the next trip, I think we'll try out Embassy Suites in Western Sacramento. Not as fancy but one, POOL. Two, it's right next to Raley Field. As in walking distance. (The fact that the visiting teams stay there means NOTHING.) Three? Suite. And less expensive. We'll save Citizen Hotel for winter trips and visits when the husband and I are stealing away for a night or two.
But we will definitely be returning to Grange.
Where else should you take the kids if you're in Sacramento for a Rivercats game?
- Young kids might enjoy the California State Railroad Museum. During the summer you can take a ride on a steam train. (And in the winter, they host a Polar Express ride.)
- Spend the day at Fairytale
Town. Super cute and especially fun for the preschool and early
grade school crowd. It's also right across the street from the Sacramento Zoo. (I haven't been to the Sacto Zoo in pre-kid years, so I can't vouch for it's goodness.)
- Hit Cesar Chavez Park and check out the farmer's market.
- Visit the World Peace Rose Gardens (a couple we know got married here…gorgeous setting)
Other things to note:
If you're driving to Sacto from the Bay Area, there's a cute little park in Davis (Central Park, 3rd and C St.) that is perfect for letting the kids get the wiggles out. The remainder of your haul to Sacramento is only about 20 minutes but it's so worth it to enter your hotel after the kids have rid themselves of We've Been Stuck in the Car angst.
If you drive up on a Saturday morning, you can nosh on fruits and snacks from the Davis Farmer's Market (one of my all-time favorite farmer's markets).