I have lived in Sacramento most of my life and I am accustomed to people thinking of my hometown as a place to pass through on the way to San Francisco or Lake Tahoe. Increasingly it is worthy of a stay all its own–especially if you love art or locally sourced food.
Recently the Friends of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission sponsored the Sacramento Mural Festival. Eleven artists completed new murals over a week from August 20-27, 2016. The best part of the project is the murals remain for everyone to enjoy long into the future.
This week I dedicated 3.5 hours to cycling around downtown and midtown Sacramento to find all of the murals as a kind of scavenger hunt. I stopped along the way to eat lunch at my favorite mediterranean cafe, the Crest Cafe. There are so many choices for excellent food, coffee, beer or wine. The walk with stops could fill a day.
With the map, and my two-part blog post, you can enjoy the murals in several outings or all in one. I’ve divided the murals geographically: first from I-5 to 15th Street or downtown, then from 15th to 24th or midtown.
Alkali Flat Outlier
Number 11. Dog and Pony, behind 1236 C Street, is one of the hardest murals to find. I bumped into another mural watcher, Janna, and she couldn’t find this one at first try. I only found it with help from a security guard. It is a great example of not seeing something because you are expecting something quite different.
Hint: Go to the corner of C Street and 13th Street. Now walk or cycle back toward D Street and turn right into the alley past the junkyard dog behind the fence. The mural is on a big metal fence just ahead on the right.
This neighborhood is also the most sketchy on the mural walk. I don’t call it unsafe in the daytime, but I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to drive to this one. The neighborhood is in transition. Sandwiched between the new railyard development and the new Golden One Arena, this neighborhood is experiencing a building boom. One of my favorite cafes for coffee, a sandwich or a beer is Shine on the corner of E and 14th. There is free 2 hour parking across the street.
Downtown K Street
Another hard to find mural is #1. Kristin Farr, 501 J Street. The Kaiser Permanente building is under construction like almost every other building in the 2 block area. This mural is on the 6th Street side on the brick building.
It is only a few blocks to the Citizens Hotel and the excellent Grange restaurant–one of the first farm to fork menus in Sacramento at 10th and J Streets. From there walk across the street and toward K Street.
Duck down the alley on the left and look up to the right. Up high, on the back of the Crest Theatre is #2. Jake Castro technically at 1013 K Street. Artist Castro definitely drew the short straw. His mural is the hardest to see and his working conditions must have been aromatic above all the dumpsters. There is a bonus mural on the left side of the alley.
There are more than half dozen restaurants on the same block as the Crest Theatre including Mother, a vegetarian cafe, and the Crest Cafe. There are also places nearby for coffee (Ambrosia, Chicory) and ice cream at Cornflower Creamery and delicious cookies at Goodie Tuchews.
K Street is a pleasant way to walk to the next mural #3. Andrew Schoultz at 1530 J Street. You’ll pass the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and see the Capitol (look right on 11th Street), past the Convention Center and across from the Memorial Auditorium.
R Street Corridor
For many years R Street didn’t have much other than Fox & Goose pub on 10th Street as an anchor of good music and beer. Since then there has been a great revival from 10th Street to 15th Street. There are 2 new murals on this street. You may also notice some clever bicycle racks. (You can find a bicycle rack scavenger hunt game card here.)
#10. David Fiveash is next to my favorite yarn shop, Rumplestiltskin. On the same side of the street as Fox & Goose.
Down one more block you’ll find the WAL development, a kind of artist colony with a restaurant, bar and shopping. #9. Add Fuel mural is easy to spot.
If you continue down R Street toward 15th you’ll find Shady Lady cocktail bar, many great restaurants and the Ace of Spades for live music.
Next up: Mural Walk Part 2