Apr 16, 2019 01:49PM
● By Fran Miller
BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER
Sacramento’s majestic white capitol dome will always sustain its lure for the civics-class set, but these days it’s the Downtown Commons (DOCO) district and hip mid-town food scene that are drawing crowds.There’s no time like the present to check it out.
Major revitalization projects have completely changed the city’s landscape. The newly finished Downtown Commons, or DOCO, brought life to Sacramento’s historic streets. Its Golden 1 Center, a state-of-the-art arena that houses the Kings, the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, and a dazzling restaurant and entertainment scene, is showing off some newfound swagger and big city pizzazz.
Credit goes to Vivek Ranadivé, the Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur who purchased the Sacramento Kings in 2013 and promised the team a new arena. He delivered with a venue so technologically and environmentally advanced that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver calls it the ‘new gold standard of the league.’
Boasting 1.5 million acres of active farmland, the Sacramento region has prime access to fresh ingredients, and artful chefs are taking notice. Nearly all the food at Golden 1 Center is locally sourced from within 150 miles, establishing the venue as the nation’s preeminent farm-to-fork arena. Add to that the world’s largest video board and a mission control command center that quickly handles transportation, security, and food issues, and there is no better spot to experience NBA action.
Ranadivé’s promise for extraordinary guest experiences extends beyond basketball games to live concerts. Golden 1 Center, and its stellar sound and video systems, has attracted some of the biggest names in the music business—Bruno Mars, The Weekend, Jay-Z, James Taylor, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and John Mayer.
Turn your visit into a luxurious getaway with a stay at the swanky Kimpton Sawyer Hotel. The palatial, light-filled lobby, done up in sophisticated palettes of gray and cream, is one of the most stylish stays in town. If you’re lucky, you might even come head to chest with a visiting NBA player who uses the hotel as home-base when in town. Rooms are spacious, beds are plush, and amenities luxe. A rooftop pool lounge transforms into Revival Bar at night; an urban hot spot for live music, crafted cocktails, and small plate fare.
Next door, Punch Bowl Social, a sprawling restaurant and entertainment space brims with bowling, bocce, pinball, and karaoke. Other DOCO eateries include Bay Area-fave Sauced BBQ, Estelle Bakery & Patisserie, Burger Lounge, and Pressed Juicery. Shoppers find much to love at Macy’s and Urban Outfitters. A brand-new Century Theaters complex screens the latest hits.
Adjoining these attractions is an outdoor pedestrian mall and plaza featuring public art, like Jeff Koons ‘Piglet’ sculpture at the arena’s entrance. Traditionalists will be appeased by views of the capitol’s golden dome, seen glistening in the sunlight from varied DOCO vantage points. It’s within easy walking distance, meaning you can take a tour and make it back in time for tip-off.
DOWNTOWN AND MID-TOWN EATS
The Bank: This revitalized multi-level, 30,000-square-foot culinary concourse, formerly a bank, is the second oldest bank building west of the Mississippi River. Now home to a variety of eateries and drinking establishments, initially ranging from pizza pies and poke bowls to lobster rolls and hearty burgers. Its original vaults, seen only by a privileged few for decades, are open to the public as an underground taproom. 7thand J, across from the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel
Camden Spit & Larder: This modern, London-inspired eatery is dedicated to showcasing the pristine ingredients of the surrounding region with its bold design, bustling bar scene, and prime private dining facilities. 555 Capitol Mall #100, one block from DOCO
Mulvaney’s B & L: Located in a historic 1893 firehouse with original brick walls and soaring ceilings, Mulvaney’s specializes in hand-crafted, farm-to-table New American cuisine utilizing the bounty of neighboring growers, ranchers, brewers, and winemakers. 1215 19thStreet
The Porch: This hidden vegan haven serves comfort cuisine. Okra, collards, tomatoes and beets are griddled and deep fried into flavorful plates. French toast dipped in banana-coconut batter is served with vegan whipped cream. Add stellar cocktails and this is a great place to veg out. 1815 K Street
Beast & Bounty: A minimalist chic environment serves as the backdrop for an eclectic herbivore and carnivore menu (sample above), clever cocktail menu and extensive wine list. Plus, you can play bocce ball out back. 1701 R Street