With the end of the year right around the corner, I guess it’s time to accept the fact that my resolution to update this blog more often didn’t go so hot. So that’s not great. But on the plus side, it’s nice not to have to come up with a new resolution every single year.
Besides, this one amazing “year in review” post should really get everything back up to speed.
For Sacramento, 2019 has been a wild ride with comings and goings, wins and losses, strikes and gutters. We welcomed many new tourism partners to town, but also had to say goodbye to some great old friends.
Our small, but mighty tourism team at Visit Sacramento shared our Sacramento-ness with the world in 2019. And – it turns out – the world wants a little more Sacramento. And why wouldn’t they?
Here is a photo tour of what we got up to in 2019 while sharing Sacramento with the world.
Gold Bug Mine continues to celebrate the spirit of the the Gold Rush. Ask for Duffy as your guide and you won’t be disappointed.
Local legend and all-around good guy, Norm Lopez, passed away in 2019. You were a good cat and a great ambassador for our city, Norm.
Old Ironsides, Sacramento oldest bar and the place I wasted errrrr….spent most of my 20s is up for sale after being owned and run by the same family for 80-something years.
The band Manzanita played a heavy schedule of local shows this year, including this one on the patio at local beer joint The Shack.
Sacramento’s perfect grid of tree-lined streets welcomes visitors to explore the city on foot. And, yes, I stood in the middle of the street to take this photo. Thank you for not running me over, fellow Sacramentans!
As part of a Sacramento tour with 30 travel industry reps from around the world, Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley enjoyed some paddleboarding at Lake Natoma. We had places to be, so we left Jonny there to clean up after our lakeside lunch. Gold Medal for tidying up, for sure.
I traveled with a small crew of my California destination counterparts on a sales mission to France. Here’s proof!
This lil fella is always there to greet shoppers at the Scout Living vintage shop in midtown. Not sure if they have any vintage Danish furniture left because my wife bought it all in 2019, but there’s still plenty of fun stuff in there. And this dog, of course.
We lost Lina Fat, the matriarch of the long-standing Fat Family Restaurant Group in 2019. A true champion of Sacramento who will be greatly missed. Swing by Frank Fat’s to have some Banana Cream pie in her honor.
Even though it’s been closed since the mid-90s, the Cattle Club still managed to have a 30th anniversary party in 2019. These posters were available for $5 each and featured names from the glory days of Sacramento rock-n-roll. If you wanna dive in deep to some amazing music check out these bands wherever cassettes are sold.
As old-time “mom & pop” restaurants close up, I’m cherishing every plate of goulash from Cafe Marika. This one here is a combo plate with chicken paprikash. Mmmmmm.
170 years after the Gold Rush, the spirit of the early California pioneers lives on in midtown Sacramento at Sutter’s Fort. This is a nice photo that I actually took myself.
Sacramento’s first celebrity chef, Biba Caggiano passed away in 2019. A true legend. Her lasagna (available only Thursday & Friday nights) is one of Sacramento’s signature dishes.
Found a bunch of these sitting around the office. That was an awkward time.
The Capitol rotunda done up for the holidays. Cozy in there.
The simple French sandwiches at Cafe Rolle were a top 10 hit for me in 2019.
Somehow, I was lucky enough to meet this corgi puppy.
A little oasis in midtown Sacramento. It’s nice here.
I saw the Mother Hips for about the 200th time, but for the first time at the Odd Fellows Hall in Auburn (aka “The Foothill Fillmore). The Gold Country region is full of sweet gems like this and super-close to Sacramento.
I took a lucky group of Canadian travel agents to a cooking class at the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op. We made pasta and turkey meatballs. Classes are available on a regular schedule, so you really have no excuse not to know how to make a good meatball.
I was in Fort Worth for a tradeshow and the Kings were playing in nearby Dallas. I was one of about 5 people in the arena who were happy they won that night.
There’s a new literary tour in town that teaches guests all about Joan Didion and other famous writers who spent time in Sacramento….including some pretty juicy tales I wasn’t expecting. Like real juicy.
I think we’re all ready for Bon-Air Deli to repoen after a fire shut it down a few months back. This is the best $4/79 sandwich in town.
The Sacramento River Train was a real crowd-pleaser for my guests in 2019. They are expanding the product line and adding rail bikes in 2020!
Boeger Winery makes great wines, but they aren’t so stuffy that they won’t offer to mix-up a homemade wine cooler for you.
These “savory cakes” from Orphan filled with cheese, bacon and fresh jalepenos we’re a go-to breakfast for me this year…but I forgot to bring cash every time. Always remember cash when going to Orphan.
The lure of the valley is winning over visitors from all over the world. Here’s a nice shot of the sunset from the Sacramento River Train.
The folksy Visit Sacramento beer booth at IPW – the largest travel industry show in the U.S. – was a real crowd-pleaser. I promise I only had the one beer! Our supply was low so I was stealing from other destinations (sorry, SLO).
Ended my 2019 by getting to go see the lights in this weird little car. Look how weird it is!
The Red Rabbit holiday pop-up bar featured drinks in amusing glasses. Look at this lil T-Rex with a Santa hat on? What more can you ask for?
Mr. Chuck Suckit and his collection of handmade instruments graced the stage at The Hideaway…if you can call it a stage. Just one of Sacramento’s stellar collection of charming neighborhood dive bars.
I went to Berlin to attend ITB, the world’s largest travel show. People around the world are clamoring for more Sacramento and I’m here for them.
I forget where I had these delicious wings . Somewhere in Little Saigon on Stockton Boulevard. If you know these wings, please let me know where I can get them again. Maybe Lollibowl?
Big changes are coming to the Old Sacramento Waterfront in 2020, but the holiday charm isn’t going anywhere.
These were served at a Visit USA event in Denmark. Apparently, this is how they think we eat. Also, apparently they aren’t wrong because I had 10 of them.
Gunther’s is about as classic as you can get. Don’t be discouraged if the line is out the door. It moves fast and it’s worth it!
The Snug opened in 2019 and is already the best place to drink gin out of a fish glass.
Indian celebrity Rannvijay Singha came to town for a Visit California video shoot to correspond with the Sacramento Kings playing in India. He fell in the water attempting “the world’s most difficult paddleboard yoga pose” according to him. Sure it was, Rannvijay. Sure it was.
Sac State got a new planetarium and it’s super-cheap to visit, so why wouldn’t ya?
This Irish Coffee from deVere’s is one of the best hot cocktails you’ll find anywhere.
Sacramento has over 70 breweries and I hit up just about every one of them in 2019. The BikeDog Tap Room on Broadway always does a great job and their Milk Stout not only tastes great, but really makes that logo pop.
The Kitchen earned Sacramento’s first Michelin star in 2019. Great food, fun times, across from the Ross Dress for Less and behind a Taco Bell. Could it be any more Sacramento?
This is what the real guts of an appointment-based tourism industry tradeshow looks like. So a big “pppbbht” to those of you who think it’s all just eating, drinking and amusement parks. It is only 90% that stuff.
Did you know that Sacramento is home to the 2004 Bocce Champs? Probably time to eitehr win again or stop bragging about it, but still it’s more than I did.
Met this cat at a bar in Utrecht. Not sure why we don’t have more cats in bars here. I think it’s a nice touch. More cats in bars please!
I didn’t not have the ice cream sundae from Rick’s Dessert Diner for lunch a couple times.
I went to the Railroad Museum approximately 52 times in 2019. Still in to it.
Jerry Brown left office and is official portrait got moved to a new location in the Capitol. We’ll see if he opts to have a second portrait done now that’s he’s left office for a second time.
This burger/chowder/Delirium Tremens combo is my go-to meal for trivia night at The Shack. It’s a smart order even if it doesn’t actually make me any smarter.
The #hellachenin Chenin Blanc from Haarmeyer Wine Cellars is quickly become a Sacramento favorite.
British travel agents dig in to a meat feast at Urban Roots Brewing….but also there were vegan options.
Free movies – in this case “A League of their Own” play for free on the exterior wall of Sutter’s Fort in the summertime. DId you know that “Old Dottie” at the end of the movie is not Geena Davis in old people make-up? It’s just an older actress who looks just like her. For reals!
I played in an industry golf tournament and had some pretty sweet shots.
2019 saw the beginning of an 18 month expansion of the Sacramento Convention Center. This funny sign was one of the first things to go. We’ll miss it, but the new Center will be worth it. And, for the record, it 100% was a walkway.
A group of travel agents came to town to learn all about the wine and food scene in May 2019. Here they are enjoying a stop at Brasserie Capitale on tour with Local Roots Food Tours.
East Sacramento really does it up for the holidays.
I ate this pizza square from Pizza Supreme Being about 2 dozen times this year. It’s a beaut.
Sacramento Republic FC got the official word that they’ll be joining MLS in 2020! And they’ll be playing in a new downtown stadium in the old Railyards. Not too soon to start planning a trip! Ok, maybe it’s a little soon. Still, it’s something to think about.
The Crocker Art Museum – the oldest art museum in the West – has established itself as one of the top museums in the country.
VIP guests from the travel industry experienced Sacramento for the first time. Here, they are enjoying sparkling wine and caviar from Passmore Ranch at Ella. Later, they went to Cheaters for a round of Cheaters punches so it’s all evened out. We’re all about balance in Sacramento.
Bought local historian William Burg’s new book “Wicked Sacramento” about Sacramento’s seedy underbelly at Time Tested Books. Just a nice, cozy old-fashioned used book store.
Yang’s Noodles are some of the most tasteful noods in town. And don’t forget the Beef Roll.
Just a glimpse of the thrilling tourism sales action from Visit California’s official Paris sales days.
I just read that Sacramento is the top city in the country for Jump Bikes. We are either very lazy or very environmentally focused. Maybe a combo of the two?
A group of travel agents from the U.K. got to make their own Sacramento postcards at the Verge Center for the Arts.