Summer Starts Now! Check Out These 50+ Things to See, Eat, Drink, & Do This Season
Summertime: when the living’s easy and the hardest thing to do is decide where to eat and how to spend your Saturday. From the region’s most picturesque wineries and premier restaurant patios, to food festivals, open-air concerts, and aquatic adventures, here’s a short and sweet list of everything you don’t want to miss this season.
Food & Drink Festivals
Festivals only have one rule: There can never be too many of them. From wine to more wine and chicken wings to hot sauce, there are quite a few ways to celebrate your love for food and drink this season.
Wine at Town Center
The Rotary clubs of El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park present one of the biggest social events of the year: Wine at Town Center. Enjoy a showcase of flavors from the vineyards, breweries, and eateries of El Dorado, Amador, Placer, and San Joaquin Counties at this premier community event. June 15 from 6-9 p.m. 4364 Town Center Boulevard, El Dorado Hills, wineattowncenter.com
Quench your thirst in historic Placerville as Main Street slows and the taps flow. More than 40 breweries, cideries, meaderies, and wineries, plus local gourmet restaurants, a cigar lounge, and live music are all to be found at this beloved beer fest. June 22 from 5-9 p.m. Main Street, Placerville, placervillebrewfest.com
How many chicken wings do you think you can eat in a minute? Prove it at the wing-eating competition or take a more leisurely approach with a comprehensive tour of the area’s best wings from local restaurants. Craft beer, live music, and games by the Xoso Sport & Social League make this an event you won’t want to miss. July 28 from 2-6 p.m. Southside Park, 2115 6th Street, Sacramento, sactownwings.com
Grape Days of Summer
Take shelter from the heat in the tasting rooms of the Placer Wine Trail—which spans through Auburn, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, Newcastle, Meadow Vista, and Rocklin—at this passport-style, self-guided tour of each winery, complete with food, educational seminars on local agriculture and winemaking, and live music (most locations). July 20-21 from noon to 5 p.m.; VIP hour starts at 11 a.m. placerwine.com/plan-your-visit/events/grape-days-of-summer
The celebration of renegades, rebels, and rabble-rousers is back for its annual romp—this year at a new locale (Placerville’s Main Street). In addition to a wide array of wine, look for craft beer, gourmet bites, artisan vendors, food trucks, historic reenactors, art, performers, and live music. September 7 from 4-9:30 p.m. eldoradowines.org/winederlust
The Pepper Festival & Hot Sauce Expo
Benefitting several charities, such as Child Advocates of Placer County and the Markie Foundation, this pepper festival isn’t just for spice lovers: Food vendors will offer sweet, mild, and hot pepper varieties to complement local wines and brews. Listen to live music, enjoy the adult-only bounce house (yes, there’s still one just for the kids, too), and, if you’re feeling daring, enter the hot pepper eating contest—or just watch. September 14 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Gold Country Fairgrounds & Event Center, 209 Fairgate Road, Auburn, 888-598-1159, thepepperfestival.com
We might not have the coast, but with a load of activities on our rivers and lakes, there’s plenty of ways to make a splash this season. Whether it be whitewater rafting, river floating, SUP yoga, or boating, consider this your ticket to a summer that’s a little more aquatic.
American Whitewater Expeditions
With both exciting rapids and lazy drifting, the American River provides rafting entertainment for the entire family. Choose between half-day trips that range from two to four hours or spend a full day of scenic time on the water. Depending on where you drop in, you can navigate thrilling rapids for a memorable experience, or skip the harsh waters and take a more leisurely approach. Family and group specials available. 5981 New River Road, Coloma, 530-642-0804, americanwhitewater.com
Boating on Folsom Lake
Folsom Lake is over 30 square miles and borders Placer, Sacramento, and El Dorado Counties, making it a convenient place to access and a great space for aquatic activity. Rent a pontoon boat, which can seat up to 10 people, and spend the day with friends and family, or take it down a notch by renting a pedal boat, raft, row boat, or canoe. parks.ca.gov/?page_id=500
SUP Yoga with Spotted Dog
Take your yoga practice out on the water with Spotted Dog Yoga (SDY). In partnership with the City of Folsom, they’re offering weekly classes where your stand-up paddleboard becomes your mat as you move through a slow vinyasa yoga practice. Ready to really take your practice into nature? SDY is also offering one-day adventures this summer where you’ll carpool to a nearby lake, paddle out to a secluded spot for class, and paddle back to land for lunch. Dates, times, and locations vary. spotteddogyoga.com/supyoga.php
Kayaking at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center
If you’re looking for a low-impact activity to improve your aerobic fitness, look no further than kayaking. Set your own pace and glide through beautiful Lake Natoma. Ideal for a solo trip, or with a buddy, you can rent one- or two-seater kayaks for a fun day on the water with plenty of photo ops. 1901 Hazel Avenue, Gold River, 916-278-2842, sacstateaquaticcenter.com
American River Float
Floating down the American River is a summer tradition that shouldn’t be skipped. Grab your friends and family, tie some tubes together (rentals available at River Rat Raft & Bike and American River Raft Rentals), and get going! Drop in at the access point on Sunrise Boulevard and head out at River Bend Park for three to four hours of tubing fun. Don’t forget sunscreen, a waterproof bag, and maybe a few water guns—you’ll probably run into a few shooters on your trip.
Roseville Golfland Sunsplash
Whether you’re a lazy river enthusiast or are up for The Stealth (a Northern California exclusive thrill ride that drops down a five-foot story half pipe), there’s a slide, pool, or lounge chair with your name on it. Plus, if you’re looking to stay on land, there’s mini golf, laser tag, an arcade, and go-karts to fill the day with. 1893 Taylor Road, Roseville. 916-784-1273, golfland.com/roseville
Rosé All Day (Wineries with a View)
Nothing feels more quintessentially summertime than sipping a glass of sauvignon blanc or rosé while surrounded by rolling hills, vines, and perhaps a view of a mountain peak in the distance. Here are a few picks for the palate and the eyes.
Offering expansive views of the vineyards and surrounding mountains, this Plymouth gem offers a bed and breakfast 15 minutes away if you visit and decide you don’t want to leave. Beat the heat with a cool cave tour, then take a walk through the grounds and around the pond with a glass of bubbly in tow. 11555 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, 209-245-5200, helwigwinery.com
Mt. Vernon Winery
With a tasting room in a restored milk house and sitting on a 32-acre parcel, this winery has a sweet patio shrouded with red umbrellas and great views of the estate, vineyard, and massive trees in the distance. 10850 Mount Vernon Road, Auburn, 530-823-1111, mtvernonwinery.com
Rancho Roble Vineyards
A little piece of paradise, this stunning, dog- and kid-friendly winery offers beautiful sights and pond-side seating. Send the kiddos to the playground, get your munch on with a packed picnic, compete in a game of corn hole, or just stroll around the perfectly landscaped grounds. 340 Fleming Road, Lincoln, 916-645-2075, ranchoroble.com
After an intimate tasting in the stone barrel cave, head to the water for sangria at the island wine bar or lounge around the pond. Grab a few snack items from the wine shop for a spontaneous picnic or try your luck at croquet and bocce ball.
4590 Bell Road, Auburn, 530-889-2855, vinacastellano.com
If only there was a way to have your front door open into nature, but not have to struggle through pitching a tent or sleeping on uneven and uncomfortable terrain. Well, it’s called glamping, or glamour camping: all the benefits of the great outdoors without the hassle. Some of these souped-up spots are just really nice tents with beds, others are cabins with Wi-Fi and air conditioning. These four campgrounds offer a taste of luxury in the wilderness—but if you’re more authentic, there are always traditional camping sites, too.
American River Resort
Fall asleep to the sound of the rushing American River, sip coffee on your riverfront veranda, and enjoy a full kitchen and bathroom at this luxury glamping experience amid 30 acres of oak forests—complete with Wi-Fi. 6019 New River Road, Coloma, 530-622-6700, americanriverresort.com
Offering family vibes and a strict policy of no vans or RVs, this campground offers four glamping sites: two creek-side tents and two teepees. The teepees, which sleep four, boast thick comfy mats for setting your sleeping bag on, while the tents offer a queen bed and bunks for the little ones. A great home base for those who want to venture to El Dorado National Forest or Downtown Placerville, the grounds also offer plenty of reasons to stay in: hiking trails, a swimming hole, swing sets, tug-of-war, and seesaws. 2200 Camp Nauvoo Road, Placerville, 916-207-9441, campnauvooplacerville.com
Enjoy the comforts of home in the wilderness by staying in one of these cabins, ranging from a two-bedroom country cottage with a private backyard to bunk beds in the bunkhouses. Get your climb on at the ropes course, try your luck at gold panning, or get your thrills whitewater rafting. 6921 Mount Murphy Road, Coloma, 530-621-2267, colomaresort.com
Inn Town Campground
This campground sits on 15 acres just minutes away from downtown Nevada City. Cook dinner in the community kitchen, play foosball, or splash around in the pool, and if things get dirty after a hike, there’s coin-op laundry. Choose from 17 unique glamping tents, each of which has wood flooring, cozy beds, electricity, and a small outdoor deck. (Or give RV living a spin by renting a retro RV, outfitted with a black-and-white checkered floor and funky red dinette.) 9 Kidder Court, Nevada City, 530-265-9900, inntowncampground.com
Few things spell summer like heading out with a beach chair in tow to enjoy live music from local and touring bands. With tunes happening almost every night, you can hum and dance your way through the week all summer long at these community concerts.
Helwig Winery Summer Concert Series
Conclude an afternoon of wine tasting with a concert amid a breathtaking backdrop that could literally be on a postcard. Acts like Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (June 29), Kenny Metcalf as Elton (July 20), Pablo Cruise (August 10), and a three-act country rock mini-festival (August 24) are all hitting the stage from June-September. 11555 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, 209-245-5200, helwigwinery.com/summerconcerts
Thursday Nights Twilight Concert Series
Grab dinner in Folsom’s Historic District or pack a picnic, then head to the amphitheater for a free show! This year’s lineup includes the modern Americana stylings of Jessica Malone Band (June 13), the reggae flavor of Island of Black and White (June 20), and many more. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. and run every Thursday through August 8. 905 Leidesdorff Street, Folsom, historicfolsom.org/events-schedule
Live on the Boulevard
Thursday night tunes at El Dorado Hills Town Center’s Steven Young Amphitheater are back! Bring a blanket or chair, and don’t forget to wear shoes you can dance in. The music plays from 7-9 p.m. June-September and admission is free. 4364 Town Center Boulevard, El Dorado Hills, edhtowncenter.com/upcoming-events
Roseville Music in the Park
Every second Sunday (through September) from 6-8 p.m., Royer Park transforms into the place to have one last weekend hurrah before the week begins. Set up your chair and get ready for nostalgic tribute acts like Chris Cain (blues) on June 9, Born on the Bayou (Creedence Clearwater Revival) on July 14, and Fleetwood Mask (Fleetwood Mac) on August 11. Admission is free. 190 Park Drive, Roseville, rosevillemusicinthepark.com
Summer Concert Series at the Fountains at Roseville
These free, family-friendly shows every Saturday through August have a later start time (8 p.m.) and are ideal for post-shopping and post-dinner revelry. Grab a folding chair, bring your own seat, sprawl out on the grass, or dance. 1013 Galleria Boulevard, Roseville, fountainsatroseville.com/play
Summer Concert Series at the Palladio at Broadstone
Dignity Health presents this complimentary courtyard concert series that runs every Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. through August. After an evening of shopping, dance the night away under the stars as the sun goes down and the music turns up. Palladio Piazza, 350 Palladio Parkway, Folsom, gopalladio.com/events
Concerts at Quarry Park
From Rodney Atkins (June 28) and Big Sam’s Funky Nation (August 10) to The Ultimate Elvis Tribute (September 7), it’s going to be a rockin’ summer at Quarry Park’s Platinum Living Amphitheater in Rocklin. Be sure to plan ahead as shows often sell out. 4000 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, 916-625-5200, rocklin.ca.us/2019-concert-season
Movies Under the Stars
Take a break from the couch and get some fresh air while you sprawl out under the sky to catch a film with the family.
Movie Nights at the Amphitheater
Pack up your beach chairs, snacks, and blankets and head to the amphitheater in Historic Folsom on Monday nights for quality family time. Beginning at 8 p.m., you’ll enjoy flicks like The Chronicles of Narnia (June 10), Boss Baby (June 17), and Solo: A Star Wars Story (June 24). 905 Leidesdorff Street, Folsom, historicfolsom.org/events-schedule
Wonderful Wednesday Movies
Head to the Auburn Area Recreation & Park District—blanket or chair in tow—at 8:45 p.m. on Wednesdays (through July) for family-friendly flicks alongside free popcorn. Movies TBD. 123 Recreation Drive, Auburn, 530-885-8461, auburnrec.com
Food Truck Cinema
In addition to watching a movie on a giant outdoor screen, attendees also enjoy food truck fare, live music courtesy of local bands, a craft beer garden, and wine bar—all in a safe, comfortable, cozy, picnic atmosphere. Don’t miss The Goonies on June 1 and Back to the Future on July 3. Event runs from 5-11 p.m. at Woodcreek Golf Club in Roseville; ticket prices vary. 5880 Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard, Roseville, 916-750-0035, foodtruckcinemas.com/roseville-ca.html
Movie in the Park
Presented by the Roseville Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, these outdoor films promise to please the whole family. On June 15, A Dog’s Way Home is screening at Bob Mahan Park and on July 13, watch Christopher Robin at Royer Park. Movies begin at sundown on a 30-foot screen; admission is free, but pizza and beverages are available for purchase. rcona.org
From face painting and Ferris wheels to prize pigs and microbrews, there’s nothing like a day at the fair. The best part of the fair though is, of course, the food. At least for a day, funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos make the world go ’round.
El Dorado County Fair
At this year’s El Dorado County Fair from June 13-16, Brat Envy is serving up Philly cheesesteaks in Amoroso rolls shipped directly from Pennsylvania, while newcomer Dolfo’s Donuts are featuring freshly made miniature donuts (available by the bucket if you’re so inclined). Local favorite The Butcher’s Kitchen is putting their beloved burgers on a stick for easy eating as you walk around the fair, and Thompson Peek Concessions introduces “Unicorn Corn on the Cob.” The Funnel Cake Eating Contests are always a hit, too. 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville, 530-621-5860, eldoradocountyfair.org
Placer County Fair
Under the theme “A Good Thing Growing,” the Placer County Fair returns from June 20-23. And this year, foodies are in luck! In addition to the classics (funnel cakes, corn dogs, ice cream, lemonade, and snow cones), attendees can expect fried pickles, deep-fried lasagna, raviolis, Indian tacos, and more! Randy Peter’s Catering, along with neighborhood eats like Ohana Hawaiian Snow and Fookie, ensure you’ll get a taste of home. Thirsty? Sip local wines and beers at concession stands throughout the grounds and avail of tasting events on Friday and Saturday night. Cheers! 800 All America City Boulevard, Roseville, placercountyfair.org
California State Fair
Wear your stretch pants from July 12-28: The California State Fair is coming to town and bringing a bounty of food-based fun. New this year is a Food Festival, where vendors will pull out all the stops (and deep fryers) to compete for “Best Fair Food.” For $28, fairgoers can purchase a VIP pass that comes inclusive of four vouchers to try some of the featured items. Deep-fried pork chops on a stick, chimney cakes filled with ice cream, or macaroni and cheese topped with pulled pork and coleslaw (“The Mac Attack”), anyone? Other culinary experiences include $2 Taste of the Fair every Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., foodie experience classes, and the Best of CA Brewfest on July 20. 1600 Exposition Boulevard, Sacramento, 916-263-3247, castatefair.org
Rejoice! Patio season is in full swing. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night for two, girls’ night out, or family-friendly affair, here are a few tried-and-true kitchens that let you dine under the stars.
Home to plates of comforting country classics, this cozy spot becomes extra sweet in the summer with a breathtaking panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada pines. 2740 Highway 50, Placerville, 530-363-6670, applebistro.com
A celebration of the California farmer and bounty, this restaurant’s menu changes with the seasons, but one thing you can always count on is the famous prime rib. Decked out with fans, heaters, umbrellas, and fountains, the patio serves as a tucked-away oasis for outdoor dining. 1004 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-984-7500, bacchushousebistro.com
Country meets class at this stylish eatery with an emphasized wine bar and house favorites like the house-smoked pastrami bake. Outside, you’ll find picnic tables under canopies in a courtyard-style environment. 8230 Auburn-Folsom Road, Granite Bay, 916-772-3276, farmhausfresh.com
Romantic lighting and a fire pit draw diners to the private garden patio at The Independent, which serves American fusion fare like salads topped with ahi tuna and skirt steak, hefty sammies, burger options for both meat- and veggie-lovers, and full plates like filet mignon and Alaskan salmon. 629 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7645, independentplacerville.com
La Provence Restaurant & Terrace
This romantic and upscale spot has a little something for everyone, from buttermilk fried chicken to beef wellington and vegan grilled tofu steak. Enjoy picks from the expansive wine and specialty cocktails list on the Provençal patio that’s surrounded by lush landscaping. 110 Diamond Creek Place, Roseville, 916-789-2002, laprovenceroseville.com
Marly and Moo
This hip eatery is the perfect spot to kick back and refuel when you’re exploring historic Folsom or the surrounding attractions. The patio options are plentiful: tables wrap around the lower level and an upstairs deck offers a heightened view. Oh, and don’t skip the grilled avocado or parmesan tots. 608 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-294-7691, marlyandmoo.com
Expect a classic menu with a flavorful twist (think caviar fish and chips, pork belly and eggs, and ginger chopped salad) plus a tempting list of cheese and charcuterie. The tree-lined patio overlooks a pond, making it a tranquil outdoor dining experience. 4359 Town Center Boulevard, El Dorado Hills, 916-934-0790, milestonerestaurantedh.com
The Monk’s Cellar
One-part brewery and one-part public house, this community-focused spot brings a taste of Belgium to Roseville with its house-made beers on draft plus six taps of rare beers imported from Europe. Meat-forward noshes dominate the menu with a few veggie picks for lighter fare, plus shady sidewalk seating for people-watching. 240 Vernon Street, Roseville, 916-786-6665, monkscellar.com
Out of Bounds Craft Kitchen and Biergarten
This is a must-visit patio this al fresco season. From huge tables for communal merrymaking to summer music on the stage, you’ll find plenty of reasons to stop in and try house favorites like the pastry-wrapped brie, ribs and grits, and BBQ flatbread. 13407 Folsom Boulevard, Folsom, 916-357-5250, outofboundsbrewing.com
Pottery World Café
A one-stop shop for indoor and outdoor furniture and décor plus pottery and tile, this home improvement outpost also boasts a café with a gorgeous patio. Decked out with water fountains, lush plants, and pergolas, it’s the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch, or high tea service. 4419 Granite Drive, Rocklin, 916-624-8080, potteryworld.com
It’s all about ambiance at this modern American restaurant, and patio season is no different. A fireplace and string lights create a romantic evening, while spacious tables and umbrellas make it a premier al fresco choice for lunch. 3909 Park Drive, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9694; 1480 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-771-4700, siennarestaurants.com
This cute neighborhood eatery offers a delightful sidewalk café for daytime dining. Enjoy breakfast and lunch classics, plus baked goods—including a deliciously long list of pies like peach-olallieberry and coconut crumb—with your coffee under an umbrella. 577 Main Street, Placerville, 530-642-0128, sweetiepies.biz
With so much to do this summer, it’s no wonder we all need a little pick-me-up in between activities. Grab a cold, caffeinated beverage from one of these fine coffee purveyors to get your buzz on.
The first espresso bar of its kind in Folsom: Argos roasts its own coffee and offers retail beans to take home, too. Seasonal specials like a honeysuckle latte and bee’s knees latte (local bee pollen, cinnamon, and honey) make caffeine dosing extra tasty, and just wait until you sip the super smooth cold brew. Try: Hoppy Nitro (cold brew)
195 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-293-8256, argoscaffe.com
The Bean Barn
Get your coffee without getting out of your car at this popular Placerville mainstay. From iced and blended specialities, to Red Bull twists, cold foam Americanos, and more, there’s a caffeineted option for all. Try: Iced Thai
428 Placerville Drive, Placerville, 530-622-2758; 4531 Missouri Flat Road, Placerville, 530-621-0602
Bloom Coffee & Tea
This super cool cafe, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, offers short and sweet breakfast and lunch dishes, pastries, and a killer coffee list with house-made syrups. Try: Iced Vanilla Latte
1485 Eureka Road, Suite 100, Roseville, 916-773-2332, bloomcoffee.com
This family-owned spot is famous for its hefty, to-die-for burritos (and all-day breakfast), but first and foremost, it’s a coffeehouse. Signature flavors include tiramisu creme and a peanut butter white mocha; while sweet tea fans will find fresh infusions like jalapeño lime and blood orange cilantro. Try: Ghirardelli Mocha Frappe
6610 Folsom-Auburn Road, Suite 2, Folsom, 916-987-8001, coffeerepublicfolsom.com
Julian’s Pâtisserie and Café
Home of buttery croissants and the most perfect crêpes, this patisserie also offers plenty of summer sippables: strawberry basil, Arnold Palmers, and espresso beverages. Try: Frozen Hot Chocolate (with a shot of espresso)
6610 Folsom-Auburn Road, Suite 7, Folsom, 916-936-4735, julianscafe.com
by Luna Anona
Placerville Brewfest photo by Yarcenia Garcia. Grape Days of Summer photo by Heirloom Photography for the Placer Wine Trail. Helwig Winery photo by Menka Belgal. Food Truck Cinema photo by Kylie Compton Photography. Milestone photo by Menka Belgal. Apple Bistro photo by Dante Fontana. Out of Bounds photo by Angelo Edwards, @aneverlastingserendipity. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations.