Best of the Burbs 2014: Guide to Carmichael & Fair Oaks

SN&R’s travel-guide tips for exploring suburbia

“The Great Wall of Carmichael” is a 100-foot long mural in one corner of Carmichael Park.

“The Great Wall of Carmichael” is a 100-foot long mural in one corner of Carmichael Park.

photo by lisa baetz


Carmichael Park (5750 Grant Avenue in Carmichael; Home to a weekly farmers market, dog park, a Frisbee golf course and well-lit tennis courts. It’s a hub for a variety of events, recreational sports leagues and a 100-foot mural called the “The Great Wall of Carmichael.”

Old Fair Oaks Village (Corner of Park Drive and Main Street in Fair Oaks). The center of Fair Oaks, it has parks, shops and dozens of chickens freely running around.

Where to observe the natives

Fair Oaks Chicken Festival ( In September, some locals may be wearing feathers—and not just the chickens.

At the annual Carmichael Fourth of July parade, most of the town is either in the parade or cheering from the sidewalks.

Fashion and what to wear

The locals keep it casual: Cargo shorts for him, sundresses for her, and flip-flops for both. Bring lots of khaki, backward baseball caps and Teva sandals.

Carmichael and Fair Oaks for lovers

Climb up the bluffs by the American River or stroll across the bike- and pedestrian-only Fair Oaks Bridge to watch the river. Fish will jump, birds will splash down and you might even see an otter.

Jensen Botanical Garden (8520 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael; Find a secluded bench, and cuddle under the trees.

Common phrases

“Watch out for that chicken!”

Spot to lose the kids

Ancil Hoffman Golf Course (6700 Tarshes Drive in Carmichael, A round of golf will give you a break from the kids.

Where to eat and drink like a local

Sunflower Natural Food Restaurant (10344 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Fair Oaks; Eat a classic Nutburger outdoors in the sun, with live chickens nibbling at anything you might drop under the table.

The Original Hagen's Orange Freeze (2520 Walnut Avenue in Carmichael). Usually staffed by a bunch of local high schoolers, this place serves up perfect summer treats.

Drive-thru taquerias: Are you loyal to Jimboy’s, Adalberto’s Mexican Food, El Mana Restaurant or El Forastero Mexican Food? Every Carmichael resident must choose a side.

Local culture and museums

Effie Yeaw Nature Center (see page 29 for more information).

Sacramento Fine Arts Center (5330 Gibbons Drive in Carmichael, Home to monthly art exhibitions, occasional concerts and other special events.

Shopping and notable strip malls

Thrift Town (6328 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael) and Goodwill (4126 Manzanita Avenue in Carmichael). Visit two stores just a few blocks apart for good vintage hunting.

Carmichael Park Farmers Market (5750 Grant Avenue in Carmichael, Buy handmade goods and trinkets, and all the snacks you’ll ever need from food trucks, produce vendors and popcorn makers.