Sacramento needs more outdoor movie nights, music events and wet fun

Does Sacramento offer any events this season not involving light beer and inner tubes on the American River?

This is Dave Kempa's first summer in Sacramento. Wish him luck:

We need to get out more, Sacramento.

This isn’t to say that we’re not outside plenty—hiking, running, going to farmers markets, exploring the bike trails—but it’s summer. Officially, now. This is the time of year for cities to really take advantage of what they have to offer, to give everyone a reason to go out on a weeknight, be seen among their neighbor strangers and knock back a couple beers or some wine.

And while this town has much to offer, we can always ask for a bit more. Here are a few things I’ve seen in other towns that I think Sacramento could fashion into events with our own local flair:

Outdoor movie nights: We’ve got four outdoor films slated for August in Cesar Chavez Plaza, thanks to the Sacramento Outdoor Film Festival. But what about the six weeks before then?

In New York, HBO hosts a movie night every Monday in Bryant Park. It’s an event. The films don’t start until sundown, but moviegoers always show up at 5 p.m. to jostle for blanket space, and then wind down with wine and snacks for a few hours with friends.

Capitol Jazz: Have you seen the east end of Capitol Park? The monuments. The trees. The gorgeous International World Peace Rose Garden. Why don’t we hold more events over there?

On Wednesdays after work in Madison, Wis., you can always enjoy some live local music in the capitol’s shade with Concerts on the Square. In Washington, D.C., people can spend Friday evenings watching the sunset, sangria in hand, among the sculptures in the National Gallery of Art ’s garden. Yes, Sacramento has plenty of music events over the summer, but I’d like a few evenings of live tunes and (more to the point) picnicking on the far end of Capitol Park.

Waterfront laze: I’m racking my brain here. Do we offer any events not involving light beer and inner tubes on the American River? It’s such a beautiful resource, and something we ought to be taking advantage of in the summer months. It doesn’t even matter what we do. Host a ski show, like they do in coastal cities, or shoot off a few fireworks—whatever floats your boat. Sacramento needs more opportunities for residents to enjoy that shoreline.