Sports & Recreation

Writers’ picks

Sacramento politicos on the go can use nearby Capitol Park or the East End Project grounds to squeeze in a work out. Hey, gotta equalize those steaks at Chops and beers at Pyramid.

Sacramento politicos on the go can use nearby Capitol Park or the East End Project grounds to squeeze in a work out. Hey, gotta equalize those steaks at Chops and beers at Pyramid.


Best place for pickup sports

Roosevelt Park

This park provides a ready escape valve for downtown office workers and sports-hungry Midtowners. On weekdays, pickup basketball tips off around noon and after 5 p.m. Soccer players also can usually find a pickup game most weekdays, also around noon. Volleyballers and softball players also make use of the park. For pre- and post-game snacks, there is an outdoor market with food vendors on Tuesdays. And best of all, especially in these difficult financial times, the pickup games are free—no gym fee or gym fingerprinting required. Just be sure to pack a change of clothes and deodorant for the trip back to the office. Your co-workers will thank you.

1615 Ninth Street.

Best socialist bike haven

Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen

What’s amazing about the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen is that it represents not the “community” of business owners or landlords or well-to-dos, but the community of real people who live in the city and share DIY enthusiasm about a simple thing such as bicycles. The Bike Kitchen (formed from a Craigslist post!) is a nonprofit, donation-run, volunteer-staffed establishment that sells bikes (some maintenance required) and bike parts at below-market prices for the benefit of the people. To top it off, they actually teach individuals how to fix and maintain cycles for about $5 per visit. These days, that’s cheaper than community college. And on Second Saturday, after pimping your ride, the Bike Kitchen hosts live bands and beer from local breweries’ kegs. Just don’t get a BUI.

1915 I Street,

Best workout for your inner child

Sky High Sports

What’s with gym-goers these days? Walk into your local fitness establishment, and by the expressions on some faces, you’d think they’re performing a masochistic torture ritual. Wouldn’t it be more fun to break a sweat through good old-fashioned play? Sure, you’ve probably convinced yourself that playing is for kids, and that you’re too mature and dignified to play. But who are you kidding—you’re not that dignified. And just because your rumpus room days are long gone doesn’t mean you need to slave away on a hamster wheel. Enter Sky High Sports, Sacramento’s only wall-to-wall trampoline facility. Sky High hosts dodgeball tournaments, open jumping hours and Airobics—a 50-minute class that maximizes fun and fitness. It’s like being a kid again, minus the crayon consumption and obligatory naptime.

11327 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 160 in Rancho Cordova; (916) 853-5867;

Best gym workout without gym prices

Workout in a park

Instead of spending the best hours of the day running on a treadmill or doing never-ending sets of curls, migrate outside for some exercise in the park. Most Sacramento-area parks have the basic essentials for a solid workout. All you need is a bench, some trees, perhaps a children’s playground and, of course, motivation. All three aforementioned props can be used for a variety of workouts: lunges, step-ups, pull-ups, reverse push-ups, rows, sit-ups and more. A park workout will induce the best post-workout soreness that will lead to awesome results and lots of newfound strength. Plus, who wants to be stuck inside smelling other people’s sweat when you can burn calories in fresh air—and for free?

Any park will do. Luckily, Sacramento has many parks from which to choose.

Best place to whack something

Golfland Sunsplash

OK, so there is not the traditional, irritating-as-hell, clown-shaped hole on the Golfland Sunsplash’s mini-golf course, which always served as a perfect target to let out repressed anger. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty of opportunity to take out some serious aggression with those wee little balls. There are two courses: the Adventure Golf Course and Lost Continent Golf, and between the two of them, you’re bound to whack something (just try not to hit a friend). It’s a perfect family outing and offers all the twists and turns you would expect from miniature golf.

1893 Taylor Road in Roseville, (916) 784-1273,

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Best books on a budget

Beers Books

On a recent trip to Beers Books, I purchased a paperback copy of Walter Kirn’s Thumbsucker, a collection of articles by Nick Hornby and a novel written in the ’90s by someone named Joe Meno. Kirn’s and Hornby’s cost $7 each, and Hairstyles of the Damned by Meno cost a mere 50 cents. Going to Beers is more than just shopping, it’s an experience, great for finding books you never would have heard of otherwise, as well as rediscovering those you’d been meaning to read for years. Add an adorable sleepy cat named Raffles who lives in the store, and it beats Borders any day.

915 S Street, (916) 442-9475,

Best mini park

Tolerance parkat Riverside and 11th Avenue

Sandwiched between Congregation B’nai Israel and the Riverside water treatment plant, across from the hustle and bustle of William Land, sits a smaller, quieter park of sorts. An art installation designed by Les Birleson, commissioned for the Art in Public Places project by the Sacramento Metro Arts Commission, the piece intends to contemplate “unity,” “inclusion” and “tolerance.” A round mosaic table lies titled in the water, its turquoise and cobalt blue tiles interrupted by an occasional swirl of reds and yellows. Two fountains bubble from the top pool to another two pools below. The syncopated blubbering of the water provides a perfect backdrop for your meditations. To the right, eight glass panels sit atop another circular stone table, each a different translucent color of the rainbow, with thoughtful words from local poet laureates and legends. Whimsically scalloped and ribbed granite provide seating for you take it all in. A visit right after the work day ends is highly recommended.

At Riverside Boulevard and 11th Avenue
. K.B.

Best backroom dealing

Folsom Lake Bowl Sports Bar & Casino

It’s definitely not the first thing you notice entering Folsom Lake Bowl Sports Bar & Casino on a Friday night. (That would probably be the pockets of hyper children darting by Day-Glo bowling lanes bathed in lasers and black lights.) But if you want to spend the night playing cheap hands of Texas Hold ’em inside a quietly sequestered card room, you must first bypass the stone-faced cowboy gnawing a toothpick outside the sports bar. And by that, we mean you need to show the Isaac Hayes look-alike a valid ID. Once inside, maneuver past the sea of bros in oversize T-shirts and straight-brimmed ball caps and the heavily made-up women who pretend they’re mixed-martial-arts fighters and motocross racers. The black-shirted croupiers are friendly, the players are interesting, and if you make it to closing, you’ll probably get a free slice of microwave pizza. Let’s hear Thunder Valley promise that.

511 E. Bidwell Street in Folsom, (916) 983-4411,

If you can&#8217;t afford a ride in a hot-air balloon, there&#8217;s always Netflixing <i>Up</i>.

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Best way to get high

Sky Drifters hot-air ballooning

Long before I saw the film Up, I wanted to float above the tree line in a hot-air balloon to survey the world from a bird’s perspective. So at 6 a.m. on a chilly August morning, I stood in a field behind the Country Store in Rancho Murieta with three other women, watching the Sky Drifters Hot Air Ballooning crew prep for liftoff. Getting high—into the air—was a lovely way to slip into the grandeur of a Sunday morning. The ballooning experience ends with entertaining historical tales and a traditional champagne toast. And, if there’s a mate in your future, Sky Drifters said they handle about six wedding proposals each month.

Call for meeting point. Rancho Murieta, (888) 359-0484,

Best way to spice up your evening walk

Flip 2 It Sports Center

Henry David Thoreau asked, “What would become of us if we walked only in a garden or a mall?” Well, we’d look like Roseville. Later, Guy Debord theorized “the dérive,” or an interaction with the city, which later transformed into “parkour”—as seen in the last James Bond film. Basically, it’s jumping and climbing all over urban objects. Classes now available at Flip 2 It Sports in Roseville. And if you’re not limber enough to scale every wall in Midtown, do what Thoreau would do: Drift from East Sacramento into Oak Park during dusk. Then head west toward the vacant downtown office buildings and parse the half-abandoned gridscape that shapes our movements and conversations. Drink in undiscovered places, learn how we relate to our urban architecture. Or climb it. Either way, take a walk, you’ll understand exactly what’s wrong with K Street and more.

10556 Industrial Avenue, Suite 130 in Roseville;


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What is the bestway to get in shape in Sacramento?

SN&R’s Facebook friends respond:

“Bicycling. So many great bike trails, and Midtown is great for riding around.” —Jenny Peterson

“Bike to work, shop at the [Sacramento Natural Foods] Co-op and run the track at McKinley Park.” —Rocky Rupple

“Dancing it out at TownHouse [Lounge] on Fridays, Lipstick [at Old Ironsides] on Tuesdays and Golden Bear on Wednesdays.” —Kassey Mcnair

“Lots of sweaty sex.” —Matt James Montoya