The elevated outdoors

Seven experiences to embrace while high

Gaze at beautiful views of the Tower Bridge, the river and the downtown skyline from 18 stories above at the Emerald Tower Rooftop Park. But you have to know a tenant to get access because it’s private property.

Gaze at beautiful views of the Tower Bridge, the river and the downtown skyline from 18 stories above at the Emerald Tower Rooftop Park. But you have to know a tenant to get access because it’s private property.

Photo by lucas fitzgerald

Over the last decade, Sacramento has grown in a multitude of ways, mostly for the good: vibrant art, an active music scene, new outdoor recreation areas and a variety of spaces to sit back, roll up and soak in all of the awesome.

Still, over the last few months, the air is heavy with raw pain and emotion as a large part of the community protests police shootings. It’s a form of self-care to stop, take a moment, reflect and remember why we love this city. Here’s a list of amazing places to do that.

01. Smoke on the water

Floating down the American River on a raft—it’s a Sacramento pastime. Preferably, with friends, a cooler of Lime-A-Ritas tied behind you and a waterproof container of blunts to share. Here, we are blessed with having not one, but two huge bodies of water running through our city: the Sacramento and American Rivers. While both are prime for daytime floating, I’m more partial to the American River. The scenery alone is enough to entice, but there’s an energy that comes from the beachside parties and boats full of tipsy twerkers that you don’t always find on the Sacramento River. The weather is about to be perfect. Start getting your group together now.

02. Tour ‘Improv Alley’

Take a journey down the veritable rabbit hole and take in all of the amazing murals in Improv Alley located between I and J streets, running the length of 7th and 8th streets. A walk through this alleyway instantly transports you into another world, as it’s covered top to bottom with art from muralists both local and global. Check out homegrown muralist and tattoo artist Norman Ayles, a two-time Wide Open Walls participant known for combining his love of nature with fantastical landscapes. Further along the alley you can take in French artist Hugo Krieger and his surreal mural capturing the essence of time. If you happen to walk up J Street, look up to the skies above Atlantic Bail Bonds. You’ll spy the Obey Giant left behind by Shepard Fairey. Can you find it?

03. Yoga on high

Perfect your downward-facing dog pose during the hour-long Syoga class at Hot Pot Studios. Syoga, for those who have yet to discover its magic, is the first biweekly yoga class in town that infuses cannabis use into the practice. Yogi Katy Karns takes you through an intense workout where you sweat out toxins, stretch the muscles and take hits whenever you feel the need. At $10 a class, not only is it affordable, it’s a relaxing and fulfilling experience, so there is no excuse to not give it a try! 1614 K Street,

04. Checkmate and spliffs

McClatchy Park in the Oak Park neighborhood around the chess tables is my spot. It’s best right as the sunset begins to crest on the horizon. Call me biased, but I grew up down the street, and this is my favorite park in the city, made more so because the picnic tables now have chess boards built into them. There’s something nostalgic about chess tables in parks, something that hearkens back to a time when life felt simple and when community would come together to talk politics, laugh and play together. While sitting at the tables, watch the purple and pink hues paint across the skies. Inhale a sense of peace with each hit off the spliff.

05. Cold kickin’ it

The outdoor patio of 1810 Gallery on 14th Street comes to life as music blasts, graffiti artists create magic out of Krylon and plywood and others break dance in the corner. 1810 Gallery, run by the creative minds behind ArtHotel and ArtStreet, is a free-form space that feels reminiscent of Andy Warhol and The Factory. Bringing together some of the best, freethinking, independent artists for events on First Friday and Second Saturday, this should be first on your list of “places to see art while high” locally. You’ll thank me later.

06. Hazy skyline

The Emerald Tower Rooftop Park on 3rd and Capitol. (But only if you know a tenant because it is private property). Confession time: I have been back in Sacramento for a decade, and I had no idea this park existed until very recently. Located 18 stories above the city, it’s like a secret haven where you can sneak away at lunch, take in some amazing views of Tower Bridge, the river and the downtown skyline and breathe in deep as the sky-high breeze carries the smoke off into the heavens. There truly is no place like home.

07. Solace of silence

The Sacramento Historic Cemetery on Riverside Boulevard has been a secret fascination of mine since I was a kid. Telling a veritable history of Sacramento in its headstones, this is an odd but strangely peaceful spot to enjoy and absorb the past while you absorb the THC. There are a ton of notables buried here, but my favorites are probably Elisabeth Zimmerman, a survivor of the Donner Party, and Edwin Crocker, founder of our beloved Crocker Art Museum. Yet I’m more often at the Odd Fellows cemetery next door, home to Sacramento deejay and artist Daniel Osterhoff’s grave. Nestled between evergreens, his headstone acts as a beacon. Littered with sharpies, PBR cans and other offerings, it acts as an altar to the imprint he left on so many, and a safe space to sit, reflect and smoke without judgment.