Wi-Fi mooching

A map of places your laptop can get a signal

Most of my relatively short adult life, I’ve been lucky enough to have Internet access in my home. But right around the time I began writing this story, I moved and no longer had that luxury. Ironic, right? Well, in a way, I’m glad it happened; not having Internet access helped me find enough places with Wi-Fi in Sacramento that I barely missed having a connection in my house.

1. Sacramento Public Library
While lack of funding nixed the effort to create citywide Wi-Fi (like they have in San Francisco), every branch of the Sacramento Public Library has free wireless available.
On the map: Central Library, 828 I Street; for additional locations, call (916) 264-2700 or visit www.saclibrary.org.

2. Coffee Garden
It seems like a lot of coffeehouses have exotic names in order to try to set themselves apart from others. When you hear the name Coffee Garden, for instance, you might think, “This place probably consists of patio furniture and maybe one potted plant.” However, in this case, the name is a bit of an understatement; if anything, the patio tables seem slightly out of place in between the tall, lush, junglelike scenery.
2904 Franklin Boulevard, (916) 457-5507, www.thecoffeegardenonline.com.

3. Espresso Metro
Located right next to Sacramento City College, this local coffee place is super convenient for students on a break between classes. Besides serving great mochas, its food menu includes several vegetarian/vegan options to make you feel a little less guilty about eating pastries for lunch.
2104 11th Avenue, (916) 444-6130.

4. It’s a Grind
This laid-back, neighborhood-style cafe not only has free Wi-Fi, it also offers frequent free live music shows. Started originally in 1994 by a married couple in Long Beach, It’s a Grind sells the usual coffeehouse fare—coffees, teas and pastries. Try the Nutty Cow, a hazelnut mocha, if anything, just to say that you did.
On the map: 2713 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 675-1068; for additional locations, visit www.itsagrind.com.

5. La Bou
Going to La Bou is a no-brainer. Everywhere you go, there is always one close by, so you don’t have to think of any alternatives. By the time you get around to having lunch, you are so drained that you don’t have the energy to think of another place, and the primal hunger instinct kicks in. The upside to their ubiquitousness is knowing that free Wi-Fi will usually be there.
On the map: 1122 11th Street, (916) 930-0171; for additional locations, visit www.labou.com.

6. Old Soul Co.
Since its opening in 2006, Old Soul is consistently rated by SN&R staffers and readers as one of the best places in Sac to get coffee. Former proponents of an honor system, where customers make their own change from a money bucket, you now actually hand cash over to a human being. The coffee still tastes the same, though.
1716 L Street, rear alley; (916) 443-7685; www.oldsoulco.com.

7. Panera Bread
Except during the lunch rush, Panera Bread is great place to go if you don’t want to be bothered. People spend hours at a time here, hunched over their laptops hard at work studying, or perhaps writing stories on wireless networks. There are power outlets galore, but from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., there is a 30-minute wireless limit.
On the map: 901 Howe Avenue, (916) 568-6400; for additional locations, visit www.panerabread.com.

8. Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Peet’s is like a European Starbucks. It has the corporate-chain sheen, but in a relaxed, “Aren’t you going to stay for awhile and enjoy your coffee?” kind of way. The free Wi-Fi emphasizes this vibe, although users first must obtain an access code from one of the baristas, which entitles them to two hours of Web surfing. How corporate.
On the map: 1050 20th Street, (916) 266-7660; for additional locations, visit www.peets.com.

9. Temple Fine Coffee and Tea
With its long operating hours, large menu and award-winning coffee, Temple definitely has bragging rights. The biggest complaint it gets is that it can sometimes be hard to find a seat. Come early, often, and try the Mexican hot chocolate.
1014 10th Street and 2829 S Street; (916) 443-4960; www.templecoffee.com.

10. Tupelo Coffeehouse and Roasting Co.
Located in East Sac, Tupelo’s sharp-angled furniture and zenlike interior looks more like it should be serving sushi than coffee. The sensory confusion this place creates might help stimulate the brain of weary customers who may doze off in a typical coffeehouse setting.
5700 Elvas Avenue, (916) 454-3977, www.thenakedlounge.com.

11. Naked Lounge
It has couches. Enough said? Well, the people at Naked Lounge know how to treat a customer. They’re friendly without the corporate-annoying vibe that some of the other, larger chains hurl upon you. And it has couches.
1500 Q Street, (916) 442-0174, www.thenakedlounge.com.

12. Naked Lounge
Remember that other Naked Lounge? Yeah, this one’s like that one, but more modern feeling and it has lots of tables, outlets, plugs and laptop-friendly environments. It’s really radical, and not many people have caught on that this coffeehouse is the best study spot in town. So shhhh!
1111 H Street, www.thenakedlounge.com.