There really is no shortage of things to do in West Sacramento on a first – or 50th – date. The only problem is: how to choose?! If you're new to town, it can be difficult to sort through all the options on this side of the river. Heck, even if you're a long-time resident, there may be things to do that have popped up without you realizing it.
Never fear! We've compiled a list of 12 first date ideas that will (hopefully) spark some romance or at least provide a fun diversion for you and your (potential) loved one. Heck, even if you've been married for decades, go ahead and use some of these ideas to rekindle the flame. You might be surprised how hot it gets.
1. Take a tour at the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Museum
Museums are a fabulous way to spend a first date because you can just wander around and observe together. No need for forced conversation. And this museum, in particular, provides a moving and authentic history of the CHP, which dates back to 1929, along with insight into the Academy Training Facility, which is the only one of its kind in California. The cost is donation-based (though you do have to pre-arrange a tour via email so this one takes a little bit of planning).
Subtile is a massive, disco-ball like sculpture installed in 2017 on the River Walk by Czech artist Federico Díaz. The sculpture is ‘alive' in an electronic sense in that its movements follow an algorithm to mimic the growth of trees. (Feel totally free to memorize and then recite that last sentence during your date to pretty much guarantee a second one.) While you're over on the River Walk, keep meandering to see other public art pieces (like one of the Dango series of sculptures by Jun Kaneko) and enjoy the beautiful views of Sacramento – and each other.
3. Bowl a Strike at Rancho Bowl
Locally owned and operated Rancho Bowl is not your father's bowling alley. Newly remodeled with 32 lanes, couches, coffee tables, and touch-screen consoles with cameras, Rancho Bowl is a seriously good time even for those who may not excel in the bowling arts. There's also an in-house restaurant and bar with nightly DJs, meaning your bowling date could naturally stretch out to include further options if the mood…strikes.
4. Root for the River Cats at Raley Field
No list of things to do in West Sacramento would be complete without mentioning Raley Field – a top-notch AAA baseball park complete with $1 hot dogs, plenty of shade, and easy parking. The ballpark even plays hosts to major touring acts like Cirque du Soleil along with concerts, festivals, and community celebrations. And who knows? Maybe the awesome fireworks display at the end of each River Cats game will light up some fireworks between you and your date. At least one thing's for sure: no matter how your date turns out, a trip to Raley Field is never a bad time.
5. Get your IKEA on
They say nothing either bonds or breaks a couple like a trip to IKEA, and lucky for you – West Sacramento's got one. Impress your date with your knowledge of Scandinavian furniture design, dining, and pronunciation while you wander the endless, air-conditioned aisles of moderately priced home goods. Show you're not afraid to drop dough by picking up the meatball dinner with extra mashed potatoes for both of you – and don't skimp on the lingonberry sauce. A solid strategic move for first date follow-up is to buy a piece of furniture and then invite your paramour over to help you put it together. Win-win because those things are impossible to build solo.
6. Spring for a Romantic Pancake Breakfast at Carol's Restaurant
Not everybody thinks to suggest pancakes on a first date, but let's face it – how much better would it be to eat a short stack at Carol's than meet up for an awkward glass of wine? Even if it doesn't work out, you've still had a delicious breakfast at this longtime West Sacramento fave. Serving up a serious array of breakfast classics (including the ‘whole hog' breakfast, Belgian waffles, and biscuits & gravy), Carol's has won fans near and far for its taste, portions, and pricing. And nothing says romance like the $7.99 buttermilk flapjacks, which comes with not only two "huge" pancakes, but also two eggs and bacon or sausage. Show off your stamina and strength by powering through a mighty breakfast at Carol's – and always, always, always (whether you're on a date or not) tip breakfast waitstaff well. They got up really early.
7. Enjoy a hearty Italian meal at Club Pheasant
This West Sacramento icon has been serving up Italian standards since 1935 – and has developed a loyal group of regulars along the way. The menu is quite extensive, but the real deals come during happy hour which is 3-6 Tuesday through Friday (but fills up by about 5). Club Pheasant is renowned for its good service, so expect a low-stress, quality meal in a fun, lively environment. And just think: if things go well, you'll likely always have Club Pheasant to return to on anniversaries and special events. "Kids, I fell in love with your mother over this very same fried ravioli…"
8. Solve a Murder on the Murder Mystery Train
Sure, this 2½ hour, costumed, murder mystery train ride – complete with a three-course meal – might be a bit of a commitment for a first date but we assure you, it will be an evening neither of you will soon forget. Storylines change each month, so definitely check to know which era you'll be walking into – and make sure you and your date are both dressed appropriately. Or at least that your date knows that dressing up in period clothing is an option to consider – nothing like showing up for a fun night in the wrong duds. Pro tip: wine and beer are extra, but might be worth the money.
9. Grab some stools at Drake's BARN
While nearly all West Sacramento neighborhoods offer a variety of date night options, nearly everyone can agree that the newly redeveloped Bridge District is at the top of the list – and Drake's BARN at the tippety top. So, while you might not score points for originality, your date will probably love the atmosphere enough to overlook it. We're talking food trucks, a pizza restaurant, a 400-seat beer garden and bar, and fire pits along with three stages and a huge meadow to spread out in and play lawn games –what more could you want on a first date?!
10. Learn how to blow glass at Design With Fire
You'll get serious points for originality if you suggest taking a four-hour glass blowing workshop with your date – though the $225 price per person might be hard to swallow. Our suggestion? Save this one for a first date with someone you already know in person or even a blind date set up by your friends or family, maybe not just a rando you found online. (No offense to randos found online; reader, I married one.) Cheaper options at this amazing studio include Introduction to Glass Bead Making or Introduction to Glass Fusing, which are both $95/person plus materials.
11. Cool off at Devil May Care Ice Cream
This charming ice cream parlor is open until 9 p.m. daily, serving up traditional, homemade frozen treats that range from the old favorites (vanilla and chocolate) to more…hmm, exciting flavors (corn on the cob, sea salt, gin & juice). It's hard to go wrong getting ice cream on a first date (something about all the happy hormones that flood your body when you eat sugar and fat), but if your date has specific food allergies or preferences, call ahead to find out any vegan or gluten-free options. Flavors change daily, so be sure to check their Instagram feed for updates.
12. Jump on a couple of JUMP Bikes
West Sacramento has around 900 JUMP electric, pedal-assisted bikes for rent at locations throughout the city. Hit the streets with your date for a low-impact and fun way to tour West Sacramento neighborhoods – or even over the Tower Bridge to Sactown. Remember to wear a helmet and follow all traffic laws – and make sure your date does too, helmet hair be darned. And if you're the type that likes to know exactly what you'll be doing and where you'll be going (not a bad strategy for first dates, tbh), plan your trip all around the Sacramento ahead of time using this handy dandy bicycle trip planning tool.
With its growing brewery, activity, and restaurant scenes, West Sacramento has become a great place to get your romance on. When you find the one, don't forget that CubeSmart has options both small and large to store your stuff when you move into your first place, get married, have a baby, or move overseas! Did we just get a little ahead of ourselves!? Let us know if we missed any of your favorite first date spots in the comments below!