Elk Grove | Visit California (2024)

Situated along the waterways of the California Delta just outside of the state’s capital, Elk Grove is one of Gold Country’s best-kept secrets. Made up of five districts—Central, Old Town, Grant Line, Wilton, and Laguna West—this small town boasts some of Northern California’s best hiking trails and nature preserves. At just a 30-minute drive from Sacramento International Airport, Elk Grove is the perfect under-the-radar getaway for laid-back travelers looking to relax in nature.

Outdoor Adventure in Elk Grove

Elk Grove is home to more than 100 parks, totaling 700-plus acres of landscape waiting to be discovered. Its prime location on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta makes it an ideal base camp for the nearby estuary and wetlands. Start your exploration with a short 20-minute drive to the Cosumnes River Preserve, a sprawling 50,000-acre nature preserve that contains California’s largest expanses of riparian oak forest. As one of the few protected wetland habitats in the area, the preserve stands out as an exceptional destination for birders. In one year, the preserve sees more than 250 different species of birds, including the Swainson’s hawk, sandhill cranes, and red-winged crows.

Hikers can take in the views at the preserve or walk one of the many trails throughout the city’s extensive recreational areas. Elk Grove Creek Trail, Del Meyer Park, and the Blue Heron Trails at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge offer family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible hikes complete with striking views. Cyclists and mountain bikers will find no shortage of scenic riding in the area, from the beginner-friendly trails at Zimbelman Park to the dirt courses at Elk Grove Bike Park. Rent an electric bike from Pedego or get route recommendations from the locals at Neighborhood Bike Shop.

Where to Eat in Elk Grove

Start your day at Onit Coffee, Rose Tea Lounge, or Vinhouse for a satisfying cup of joe or gourmet boba tea. After a long morning of fishing at Camden Lake and Laguna Creek, reward yourself with a lunch of gumbo and beignets at Huckleberry’s for Cajun-Californian fare. Later, sample the Dirty Diana or Sac Town Fire tacos at West Coast Taco Bar, which earned a coveted place on Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. Walk off your meal on Main Street where rows of boutiques await.

Download the Corks & Caps map to craft your own custom beer-and-wine crawl. Make the most out of the experience with a Two-Day Beer & Wine Trail Pass, which unlocks exclusive deals at four Elk Grove breweries and wineries. Craft beer aficionados can grab a cold one at Flatland Brewing Company, Tilted Mash Brewing, Waterman Brewing Company, or Dust Bowl Brewing. Oenophiles will want to experience Elk Grove’s up-and-coming wine scene with a tasting at Adkins Family Vineyards, known for its rich Viogniers, as well as Christopher Cellars, Bradley Ranch Winery, and South Slope Wines.

For dinner, book a reservation at Boulevard Bistro, a 1908 bungalow-turned-upscale eatery in the heart of Old Town. Sushi restaurants also abound in Elk Grove, from the chic Fujiya to the beloved Sacramento chain Mikuni.

Can’t decide what to eat? End your day with slots or table games at Sky River Casino and explore the diverse dining options, which include dim sum, Neapolitan-style pizzas, and street tacos. (Note: Diners must be 21+.)

Where to Shop in Elk Grove

Start your shopping spree in Elk Grove’s Old Town District, where visitors can browse through antiques, handmade crafts, and other specialty items. Find vintage home decor at mom-and pop shops like The Red Door and Vintage Soul, or spend your Sunday morning strolling the Old Town Elk Grove Farmers’ Market for artisanal goods. Score your new favorite outfit at TrendE and Beeleu Boutiquebefore heading to the Central District.

Shoppers can embrace their inner hype beast at Phenom, where racks are stocked with luxury streetwear brands like Comme des Garçons and Ksubi. At The Secret Garden, plant enthusiasts can browse the seemingly endless variety of succulents, pottery, and garden art.

Arts and Culture in Elk Grove

Elk Grove boasts more than 50 pieces of public art. Take a self-guided tour through District56’sAvenue of the Arts to see displays of contemporary sculptures, murals, and paintings. Peruse the works at The Spears Gallery before stopping in the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center for free art shows, offered on the first Saturday of each month.

Elk Grove | Visit California (2024)

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