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Midtown Sutter, History and Today

Midtown Sutter might be Sacramento’s best kept secret. The renowned entertainment corridor has a friendly neighborhood atmosphere where you can find theatre, live music and a treasure trove of locally owned restaurants and bars. The area is crowned by the historic Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, an adobo-stucco construction that includes a replica fort that provides exhibits and living history interpretive services. 

When you visit the thriving Midtown Sutter, we invite you to think about the many generations of people who lived on this land before us. Sutter has changed a myriad of times in our history and will continue to change. Read on to learn about the history of Sutter, and places to explore today to fully experience Midtown Sutter. 

History at Sutter

The iconic Sutter’s Fort Park sits in the heart of Midtown, and is an area that has been the homeland of the Nisenan people since time immemorial. If you grew up in Sacramento, chances are you took a school field trip here to learn about what life was like for the pioneers in the mid-1800s, but how much did you learn about the lasting devastating impacts on the area’s original Native residents? 

Recently, California State Parks has recognized the need to reexamine the past at this National Landmark and confront the unbalanced perspective of John Sutter and his legacy, along with other settlers. You can find the plans of California State Parks to change the way history is interpreted at Sutter’s Fort to share a more inclusive and historically accurate history in their Sutter’s Fort Interpretation Master Plan. 

Long before colonizers ever set foot on Californian soil, Native peoples’ had created a mature and highly managed landscape. In the early 1800s, the colonization of California had reached the Native villages of the Sacramento River valley.

From 1839 to 1849, Sutter’s Fort was the economic center of the first permanent European colonial settlement in California’s Central Valley. Its founder was John Sutter who named his vast Mexican land grant “New Helvetia.” 

During that time, the Fort catalyzed patterns of change across California. Native peoples felt these changes most significantly as their lives were transformed by the Fort’s presence. Many different Native people helped build the Fort, and their exploited labor made the Fort’s many industries possible. In 1848, the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill started the gold rush that ultimately undermined Sutter’s businesses at the Fort and led to an even greater exploitation of Native people across California.

Sutter Today 

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is often a memory for many schoolchildren who visited the park across generations in Sacramento. If you have never been to Sutter’s Fort or perhaps only went as a kid, we invite you to come back to reminisce about your school day field trips, learn a more inclusive and accurate history, and enjoy all the amenities offered.

Visitors to Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park are welcome to explore the historic structures and living history museum at their own pace with a self guided tour, and can find a map and brochure available at the kiosk. 

When you visit, plan your day to also visit the State Indian Museum (only a three-minute walk away). All the exhibits and photographs on display are presented with respect for those who went before us on this land and continue to live in California communities today.

Although Sutter’s Fort and the State Indian Museum are the best places to learn more about the history of Sutter, we encourage you to also explore the Sutter Midtown area and experience how it has evolved into a thriving district with restaurants, bars, live entertainment shops, and of course some of the best brunch in Sacramento! 

Exploring Sutter Midtown you will find understated elegance and well curated experiences that reflect a variety of the best of what Midtown has to offer. Plus visits are a breeze with easy freeway access and plentiful street parking in the area. 

Here are some of our favorite places to visit inside Midtown Sutter. 

Barwest | @mybarwest

2724 J Street

Visit Barwest to find a modern day neighborhood sports bar and restaurant that serves up delicious burgers, hot wings, beer, cocktails, wine and more. Check out this spot to gather with your friends to watch the next ballgame! 

 

Blue Cue | @therealbluecue

1004 28th Street

Featuring karaoke, darts, multiple pool tables, and a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere, the large, brick-walled space is bolstered by traditional bar cuisine combined with a wide selection of spirits and cocktails.

Café Bernardo | @cafe.bernardo

2730 Capitol Avenue

A casual dining concept based on the European tradition of cafe dining, Cafe Bernado is a longstanding local favorite featuring a farm-to-fork menu with house made bread, pasta and dessert. Come here for an inviting atmosphere for any moment. 

Centro Cocina | @centrococina

2730 J Street

Centro crafts all their dishes from scratch – from salsas, to masa and corn tortillas, slow-cooked meats, and hearty soups. The bright and colorful interior highlights items sourced from Mexico providing a festive and casual atmosphere.

Harlow’s | @harlowsnightclub

2708 J Street

Harlow’s is one of our favorite venues for nationally renowned musicians and acclaimed local acts. For more than 35 years, Harlow’s has featured some of the best live music for every type of fan from blues to soul to rock ‘n’ roll. 

Ink Eats & Drinks | @inkeats

2730 N Street

This tattoo-themed restaurant and bar is known for their Bloody Mary Bar and quality brunch fare! Ink offers an approachable yet inspired menu, great prices and down-to-earth attentive service. 

Paragary’s | @paragarysmidtown

1401 28th Street

Opened in 1983, Paragarys is considered a Sacramento dining staple, serving generations of locals over the years. Known for its delicious seasonal cuisine in a beautiful setting, this restaurant is perfect for your next dinner date.

The Red Rabbit | @sacrabbit

2718 J Street 

The Red Rabbit’s mission: raising the neighborhood bar. They believe in seasonal and local, creating their cocktails from the ground up with housemade syrups, fresh squeezed juices, and fresh herbs. Enjoy their farm-to-table food selections, the artisan cocktails, sourced beer and wine. 

Tea Bar & Fusion Café | @ilovetbar

2700 Capitol Avenue

At Tea Bar you’ll find create-your-own wraps and bowls, snacks like avocado toast and edamame, and frozen, iced, or hot teas all made with the freshest ingredients. Stop by for lunch or a snack before catching a show at B Street Theatre.

B Street Theatre | @bstreettheatre

2700 Capitol Avenue

Over the years the B Street Theatre has introduced more than 100 original plays. Located at The Sofia, this gorgeous theatre keeps audiences laughing and crying, and critics raving. 

From the Historic Sutter’s Fort, to delicious farm-to-fork dining, and even live entertainment, Midtown  Sutter has it all. We would love to hear from you about what you learn and experience while exploring the area. Do you agree with us that it may be Sacramento’s best kept secret? Tag us in all your adventures @exploremidtown on social media.

Solid Gold Entertainment, Art and Dining at Midtown Sacramento’s “Golden Hub”

Pop quiz—how many of these trendy Midtown destinations do you know? Historic homes turned bars, shipping container beer gardens, forgotten alleyways reclaimed by art and cuisine, and towering trees filled with disco lights, all of this and more are found in the heart of Midtown Sacramento’s “Golden Hub” at the intersections of 24th and K streets. 

Area Murals, History, and Art

The 24th and K Golden Hub features more than ten art installations within one block. Discovering art as you Explore Midtown is one of our favorite pastimes so while we won’t reveal every single mural or unexpected art installation, here are three that are not to be missed for a perfectly Instagrammable and Midtown-y moment. Tag @ExploreMidtown on your photos as you discover these incredible lighting, art and statue art installations. Extra credit if you find Amy Winehouse in the alley! 

The Disco Tree at 24th and K Streets 

Located right on the golden corner, this tree came about through a partnership between Midtown Association, SMUD and local artist and creator Michael Sestak. Featuring color changing “disco ball” lighting features, the tree has become one of Midtown’s hidden gems. The best time to view the tree is at sundown or after from urban beer garden DerBiergarten with a pretzel, stein of beer or cider, or a Schnitz n’ Waffle. Historically, this corner was a blighted and empty piece of land following a fire in the converted home/restaurant prior. The now owner Thomas Roth and operator Sean Derfield created the first shipping container garden in Sacramento.

Midtown Sacramento lettering on K Street 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located below the speakeasy at Cantina Alley (yes there is a speakeasy and yes there is also an authentic cantina in an alley..), these iconic and colorful Midtown letters are best photographed during happy hour or early evening to catch the vibrancy and detail of each letter. Upstairs above the letters is a special Mexican speakeasy, directly to the east of the letters find a mercado in a converted church complete with imported furniture and handicrafts, and right behind the letters find the locally famous Cantina Alley restaurant and bar. Featuring traditional Mexican street foods in an art-filled and garden-esq converted alley, Cantina Alley’s elote and fruit filled cocktails are not to be missed. Interesting historical note, the converted church was originally a Mormon church erected around 1929, became the Spiritual Life Center in the mid-1990’s, evolved to be the Ancient Future Urban Sanctuary, to now become the PlacitaMX mercado.

Take Flight on K Street 

Best photographed during day-time hours and especially with a little one or pup in tow, the Take Flight wings mural was painted by JM Knudsen in the late 2010’s, and is steps away from the Golden Hub. This mural features a city streetscape with wings above and Knudsen’s signature lettering and messaging, “You are Great.” 

Cultural Street Parties

Not a day goes by without something fun going on at the Golden Hub, but a few days are especially notable. Cinco de Mayo hosted by Cantina Alleyway is a celebration with music in the alleyway between J and K streets and some years it spills out to a street closure on K street between 23th and 24th streets. Oktoberfest hosted by DerBergarten is in late September and features a large array of local and imported beers, authentic entertainment, and incredible German foods. Banana Sundaes hosted by Flamingo House is a later evening street party with music and drinks a plenty hosted in June and October each year.

Eating, Drinking and Live Entertainment

Each restaurant at the Golden Hub has a perfectly curated menu and experience ranging from fully plant based at the Burger Patch to the best pizza in town at Pizzasauras Rex. All locations offer food to go or on site, most offer live entertainment in the evenings, and all are equipped with beautiful outdoor dining. 

Burger Patch | @theburgerpatch
2301 K Street | Open everyday 11 am – 10 pm, until midnight Friday and Saturday, for breakfast at 8:30 am on Saturday and Sunday. 

The perfect mixture of flavor and sustainability, Burger Patch provides a fully plant based burger, fries and shakes experience with the best vegan milkshake on the planet. The fresh baked cookies, vegan breakfast and tots are also not to be missed. Open from early to late on the weekends, and everything in between during the week, Burger Patch is a great stop for any meal.

Cantina Alley | @cantinaalley

2320 Jazz Alley | Open Tuesday – Thursday 4 pm -10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30am – 1am and Sunday 11:30 am – 10 pm

Originally an 1800s era two story home with a large run down backyard, Cantina Alley is now a shaded garden-esque patio featuring traditional Mexican street foods with a soon to launch speakeasy in the still standing Victorian structure. 

DerBiergarten | @midtownbeergarden

2332 K Street | Open Monday – Thursday 3 pm – 8:30 pm, Friday 3:00 pm – 10:45 pm, Saturday 11 am  – 10:45 pm and Sunday 11:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Der Biergarten is Sacramento’s spot to socialize over some great German beer and light German fare. This Midtown Sacramento beer lover’s spot is a twist on the traditional German beer garden. It’s authentically German in its extensive beer selection and light German food menu, with 32 beers on draft and sausages brought in fresh from Sacramento’s #1 German Butcher.

The Flamingo House | @flamingosac

2315 K Street | Open Monday – Friday 6 pm – 1:30, Saturday and Sunday 2 pm – 1:30 am

The Flamingo House is an intermingling of midtown culture and coastal leisure offering a unique California approach with plates and exceptional cocktails. Two patios along with a bar and lounge offer ample opportunities to listen to the evening’s DJ, hang out on the swinging hammock, or enjoy a handroll or two.  

The Golden Bear@thegoldenbear
2326 K Street | Open Monday – Friday 12 pm – 2 am, Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am – 2 am

Since 2004, Golden Bear has been a casual bar and kitchen in Midtown with a welcoming staff and a laid back vibe. TGB has delicious food made from scratch, cold craft beer and stiff cocktails along with hosting weekly Wednesday open mic nights and popular annual events like the annual Hot Toddy Competition. 

Pizzasaurus Rex | @eatpizzasaurusrex

2322 K Street| Open Mondays 2 pm – 9 pm and Tuesday – Sunday 11 am – 9 pm

Pizzasaurus Rex specializes in one-size-only, 18-by-13-inch rectangular pies, fired for six to eight minutes at 475 degrees in the restaurant’s brick deck oven. The menu includes staples like a melty three-cheese version topped with mozzarella, provolone and ricotta, as well as a hearty vegan combo with faux pepperoni, mushrooms, olives and bell peppers. They offer 12 beers on tap to wash down your meal or to take home in a growler for later. The “dino” sauce is a cilantro jalapeno dipping sauce that is a must on the side no matter what you order.

Experience this uniquely Northern California destination on any evening for bustling nightlife, one of the above culturally diverse events, or enjoy a happy hour stroll to see artwork and enjoy a watermelon filled with margarita, a vegan burger, or even a German beer stein filled with pilsner. 

Remember to snap a photo and hashtag #ExploreMidtown for a chance to be featured on our social media @ExploreMidtown or our next blog!