Have teens who want to avoid family vacations like the plague? Maybe they'll change their minds after hearing about downtown Sacramento tourist attractions that cater to them... and parents won't have to hear complaints!
Sports and Fitness
Cruise the capital in style. See the City of Trees from the seat of a bicycle. Family-owned Practical Cycle (916.706.0077) rents bikes made in the USA. Guided or self-guided tours get your teen exercising! Fast Eddie (916.812.2712) only offers guided tours; pricing includes bike rental.
Shock your X Games fan when you tell him or her to pack a helmet because the skate park at Sutter's Landing (916.808.5611) is on the itinerary. All sessions are supervised. Skateboarders, scooters and (inline) skaters are invited. The indoor street course features a bowl, quarter pipes, fun boxes, and grind rails -- can you picture it? Pro skaters Matt Pailes, Matt Rodriguez, and Omar Salazar are familiar faces.
When the sun goes down, student specials on glow-bowling appear at Capitol Bowl (916.371.4200). Remodeled. The 1950-era bowling alley is the first in the country to feature granite counters and restaurant-caliber dining. Don't wait til Thanksgiving to bowl a turkey!
Another popular indoor activity is rock climbing. Pipeworks has a 40-foot-high lead wall with 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain -- plus 2,000 square feet of bouldering.
Ever read Teens are from Mars, Parents are from Earth? Shrink the generation gap when families laugh together. Sacramento Comedy Spot (916.444.3137) at MARRS -- the Midtown Art, Retail and Restaurant Scene -- is an all-ages venue featuring weekly improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy shows. Material rated 'PG-13' (parental guidance recommended, age 13 and older) to 'R' (restricted, age 17+).
If your youth enjoy music, free summer Concerts in the Park or the all-ages, indoor Ace of Spades event facility can introduce them (or you) to a wide variety of live, local music: from blues and country, to punk and indie, to pop and hip hop. During the outdoor park series, more than 40 bands play on Friday nights from 5 to 9 PM. The diversity of talent and ages on stage may inspire your guitarist to learn more than 'Stairway to Heaven'.
Discover more inspiration at the California Museum (916.653.7524), home of the California Hall of Fame. This cultural destination is popular for its modern and thought-provoking storytelling of the state's rich influence on the world of ideas, innovation, art and culture. Now through March 25th, Riding Concrete is a multimedia exhibit about skateboarding from California creation in the 1950s to its international appeal today.
Food and Shopping
Schedule a power-ballad lunch or dinner at Pizza Rock (916.737.5777). World pizza-tossing champion, Tony Gemignani, opened his flagship artisan pizzeria in Sacramento to re-establish respect for his craft by using seasonal and organic ingredients. The ceiling mural, semi-truck cab, and energy certainly suggest you aren't at Chuck E. Cheese.
Got an adventurous or epicurean eater or chef? Downtown Sacramento dining can take you on a culinary tour of the world. Join a Local Roots Food walking tour. Or browse farmers markets.
Finally, indulge designers or stylists with a shopping tryst. Explore Midtown's concentration of new and vintage clothing stores plus record, home, and gift shops. And if you feel like driving them, Arden Fair mall (916.920.1167) is 10 minutes away!
Let your teen to discover Sacramento, shortlisted by BETA UK -- the British Educational Travel Association -- as the Best International Youth Destination.