Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Carmichael, CA

  • Published 2023/06/18

Carmichael is a census-designated place (CDP) and suburb in Sacramento County, California.

It is also known as the “Secret Little City Within the City.”

Carmichael offers easy access to the California State Capitol and a range of attractions, including the American River.

Despite its location, Carmichael is one of the most tranquil locations in the Greater Sacramento Area, providing visitors with a peaceful retreat.

Carmichael’s weather is pleasant all year, making it an appealing destination for outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

Carmichael has several parks, museums, galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, allowing tourists to discover various places!

For your exploration and pleasure, here’s a list of the best things to do in Carmichael, California!

Explore the Outdoors at the William B. Pond Recreation Area

The waters of William B. Pond Recreation Area

Teresa.r.ogrady, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

William B. Pond Recreation Area is one of the most popular parks along the picturesque American River Parkway.

It was named after William B. Pond, the first Regional Parks Director.

This park is a perfect location for nature enthusiasts and fitness buffs, as it has access to the river and the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail.

It also boasts various picnic sites ideal for a relaxing lunch with friends or family.

Those who enjoy fishing and wildlife can visit the sizeable artificial pond stocked with catfish, trout, bluegill, bass, and tule perch.

The Harold Richey Memorial Bridge connects the William B. Pond Recreation Area with the River Bend Park in Sacramento, offering more opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Have a Picnic at Ancil Hoffman Park

The beautiful 396-acre Ancil Hoffman Park is situated alongside the American River, featuring a picturesque landscape adorned with ancient oaks.

The park offers access to the renowned Effie Yeaw Nature Center, home to various wildlife and educational programs.

Visitors can enjoy various activities such as hiking on the nature trails, horseback riding on equestrian trails, playing golf on the Ancil Hoffman Golf Course, and access to the American River.

Ancil Hoffman Park has three designated picnic sites that can be reserved in advance and several first-come, first-serve picnic areas.

The park was named after County Supervisor Ancil Hoffman, the manager of American boxer and World Heavyweight Champion Max Baer.

This park offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities to delight visitors of all ages.

Observe Wildlife at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center

The Effie Yeaw Nature Center is a remarkable wildlife sanctuary within an urban area, encompassing 100 acres of stunning oak woodlands, meadows, shrublands, and aquatic habitats down the American River Parkway.

This oasis allows visitors to learn about the region’s natural history and the significance of preserving and safeguarding its valuable natural resources.

Over the last four decades, the Nature Center has welcomed over 1.6 million visitors, offering educational programs and a peaceful escape from city life.

The Nature Center’s 700-square-foot Exhibit Hall offers visitors an immersive experience to explore the cultural and natural history of the Lower American River.

Additionally, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center is home to almost 30 non-releasable wildlife native to the American River system.

Its Nature Area, listed as a “Watchable Wildlife” site in California, offers unparalleled opportunities for observing local wildlife.

Therefore, visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars and take in the stunning views of wildlife up close!

Play Golf at the Ancil Hoffman Golf Course

Located along the American River Parkway, the Ancil Hoffman Golf Course offers a peaceful and picturesque setting for playing and practicing golf.

Renowned in the Greater Sacramento Area and NorCal, this course boasts a reputation for its exceptional design, playability, and breathtaking scenery.

Golfers of all skill levels can enjoy this challenging but fair course, which features five sets of tee boxes.

The Ancil Hoffman Golf Course also has a grass driving range and a sizable chipping and putting area, ensuring optimal comfort and convenience for all players.

Other amenities and services include The Main Event Bar & Grill, a Pro Shop, club fitting, private lessons, and fitness programs.

The legendary Golf Course Architect William Francis Bell designed this serene and challenging course in 1965, specifically for Sacramento County.

Catch a Show at the Chautauqua Playhouse

The Chautauqua Playhouse has showcased high-quality theater in Carmichael for over 40 years.

The theater group, Chautauqua Players, was founded in 1975 by Rodger Hoopman, who named it after the traveling Chautauqua shows that were popular in the early 20th century.

At Old Sacramento’s Eagle Theatre, the group debuted “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” which was a huge hit and opened the door for other shows.

The first Chautauqua Playhouse, with 65 seats, debuted in downtown Sacramento in 1976, and by 1980, it had grown to 135 seats and a bigger stage.

Unfortunately, in October of 1983, an arsonist burned down the theater, leading to the company’s relocation to Carmichael’s La Sierra Community Center in 1985, where it continues to thrive.

Today, the Chautauqua Playhouse attracts season subscribers and theater enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of new and classic comedies, original plays, dramas, and musicals.

Spend the Day at Carmichael Park

Carmichael Park is a sprawling 38-acre green space that caters to the entire Carmichael community, boasting a wide range of amenities.

Among its standout features is the impressive Great Wall of Carmichael, a stunning piece of art by local artist Hugh Gorman that celebrates the community’s unique character and strengths.

The park’s Community Clubhouse & Veteran’s Memorial Building is a versatile space that can be reserved for various events, from community meetings and workshops to wedding receptions and other special occasions.

Meanwhile, the bandshell Daniel Bishop Memorial Pavilion for the Performing Arts is home to the annual Summer Concert Series and numerous events.

Carmichael Park also includes five ball fields, six tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, three playgrounds, an off-leash dog park, picnic tables and shelters, barbecues, restrooms, a disc golf course, and a horseshoe pit.

Enjoy Beer on Tap at the River City Brewing Company

River City Brewing Company, one of the longest-operating brew pubs in the Sacramento area, opened in downtown Sacramento in 1993.

In 2015, River City Brewing Company started a new and fulfilling chapter at the Milagro Centre in Carmichael.

The company takes pride in using only the finest ingredients in their brews and sourcing local produce whenever possible from local farms.

Their menu changes three times a year to offer dishes in season, a unique quality that sets them apart.

River City Brewing Company has been recognized for its exceptional quality and service, winning the Best of Carmichael award in 2017.

Enjoy their vast selection of beers on tap and indulge in delicious food that caters to everyone, including kids and groups!

Enjoy the Flora at the Jensen Botanical Garden

The Jensen Botanical Garden showcases an extensive collection of flora, such as azaleas, camellias, dogwoods, magnolias, rhododendrons, and tulips.

Spanning 3 ½ acres, this garden was founded by Charles C. Jensen in 1958, who built it on newly acquired land in Carmichael.

Following Jensen’s passing, a committee was formed by concerned citizens to preserve the garden, which led to successful fundraising efforts.

In 1976, ownership of the garden was transferred to the Carmichael Recreation and Park District.

Since 2004, the District has worked with the Friends of Jensen Botanical Garden, a group of talented individuals, transforming the garden into its stunning oasis.

The Jensen Botanical Garden also boasts the Nature Path for the Blind, designed for visually impaired visitors.

Nevertheless, everyone is welcome to explore and experience this particular garden pathway.

Indulge in Gourmet Food at Skip’s Kitchen

Skip’s Kitchen is a renowned neighborhood restaurant specializing in casual gourmet cuisine.

They aim to create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere where people can gather, relax, and savor delicious food.

Skip’s Kitchen takes pride in its fresh, gourmet versions of classic dishes that will delight your taste buds.

From sandwiches to juicy burgers to hearty salads and more, their menu offers a variety of mouth-watering options to satisfy any craving!

At Skip’s Kitchen, your meal is more than food.

It’s an experience!

Hang Out at Gibbons Park

Gibbons Park is a community park in Carmichael that spans 17.5 acres.

It’s open to the public daily, from sunrise to sunset.

All dogs must be kept on a leash when visiting this park.

Gibbons Park offers various facilities for visitors to enjoy, including a barbecue area, basketball court, community center, exercise course, picnic shelter, playgrounds, restrooms, tennis courts, volleyball court, and walking paths.

Gibbons Park also provides two picnic rental sites for large groups.

One accommodates up to 75 people, while the other accommodates 100 people.

Gibbons Park is the place to be if you’re seeking a pleasant outdoor area to hang out in the mornings and afternoons with various people engaging in multiple activities.

Drop by Fair Game Retro Video Games

For video game fanatics, don’t miss out on Fair Game Retro Video Games!

Fair Game Retro Video Games pride itself as Sacramento’s #1 Retro Video Game Store.

At Fair Game Retro, you’ll find a fantastic selection of classic, retro, console, new video games, and accessories from popular brands like Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Playstation, Xbox, 3DS, Wii, and more!

They even accept trade-ins for classic and retro games in exchange for cash, adding more items to their inventory!

Whether you’re a hardcore collector or a casual gamer, you’ll find everything you’re looking for at Fair Game Retro Video Games.

Engage Your Kids at the Earl J. Koobs Nature Area

The Earl J. Koobs Nature Area is a 4.7-acre nature preserve dedicated to Earl J. Koobs, a former La Sierra High School science teacher.

In 2016, the Kiwanis Club of Carmichael assumed responsibility for maintaining and operating the Earl J. Koobs Nature Area.

Since then, the club has worked to make the nature area accessible to the public and allow local schools to use it for outdoor education.

They offer free art and science activities for children on monthly public open days and Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day ceremonies each year.

It’s also home to a Vietnam memorial dedicated to the La Sierra High School students who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The Earl J. Koobs Nature Area is a hidden gem in the Carmichael neighborhood.

See the memorial, learn about nature, and engage your kids in arts and science activities!

See Art at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center

The Sacramento Fine Arts Center was founded in April 1986 by independent art groups to promote and showcase the visual arts while enriching Sacramento’s cultural life.

The Arts Center boasts four galleries, a spacious studio, and a charming gift shop.

Visitors can view the galleries free of charge, and exhibitions are rotated every two to four weeks, showcasing the works of local and international artists.

Membership at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center provides access to any of the art clubs housed at the center and opportunities to develop their artistic abilities under the guidance of other inspiring artists.

The Sacramento Fine Arts Center also offers workshops and various classes for members and non-members.

Relax by the River at the Sarah Court River Access

The Sarah Court River Access is a charming little riverside area situated amidst private properties with access to the American River Parkway.

As you enter the area, a tree-lined parking lot leads to a steep bank, while an access ramp takes you to a small yet beautiful rocky beach.

This quiet spot is secluded and not very well known.

It could sometimes feel like your own private beach!

Despite its small size, the Sarah Court River Access offers many riverside activities for visitors!

You can enjoy fishing, sunbathing, and taking in the beauty of nature from the side of the river.

Grab Your Caffeine Fix at Dutch Bros Coffee

Dutch Bros Coffee is a highly rated coffee shop in Carmichael, known for its exceptional specialty coffee, unique Rebel energy drinks, refreshing teas, sodas, and more.

Dutch Bros Coffee began in 1992 as a pushcart near the railroad tracks in Oregon.

Thanks to the support of family and the local community, the business started to grow.

In 2000, they opened their first franchise.

Today, Dutch Bros Coffee continues to expand, committed to making a significant impact, one cup at a time.

The company gives back to the community and annually supports local and national non-profit organizations.

Final Thoughts

Carmichael is a prime location for easy access to the bustling attractions of the greater Sacramento area.

As its nickname suggests, Carmichael gives off a small-city vibe thanks to its diverse, family-friendly attractions!

Explore the best things to do in Carmichael, California!

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