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Best Spots to Spend A Summer Day with Your Family In Sacramento

Summer in Sacramento offers both visitors and residents ample opportunities to enjoy days unique to California's capitol. The sunny, rain-free weather is perfect for outdoor sports activities and picnics, and there is plenty to do in cool, air-conditioned venues as well. No matter your budget, there is something for everyone this summer in Sacramento.

Sacramento Art Walk
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2nd Saturday Art Walk
Midtown Sacramento
Located between H and Q Streets and from 10th to 29th streets
Sacramento, CA 95814

Price: free
Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

On the second Saturday of every month Sacramento's Midtown is transformed into a joyful combination of Disneyland, Lollapalooza and Mardi Gras. Streets are closed off and more than 25 art galleries invite guests in to enjoy art exhibits, food and wine and music. Restaurants and shops offer specials and hundreds of local artisans and vendors have tables full of every imaginable delight. This free street party is family friendly and upbeat. Surprises abound as guests shop for handmade apparel and jewelry, munch on four-foot ropes of neon licorice and watch live performance art. Expect to find a miniature pony or unicyclist around each corner.

Volunteer Center of Sacramento
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When the time comes to buy back-to-school clothes, it will be easy to see who had a summer growth spurt, but the whole family can grow this summer in more ways than height and shoe size. Explore a wide array of volunteer opportunities open to people of all ages in Sacramento this summer for a meaningful day with the kids this summer. The Volunteer Center of Sacramento offers information on available programs and duties perfect for the whole family. For those who love animals for example, the City of Sacramento Front Street Animal Shelter needs volunteers ages 13 and older for a variety of positions any time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day. In most cases, a parent needs to accompany volunteers younger than 18. The Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center's donation program provides clothing and other essential items to homeless adults and children. Volunteers help in many capacities, and children as young as 10 are welcome when accompanied by an adult. Harvest Sacramento helps feed the hungry by harvesting fruit from trees that would otherwise not be used. It welcomes volunteers for a number of positions both indoors and out. Ages 10 and older are invited to come with an adult.

Related: Staying Safe In The Summer Sun

Farmer's Market
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California Certified Farmers Markets
Click here for locations

Price: free

The SacramentoValley is home to some of the most lush farm land in the world, and locals know how to celebrate this bounty. Everything from citrus, artisanal cheese, flowers, veggies and rice to a variety of nuts and berries are readily available and can be purchased straight from the farmer without leaving town. Certified Farmers' Markets bring fresh-picked produce to consumers in different locations on Saturdays and Sundays and from Tuesdays through Thursdays. Some markets are open all year, including the Saturday morning locations at Sunrise Station, Country Club Plaza and Laguna Gateway Center in Elk Grove. One of the most well-known markets is held year-round on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. under the freeway at 8th and West streets. Click here for full schedules.

Concerts in the Park 2012 Logo
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Friday Night Concerts in the Park
Cesar Chavez Plaza
10th & J streets
(916) 442-8575

Price: free
Hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Kids just naturally love to dance in the sunshine, and these Friday-night concerts are the perfect place to do just that. During its 21-year run, the local music festival has won dedicated fans of all ages, some of whom are now bringing their own children every Friday. The concerts are outdoors and feature a variety of genres. Bring a blanket, and let the whole family celebrate the beautiful Sacramento weather.

City Water Intake Facility
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City Water Intake Facility
200-219 Jibboom St
Sacramento, CA95814
(916) 808-5200

Price: free

It's hard to imagine that this beautiful and playful work of art is actually a functioning municipal facility, but it is the pump station for 160 million gallons of water each day. The distinctive steel and glass building is located in the middle of the Sacramento River and offers spectacular views of the historic Tower and I Street bridges and the downtown skyline. Walking around the facility is great on a hot day, as the family can skip though a flat fountain that spurts water up when you least expect it.

Related: Best Go-Kart Racing In Sacramento

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at

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