Magazine article Sunset

Northern California Weekend

Magazine article Sunset

Northern California Weekend

Article excerpt

Day trip

Sacramento

Why go now: The city's lit scene is alive and well. Plus, fall weather is nice. Nick name: City of Trees Dress code: Chuck Taylors, skinny jeans, corduroy blazers. Poetic places: The Sacramento Poetry Center (weekly events; 1719 25th St.; sacramentopoetrycenter.org) and Butch N Nellie's Coffee Co. (open-mic nights; 1827 I St.; 916/443-6133). Local lit heroes (past and present): The itinerant Mark Twain; Joan Didion and catty columnist Herb Caen, both natives; and current resident William T. Vollmann. Short reads: Midtown's Newsbeat(1050 20th St., Ste. 180; 916/448-2874) carries every mag imaginable, plus super-local lit. Get illuminated: Lumens Light + Living (closed Sun; 2028 K St.; 916/444-5585) carries nightstand-worthy lamps. Decorate the den: Style out your space at Haus (2512 J St.; 916/448-4100). Cocktail as creative muse: Ella Dining Room and Bar ($$$; closed Sun; 1131 K St.; 916/443-3772) has, whether for writerly affectation or sheer pleasure, the best gin and tonic in town.

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1. Must-stop bookstores

Time Tested Books (pictured; 1114 21st St.; 916/447-5696), once a regular haunt for Jarhead author Anthony Swofford, hosts frequent readings; the Book Collector (see page 24) practically overflows with local lit; and Beers Books (915 S St.; 916/442-9475) has the urban-bookshop touch: a docile tabby named Raffles. Buy local reads: William T. Vollmann's train-hopping odyssey, Riding Toward Everywhere; and Raymond Carver's poem "Our First House in Sacramento."

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2. Moving pictures and words

Downtown's cultural hub is the Crest Theatre, foremost a palace for indie and foreign films (from $5.50) but also avenue with bookish inclinations. …

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