Hot-air balloon rides, bottomless mimosas, tandem kayaking, even a kava bar: If you’re looking to up your dating game, why not plan your outing during the day—and head to Rancho Cordova, California.
Hot-air balloon rides, bottomless mimosas, tandem kayaking, even a kava bar: If you’re looking to up your dating game, why not plan your outing during the day—and head to Rancho Cordova while you’re at it? This charming town just outside of Sacramento beckons with plenty of ways to impress your date, whether you’re an established couple or in the just-getting-to-know-you stage. Here are three fun ways to dive into Rancho Cordova’s awesome outdoors, cultural, and dining scene on day date you’ll remember with the apple of your eye.
You can’t go wrong with kicking off a daytime date with a lovely breakfast or brunch. The Mimosa House in Rancho Cordova has you covered with delicious food, a fun atmosphere, and—of course—plenty of bubbles to toast the day ahead. The extensive menu features scrambles, omelets, crepes, and waffles—literally any breakfast goody you’re craving, they’ve got it, making this local’s favorite a surefire date pleaser, even for picky palates. And the place truly lives up to its name, with dozens of mimosa choices in cheeky categories like “Twisted Tarts” and “Relaxing Refreshers,” along with brunch cocktails and an extensive list of sparkling wines.
After breakfast, take your date to literal new heights with a hot-air balloon ride. Sky Drifters in nearby Rancho Murieta offers the unforgettable experience of floating through the skies with a licensed pilot over the gorgeous Sierra Nevada foothills. Group flights give a lively vibe, or you can opt for a private flight for just the two of you (and the pilot, of course). Oh, and if you’re looking for an unforgettable way to pop the question, the fine folks at Sky Drifters are no strangers to on-board proposals—in fact, it’s one of their specialties.
After your flight, continue with the up-in-the-clouds theme at Sky Sushi. This hip sushi bar is one of the top-rated restaurants in Rancho Cordova, providing an intimate, romantic vibe and delicious sashimi, specialty rolls, and creative seafood dishes.
Culturally-minded types are sure to be impressed when you take them to the Root of Happiness Kava Bar. But it’s not your typical watering hole: Root of Happiness, whose Rancho Cordova outpost is the first of several in Northern California, is all about introducing guests to the kava culture of the South Pacific that’s been around some 3,000 years. If you’re both game, try the specialty: the traditional kava drink, made with the medicinal kava root that’s said to promote tranquility and relaxation. (Another plus? If you’ve got any date jitters, this is an all-but-guaranteed way to soothe them.) Walking into the bar is relaxing in itself, with a fun tropical vibe, bamboo furniture, and lush plants.
Head to downtown Sacramento (it’s just a 15 minute-drive from Rancho Cordova, but if you’ve had any kava, you might want to opt for a ride service) to explore the California Museum. This must-visit museum offers an excellent dive into the rich history of California and the state’s unique influence in world culture, arts, innovation, and industry. Signature exhibits provide an interactive journey through topics like Native American life in California, the Spanish Missionary period, and the state’s most notable women.
Keep the historical vibes going by visiting Sacramento County’s first distillery since Prohibition, Gold River Distillery in Rancho Cordova. Visit the tasting room on a weekend afternoon to sample the selection of house-made gins, whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and absinthe. Then it’s onto a romantic dinner at The Lodge in Rancho Cordova’s Park West Casino, whose rich wood interior, leather chairs, and grand stone fireplace set the mood. Contemporary American cuisine like craft burgers, grilled entrees, and sandwiches pair well (just like the two of you!) with specialty cocktails and beer and wine lists.
What more fitting way to kick off a sunshine-y, Cali-style date than with a visit to a farmer’s market? Grab your sweetie and a reusable bag to hit the Sunrise Station Farmers’ Market in Rancho Cordova (Saturdays only, year-round). Operating since 2010, this bustling market features the bounty from about 35 farmers, plus specialty items. Load up on organic fruits, veggies, and cheeses for a tasty picnic that’s the perfect complement for your active day.
Next up: Make a splash with your date via kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on peaceful Lake Natoma at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center. They’ll hook you up with a rental, and beginners can opt for a lesson to learn the basics. You can also rent boats and explore this scenic lake on your own—a tandem kayak is, of course, a solid choice for optimal bonding time. Up for more exploring after your paddling excursion? Check out the nearby hiking and biking trails—some of the shorter routes along Lake Natoma on Mississippi Bar make for a convenient way to stretch your legs after sitting in a kayak.
Toast to your day of outdoorsy fun at Fort Rock Brewing, just a stone’s throw away from Lake Natoma. Grab a flight or a few pints of delicious craft beers to enjoy in the modern, eclectic tasting room. The brewery allows outside food, so now’s the time to dig into your farmers’ market goodies. The brewery also features a nifty system to order appetizers and small plates from two nearby restaurants in the evenings.
Written by Jenna Herzog for Matcha in partnership with Rancho Cordova.