One of this year’s big movie hits, and the talk of the Oscar’s is Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. While the film highlights a beautiful story of mother and daughter and more, it also highlights Gerwig’s hometown Sacramento. A city that I love, but often gets a bad rap. Gerwig has called the film a love story to Sacramento and all of us who call the city home would agree. So lover’s of the film should come and visit, and explore Lady Bird’s Sacramento.
Many of the exterior shots were done right here in Sacramento. From major landmarks like the Tower Bridge to local favorites like the McKinley Park Rose Garden. In Lady Bird’s Sacramento, you get a chance to see a little bit about what this city is about. It’s easy to explore many of the highlights from the film on your own but we also have a local company running Lady Bird walking tours.
Lady Bird’s Sacramento is a great reason why to make a visit the city but it only scratches the surface of all the city has to offer. So plan a day trip or weekend getaway. Visit a few of the film’s highlights and then stop by a few of my favorite spots in Sacramento.
Note: Most images in this post are directly from the film Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig.
Explore the Fab Forties & the Big Blue House
Just over from Downtown, you’ll stumble into the adorable East Sacramento. This area is made up of cute homes from the 20s to the 50s. And while the streets in the thirties have a cute cottage and bungalow feel, and McKinley Park, it’s the Fab Forties where the homes begin to show off.
This is where you’ll find the Big Blue Hose from the film but it’s not the only house you’ll want to see. Take some time and wander take a drive in the neighborhood or even park your car and wander a bit as you make your way to 44th and M Street where the Big Blue House is located.
Take a Walk in the McKinley Park Rose Garden
On your way back through East Sacramento, you’ll pass by McKinley Park. In the film, you see a shot of the beautiful rose garden in this park. The park is a great place to take a walk, a popular running spot, or if you’re in town on a Saturday you can even join in for yoga in the park. This great piece of town is part of Lady Bird’s Sacramento.
And while not in the film, just a couple blocks away from the park you’ll find my favorite breakfast spot in town, Orphan Breakfast House.
Snap a Shot of the Mural at American Market & Deli
Sacramento is a city that takes it’s murals seriously. Some have been on walls around the city for decades, others have been additions in recent years from the annual event Wide Open Walls. Once a year artists come from all over the world and add murals to city buildings.
The mural featured in Lady Bird’s Sacramento is located at N St and 24th Street on the side of the American Market & Deli. It was painted by a local artists Daniel Osterhoff, Miguel Bounce Perez and Shaun Burner in 2007.
Pick Out an Outfit at Thrift Town in North Sacramento
Yes, the scene in a thrift shop was also filmed here in Sacramento. You can pop over to Thrift Town in North Sacramento and find yourself an outfit for your next big occasion.
On top of being a part of Lady Bird’s Sacramento the shop also donates profits to a variety of non-profits, so shopping there can help make a difference in someone’s life as well as allow you to take home a little piece of Sacramento.
Get a Different Type of Brew at Helvetica Brewing
In the film, Lady Bird works at the Helvetica Coffee Shop. While that location no longer exists you can head over the Helvetica Brewing for a different type of brew. One of Sacramento’s many local breweries, it’s a great spot to stop and relax during your town of Lady Bird’s Sacramento.
Take in Tower Bridge at Sunset
One of Sacramento’s major landmarks is our big yellow bridge, Tower Bridge. You’ll see it towards the end of the movie. It’s a beautiful sight along the river whether you catch it in daylight or at night. But to be honest, the best time to get a view of the Tower Bridge is at sunset.
You can enjoy a view of the bridge from the walking path along the east side of the river or you can grab a drink on the Delta King and relax as the sun comes down on Sacramento.
Don’t Forget to Explore the Many Different Neon Signs Around Town
At the end of the film, you get to see some of Sacramento’s most popular destinations through their neon signs. While they might not stand out to someone who hasn’t spent time in the city, for those of us who know it, this was a big moment in Gerwig’s love letter to the city.
These neon signs are a piece of the city’s history and it’s identity even today. A few spots worth a visit are the Tower Theatre where the film debuted (and where I saw it). You can see an indy film or grab a bite at Tower Cafe. The Crest Theatre is another spot worth exploring right Downtown. A great play to catch a performance ranging from music to speakers to comedians.
For a treat, head over to Gunther’s Ice Cream. A favorite of just about everyone’s in Sacramento. Or if you need a drink, pop in at Club Raven, often called the Dirty Bird, one of Sacramento’s classic dive bars. And if you want to see even more neon signs, head into the Golden 1 Center, where many classic signs have been put up around the new venue.
Then Explore Beyond Lady Bird’s Sacramento
Lady Bird is a beautiful film about finding one’s self. It also captures the essence of a city that balances history, beauty, entrepreneurship, and so much more. We’re a small town trying to be a big city, and with that, there is so much to offer beyond Lady Bird’s Sacramento.
You’ll want to explore the ever-growing farm-to-fork scene, stop by a few of our award winning local coffee shops, check out local wine country including Clarksburg and Amador to start, There are so many things to explore in the city that by the end of your visit you’ll understand why Gerwig needed to create a love letter to her hometown.