Won’t You Be My Neighbor: Curtis Park
By Tracy Arnold
What’s not to love about the Curtis Park? I live in a small community of early 1900’s California bungalows, Spanish revivals and Tudor-style homes where Mayor Kevin Johnson resides (and was once called home to Tony! Toni! Toné! Member Rafael Saadiq). It is a charming neighborhood of tree lined streets, friendly neighbors, and an active neighborhood association that hosts monthly neighborhood dinners at the Sierra 2 Community Center, summer concerts in the park, a new annual art fair, and the anticipated annual spring home tour, and fall food and wine auction.
One cannot mention Curtis park and not first talk about the parks:
William Curtis Park – a long narrow park in the center of the neighborhood – it is encircled by a crushed granite jogging path that just happens to be exactly one mile around (good for the training runs). Inside the long oval a baseball diamond, a couple basketball courts, two tennis courts (that are lit at night), a children’s playground, a community flower garden, along with two fields that are often the location of pick-up flag football, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee and even tiny-tot football all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Note this is NOT a good park for off-leash dog activities.
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Sierra 2 Center Grounds – the Sierra 2 Center occupies what was once an elementary school at the corner of 24th street and 4th Avenue that has opened its grounds to the community, there is a soccer field and basketball courts that double as a dog park between the hours of 7-9am and 5-7pm; and a fenced in playground. The center is also home to the 24th Street Theatre, Great Beginnings Preschool, and several dance and yoga classes.
Just 10 minutes from downtown, one does not often think of Curtis Park as a restaurant destination, but the residents know there are several great local restaurant options:
At the North of the park where 24th street meets 2nd Avenue one finds Crepeville and the Shoki Ramen House. Crepeville with the outdoor seating, beer on tap, and one of the most diverse menus in town it is pretty much packed all day long. Shoki Ramen House is a well-kept secret of the patrons that line up outside each lunch hour and evening – this traditional Japanese ramen house cooks with only the freshest ingredients and does not allow take-orders.
On the west side of the neighborhood one discovers the Freeport Avenue favorites – Taylor’s Kitchen, Marie’s Donuts, Dad’s Kitchen and the Freeport Bakery. One might argue these are technically in the Land Park Neighborhood, but us Curtis Park residents consider them ours. Taylor’s Kitchen is the restaurant offering of the popular Taylor market – and is the newest haunt that competes with other Sacramento favorites – Mulvaney’s B&L and Tuli Bistro. Dad’s just might have the best patio around – known for their microbrews and bacon and blue cheese crusted burger – also make sure to try out Dad’s Panini breakfast sandwich offerings. As for Freeport Bakery and Marie’s donuts – there is no explanation necessary – these are both best in their class.
To the east of Curtis Park is Franklin Boulevard, home to Pangaea café, Gunther’s Ice Cream, and The Coffee Garden. Pangaea Café is known for its incredible vast selection of Belgium beers on tap – happy hour is daily between 3-6PM, Gunther’s Ice Cream just celebrated its 70 year anniversary and is still serving up homemade ice cream from the original recipes. I can sum up The Coffee Garden in one word – eclectic – you just need to check it out for yourself.
And to the south of the neighborhood, at the corner of Sutterville Road and Freeport Avenue, one finds the newest restaurant options around Curtis Park – the newly opened Chipotle and Big Spoon Yogurt. However, expect this offering to expand and diversify once the train yard is converted into Curtis Park Village.
These are just a FEW reasons why I love Curtis Park – what about you?