By Nick Houser

There are two things Sacramento residents love: Christmas and pub-crawls. If one is good, the two together are even better. For the last couple of years Sacramento, specifically downtown, has been building the tradition of annual, holiday pub crawls. Beginning as a group of friends going out around the holidays has expanded to include thousands of participants in a variety of themed excursions. Here are a couple of options for Christmas excitement.

SantaCon 2011

Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

It’s almost that time; time to find out who will be naughty and nice. Santa, is coming to town. Sacramento will play host to the 2011 SantaCon on Saturday, December 17th. The annual pub-crawl began in San Francisco in 1994 and has since grown to nearly 200 locations all over the world.

The rules are simple: dress up like the big guy, hit the town and have some fun. Participants are encouraged to give their best impressions of Santa Claus himself, complete with the red suit, white beard, and of course, the hat! Ladies are invited as well. Whether they come as Mrs. Claus or choose to go as the bearded one too matters not.

So gather up your favorite group of gift-givers and hit the town. Whether you’re sticking to midtown or venturing to the North Pole, the chimneys you visit are yours to choose.

“Ugly Sweater” Pub Crawl

Photo Credit: Verna Sulpizio

Okay, so you’re not quite into partying with strangers in a large group of hundreds. Maybe you don’t quite feel comfortable dressing up like Santa Claus and feel better in your blue jeans and tennis shoes? Perhaps you already have plans on December 17th or you simply have the Christmas spirit for more than one event. In that case, organize your own happening!

The “Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl” has quickly become one of Sacramento’s most often pursued Christmas events. If you don’t have time to organize one of these fun outings yourself, the chances of knowing someone who does are pretty good.

A typical Sweater Crawl groups together anywhere from 6 to 50 friends and can take place whenever your crowd wants. The key to a successful Ugly Sweater event is this: find and wear the ugliest possible Christmas sweater you can. Can’t find one? Make one! Participating in this event, you’ll most definitely see sweaters complete with blinking lights, mistletoe and plenty of ribbon to wrap a present.

Like the dates and times, destinations are up to you. Veterans of the game suggest looking for drink specials and factoring in a few food stops throughout the night. Some downtown bars are considering providing drink specials for individuals who donate a toy. It’s always wise to call ahead and check on potential fundraising opportunities.

One last piece of advice from the expert Sweater Crawlers: Create a route (and map!) with the strategy of getting from one place to the next with the least amount of walking possible.

Nick Houser was born and raised in Sacramento, where he resides with his wife, cat, and two labs. He is a freelance writer who regularly writes about television, movies, sports, and entertainment on his personal blog, The Floating Midsection.


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