Lodi is loaded with outstanding wineries and restaurants, a stylish downtown, colorful attractions, and outdoor activities for the whole family. Meanwhile, its arts and culture scene has been heating up, too. A wine-country weekend wouldn’t be complete without sampling the town’s first-rate museums, art galleries, music venues and more.
Paintings, Photos and Ice Cream
If you like your fine art with a scoop of ice cream, head to Tony Segale’s Double Dip Gallery, where you can view abstract paintings and displays of couture jewelry, then order a scoop or two of Gunther’s Ice Cream, a local favorite available (thank you!) right in the gallery. The nearby Lodi Community Art Center has been a pivotal outlet for talented local artists to promote their craft since the 1930s. In addition to featuring artists in its gallery and hosting lively events, the center offers classes and workshops for the burgeoning or advanced artist in you! If you’re in town early in the month, don’t miss the First Friday Art Hop, when local artists display, discuss and sell their work in the Thomas Theatre Gallery at Hutchins Street Square, Lodi Public Library, and other downtown locations. Part of the fun is sampling local wines and hors d'oeuvres as you “hop” from gallery to gallery. You’ll get an education in all things artistic at the School Street Gallery, where, for example, artists do innovative things with glass, blowing it into decorative bowls. Ceramics, pastels and photography also have a home in this gallery, one of the newcomers to downtown. Since you’ll already be on School Street, stop into the nearby Downtown Visitor Center for a map of the famous Walldog Murals – 9 paintings scattered across the downtown that depict Lodi’s history. The murals were created in 2006 to commemorate the city’s 100th birthday.
If you’re into varied entertainment such as Elvis impersonators, award-winning plays and musical concerts, check out what’s happening at Hutchins Street Square during your visit. Chances are Lodi’s popular performing arts center has a concert or show that you won’t want to miss. In the mood for a movie? Fortunately, you don’t have to go far. The state-of-the-art Lodi Stadium 12 Cinemas offers a choice of a dozen first-run movies. Since it’s conveniently located downtown, many theatergoers pop over to a bar or restaurant for a post-show drink or dinner.
A Look at Museums and Memorials
Unlike most museums filled with framed paintings and precious artifacts, the Hill House Museum, a well-kept Victorian home, displays furnishings actually used by the Hill family, who built the house in 1902 and lived in it for many decades. Take a tour to get a sense of what early 20th century life was like for a Lodi family. Stroll over to the Lodi All Veterans Plaza Memorial, a spectacular artistic tribute to war veterans dedicated in 2002. An eternal flame representing valor and sacrifice centers a 16-foot-high curved granite wall, and 13 granite stones are engraved with moving poems from historical figures and local artists.
More Cultural Events
The ZinFest Wine Festival in May showcases more than 200 wines from over 40 local wineries with live entertainment, cooking demonstrations by award-winning chefs and artisanal merchants displaying one-of-a-kind goods. An event that people get revved up for every Thursday night in the summer is Cruise Night, when classic autos, muscle cars and street rods amble through the streets showing off their retro beauty; it’s sponsored by A&W Root Beer, which was founded in Lodi almost 100 years ago. Then there’s the Lodi Street Faire, a biannual mega-event that stretches 14 blocks and attracts hundreds of antique, arts and craft vendors, plus dozens of food booths and food trucks on the first Sunday in May and October. Plan your Lodi getaway at VisitLodi.com and check out our upcoming events! Published: April 2016 By Guest Blogger Nancy Mattia