Sacramento, California’s state capital, is a storied city with a long history and a number of tourist attractions. It is located in the Central Valley of California, about 93 miles northeast of San Francisco. The city is notable for being located at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers. This region enjoys sunny days all year, with hot and dry temperatures in the summer.
Old Sacramento, near the waterfront, is a great place to learn about the city’s history. This historic district dates from the mid-nineteenth century and the California Gold Rush. Several buildings from this era still stand, providing an immersive world to explore. Modern businesses, including some of Sacramento’s best museums, now occupy these historic storefronts.
Sacramento’s allure extends far beyond its historical attractions. This modern seat of state government touches on a variety of fun activities. The city offers a variety of ways to enjoy the nice weather, from fashionable neighbourhoods to airy city parks and miles of bike trails.
The best seasons to visit are usually between spring and fall. This is a beautiful time of year, and it is also when the city hosts some of its most notable festivals and events.
The California State Railroad Museum is one of the world’s largest railway museums, with over 200,000 square feet of exhibit space. This museum, located in Old Sacramento, is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
It is home to restored steam locomotives and railway coaches ranging in age from 1862 to 1944. Almost all of the waggons have interior viewing areas. Some cars are furnished, complete with dining table settings, demonstrating the level of comfort once provided by trains. You can also walk through a sleeper car.
Exhibits cover railroad history as well as other related topics. A few notable exhibits focus on the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and the role that early immigrants played in laying the first tracks. In general, the museum highlights the ways in which the railroad industry influenced California history.
Kids’ Corner educational programmes and All Aboard for Story Time book readings will appeal to families with children. Another educational programme for children ages 7 to 12 is the Junior Engineer programme.
The California State Railroad Museum operates trains along the Sacramento River during the summer months. Riding on a historic steam locomotive or a vintage diesel train will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your trip.
Sacramento, California, Second Street and I Street
The State Capitol building is one of the most popular places to visit in Sacramento. This Neoclassical structure was built in the 1860s and is an excellent example of Neoclassical architecture.
The Capitol underwent extensive restoration in the 1970s, bringing it up to modern building code while preserving some of the most historic rooms.
The California State Capitol is now the seat of state government as well as the California State Capitol Museum. Throughout the week, the public is welcome to tour the historic halls.
The governor’s main office and the 1906 treasurer’s office are two of the museum’s preserved rooms. Portraits and other artworks, as well as antiques, are among the other historic attractions.
The Capitol Building is an eye-catching attraction in and of itself. However, Capitol Park’s adjacent colourful gardens extending several blocks make it the most beautiful Capitol complex in the United States. Tall palms and a variety of other tree and plant species line the pathways, and several monuments stand out against the foliage.
The Vietnam War Memorial, a bronze group sculpture, has stood in the northeast corner of Capitol Park (L and 15th Street) since December 1988; its construction was entirely funded by donations, and it commemorates those who sacrificed their lives in the United States’ longest war.
Sacramento, California, 1315 10th Street
The Crocker Art Museum houses an impressive collection of California art dating from the Gold Rush to the present day, as well as European paintings and drawings and American photography.
Margaret Crocker donated the original collection, which still serves as the museum’s foundation. Judge Edwin B. Crocker assembled this private collection between 1868 and 1872. The main building of the museum is a grand Italianate Victorian-era mansion that is a California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to the Victorian house, the Crocker Museum of Art exhibits some of its collection in the modern Teel Family Pavilion, which opened in 2010 and tripled the size of the original museum.
The California art collection includes works from 1860 to the present, while the European art collection includes 17th-century Dutch and Flemish artwork, Italian Baroque paintings, and 19th-century Central European pieces. The museum’s photography collection includes works by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and other American photographers.
The museum’s Tot Land area is a delightful space devoted to playful activities and hands-on creative installations for children (ages five and under). The museum also offers Art Camp classes for children as well as adult painting classes.
During the summer, the museum hosts music concerts as well as a film series, with films shown in the outdoor courtyard.
Sacramento, California, 216 O Street (between 2nd and 3rd Streets).
Old Sacramento is a National Historic Landmark that encompasses eight blocks (28 acres) of historic buildings along the city’s waterfront. The Eagle Theater, built in 1849, the B. F. Hastings Building (circa 1853), and the Big Four Building, built in 1855, are all now part of the Old Sacramento State Historic Park.
Old Sacramento is home to more than 50 historic buildings, most of which date from the 1850s and represent the city’s original commercial district, which once thrived thanks to the Pony Express and the transcontinental railroad.
Over 125 locally owned shops, restaurants, hotels, and museums remain in the buildings, making the area appealing to tourists. Expect crowds to fill these historic streets, window shop, and be guided by their senses. It’s a fun place to walk around and learn about the history of the area.
Taking a horse-drawn carriage ride, boarding a riverboat excursion, or climbing aboard a vintage locomotive for a railroad ride are all fun things to do in Old Sacramento. And, in Old Town, the California State Railroad Museum and the Sacramento History Museum are practically neighbours, each providing a first-rate museum experience.
In the mid-nineteenth century, this area was envisioned as a great commercial centre for the new city. Floods, on the other hand, proved to be a serious issue, and the city was raised by adding earth to this low-lying area.
The focus of the city centre eventually shifted, and this area had become an impoverished red light district. The area underwent redevelopment in the 1960s, which resulted in the creation of what can be seen here today.
Sutter’s Fort Museum is located on the site of the first white man’s outpost in California, which was established in 1839 by German-Swiss immigrant Johann August Sutter. The adobe house, built the same year, has been restored in the original style and houses relics from the gold-rush era.
Today, the replica fort that surrounded the adobe house can be found in Midtown, about 1.5 miles east of the State Capitol. Visitors pay a small admission fee to enter the state historic park and begin touring the exhibit rooms. Rangers stationed themselves near several of these exhibits, providing additional information about the exhibit.
Items related to the town’s founder, whose estates extended all the way to the other side of the American River near Coloma, are noteworthy. Sutter was literally overrun by gold-seekers after gold was discovered, and he was forced to flee.
Sacramento, California, 2701 L Street (between K and L Streets and 26th and 28th Streets).
The California Automobile Museum houses a collection of over 120 vintage automobiles dating from 1885 to the present. The museum houses a large collection of Ford automobiles dating from 1904 to 1969. The large collection of classic and modern vehicles on display demonstrates the evolution of American automobiles over the last 130 years.
Throughout the year, special exhibits focus on various themes such as California car culture, pickup trucks, camping, and road trips. Visitors can also take part in the museum’s exciting events, such as a summer series of Drive-in Movie Nights. On the third Sunday of each month, the museum also hosts Sunday Drives
Sacramento, California, 2200 Front Street (corner of V Street).
Fairytale Town is a storybook-themed park with 25 play sets based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes such as Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose, and Peter Rabbit. It is a popular recreational destination for families with young children.
Children can also visit the park’s gentle farm animals. Among the favourites are Eeyore, the miniature Sicilian donkey (a character from Winnie the Pooh), and Maddie, “the Cow that Jumped Over the Moon.”
The learning gardens, puppet shows, music performances, and a collection of 20 “magic story boxes” that tell stories through narration and songs are also highlights of FairyTale Town.
The Sacramento Zoo, which houses over 500 exotic animals ranging from aardvarks and African lions to giraffes and jaguars, as well as over 200 reptiles, is a must-see for animal lovers. Red pandas, snow leopards, and primates such as chimps and orangutans are among the other popular residents.
The 14-acre zoo also has 14 different aviaries that house 35 different bird species. Many of the animals in the zoo are rare or endangered. The zoo participates in local and international conservation projects to help protect wildlife.
Spend some of the day exploring the surrounding William Land Park, also known as Land Park. It is home to Fairytale Land and extensive parkland in addition to the zoo. The park’s several paved and dirt trails, which pass by scenic landscape features such as ponds and gardens, are popular with pedestrians.
3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95814
To understand California’s history, it’s a good idea to start with the original inhabitants: Native Americans. The California State Indian Museum State Historic Park provides visitors with an in-depth look at the culture and way of life of the indigenous people who have lived on what is now California for thousands of years.
The museum depicts Native American culture through three distinct themes: Family, Nature, and Spirit. The exhibits include everyday and special-occasion items such as a redwood canoe, ceremonial objects, and hunting and fishing tools, some of which date back 2,400 years. Photographs and educational content aid in providing a more in-depth understanding of the culture.
Notable is the Indian basket collection, which includes over 3,000 woven items ranging from decorative bowls to burden baskets for carrying heavy loads, cooking baskets designed to steam food, and watertight baskets for preparing acorn soup.
You can also participate in hands-on activities at the museum, such as making shell beads and grinding acorns with a mortar and pestle.
The museum store sells jewellery, baskets, and other Native American handicrafts made by the community.
Sacramento, California, 2618 K Street
Midtown is a vibrant and bustling area of the city located between 16th and 29th Streets and between E and R Streets in the heart of Sacramento’s urban centre. Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is the most popular tourist attraction in Midtown.
Midtown is also a great place to go shopping, to see art galleries, to see theatre and dance performances, to see comedy shows, and to eat gourmet food at trendy restaurants. It’s a fun area to explore both during the day and at night, with entertainment on every street corner.
Many art galleries participate in Second Saturdays and host free receptions on the second Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Midtown Farmers Market, which brings together more than 50 farmers and other vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, and food products, is a popular event among locals. On the second Saturday of each month, the farmers market hosts chef demonstrations and craft vendor stalls.