Sacramento, the capital city of California, is a vibrant and diverse destination with a rich history and plenty of exciting activities to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, Sacramento has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore the best things to do in Sacramento, highlighting the city’s top attractions and experiences.
Explore Old Sacramento
One of the must-visit places in Sacramento is Old Sacramento. Step back in time as you stroll through the cobbled streets of this historic district. Immerse yourself in the Old West ambiance, with preserved 19th-century buildings and unique shops. Don’t miss the California State Railroad Museum, where you can learn about the region’s railroad history and even take a ride on a vintage train.
Visit the California State Capitol Museum
As the capital of California, Sacramento is home to the California State Capitol Museum. Take a guided tour of this beautiful neoclassical building and learn about the state’s political history. Admire the stunning architecture, visit the legislative chambers, and explore the museum’s exhibits, which cover topics such as California’s natural resources and its role in shaping the state’s identity.
Discover the Crocker Art Museum
Art lovers should make a beeline for the Crocker Art Museum, one of the oldest art museums in California. This impressive institution houses a vast collection of American, European, and Asian art spanning several centuries. Explore the galleries and marvel at the diverse range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. The museum also hosts special exhibitions and educational programs throughout the year.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities
Sacramento boasts a fantastic outdoor scene, offering a multitude of activities for nature enthusiasts. Head to the American River Parkway, a 23-mile stretch of parkland along the American River, perfect for hiking, biking, and picnicking. You can also go kayaking or rafting on the river, or simply relax and enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding nature.
Explore the Sacramento Zoo
For a fun-filled day with the family, visit the Sacramento Zoo. This well-maintained zoo is home to a diverse array of animal species, including lions, giraffes, primates, and reptiles. Explore the different exhibits, attend animal feedings and presentations, and learn about wildlife conservation efforts. The zoo also offers educational programs and summer camps for children.
Indulge in Farm-to-Fork Dining
Sacramento is known as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, and its culinary scene reflects this title. Explore the city’s vibrant food culture by dining at farm-to-table restaurants that showcase fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Sample mouthwatering dishes that highlight the region’s agricultural bounty, from seasonal produce to artisanal cheeses and wines. Don’t forget to visit the bustling farmers’ markets to experience the abundance of flavors firsthand.
Visit the California State Railroad Museum
Train enthusiasts and history buffs should not miss the California State Railroad Museum. Located in Old Sacramento, this museum offers a fascinating journey through the state’s railroad history. Explore the meticulously restored locomotives and carriages, discover the stories of the people who built the transcontinental railroad, and immerse yourself in the golden age of rail travel. The museum also offers train rides and special events throughout the year.
Experience the Tower Bridge
The iconic Tower Bridge is a symbol of Sacramento and a must-see attraction. Take a walk across the bridge and admire its stunning architecture and panoramic views of the Sacramento River. If you’re lucky, you might even catch the bridge opening to allow boats to pass. Don’t forget to snap some memorable photos of this picturesque landmark.
Discover the American River
Nature lovers and adventure seekers will find joy in exploring the American River. This scenic waterway offers various recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, and kayaking. If you’re feeling adventurous, try whitewater rafting on the thrilling rapids of the river. The American River Parkway also features numerous parks and trails where you can enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride amidst nature.
Enjoy Live Performances
Sacramento has a vibrant performing arts scene, with numerous theaters and venues hosting live performances throughout the year. Catch a show at the Sacramento Community Center Theater, which showcases Broadway productions, concerts, and dance performances. The Wells Fargo Pavilion is another popular venue for outdoor musicals and concerts during the summer season. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of performing arts and be entertained by talented local and international artists.
Explore the Sacramento Riverfront
The Sacramento Riverfront offers a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll or bike ride. Enjoy the river views, lush green spaces, and charming promenades. Stop by the River City Marketplace, a vibrant outdoor market, to browse unique crafts, artworks, and local products. You can also take a scenic river cruise or rent a kayak to explore the waterways at your own pace.
Visit the Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
Step into California’s past by visiting Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. This reconstructed fort represents an important chapter in Sacramento’s history during the California Gold Rush era. Explore the various rooms and exhibits, and learn about the daily life of pioneers and the challenges they faced. The park also hosts living history events, where costumed staff reenact scenes from the past, giving visitors an immersive experience.
Discover the California Automobile Museum
Car enthusiasts will delight in visiting the California Automobile Museum. This impressive museum showcases a collection of over 150 classic, vintage, and rare cars. Marvel at the engineering marvels of the past and learn about the evolution of the automobile industry. From sleek sports cars to iconic vintage models, the museum offers a fascinating journey through automotive history.
Explore the Historic City Cemetery
For a unique and slightly eerie experience, explore the Historic City Cemetery. This cemetery dates back to the mid-19th century and is the final resting place of many notable individuals, including politicians, pioneers, and artists. Take a guided tour to learn about the cemetery’s history and the stories of the people buried here. The cemetery’s serene ambiance and beautifully crafted tombstones make it a peaceful place for reflection.
Sacramento, the capital city of California, offers a wealth of attractions and experiences for visitors of all interests. From exploring the rich history of Old Sacramento to immersing yourself in art and culture at the Crocker Art Museum, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy outdoor activities along the American River, indulge in farm-to-fork dining, and catch live performances at the city’s theaters. With its diverse offerings, Sacramento is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences for every traveler.
- What is the best time to visit Sacramento?
- The best time to visit Sacramento is during spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is pleasant, and there are fewer crowds.
- Are there any free attractions in Sacramento?
- Yes, several attractions in Sacramento, such as the California State Capitol Museum and the Crocker Art Museum, offer free admission on select days or for specific exhibitions.
- Can I rent a bike in Sacramento?
- Yes, Sacramento has a bike-sharing program that allows visitors to rent bikes for a few hours or a full day. There are also bike rental shops where you can rent bicycles for longer durations.
- Is Sacramento a family-friendly destination?
- Absolutely! Sacramento offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, including the Sacramento Zoo, the Children’s Museum, and various parks and playgrounds.
- How far is Sacramento from Napa Valley?
- Sacramento is approximately 60 miles away from Napa Valley, making it a convenient base for exploring the renowned wine region.