Is it your first time in Sacramento? You’re planning a family trip or going solo but have no idea what places to visit in the city? It’s no surprise, actually. Although Sacramento is California’s capital city, the state’s political and economic hub, and a place with a rich history going back to the days of the Gold Rush, the city, however, receives less attention than neighboring San Francisco or Los Angeles. In other words, Sacramento is criminally underrated in terms of tourist attractions, entertainment, art, and cultural activities.
Read this guide to learn about the top 15 places to visit in Sacramento in 2021.
Visiting The State Historical Park of Old Sacramento is like taking a journey back in time. As you know, the Sacramento settlement came to its prominent prosperity and growth thanks to the gold that was discovered within the region’s soil back in the mid 19th century. Since then, the place has never been the same. Thousands of people came to Sacramento in search of gold. Eventually, those events and years that followed made Sacramento the city we all know today.
A large part of the city’s history is presented in the State Historic Park. If you’re into exploring history, then this is the place for you to start. This area has preserved many historic buildings. For instance, the B.F. Hastings Building. It’s famous for its status as the state supreme court. You will get to see the marvelous Eagle Theater. And? of course, there’s a massive statue that was established to honor the Pony Express riders – the ones who made mail delivery possible during the Gold Rush era and beyond.
With its thirty acres breathing with history, Old Sacramento State Historical Park is among the best places to start exploring Sacramento. You are guaranteed to get impressed, inspired, entertained, and educated. Go there with your family, your friends, your date, or by yourself.
Sacramento Capitol Park is a very popular place to visit. The park has an impressive diversity of trees that were brought from around the world. You can also explore memorials honoring influential state events and historical figures.
The memorials include:
What else is there in Capitol Park? Well, there is a breathtakingly beautiful rose garden. The garden was established to honor peace and is called World Peace Rose Garden. Another point of interest in Capitol Park is Indian Grinding Rock – a symbol of gratitude to California Indians for their contribution to the state’s history and culture.
And, of course, there is a magnificent State Capitol Museum. Built 150 years ago, this building welcomes visitors from Monday to Sunday, offering educational tours. Coming to Sacramento and not visiting California State Capitol Museum would be a crime.
Here’s another museum on our list (not for the last time). If you like the vintage trails and railroads, then you must visit the California State Railroad Museum. The museum occupies six separate buildings covering nearly 250,000 square feet of space. So you can imagine how large this museum is.
The museum’s collection of trains and other railroad-related exhibits will let you learn more about the railroad history of the state. By seeing all those marvels of technological thought of the past days, you will understand how greatly all of this affected California’s history. Without a developed railroad system, there would be not California as we know it today.
The city of Sacramento got its name from the Spanish word meaning “sacrament,” a strongly religious word. If you’re a man of faith or are interested in religious architecture, then you must definitely visit the amazingly beautiful Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
The history of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament began at the point when Sacramento was evolving from a mining town into a capital city. Because of this, the Cathedral is considered to be one of the three major historical buildings in Sacramento. Today, the Cathedral is the heart of the Catholic life of the city.
Like we already mentioned, Sacramento and Gold Rush in California are inseparable. Without gold, there would be no Sacramento. And of the main starting points of the future city was the Sutter’s Fort, built and owned by John Sutter, one of Sacramento’s most prominent historical figures.
There were times when Sutter’s Fort was a thriving settlement until the day one of its workers found gold. And the rest is history. Today, however, Sutter’s Fort looks nothing the same as it looked back then – swarming with gold-seekers, miners, and such. The Fort was a mess because so many people were coming and going, and living standards were far from what we’re used to these days. But today, being one of the major Sacramento museums, Sutter’s Fort is beautifully restored and welcomes visitors all through the week from 10 am to 5 pm.
The American River Bicycle Trail (or, as this event is also known, Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) is a thirty-two-mile trail that is just perfect for many sorts of outdoor activities. Don’t let the trail’s name confuse you, though. This trail is not for bicyclists only. On the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, you can as well jog or have a stroll. There are also many beautiful spots to have picnics on.
Right after you have covered several miles on foot or by bicycle, it’s high time to treat yourself to some delicious meal. The Waterboy restaurant is among Sacramento’s most favorite places to eat. The ingredients are always fresh and come from local farms giving guests the ultimate farm-to-table experience. Don’t miss a chance to try something extra-ordinarily tasty while enjoying the cozy atmosphere of a pleasant evening. The place is great for family gatherings, dates, and business lunches.
In the Crocker Art Museum, you will see some of the most astonishing exhibits that came all the way from across the planet. Name what you will from paintings to sculptures, from ceramics to masks. The Museum’s exhibition schedule is fascinating and inspiring. If you’re mad about art, Crocker Art Museum is the place for you.
Are you in love with your car? Are you one of those who just can’t imagine their life without the roar of an engine and the smell of gasoline? If your answer is yes, then please take no time and visit the California Automobile Museum. In this almost half a century old museum, you will witness the history of the automobile industry, from vintage models to newer cars. The place is open all through the week and welcomes visitors from 10 am to 5 pm.
McKinley Park occupies almost thirty-two acres of space and is filled with a wide variety of amenities, including a jogging trail, a basketball court, soccer and softball fields, several tennis courts, horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, etc. There are also areas for group picnics, some of which are pretty large, so there’s enough room for anyone. For kids, there are a bunch of play areas and a wading pool.
What’s amazing about McKinley Park is the story of its creation. You see, this park came to existence as a result of the work of those who care about their city. Thousands of volunteers came together and created this oasis in less than seven days. To be precise, McKinley Park was ready after only six days of hard and devoted work.
Sacramento is the city that rests between two rivers – the American River and the Sacramento River. So it is only logical that riverboat activities made our list. There is a lot to do in terms of on-water activities in Sacramento. Whether you choose a 140-mile American River, or almost half a thousand-mile Sacramento River, you know that you’re in for something grand. One of the most popular on-water pastimes in Sacramento is kayaking. Or you may just as well spend some time on the river bank sunbathing or playing frisbee.
California is hot and does not get too much snow and ice. That is why maybe you would not even think of something as a skating rink in the middle of Sacramento. But that’s where you’re going to be wrong. Because in the city’s downtown area, there’s a beautiful ice rink that is perfect for family visits or a romantic date. Just remember that the rink operates on a seasonable basis. It welcomes ice-skating fans from November to January all through the week (check for working hours since they differ).
Apple is a prominent fruit in American culture. Just think of an apple pie, and you’ll get it. So is it any wonder that there are places that honor this fruit across America. One of those places is Sacramento Apple Hill. Located on the former apple ranch, this tourist attraction is among the most peculiar in Sacramento. Besides, on Apple Hill, you are not limited to apples only. Here, you can purchase pears, strawberries, tomatoes, and carrots.
If you’re an animal lover or have kids, there are two best spots for you to go to. They are the Sacramento Zoo and The Folsom City Zoo. These two places will deliver the best experience in terms of education and entertainment if you love animals with all your heart. The Sacramento Zoo is open all through the week and welcomes guests from 9 am to 4 pm. The Folsom Zoo is open from Tuesday to Sunday with working hours from 9 am to 3 pm. Being one of Sacramento’s satellite cities. Folsom is a short drive of about thirty minutes only.
The Handle District is Sacramento’s center for shopping and entertainment. With an abundance of shops and restaurants, this district is for those who want to get a taste of life and have themselves a ball. While the district occupies one city block only, it is packed to the full with a variety of attractions that guarantee to make your head go round.
Sacramento has tons of entertainment and fun to offer. Visiting this city is like going on an eventful vacation that will not let you leave unimpressed. Whether you’re into history or science, architecture or art, cuisine or farming, music or movies, sports or hiking, etc., you know that Sacramento always has something to offer you.
Below, we’ve added some more places of interest. Each of them is also a must-see for a tourist. Check them out and then, book a ticket to Sacramento.