Overflowing with a rich history, vibrant culture, and a plethora of entertainment options, Sacramento, California’s capital city, will surprise and delight you. From exploring its numerous museums and art galleries, to dining at its Michelin-starred restaurants, or embarking on outdoor adventures, Sacramento provides a plethora of experiences for everyone. In this article, we will explore the top things to do in Sacramento, and why it deserves to be your next travel destination.
1. Sacramento Zoo: A Wildlife Wonderland
Nestled on the outskirts of William Land Park, the Sacramento Zoo is a treasure trove of over 140 rare and endangered species. The zoo provides an educational and entertaining experience, with its diverse habitats modeled after indigenous environments, ranging from tundras and wetlands to tropical forests. Visitors can opt for hands-on experiences such as feeding sessions, making this a must-visit for families and wildlife enthusiasts.
2. Aerospace Museum of California: Soaring Through History
For those fascinated by the wonders of flight, the Aerospace Museum of California is an ideal destination. This museum offers an in-depth exploration of the aviation industry’s history and its participants. Exhibits range from impressive fighter jets to parts of rockets, providing a comprehensive view of air and space travel. The museum also offers interactive exhibits and a reconstructed cockpit for a hands-on experience.
3. Old Sacramento: A Journey Back in Time
A visit to Old Sacramento is like stepping back into the Gold Rush era. This historic district, adorned with restored Victorian architecture, offers a unique blend of history, entertainment, and gastronomy. Join a walking tour to uncover the area’s hidden gems, from museums and shops to famous eateries. For a unique experience, try out the scavenger games or self-guided tours.
4. Crocker Art Museum: An Artistic Journey
Holding the title of the longest-running art museum west of the Mississippi River, Crocker Art Museum houses an array of international drawings, paintings, and ceramics. Its premier collections of Californian art and enormous ceramic collection are truly breathtaking. The museum also hosts film screenings, guided tours, and educational workshops, making it a must-visit for art lovers.
5. California State Capitol Museum: A Glimpse into the State’s History
The California State Capitol Museum offers an enlightening look into the significant events, key legislature, and influential people that helped shape California. Housed in a mid-19th century Neoclassical building, the museum exhibits a wide range of artifacts documenting the state’s diverse history. After exploring the museum, visitors can enjoy a stroll or picnic in the well-manicured California State Capitol Park.
6. Food Tours: A Taste of Sacramento
Sacramento’s vibrant food scene is a paradise for foodies, with a plethora of cuisines on offer. Embarking on a food tour is an excellent way to taste the city’s best and most authentic eats. From city staples like Kobe Cream Buns to notable wines and drinks, these tours offer a gastronomic journey through the city’s culinary landscape.
7. Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament: A Historic Landmark
The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament stands as a stunning testament to Sacramento’s rich architectural heritage. This Italian Renaissance-style cathedral, with its towering dome and Victorian interior, serves as both a religious and architectural icon. It regularly hosts musical events and offers guided tours for those interested in learning more about this historic place of worship.
8. River Cruises: A Unique Perspective of the City
For a unique view of the city, hop aboard one of Sacramento’s river cruises. Whether it’s a sunset dinner cruise, a history-themed trip, or a cocktail-loaded Sunday brunch trip, these cruises offer a novel way to explore the city and its history. Cruises typically depart from Old Sacramento, providing a different perspective of this historic district.
9. Fairytale Town: An Enchanting Experience
Located in William Land Park, Fairytale Town brings famous fairy tales and nursery rhymes to life. This family-friendly attraction offers interactive playsets based on classic tales and scenes, making it a hit with kids and nostalgic adults alike. With costumed characters and puppet shows, this whimsical wonderland offers endless fun and entertainment.
10. Ziggurat: The Ancient Pyramid of California
The Ziggurat, a unique pyramid-like structure, is one of Sacramento’s most distinctive architectural landmarks. Built by visionary architect Edwin Kado in 1997, the Ziggurat stands as a testament to Sacramento’s architectural innovation. While the building’s interior is not open for public exploration, its striking exterior makes for a great photo opportunity.
Top Events in Sacramento
From the Farm-to-Fork Festival to the Aftershock music festival and the GoldenSky country music festival, Sacramento hosts a wide variety of major events throughout the year. Free Friday night Concerts in the Park are popular among locals and tourists alike. These events, combined with the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene, make Sacramento a lively and engaging destination.
A Foodie’s Paradise: Sushi in Sacramento
Sacramento’s culinary scene is as diverse as its cultural landscape. Sushi lovers, in particular, will find a range of restaurants serving everything from traditional California Rolls to Omakase, where the chef decides the menu. Whether you’re a sushi connoisseur or a first-time taster, Sacramento’s sushi restaurants promise an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Visit Sacramento’s Museums: A Trip Down Memory Lane
Sacramento is home to a wealth of museums, each offering a unique insight into different aspects of the city’s history and culture. The California State Railroad Museum, for instance, provides a glimpse into the city’s rich railroad history. The Sacramento History Museum, on the other hand, offers gold panning experiences that transport visitors back to the Gold Rush era. Lastly, the Powerhouse Science Center offers interactive exhibits that make learning fun for kids.
Get Active: Outdoor Adventures in Sacramento
For those who enjoy getting active, Sacramento offers a multitude of outdoor adventures. The American River Bike Trail is a perfect spot for biking or hiking, while Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is ideal for water sports. The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail provides a serene setting for a leisurely walk or run. Finally, thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline fix by ziplining or whitewater rafting just outside the city.
Attend a Sacramento Kings Game: A Sporting Spectacle
Basketball fans can catch a Sacramento Kings game at the Golden 1 Center. Even if you’re not a Kings supporter, the electrifying atmosphere and high-energy gameplay promise a thrilling experience. The Kings are Sacramento’s only professional sports team, and their games are a must-see for sports enthusiasts visiting the city.
Experience Sacramento’s Art Scene: Murals and More
Sacramento’s art scene is as vibrant and diverse as the city itself. The city is home to over 800 murals, each telling a unique story about the city and its people. From the annual Wide Open Walls mural festival to the countless other art installations across the city, Sacramento provides a visual feast for art lovers.
Stay in Sacramento: Your Home Away from Home
Sacramento offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. The Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront is a popular choice for families, thanks to its convenient location and family-friendly amenities. No matter where you choose to stay, you’re sure to find a warm welcome and excellent hospitality in Sacramento.
From its rich historical landmarks to its vibrant arts and food scene, Sacramento offers a rich tapestry of experiences for visitors. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a foodie, a history buff, or an outdoor enthusiast, this city has something for everyone. So why wait? Plan your trip to Sacramento today and discover the hidden gems of California’s capital city.