From its humble beginnings as a gold rush town, Sacramento has grown into California’s bustling state capital, brimming with history, art, culture, and natural beauty. If you’re considering a trip to this vibrant city, here are five must-do activities that capture the heart of Sacramento.
1. California State Railroad Museum
Chug into the past at the California State Railroad Museum, a treasure trove for railroad enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Spanning an area of over 220,000 square feet, the museum is famous for housing one of the world’s most extensive collections of historic railroad artifacts. Exhibits showcase beautifully restored locomotives and cars that range from the golden era of the 1860s to the more modern times. Equally fascinating are the hands-on exhibits that explain the transformative impact of the railroads on American lives and the West. You can even hop on board a historic train for a 45-minute scenic ride along the Sacramento River.
2. California State Capitol Museum
Next stop, the California State Capitol Museum. This awe-inspiring Neo-Classical structure serves as both a museum and the state’s working seat of government. The museum offers a peek into California’s rich past and insight into its legislative process. The meticulously restored offices transport you to the late 19th century, presenting a snapshot of what life was like for the political powerhouses of the time. Meanwhile, the stately Capitol Park, with its memorials, groves, and flower gardens, offers a calm respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
3. Crocker Art Museum
The third must-visit destination is the Crocker Art Museum. As the longest continually operating art museum in the West, its collection is as rich as its history. The Crocker boasts an impressive collection, from European paintings and ceramics to African and Oceanic art. The museum is also home to one of the state’s premier collections of Californian art, tracing the development of art and culture in the region from statehood to the present day. The striking modern wing is not to be missed, featuring rotating exhibitions and expansive galleries dedicated to photography and contemporary works.
4. William Land Regional Park
Sacramento is often referred to as the ‘City of Trees’, and a visit to William Land Regional Park will show you why. This 166-acre oasis in the heart of the city offers a variety of leisure activities. Whether you want to engage in a round of golf, enjoy a BBQ with family and friends or simply take a leisurely walk in the serene surroundings, this park has you covered. Children will especially love Fairytale Town and the Sacramento Zoo, both located within the park premises. A stroll around the park’s three ponds is an ideal way to appreciate the area’s diverse plant and animal life.
5. Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
Lastly, no trip to Sacramento would be complete without visiting Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. Rooted in the city’s foundation, the fort was established in 1839 by Swiss immigrant John Sutter. Today, the fort is a living history museum, where visitors can step back in time to California’s Gold Rush era. Explore the reconstructed rooms equipped with actual objects from the 19th century, watch blacksmithing or carpentry demonstrations, or even participate in hands-on activities like candle making or weaving.
Every corner of Sacramento tells a unique tale, and these five locations offer an authentic slice of the city’s essence. So pack your bags and be ready to write your own Sacramento story.