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13 Reasons Why You Should Visit Sacramento
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13 Reasons Why You Should Visit Sacramento

Sacramento truly has it all, from historical landmarks and museums to hikes and nightlife. This is why you should visit Sacramento!

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5 min read

March 16, 2022

Rico Rivera is the owner of Silicon East Real Estate and is a member of the California.com Recommended Business Program, which highlights only the best businesses in the Golden State. To be featured, each business must be highly regarded, have a unique California story, and make a positive impact in their community. 

There are endless reasons to visit Sacramento. For one, it holds great importance as the capital of the Golden State. But, it also happens to be home to historic sites, beautiful landscapes, and awesome attractions that can’t be found anywhere else. Itching to know what else is Sacramento known for? These are all the reasons why a Sacramento vacation should be on your California bucket list.

Sacramento, capital of the U.S. state of California, lies at the confluence of the Sacramento River and American River.

1. To See the State Capital

Many non-California natives assume either Los Angeles or San Francisco to be the state’s capital. However, Sacramento has been holding that title since 1854. There are a variety of reasons as to why this is the case: it was founded early in California’s history, it was the center of the Gold Rush economy, and it has a convenient location that is close to both the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific Coast. Add Capitol Park to your list of places to visit in Sacramento and you’ll learn to appreciate the city’s history more than you thought was possible.

2. To Visit the Historic Old Sacramento

Strolling through Old Sacramento is as close as you can get to feeling like a time traveler. The riverfront historic district—lovingly referred to as Old-Sac—houses notably aged Gold Rush-era buildings, old-school cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages that are super cool to see in person. 

Visit the museums, check out the souvenir shops, mingle with the college crowds at the bars, and enjoy a slew of other things to do in Old Sacramento on a night out—it’s a fun place to be! 

3. To Indulge in Delicious Farm-to-Fork Cuisine

Having access to fresh produce is a non-issue in Sacramento. Located in a heavily agricultural area, Sacramento champions itself as the farm-to-fork capital of the nation. Take advantage of the fact and hit up the best local restaurants and farmers markets on your visit to Sacramento. Having fresh food is truly a crucial culinary experience on any Sacramento vacation.

As California’s state capital and first incorporated city, Sacramento teems with history and culture. You’ll find much of it on display in museums.

4. To Tour Great Museums

The state capital is home to a variety of different museums that are super fun to check out on a getaway.  For a crash course into the city’s history, the California State Capitol Museum is a cool spot when you visit Sacramento. Have a train enthusiast in your crew? The nearby California State Railroad Museum is a treat. And if you’re into a different kind of ground transportation, you must check out the California Automobile Museum. The museum holds more than 150 vintage cars and race cars dating back 120 years and is one of the coolest things to see in Sacramento.

5. To View the Sacramento River

To see primetime views of the Sacramento River, head on over to River Walk Park. Located on the west bank of the river, this scenic park gives you an unparalleled combination of views of the river and the city skyline. Once you’re done admiring the vistas, pick up your jaw from the floor and explore the rest of the park. This place to visit in Sacramento also features picnic tables, walking paths, and a levee top promenade with wheelchair accessibility. 

The American River is known for the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma in 1848 that started the California Gold Rush.

6. To Adventure at the American River

There are various places in Sacramento to see awe-inspiring scenery, and one of them is the American River. This beautiful river is divided into three main forks: North, Middle, and South. And, despite originating from the same watershed, each of these forks has a distinct personality that reflects the environment they float through. Whatever your choice of river activity, you’ll likely be able to enjoy it along the American River—do make sure to add it to your list of places to visit in Sacramento.

7. To Hike at its Historic Parks

Prefer to keep your Sacramento vacation activities on land? Visit the best parks in and near the city for a refreshing hike. For a rewarding adventure, trek the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail that runs adjacent to the American River, heading 32 miles all the way towards Folsom Lake and the Sierra Nevada foothills. 

Within the Sierra Nevada foothills, places like Auburn State Recreation Area and Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park also offer day hikes near Sacramento that highlight river canyons and historic bridges. If you’re an avid adventurer, you’ll find plenty of places to visit in Sacramento for a hike!

8. To Meet the Animals at the Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is a wonderful institution to visit, especially if you like animals. Aiming to inspire appreciation, understanding, and respect for all living things, the Sacramento Zoo organizes stimulating educational opportunities, wholesome recreation, and innovative animal care. If that’s not enough to add the zoo to your list of places to visit in Sacramento, knowing you’ll get up close to adorable animals will definitely give you the final push.

For 60 years, Fairytale Town has offered children and families a safe place to imagine, play, and learn.

9. To Take the Little Ones to Fairytale Town

Visiting Sacramento with children? Fairytale Town will be a definite hit with the little ones. This small but charming park features playsets based on 26 familiar nursery rhymes and fairy tales such the Owl’s Treehouse, Humpty Dumpty, and The Old Woman in the Shoe. Besides keeping the kids entertained, this place to visit in Sacramento will also give you a trip down memory lane.

10. To Enjoy its Unique Nightlife Scene

You won’t struggle to find post-sundown activities when visiting Sacramento. For an underground, speakeasy vibe, check out the bars in Old-Sac, where college crowds frequent on weekends. Looking for a more modern twist? There are countless spots and nightclubs in Midtown that fill up to the brim every weekend—reserve in advance to avoid long lines.

Sacramento is quickly becoming a hot spot for urban nightlife and an arts scene that rivals other cities.

11. To Check out the Local Art Scene

Art lovers will have a long list of things to see in Sacramento. With so many top-notch museums, galleries, and events, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’re making one art museum stop, let it be at The Crocker Art Museum. As one of the most notable museums in the Sacramento region, this 125-year old institution holds an impressive and diverse collection of art. However, if you happen to be in town for Second Saturday, follow the crowds visiting open houses at art galleries all around town.

12. To Take Part in its Music Scene

Into music more? Plan your Sacramento vacation at the same time as the  Sacramento Music Festival. Kicking off on Memorial Day weekend, this four-day event features more than 100 performances. For a span of 12 weeks throughout the summer season, Concerts in the Park also take place, presenting national talents from a wide variety of genres.

13. To Enjoy a Day Trip to Folsom Lake

Located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Folsom Lake is a spectacular spot for a day trip out in nature. Not only is it one of the best boating lakes in California, but it’s also home to amazing campgrounds, hiking trails, shoreline access, as well as plenty of water activities such as sailing, windsurfing, and jet skiing. What else could you need on a Sacramento vacation by the lake?

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