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13 Sacramento Attractions to Check out Now

13 Sacramento Attractions to Check out Now

Want to go sightseeing? Sacramento's rich history and culture will leave you speechless.

Roubina Al Abashian


5 min read

July 18, 2024

Scenic streets, trendy shops, and views for days—the state capital has everything you need for a comfy lifestyle. From the mid-1800s feel of the Old Sacramento Waterfront to the hip and modern galleries and museums, Sacramento’s attractions are nothing but eye-catching. Want to go sightseeing? The city’s rich history and culture will leave you speechless. 

These Are The Sacramento Tourist Attractions to Visit Now

The Old Sacramento Waterfront is the capital city's largest visitor destination, attracting more than three million visitors annually.

1. Old Sacramento Waterfront

As the city noise starts to subdue and skyscrapers begin to fade away from the backdrop, you find yourself walking straight into a Western flick—you’ve arrived at the Old Sacramento Waterfront. The 28-acre district sits on the edge of the Sacramento River, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of life during the Gold Rush era. Wooden sidewalks, horse-drawn carriages, and mid-1800s buildings that serve as shops and restaurants are the essence of this historic landmark. Travel back in time at this Sacramento tourist attraction and marvel at the lifestyle of the olden days.

2. California State Capitol Museum 

The California State Capitol Museum serves both as a museum and the state’s working seat of government. Featuring dozens of exhibits that tell the legislative history of the Golden State, this museum boasts a small theater showing short films regarding the Capitol. Aesthetically, the rotunda of the building is Insta-perfect, while the surrounding gardens are tranquil and serene. 

Sutter's Fort was established in 1839 and originally called New Helvetia by its builder John Sutter, though construction of the fort began in 1841.

3. Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park was a 19th-century agricultural and state colony; it was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Today, the colony’s large white fort is restored with some of the original rooms still standing such as the kitchen, stables, carpenter’s shop, and doctor’s office. Visiting the park is an introduction everyone needs to the area’s rich history.

4. Folsom Lake State Recreational Area

Folsom Lake State Recreational Area is where every outdoor lover goes to in Sacramento. Windsurfing, swimming, and fishing are extremely popular in the lake. Hiking, on the other hand, is an absolute must. Miles of trails promise a good challenge—our personal favorite is the Johnny Cash Trail that’s dedicated to the late singer, who once recorded a full album in the nearby Folsom Prison.  

The Crocker Art Museum has works dating from the Gold Rush, European paintings and master drawings, Asian, African, and Oceanic art collections.

5. Crocker Art Museum

The Crocker Art Museum (CAM) is the oldest museum west of the Mississippi. Built in 1855, it’s considered one of California’s top art museums. Housing European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art, as well as ceramics and photography, many of the museum’s collections date back to the Gold Rush era. Throughout the year, CAM hosts a series of events and programs like lectures, studio classes, and arts and music programs that cater to people of all ages. As for the exterior, the building itself is a piece of art—don’t forget to take photos at this Sacramento attraction!

6. Midtown Sacramento

Midtown Sacramento is the heart and soul of Sactown and one of its best neighborhoods. All of the coolest restaurants, nightlife destinations, and shops make this the Sacramento attraction you need to check out. If you ask us, an ideal day in the state capital starts at Midtown and ends at Midtown.

William Land Park, frequently referred to as simply "Land Park" is located between Interstate 5 and State Route 160.

7. William Land Regional Park

Out of all the family-friendly attractions in California, William Land Regional Park is our favorite. Boasting amazing picnic spots and pathways to explore for hours, the park is essentially a year-round wonderland. Picnicking and hiking don’t impress you much? You’ll find a swimming pool, the Sacramento Zoo, and Fairytale Town on the premises of the park. So get everyone in the car; it’s time for a family day out.

8. UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden

The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden is a place you can’t do without. A wide collection of plants ranging from redwoods to cacti and from Mediterranean to Australian, the arboretum is literally a plant mom’s definition of paradise. Visitors also have access to the Putah Creek at the arboretum, where people can go swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking. Admire the archways and hummingbird garden as you spend the day surrounded by natural beauty. 

The locomotive collection of the California State Railroad Museum contains 19 steam locomotives dating from 1862 to 1944.

9. California State Railroad Museum

Originally built to pay tribute to the role of the “iron horse” in connecting California to the rest of the nation, the California State Railroad Museum houses 21 restored locomotives that introduce visitors to the transportation system in the mid-1800s. Whenever you’re visiting, make sure you go on an excursion aboard an authentic locomotive—the six-mile round-trip along the Sacramento River is an experience you won’t regret.

10. Sacramento Zoo

Encompassing a little over four acres, the Sacramento Zoo is a place the whole family will love visiting. The zoo first opened in 1927 with just 40 animals; currently, there are more than 500 animals on site. Here, you’ll encounter all sorts of animals, from mammals and amphibians to fish and birds.

This family-friendly Sacramento attraction offers many fun activities you can take part in such as riding a carousel, a train, or even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. What we love most about this NorCal zoo is that you can feed the giraffes—the gentle giants are all you need to make your day.

The Sacramento River originates in the mountains and plateaus of far Northern California as three major waterways that flow into Shasta Lake.

11. Sacramento River

What’s a visit to Sacramento if you’re not going to float on a river? The Sacramento River stretches for an astounding 446 miles and is surrounded by stunning views of the city and beyond. Enjoy kayaking, rafting, canoeing, tubing, and swimming during the day and camping and stargazing at night.

The California Automobile Museum has a collection of over 150 classic cars, race cars, muscle cars, and early models on display.

12. California Automobile Museum

To the delight of car lovers, the California Automobile Museum features over 150 antique cars spread across a 72,000 square foot building. The Sacramento car museum also displays the alternative fueled cars of the future too, paving the way for forthcoming creations. Exhibits rotate three to four times a year, and each is worth checking out.

13. SMUD Museum of Science and Creativity

The SMUD Museum of Science and Creativity, aka MOSAC, is a  newcomer to the museum scene. Every exhibit in this Sacramento science museum is designed to pique the curiosity of young minds. The hands-on interactive exhibits explore everything from science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Make a visit to this fantastic museum a family priority and you’ll see how the curious ones thrive. 

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