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Sacramento County Combines the Best of Old and New
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Sacramento County Combines the Best of Old and New

Sacramento County is the perfect stop on any California road trip with a bustling food scene, extensive parks, and charming history.

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4 min read

March 21, 2022

Sacramento County is chock-full of contrasting elements; the entirely urban landscapes meet the cascading natural wonders, the inviting mid-century modern architecture rubs against the contemporary bistros and charming historic structures, and the farms that once dominated the region sit alongside the government buildings that form the state’s capitol. 

Visitors flock from far and wide to see the capitol building for themselves and to explore the museums of downtown Sacramento. But, they may miss the 15,000-acre regional park system, the many lakes and rivers that flow through man-made environments, and the vast amounts of almonds that have greatly contributed to the region’s economy. Want to get a taste of it all? Here’s every stop you need to add to your itinerary of places to visit in Sacramento.

Sacramento is the capital city of the Golden State and a must-visit destination for everyone who hasn't been yet.

Places to Visit in Sacramento

The region’s artistic and historic districts are bustling, reinvigorated by a cultural awakening that rivals the surrounding San Francisco and Tahoe areas. Sacramento County’s central location makes it an ideal stop on any California road trip, should you have an extra day or two to spare. 

Visit the Sacramento History Museum

The Sacramento History Museum sits on the ancestral homeland and traditional territory of the Nisenan Tribal people. As the only museum devoted to both Sacramento County and California Gold Rush history, this awesome institution offers a wealth of information to visitors. Exhibition themes you’ll come across include fur trapping, Nisenan and Maidu Indian Nations, agricultural and cultural heritage, and Gold Rush and mining history.

A beloved attraction for families that love animals, the Sacramento Zoo is located just south of the city center and is a must-visit spot in Sactown.

Meet the Animals at Sacramento Zoo

Located in William Land Park, Sacramento Zoo is a non-profit that aims to inspire people to learn more about wildlife and conservation. By organizing educational and recreational activities, Sacramento Zoo sparks appreciation, respect, and a connection with wildlife and nature in everyone that visits. Add this top NorCal zoo to your Sacramento sightseeing itinerary—it’ll definitely be worth your while. 

Check out the California State Railroad Museum

Care to check out one of California’s most impressive railroad museums? Visit the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Home to over 225,000 square feet of must-see artifacts, this Sacramento County museum is like a trip back in time. Don’t forget to check out the immersive display of toy trains that zip around a mini countryside of towns, bridges, and tunnels on the top floor.

Sacramento is a gem of a culinary destination in the Golden State. You'll never get bored of discovering new restaurants to try here.

Restaurants to Try in Sacramento, California

For those just passing through on their way to another California destination, Sacramento County is a food-lovers oasis that’s perfect for a quick bite. Not only does the county process more almonds than anywhere else in the world, but it also holds the title as the “Farm-to-Fork Capital” of America, serving as a quintessential lunchtime solution. These are a few of the must-try Sacramento restaurants you should add to your list.

Tori’s Place

No other restaurant makes soul food quite as well as Tori’s Place. Known as a small restaurant with a big heart, this Sacramento hotspot belongs on any food lovers’ Sacramento sightseeing list. The gumbo, riblets, fried chicken, red snapper, and pork chops are all amazing at Tori’s Place. Pair your entree of choice with their signature cornbread and you’ll be head over hills.

Sam’s Hof Brau

Serving homemade comfort food in a European-style setting since 1959, Sam’s Hof Brau is a classic Sacramento restaurant you shouldn't miss. You can’t go wrong with their sandwiches piled with roast beef, turkey, pastrami, and other deli meats. Don’t forget to get a side of the eatery’s famous sliced pickles—they’ll be one of the biggest culinary highlights of your trip.

Bambi Vegan Tacos

Plant-based eaters, get ready to meet your favorite taco joint. As its name implies, Bambi Vegan Tacos has a fully vegan menu of traditional Mexican cravings we all know and love. While everything on the menu is mouthwatering, the tacos are not to be missed. Get them with a side of vegan queso dip and you’ll be in taco heaven right after.

Sacramento's waterfront district is a favorite recreation spot that offers beautiful sceneries, cool museums, and more awesome attractions.

Outdoor Activities in Sacramento

The county’s Mediterranean climate makes it an ideal place for farming and adventuring alike. Bordered on the western edge by the banks of the Sacramento River, the county is traversed by the American River, which flows into Folsom Lake at the county’s northeastern corner. These rivers are great escapes from the 100-degree summer temperatures and are fun places to connect with the locals who float, kayak, splash, and swim their way through the warmer months. Regardless of the season, Sacramento County provides the best of city dwellings and rural living.

Stroll Along the Sacramento Waterfront 

Transport yourself back to the era of chasing prosperity and discover the classic Sacramento spirit at the Old Sacramento Waterfront District. As you meander along, you’ll come across plenty of Sacramento restaurants to dine at, shops to check out, museums to tour, and other things to do in the Waterfront district

Take your time admiring the coolest views of the pedestrian bridges and enjoy the stunning mountainous landscape reflected in the blue waters—Sacramento County will help you see the beauty in the little things.

Hikers from all over the state come to Sacramento to cross the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail off their bucket list.

Hike a portion of the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail

Avid hikers all over the world have the Jedediah Smith Memorial trail on their bucket list. Starting at Discovery Park in the downtown area, this one-of-a-kind Sacramento County trail winds all along the American River. If you don’t want to start your hike from downtown, you’ll find other entrances ranging from main roads to railways and lake parks—each one more scenic than the other. 

Despite spanning 28 miles, the Jedediah Smith Memorial trail is fairly easy to navigate, with the exception of a few downriver spur trails. As you’re trekking through the smooth, paved surfaces, take a minute to appreciate the scenery around you. Up for another adventure along the way? The American River is your primary water sports destination to check out. Whether you’re into kayaking or whitewater rafting, the perfect spot awaits you right as you wrap up hiking one of the best trails in California.

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