Sacramento, the capital city of California, is the biggest in Sacramento County. A marvelous land of beautiful parks and glittering rivers welcomes its guests all year round with the beauty beyond comparison. From those who enjoy activities in the fresh air to admirers of the history of the USA, any kind of tourist will enjoy their stay in the city. A wide variety of places to go and the place’s unique atmosphere make it one of the most excellent vacation spots for American families.
Anyone who plans a leisure trip to California should start by visiting its outstanding pearl, Sacramento. Although the city is not often on the list of tourists’ most famous destinations, it is a beautiful place for sightseeing. There are several art and history museums, the old part of the city, and stunning views, and many other places of interest to discover.
Below, look at the list of the must-see areas and places of interest in the city.
Sacramento’s landscapes and its surrounding area will make you gasp at their natural beauty and satisfy your photo-hunger. Arm yourself with a camera and the right mood and embark on an unforgettable journey around the place that has a great history and offers a variety of options for you and your family. Whether one wants to enjoy untouched nature, play golf, walk the shady alleys full of beautiful greenery, or grab a bite in one or two prolific eateries and top-class restaurants, Sacramento will leave its footprint in your memory and will entice you to come back over again.
Old Sacramento Waterfront: Eat, Learn, Ride
Old Sacramento lies on the Sacramento River banks, covering eight quarters of historic buildings, mostly built in the 1850s. Initially created as the new city’s significant trade and business center, the city has grown and developed considerably following the plan. This part of the town was in danger during floods because of its low-level location, and the city officials have to add soil here and raise it higher. The city center was moved during the last century, and this district became a marginal area full of poverty and red lights. After the gentrification of the 1960s, the area became a new spot of interest for city guests and local business people, who opened shops, restaurants, and hotels. In addition to this, the area entices its visitors with its variety of museums and sightseeing locations, walking tours, riverboat cruises, and old-fashioned horse carriage rides.
The State Capitol Building & Capitol Park: Government Area and Regular Park
The building, which was in construction for nearly 13 years in the middle of the 19th century, from 1861 to 1874, symbolizes state authority and power: the government and state legislature officials have housed here since 1869. The Capitol is of a Neoclassical style; there’s also a great exhibition of the History Museum and a rich accumulation of artistry and artifacts connected to California, named the Capitol Art Program.
The construction sits amid a regular Capitol Park, with several memorials of war events (Civil War Memorial Grove, Vietnam Veteran Memorial, etc.), well-treated and good-looking lanes, lawns and flowerbeds, with a variety of plants and trees. One of the Park landmarks is the monument to Junipero Serra, the colonizer of the state.
The entrance is free of charge. Moreover, you can always join an hourly public tour.
Crocker Art Museum: Explore California State Art
A real gem of the area, the Crocker Museum, awaits you in Old Sacramento and occupies three historical and contemporary buildings. The first two buildings are the Crocker Family’s Mansion, accompanied by a building housing the historic art gallery. Both came to life during their founder Edward B. Crocker’s lifetime, works by Set Babson, a prominent local architect.
The new one, built back in 1989 by Charles Gwathmey, provides a 100,000-square-foot space to showcase the permanent display.
The Museum houses perhaps one of California’s most significant collections, including sculptures, paintings, and other objects, mostly covering the following genres: Pop Art, Impressionism, and even Abstract Expressionism.
The display’s European segment originated from the founder’s collection, a wealthy local official and lawyer who purchased around 700 works of European artists during his trip in 1869 -1871 and made a considerable contribution to the expansive display. The central focus of this collection is German and fine artists’ works from Central Europe, along with some paintings by Dutch Golden Age masters.
The museum provides various activities: guided tours, painting masterclasses for adults, a unique Art Camp for their kids, and many more.
Railroad Museum: Embark on a Ride Through History
Railroad building and development has played a profound role in American history. The California State Railroad Museum is the most well-known railroad museum in North America. It has 21 restored vintage carriages and ancient-looking locomotives, and a vast collection of railroad-connected artifacts. The exhibition space measures at around 100,000 square feet, which allows it to carry out multiple events and tours inside.
A company of railroad enthusiasts in 1937 who donated some locomotives to the state institution, came up with the idea to organize the museum. After years of hard work concerning building, collecting items, and promotion, the first version of the museum appeared in 1976.
You can also book a 40-minutes round trip and ride one of the historical locomotives around the Sacramento River.
Sutter’s Fort: The beginning of The Gold Rush
Sutter’s Fort bears the name of its founder, the famous John Sutter. He was a Swiss immigrant of German origin, who built a trading post and a fort and the modern-day city’s territory. It served to secure the 150000 acres of his farming land and fur and cattle traders.
He called his colony New Switzerland, and it became a popular site for people to immigrate.
Although his enterprise was developing soon, it all came to an end. James Marshall, his employee, shortly after building a sawmill for Sutter 50 miles eastward of the spot, began the California Gold Rush, founding the first registered natural gold piece. That led to almost all the Sutter’s employees leaving him, trying out their luck while searching for gold. The farm and enterprises came to disuse.
Nowadays, the Fort has undergone restoration, offering one of the unique historical experiences in Sacramento. There is a broad spectrum of paid activities, i.e., a large group of guests can book a private dinner on the territory in advance and for an additional fee.
The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament: Architectural and Spiritual Landmark
The magnificent cathedral has been an important center for Catholics since 1889. Everyone can visit an everyday mass and enjoy its beautiful Neoclassical style, with a great dome of 110 feet high and wall paintings. The outer appearance of the cathedral reminds of the Spanish colonial style.
All the architectural and decorative details, cleaned and restored during the recent restoration, include astounding detailed mosaics, a new crucifixion, and a bishop’s cathedra.
Sacramento History Museum: More than the Gold Rush
In people’s minds, Sacramento is usually associated with the Gold Rush period, but the History museum display tells the travelers much more about the past of this California jewel. The interactive approach makes it work like a time-machine: visitors can feel the life-like back at those times.
Professional guides will readily share with you every tiny detail about the great floods in the 1860s and 1870s and how the city officials dealt with them. There’s a fantastic tour called “Old Sacramento Underground,” telling the story of Sacramento’s streets, raised artificially to avoid the floods, where visitors can see some pleasant undertaking with their own eyes. The museum is a detailed reproduction of a City Hall and Waterworks office building from 1864. One part of the original building housed the city prison. A small fraction of it survived the demolition of the entire complex and is now a part of a museum as the evidence of the existence of one of the oldest city buildings.
Sacramento Old Cemetery: Memorial, Victorian Garden, Rosary
In 1957, the Cemetery officially became a State Historic Landmark.
Opened in 1849, it was the first cemetery in the city. The founder of Sacramento, John Sutter Jr., gave this land as a gift to the town.
The cemetery is designed as a Victorian Garden, being more formal, with multiple brick or concrete fences, creating level terraces in level areas. Roses from the local cemetery gardens are said to be among the best in the whole of California.
Among the interred here are Californian governors, mayors of the capital, 1850 cholera epidemic’s victims, and members of several fraternities, including the Masons. The two most famous people interred in the cemetery are Edward B. Crocker, the founder of the Crocker Art Museum, and the above mentioned John Sutter Jr.
California State Indian Museum: An Insight into Native Americans Lives
Should you wish to fully plunge into the site history, the Indian Museum is the exact place you need to visit. Located in Midtown Sacramento, it provides the guests with a profound understanding of different cultures and lifestyles of indigenous people who’ve lived here way before the Colonization. Before the European invasion, there were more than 150 tribes, with an estimated 500,000 people inhabiting the territories, now known as California State.
Indian life presented in current exhibitions is divided into three different topics: Family, Spirit, and Nature. The most significant part of the museum’s collection consists of a considerable amount of unique family photos, donated to the museum by now-living Native American Descendants.
Visitors can also utilize the replicas of Native American various hand-tools, used for making holes in beads and grinding acorns.
Among other California Indian cultural artifacts in the museum, there is a considerable collection of Indian baskets, amounting to around 300 thousand items, from one of the smallest bowls in the world to a huge basket to carry heavy things; unique trunk canoe, a variety of beadwork, instruments for fishing and hunting of ancient origin.
There’s also a very dramatic personal exhibition dedicated to Ishi’s life, the last survivor from the tribe of Yana-Yahi, showing the drastic change in the lives Native American population under the impact of outsiders from Europe.
The Dive Bar: Watch the Mermaids and Mermen
For those who like to take a break and have a pint or two, Sacramento offers a truly unique opportunity – The Dive Bar. There’s a 7,500-gallon aquarium inhabited with around 15 species of tropical fish above the bar counter. But the bar is famous for its nightly mermaid and merman shows. Professional divers act like mermaids, giving an unforgettable and extraordinary experience to the guests. One can come as a casual guest, or book a booth or a private party.
Midtown: Nightlife and Arts Scene
If you want to experience real-life in Sacramento, go to Midtown, the city’s most evolving part. This area, mainly residential, also hosts a lot of nice bars and small shops. It’s also a center for Sacramento nightlife.
Live gigs, art clusters, and showrooms have firmly established themselves in these district galleries. There’s even a particular time period from 6 to 9 PM every month on a second Saturday when there’s no entrance fee charged, and everyone can have a free visit. It is called Second Saturdays for apparent reasons.
Come to enjoy Sacramento’s views, walk around the places of historic heritage, take hundreds of beautiful pictures, join the club of the city-lovers and be back soon. Come any time of year, bring your family with you, and you will all have a wonderful holiday with a view. Sacramento invites everybody!