California is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the USA. What can be better than to spend a free weekend in some sunny and warm place relaxing on the beach or enjoying all sort of tours and excursions? In fact, there are not so many options left. So, it is not a surprise that there are millions of Americans who use every opportunity to spend at least a couple of days in this hot state. As for the particular locations, most tourists prefer San Francisco or Los Angeles, while Sacramento , which is the capital of the state, is left out of consideration. As a result, people keep spending time in the same places and deprive themselves of a chance to get acquainted with the city that paved the way for the development of California in general.
So, next time when you make a decision to spend a vacation in California, be sure to find some time ― at least a couple of days ― to make a trip to Sacramento.
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Sacramento
1. Sacramento is the place where California begins
Two centuries ago the territory of the state was inhabited by Indians. They lived in this picturesque and comfortable area for thousands of years, but had to give place to immigrants from Europe in the 19th century.
The first person to establish a colony there was John Sutter. His settlement ― New Helvetia ― was meant to become an agricultural center. But the course of its development was dramatically changed, due to the gold rush.
As for Sacramento itself, it was founded by Sutter’s son right next to the original colony. At first, it was inhabited by gold hunters, but over some time it was gradually transformed into an agricultural city, and it managed to preserve the status of the agricultural center of the region till our days.
2. Sacramento is the center of art
Sacramento is the place where you can see the unique collection of masterpieces created by the most outstanding Californian artists that has been transferred into the ownership of the city by the Crockers ― the wealthiest families in the state. You can see it in the Crocker Art Museum, located in Old Sacramento.
Sure, that’s not the only art museum worth your attention in Sacramento. Here are major must-visit places:
- the Verge Center for the Arts;
- Arthouse Gallery & Studios;
- Groundswell Gallery;
- the Kennedy Gallery.
3. In Sacramento, you can enjoy live music to the full
The citizens of Sacramento are fond of live music and grasp every chance to visit a live concert. In the city, there is a good selection of bars and clubs, where you can be offered cocktails and a show. These are the most popular and legendary ones:
- Ace of Spades;
- Shady Lady Saloon.
Sacramento is also the site of live music festivals. In the summer most locals spend afternoons at Sacramento Music Festival or Concerts in the Park. If you are lucky to stay in Sacramento during the festival season, be sure to join them.
4. In Sacramento, there is museum to suit every taste
During your vacation in Sacramento, you will not face any problems with finding the ways to pass the time. As we have mentioned before, at night most tourists and locals meet in the bars. And during the daytime period you can immerse yourself in the world of history or art in the corresponding museum.
It may be a surprise for you, but the capital of California can boast a huge selection of varied museums: from Sutter’s Fort and Sacramento History Museum to California Automobile Museum and the California State Capitol. It is noteworthy that many of them are situated in the historic district called Old Sacramento (see point 5). So, it is advisable to start your tour from there.
5. In Sacramento, you can have a close look at the history of the state
As it has been noted above, in this city there is a special district ― Old Sacramento ― created in order to encourage people to get acquainted with the history.
What is Old Sacramento? It is the place where the capital of California was given rise to. Over the course of the development of the city, its center was moved, and the historic part was left abandoned. But later the local authorities made a decision to transform it into a tourist attraction.
Old Sacramento can be justly called one of the most popular locations in the city. It comprises over 50 buildings and constructions that have been preserved since the 19th century. More to the point, the majority of them can boast the original interior as well. Old Sacramento is the place where you can see the history of the city as it is and learn about its most dramatic pages.
No doubt, if you want to help your kids get a feel for the culture and history of California, making a trip to Old Sacramento is one of the best options available.
6. Sacramento is a suitable destination for those who prefer spending free time in the open air
First, Sacramento is a truly green city: there are over 200 park zones where you can have a picnic, practice sports or just have a walk. The most popular and picturesque ones are:
- William Land Regional Park
- McKinley Park
- East Portal Park
- Natomas Oaks Park
- Southside Park.
In addition, there are plenty of places where you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere alone with the wild nature, like Miners Ravine Nature Reserve or Cosumnes River Preserve.
7. Sacramento is a good choice for sport fans
As it has been noted, in Sacramento, there are hundreds of locations where one can do some exercises. In fact, there are even special trails for those who are fond of jogging, hiking or cycling. They are often equipped with public bathrooms, shops and eating facilities and enjoy immense popularity among people of different age.
By the way, there are two deep and wide rivers flowing nearby ― the Sacramento River and the American River. So locals and tourists can enjoy kayaking and other water sports all the year round (keep in mind that the climate there is mild, warm and sunny).
As you can see, Sacramento authorities take every effort to encourage people to lead a healthy lifestyle. So, in case you want to start practicing some sport, but experience problems with motivation, go to Sacramento. There you will easily get involved in the common tendency.
8. Sacramento is a family-friendly city
When you decide to go to Sacramento, be sure to take your kids with you. It is a comfortable place where your children will easily find activities to suit their tastes.
In case you have small kids, be sure to take them to Sacramento Fairytale Town. There you will see more than two dozen playsets dedicated to popular fairy tales and rhymes, several cute gardens and even a small zoo where one can watch farm animals.
Here are some other activities available your children may like:
- visiting museums like the Powerhouse Science Center, the Sacramento Children’s Museum or the Explorit Science Center;
- going on an excursion to the Sacramento Zoo;
- having fun in Funderland;
- playing sports in McKinley Park;
- splashing in Raging Waters Sacramento;
- visiting a workshop conducted by Art Beast Children’s Studio.
9. Sacramento is America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital
It is well-known that Sacramento is a large agricultural center. The citizens pay much attention to the products they consume and use a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and actively advertise such eating habits.
Staying in Sacramento, be sure to visit a farmers market and to buy lots of farm-to-fork products to cook at least a couple of delicious and healthy meals for dinner.
One should note that during your Sacramento vacation you may get a chance to visit some kind of farm-to-fork event, like Berryfest or Mandarin Festival. Do not miss it, that’s the local brand.
10. Sacramento is the center of coffee culture
If you are a coffee fan, visiting at least a couple of craft coffee shops and cafes in Sacramento is a must for you. Starting a day with a cup of tasty and aromatic coffee is a habit that can make your day much brighter, especially when you sip it in a cute cafe with a cozy atmosphere.
Be sure to buy a package of coffee you like the best as a souvenir, for it to remind you of your trip to Sacramento, and get back when you run out of it.
5 Prejudices and Myths that Prevent People from Visiting Sacramento
As of now, Sacramento is not widely considered to be a tourist city. Most Americans have just a blurry idea of it and believe in all sort of prejudices underestimating its potential. While in reality Sacramento is rapidly developing and comfortable city that can boast dozens of tourist attractions to suit every taste and budget.
1. Sacramento is a cow town
Although Sacramento is surrounded by large agricultural areas and is promoted as the center of the farm-to-fork culture, it is a modern and up-to-date city, it does not differ significantly from Los Angeles or any other large US city.
2. There is nothing to do and to visit in Sacramento
As you can see from the information presented above, Sacramento is the city where you will always find some involving activity to join and some exciting place to visit. It is also crucial to highlight that the city has been dramatically changed in the recent years, so, if you haven’t found it appealing during your previous visit, there is a good chance that you will change your mind.
3. There are no proper restaurants in the city, chain cafes are the only choice available
Although there is only one Michelin-starred restaurant in Sacramento, there are dozens of other places that are worth a visit. Local restaurants serve varied meals to fit every taste, so, you will not have to restrain yourself to fast food and snacks only.
In addition, you will have the opportunity to treat yourself to meals made of fresh vegetables and fruits that are regularly provided by farmers to local restaurants and cafes.
4. Sacramento is just the place to make a shortstop during a trip to some other exciting attractions situated nearby
No doubt, Sacramento can boast a highly-advantageous location. Tourists often stay here for a night, while heading for Lake Tahoe or the Napa Valley. But the point is that it is worth more than just a short stop, there are so many varied places of interest that it seems to be unreasonable to miss a chance to see them.
5. Most citizens of Sacramento dream of moving to larger cities located nearby
In reality, Sacramento is large enough to provide locals with all the advantages of a large city, like access to the proper education, infrastructure and a good selection of vacancies.
At the same time, Sacramento is not overcrowded, which is a significant benefit.
In addition, prices here are much lower than in the neighboring large cities, and many people do not see any reasons why they should overpay.
10 Tips on Visiting Sacramento
- If you want to feel the true atmosphere of the city, spend more time with local citizens. Most of them are rather friendly and sociable. You can meet them, for example, in the parks.
- It is advisable to visit at least a couple of locally-owned cafes or shops. Their owners will be happy to tell you some interesting facts about Sacramento and to give a piece of useful advice on where to go and what to see.
- While packing, keep in mind that Sacramento is the place where sunny days prevail. So, take your sunglasses with you.
- In summer, it is rather hot here. So, you are likely to spend much time near one of the rivers ― take your swimming suit with you. Mind that the temperature of water in the Delta River is cold enough.
- In case you want to practice water sports, the best time to visit Sacramento is from June to September.
- In winter, it is often foggy and rainy here, so, be careful while driving.
- If you want to save on hotel expenses in Sacramento, schedule your trip for winter.
- Old Sacramento is the district with highly-limited parking space. If you plan to visit Old Sacramento on a festive day, leave your car at home. There is a high risk that you will waste plenty of time searching for a free parking lot or will have to park it far away and cover a significant part of the distance on foot. In case you want to take part in some kind of scheduled event on an ordinary day, be sure to arrive in sufficient time to find a parking space, otherwise you may miss the beginning.
- Sacramento is a safe city, still, it is advisable to take some precautions:
- do not leave your bike outside, even if you use a reliable lock;
- do not park your car in suspiciously-looking areas;
- do not leave anything in visible places in a locked automobile;
- avoid walking around the city when it gets dark, especially if you travel by yourself;
- avoid homeless people, do not interact with them in any way.
- The Downtown and Midtown districts in Sacramento are tourist areas that are considered to be safe enough. Still, there are also dangerous areas. Some of them are located close to tourist ones, like the Oak Park neighborhood, and you may get there by accident, so, it is advisable to avoid visiting unfamiliar places, while having walks around attractions. Another high crime area in the city is South Sacramento, keep away from it as well.
As you can see, Sacramento is a comfortable city, where you can find everything you may need for a memorable vacation. There are dozens of must-visit places, so, you will probably want to stay here for a couple of days as a minimum. If you have never been to Sacramento before, it is high time to change the situation and to get acquainted with this beautiful and green city. There is a good chance that such a trip will encourage you to change your habits and to choose Sacramento as your new favorite vacation destination.