Even though it’s the capital of the Golden State, Sacramento isn’t always on the radar as a tourist destination in California. However, that notion has radically changed in recent years and in fact, this trailblazing city founded in 1850 has become one of the finest and most culturally diverse places for to visit in the entire country. Learn more about why you should visit the capital city of Sacramento!
It’s America’s Farm to Fork Capital
Although the origins of the Farm to Table movement can be traced to the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento lays the accurate claim as the Farm to Fork Capital of America. That’s because the city lies in a bountiful region described as the largest agricultural producer in the nation, with 1.5 million acres of farmland and yielding more than 165 types of crops. What’s more, Sacramento holds over 1.5 million acres and many Bay Area restaurants source their food products here.
Visit The California State Capitol
Completed in 1874, the California State Capitol is easily the most recognizable landmark in Sacramento as well as the most visited. Designed in the familiar Roman Corinthian architectural style much like the U.S. Capitol, complete with a central rotunda and Roman columns, the State Capitol is home to both chambers of the California State Legislature and the office of the Governor of California. Tours at the State Capitol are currently suspended due to COVID-19. However, the Capitol is open with limited hours and capacity.
See Local Museums and Historical Attractions
For some visitors, it may come as a complete surprise to discover that Sacramento has about 30 exceptional museums and historical sites. Among the most-see for first time are the California State Railroad Museum, California History Museum and the renowned Crocker Art Museum, oldest public art museum west of the Mississippi. If you love California history, you should also visit Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. Named after California pioneer John Sutter, the fort, it was a major economic center in this region. In fact, it is known to be the first European settlement in the Central Valley of California.
California State Railroad Museum
Known as North America’s Railroad Museum, the California State Railroad Museum is located in Old Sacramento. The museum is home to a number of historic steam locomotives. For instance, you can see Central Pacific’s 1862 Gov. Stanford and Southern Pacific’s 4294. The SP locomotive is known to be the last remaining “cab forward” locomotive. If that’s not enough, you can see rare diesel locomotives, like the 1952 Southern Pacific 6402.
Old Sacramento is in itself a museum and a National Historic Landmark. Found in the historic waterfront area, this neighborhood is known for its Gold Rush era buildings. In all, there are over 50 historic buildings in the 28-acre State Historic Park. Old Sacramento is also home to a number of family-friendly attractions. For instance, you can ride the Delta King riverboat or take a 50-minute ride onboard the Sacramento Southern Railroad.
The dazzling Golden1 Center is one of Sacramento’s newest and without question one of its most important attractions. The state-of-the-art facility is home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and was the world’s first arena to be entirely solar powered. The Golden1 Center holds the NBA’s largest and only high resolution 4K video screens. The next time you visit Sacramento, make sure to see what’s events are happening here. Visitors should check the Golden1Center website for up-to-date-information.
Visit Award-Winning Sacramento Wineries
One of the best reasons to visit Sacramento is its impressive collection of wine tasting. In all, the region has over 200 wineries spread across eight counties. However, any of these wineries are within a day’s drive from the capital city. On the other hand, for a shorter, more casual drive, visitors should head over to Clarksburg. Located about 15 miles south of Sacramento, much of the finest wine is produced here. Of course, if you need recommendations, visit Bogle Vineyards, Heringer Estates and Julietta Winery for superb wine tasting. Other wine tasting recommendations are Great Bear Wineries, Old Sugar Mill and the Underground Tasting Room.
Cal Expo/California State Fair
The popular California State Fair and its horse racing events may have already passed but there’s still plenty of things going on at Cal Expo. With a history that dates back to California’s early years of its statehood, the California Exposition and State Fair hosts events throughout the year, with upcoming events like the Tree Harvest Festival, Fall RV Show, Wizard World, American Trucking Show, Sacramento Home and Garden Show and in November, live harness racing.
The state capital is also a great spot for outdoor recreation, with its location at the confluence of two major rivers and miles of hiking and biking trails nearby. The best known trail is Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, which extends 32 miles between Discovery Park in Old Sacramento and Beal’s Point at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. In addition, you can enjoy river rafting on the American River. Indeed, a handful of river rafting business operate in the Sacramento. This closest to Sacramento is White Water Adventures. Lastly, you may also enjoy ziplining at Quarry Park Adventures in Rocklin.
Related: Visit Small Napa Valley Wineries
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC and Radio.com. He earned a media fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.