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Sacramento, California

21 Can’t-Miss Attractions & Fun Things to Do in Sacramento

Sacramento may not be the biggest city in California, but it has a lot to offer visitors.

You can enjoy a multitude of attractions in Sacramento, such as a booming food scene and a substantial number of historical buildings.

And with its convenient location, just a short drive from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe-Sacramento makes the perfect base for exploring Northern California.

So, whether you’re visiting for a weekend or longer, be sure to add these 21 must-see attractions to your Sacramento itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!

1. Pay a Visit to the California State Capitol

California State Capitol

The California State Capitol is one of the most interesting places to visit in Sacramento.

The building itself is quite magnificent, and it’s surrounded by beautiful gardens.

But the Capitol is more than just a pretty building—it’s also a symbol of the state’s history and government.

You can tour the Senate and Assembly chambers, see exhibits on the state’s history, and even watch trials in the Supreme Court.

The Capitol is a great place to learn about California’s past and present, and it’s a lot of fun, too!

2. Take a Stroll Through the Old Sacramento Waterfront

Old Sacramento Waterfront

Sacramento’s Waterfront is a great place to stroll, relax, and take in some of the city’s history.

Located on the banks of the Sacramento River, the Waterfront is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions.

The area is also rich in history, having served as a major hub for California’s Gold Rush.

Today, the waterfront is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

You can enjoy a variety of activities, including strolling along the river, shopping at the many boutique shops, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee while taking in the stunning views.

Whether you’re looking for a bit of history or just a place to relax, Sacramento’s waterfront is sure to please.

3. Admire the Crocker Art Museum’s Architecture

Crocker Art Museum
Source: Lev Lazinskiy – Flickr / CC

The Crocker Art Museum is one of the oldest and most respected art museums in the country.

Founded in 1885, it is home to an impressive collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works of art.

But the Crocker is more than just a museum; it is also a work of art in itself.

The building was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, and it features a beautiful curved facade and a spacious atrium.

You can marvel at the architecture while you enjoy the museum’s exhibitions.

And with its convenient location in downtown Sacramento, the Crocker Art Museum is easy to get to and well worth a visit.

4. Sample the Best of Sacramento’s Food Scene

Sacramento's Food Scene

Sacramento is known for its diverse food scene, and there are plenty of places to sample some of the best cuisines the city has to offer.

For a taste of the local flavors, head to the Sacramento Farmers Market, where you can find fresh produce, meats, and cheeses from California producers.

For something a little more exotic, check out Bangkok at 12, where you can enjoy authentic Thai dishes like pad thai and green curry.

Or if you’re in the mood for some comfort food, swing by LowBrau Bierhalle, where you can savor house-made sausages and pretzels.

No matter what your tastes are, you’re sure to find something to your liking in Sacramento’s food scene.

5. Visit the California Railroad Museum

California Railroad Museum
Source: Joe Ross – Flickr / CC

If you’re a fan of trains, there’s no better place to visit than the California Railroad Museum.

Located in Sacramento, the museum is home to an impressive collection of locomotives, cars, and artifacts that tell the story of the state’s rich railroad history.

You can explore exhibits on the development of the transcontinental railroad and learn about the challenges faced by early railroads.

The museum also houses a working steam engine, on which visitors can ride on select days.

Whether you’re a lifelong train enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out, the California Railroad Museum is sure to delight.

6. Spend a Day at Fairytale Town

Fairytale Town, sacramento
Source: United Way California – Flickr / CC

Fairytale Town is your chance to feel like a kid again.

Located in William Land Park in Sacramento, Fairytale Town is home to over 25 play sets based on classic fairytales like Mother Goose, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Three Little Pigs.

There’s also a petting zoo, a puppet theater, and an old-fashioned carousel. Best of all, admission is free for kids under two and only $5 for everyone else.

So, whether you’re young or just young at heart, Fairytale Town is the perfect place to spend a day.

7. Learn About Sacramento’s History at the Sacramento History Museum

Sacramento History Museum
Source: Ken Lund – Flickr / CC

Sacramento’s history is full of interesting stories and characters, and the Sacramento History Museum is the perfect place to learn about them.

The museum offers a wide variety of exhibits and programs that highlight different aspects of the city’s past.

For example, the “Old Sacramento” exhibit tells the story of the city’s early days as a bustling Gold Rush town, while the “Chinatown” exhibit explores the history of Chinese immigrants in Sacramento.

There are also exhibits on the city’s role in the Civil War and the development of its transportation system.

With so much to see and do, the Sacramento History Museum is a great place to spend an afternoon learning about the city’s rich history.

8. Get Outside at William Land Park

William Land Park
Source: Tony Webster – Flickr / CC

William Land Park is a great place to get out and enjoy all that Sacramento has to offer.

With over 160 acres of land, the park features a variety of activities and attractions, including a 9-hole golf course, a lakeside walking trail, and an outdoor amphitheater.

You can also rent bikes or paddleboats, or simply relax in the park’s scenic picnic areas.

Whether you’re looking for a place to play sports, take a stroll, or just soak up some sun, William Land Park is the perfect spot.

And best of all, it’s conveniently located just minutes from downtown Sacramento.

So come on out and enjoy all that the park has to offer!

9. See the Animals at the Sacramento Zoo

Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is home to more than 140 species of animals, making it one of the most diverse zoos in the country.

You can see everything from lions and tigers to flamingos and gorillas, and the zoo offers a variety of educational programs to learn more about the animals.

The Sacramento Zoo is also committed to animal conservation and works with organizations around the world to protect endangered species.

So come on down and see the animals at the Sacramento Zoo! You’ll have a roaring good time.

10. Explore Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park
Source: ray_explores – Flickr / CC

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is a great place to explore California’s early history.

The park features a replica of Sutter’s Fort, which was built in the 1840s. You can tour the fort and see how early Californians lived.

The park also has a museum with exhibits on the history of the fort and its residents.

In addition, the park offers a variety of events and programs throughout the year.

These include living history days, where visitors can experience what life was like in the fort during its heyday.

The park is also a great place to take a walk or picnic, as it has plenty of open space and scenic views.

Whether you’re interested in history or just looking for a place to relax, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is worth a visit.

11. Learn About Classic Cars at California Automobile Museum

California Automobile Museum
Source: Thad Zajdowicz – Flickr / CC

The California Automobile Museum is the perfect place for anyone who loves classic cars.

The museum features a wide variety of vehicles, ranging from early 20th-century Model Ts to 1950s muscle cars.

You can learn about the history of the automobile, and see how different technologies have shaped the way we drive today.

The museum also has a wide selection of automotive memorabilia, including photos, advertisements, and car parts.

Whether you’re a car enthusiast or just curious about the history of the automobile, the California Automobile Museum is sure to have something for you.

12. Shop at Sacramento’s Midtown Farmer’s Market

Sacramento's Midtown Farmer's Market

Sacramento’s Midtown Farmer’s Market is the perfect place to find fresh, locally-grown produce.

Every Saturday morning, farmers from all over the region come to sell their wares.

The market is a great place to chat with farmers and get to know the people who grow your food.

Of course, the produce is always excellent.

Whether you’re looking for ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce, or sweet peaches, you’re sure to find them at the Midtown Farmer’s Market.

So next time you’re looking for fresh produce, be sure to head to Sacramento’s Midtown Farmer’s Market. You won’t be disappointed.

13. Take a Walk Through Capitol Park

Capitol Park
Source: David Sawyer – Flickr / CC

Looking for a fun way to spend a few hours? Why not take a stroll through Capitol Park?

This picturesque park is located in the heart of downtown Sacramento, and it’s filled with beautiful gardens, historic monuments, and plenty of green space to explore.

The best part is that it’s completely free to visit!

So whether you’re looking for a relaxing walk or a photo op, Capitol Park is definitely worth checking out.

14. Take Your Kids to the Sacramento Children’s Museum

Sacramento Children's Museum

The Sacramento Children’s Museum is a great place to take your kids for a day of fun.

With hands-on exhibits and engaging programs, the museum is designed to spark creativity and curiosity in young minds.

Your kids can explore different cultures, learn about the natural world, and even build their own puppet show.

Plus, the museum offers FREE admission for all children under the age of 3.

So if you’re looking for a fun and educational way to spend the day with your kids, be sure to check out the Sacramento Children’s Museum.

15. View Art at the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission

Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission
Source: Golden 1 Center – Facebook

Sacramento is home to a vibrant arts scene, and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission is at the center of it all.

The Commission offers a variety of programs and services designed to support local artists and promote the arts in the community.

One of the best ways to experience the commission’s work is to view art at the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

The Commission’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more from a variety of local artists.

In addition, the Commission often hosts special exhibitions featuring the work of specific artists or groups.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the arts or just getting started, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission is a great way to explore the richness of Sacramento’s artistic tradition.

16. Visit the California State Indian Museum to Learn About Indian Culture

California State Indian Museum
Source: California State Indian Museum – Facebook

Sacramento may be best known as the state capital of California, but it is also home to a rich tapestry of cultural diversity.

One of the many hidden gems in Sacramento is the California State Indian Museum.

The museum offers a unique opportunity to learn about the state’s Native American heritage.

You can explore exhibits on the history and traditions of various tribes, try your hand at traditional crafts, and even watch a native dance performance.

The museum also features a gift shop with a wide selection of authentic Native American artwork.

With its wealth of educational resources, the California State Indian Museum is the perfect place to discover the fascinating culture of America’s first inhabitants.

17. Take a Hike in the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve

Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve
Source: Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Facebook

Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve is a great place to take a hike and explore the natural world.

The preserve is located in the Sierra foothills and features a variety of habitats, including meadows, forests, and streams.

There are also plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, such as deer, squirrels, and birds.

The best time to visit is during the spring or fall when the weather is milder.

During the summer months, the heat can be oppressive and there is often no water available.

Hiking in Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while also enjoying the beauty of nature.

18. Support the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center

Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center
Source: Michael Tipton – Flickr / CC

The Sacramento Kings are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA, and their home court is the Golden 1 Center.

Located in downtown Sacramento, the Golden 1 Center is a state-of-the-art arena that offers a unique experience for fans.

From the incredible food options to the amazing sights, there is something for everyone at the Golden 1 Center.

And of course, the Kings themselves are always worth cheering for.

So if you’re looking for a fun night out, be sure to check out the Golden 1 Center and cheer on the Sacramento Kings.

19. Check Out the Sacramento Bee Hive

Sacramento Bee Hive

The Sacramento Bee Hive is a local landmark that attracts visitors from all over the world.

The massive structure is home to millions of bees, and it’s a popular spot for honey-tasting and beekeeping classes.

The Bee Hive is also a great place to learn about the important role that bees play in our ecosystem.

Did you know that bees pollinate roughly one-third of the food we eat? Without bees, we wouldn’t have apples, almonds, or avocados!

So next time you’re in Sacramento, be sure to swing by the Bee Hive and check out this amazing place.

20. Take a Stroll Through McKinley Park

McKinley Park

Sacramento’s McKinley Park is a great place to explore on a sunny day.

With its sprawling lawns, towering trees, and picturesque ponds, the park offers something for everyone.

Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade, or take a leisurely stroll along the winding pathways.

If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a paddleboat and explore the pond, keeping an eye out for ducks and other wildlife.

No matter how you choose to spend your time, McKinley Park is sure to provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

21. Take a Tour of the Leland Stanford Mansion

Leland Stanford Mansion
Source: Loren Javier – Flickr / CC

When you tour the Leland Stanford Mansion, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

The beautiful Victorian-style mansion was built in 1856 and served as the home of California Governor Leland Stanford and his family.

For many years, the mansion was open to the public for tours and events. However, it closed its doors in 2006 for a multi-million dollar renovation.

Today, the mansion is once again open to visitors. When you tour the property, you’ll see restored features such as stunning stained glass windows and detailed woodwork.

You’ll also learn about the fascinating history of the Stanford family and their role in California politics.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique place to visit, the Leland Stanford Mansion is sure to impress.

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