Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Folsom, California, a city steeped in Gold Rush history and bursting with natural beauty.
From the historic streets that echo tales of a bygone era to the thrilling wildlife sanctuaries, Folsom offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every type of traveler.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, a foodie, or a shopaholic, this city has something for you.
This article will guide you through 20 of the best things to do and attractions in Folsom, promising an unforgettable journey through this charming city.
So, buckle up and get ready to explore the wonders of Folsom, where every corner holds a new adventure.
Things To Do In Folsom
1. Take A Stroll Through Historic Folsom
The history of Folsom is quite interesting. It all started when gold was discovered in the American River in 1848, which led to a California Gold Rush. Folsom became a well-known stopover for miners headed to the Sierra Nevada foothills in search of gold.
By 1853, the town had grown to over 2,500 residents and was home to more than 100 businesses, including 30 hotels. However, things took a turn for the worse when the population started to decline as mining operations diminished.
The city began revitalizing itself and has become a thriving community with a rich history. Historic Folsom is a great place to stroll around, with its many shops and restaurants.
Be sure to check out Sutter Street, the main drag, which is lined with historic buildings. This is also where you’ll find most of the shops and restaurants.
The highlight of my stroll was along Sutter Street. As I mentioned before, it is lined with beautiful historic buildings.
Many of these buildings have been converted into shops and restaurants, giving the street a unique atmosphere. In addition, this is where most of Folsom’s events occur.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Saturday farmers market that was taking place.
That said, a stroll through this historic district is one of the coolest things to do in Folsom. Remember to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
2. Get Your Thrill On At The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary
One of the attractions in Folsom that I was most excited about was the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary. And as the name suggests, it’s a sanctuary for animals rather than a zoo.
Founded in 1963, the sanctuary is home to nearly 100 animals, most of whom have been rescued.
The animals include bobcats, tigers, mule deer, coyotes, bears, bobcats, wolf hybrids, mountain lions, and much more.
The sanctuary also offers a variety of programs, such as docent-led tours, animal feedings, and Zookeeper Camps.
The best part about the sanctuary is that it’s located within Folsom City Lions Park, which offers plenty of things to do. In addition to the zoo, the park has hiking trails, a playground, and picnic areas.
Location: 403 Stafford St, Folsom, CA 95630, United States.
3. Spend The Day Outdoors At Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Are you feeling a bit cooped up from all the things to do indoors in Folsom? Then, enjoy the fresh air at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. This is one of the best places to go for a hike, bike ride, or just picnics.
The recreation area encompasses over 19,000 acres of land. There are two reservoirs and over 100 miles of trails to choose from, so you’ll definitely find something to suit your taste.
I recommend starting at the Beals Point area, the most popular spot in the recreation area.
There are plenty of things to do here, so you can easily spend an entire day (or more) exploring all that this place has to offer. Just be sure to bring sunscreen, as it can get quite warm during summer.
Location: 7755 Folsom-Auburn Rd, Folsom, CA 95630, United States
4. Visit The Folsom Prison Museum
For something different, head to the Folsom Prison Museum. I understand that this might not sound like the most exciting thing to do, but it’s actually quite interesting.
The museum is located inside the Folsom Prison and provides a glimpse into what life is like for the inmates.
You’ll get to see things like artifacts, photographs, and even contraband that have been confiscated from the prisoners.
You’ll also learn about the history of the prison and some of the attempted escapes that have taken place over the years.
I spent about two hours walking around the museum. It would have been longer, but I had to leave for my next destination. However, I can confidently say that it is one of Folsom’s attractions that is worth a visit.
Location: 312 3rd St, Represa, CA 95671, United States.
5. Go On A Wine Tasting Tour
Did you know that there are over 30 wineries in the Folsom area? This makes it the perfect place to go for a wine-tasting tour. There are many different tours to choose from, so you’ll be able to find one that fits your schedule and budget.
I would recommend doing some research before booking a tour, as some are better than others. I did a wine-tasting tour with the Bk Best Wine Tasting Tours, and it was a great experience. We visited four different wineries and learned a lot about the wine-making process.
If you’re a fan of wine (or just looking for fun things to do in Folsom that are unique), then going on a wine-tasting tour is what you need to do.
6. Catch A Show At The Harris Center
Are you a fan of the arts? If so, you’ll want to catch a show at the Harris Center. This performing arts center is one of the best places to visit in Folsom, CA, for cultural experiences.
The Harris Center is home to three different theaters, each with its own unique atmosphere. The main theater has a capacity of 850 people and hosts a variety of shows throughout the year. The smaller theaters are perfect for more intimate performances.
I had the chance to see a play at the main theater, and it was an enjoyable experience. The seats were comfortable, and the acoustics were great. I would definitely recommend checking out a show at the Harris Center if you’re looking for fun things to do in Folsom, CA.
Location: 10 College Pkwy, Folsom, CA 95630, United States
7. Learn About Local History At The Folsom Historical Museum
It’s always good to learn about the history of the place you are visiting. That way, you can appreciate the things you see around you more. If you want to learn about the history of Folsom, then you should visit the Folsom Historical Museum.
The museum is located in the historic Sutter Street District, which is the perfect place to learn about the city’s rich history. The museum contains many interesting exhibits, including photographs and antique tools. You can also see how the city has changed over the years through the many exhibits.
Location: 823 Sutter St, Folsom, CA 95630, United States.
8. Take A Ride On The Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad
You’ll be missing out if you don’t take a ride on the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad. This historic railroad is 15 miles long and runs from Folsom to Latrobe, California.
The trip takes about 90 minutes out and back, and you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful sights in Folsom along the way.
I had the pleasure of riding this railroad back in 2019, and it was a great experience. We rode on a Skagit 1936 Motorcar, which had a capacity of around 20 people.
The ride was very smooth, and the scenery was simply stunning. The conductor was also very knowledgeable and told us about the history of the railroad. I had fun, and I’m sure you will too!
9. Go For A Swim At The Steve Miklos Aquatic Center
The moment you feel the heat, the first thing that comes to mind is taking a dip in the pool.
Folsom is home to the Steve Miklos Aquatic Center, which is the perfect place to cool off on a hot day. The center features a 50-meter pool, a diving well, and a children’s pool.
There are also a variety of classes offered, such as water aerobics and lap swimming. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Folsom with kids, this is definitely the place to go.
They’ll have a blast splashing around in the pool while you enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.
Location: 1200 Riley St, Folsom, CA 95630, United States.
10. Visit The Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park
If there’s one place you can’t miss while in Folsom, it’s the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park. This is one of the most popular places in the city, and for a good reason.
The Folsom Powerhouse is a National Historic Landmark that was built in 1895. It is also one of the oldest hydroelectric power plants in the world and played a major role in the development of California’s electrical grid.
The powerhouse ceased operations in 1952 when the diversion dam cut off the water source.
Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Folsom and is open for tours. You can learn about the powerhouse’s history and see how it operated. The tours are very interesting, and I would highly recommend them.
Location: 9980 Greenback Ln, Folsom, CA 95630, United States
11. Take A Ride On The Folsom Valley Railway
You don’t want to leave Folsom without taking a ride on the Folsom Valley Railway. This is a historic narrow-gauge railway that offers steam-powered trains.
The railway runs through some of the most scenic parts of Folsom, so it’s a great way to see the city. The ride takes about ten minutes around a 5-mile loop.
Taking a ride on the Folsom Valley Railway is one of the great activities in Folsom for families or anyone who loves trains.
The ride is relatively cheap and a great way to see the city. Just be sure to get your tickets in advance, as they do sell out quickly.
Location: 50 Natoma St, Folsom, CA 95630, United States.
12. Try Local Craft Beer At Red Bus Brewing Company
Anybody who knows me knows that I love beer. So, of course, one of the things on my list of fun things to do in Folsom was to visit a local brewery. And Red Bus Brewing Company did not disappoint.
This brewery offers a variety of different beers, from IPAs to Oatmeal Stouts. The brewery also has a food menu with a few things to choose from, such as sandwiches, pizzas, wings, etc.
I recommend checking out this brewery if you’re a craft beer fan. It’s a great place to relax and try something new.
Location: 802 Reading St Unit A, Folsom, CA 95630, United States.
13. Shop ‘Til You Drop At The Folsom Premium Outlets
Folsom is home to one of the best outlet malls in Northern California. The Folsom Premium Outlets offer more than 80 stores, including some of the most popular brands, such as Adidas, Nike, and Gap.
This is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a good deal on some new clothes or shoes. I was able to find some great deals on Nike sneakers and Adidas sweatshirts.
The prices are already quite reasonable, but you can save even more by taking advantage of the many sales that are always going on.
If you love shopping, this is definitely one of the best spots in Folsom. Carry your wallet (and maybe a credit card), as you’ll be tempted to buy everything.
14. Get A Taste Of Japanese Culture At Gekkeikan Sake
Folsom is home to the Gekkeikan Sake US Brewery, the only sake brewery in North America. Sake is a traditional Japanese rice wine that has been around for over 2,000 years.
The brewing process is quite fascinating, and you can learn all about it on a tour of the brewery.
The tour lasts about 30 minutes and includes tasting different types of sake. I have to say that the tours are very well done and informative.
They offer a great insight into the brewing process, as well as the history of sake.
Even if you’re not a big fan of sake, I would still recommend taking a tour. It’s a great way to learn about Japanese culture and try something new.
Location: 1136 Sibley Street, Folsom, CA 95630, USA.
15. Play A Round Of Golf At One Of Folsom’s Many Golf Courses
Folsom is a golfer’s paradise, with over a dozen golf courses to choose from. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, you’ll find a course that suits your level.
Some of the most popular courses include the Serrano Country Club, Empire Ranch Golf Club, and the Granite Bay Golf Club.
So if you’re looking for fun things to do in Folsom that are a bit more active, then playing a round of golf is definitely for you.
Bring your clubs (and some extra cash for green fees) as you won’t be able to borrow any at the course.
16. Take Your Kids To Seaquest Folsom
Do you have kids that are begging you to take them somewhere fun? Why not take them to Seaquest Folsom?
This place is perfect for kids of all ages, as there are plenty of things to see and do.
Seaquest is an interactive aquarium with over 1,200 different animals representing over 300 species. Your kids will be able to pet stingrays, feed lorikeets, and even see sharks up close.
In addition to the animals, there are also many interactive exhibits. The best part is that kids (and adults) can spend as much or as little time here as they want.
Therefore, this makes it one of the top attractions in Folsom and a great way to spend a day with your kids.
17. Enjoy The Culinary Scene
One thing about Folsom that I was surprised by was the culinary scene. I know that might not seem like something that would be worth mentioning, but trust me, it is.
There are some really great restaurants here, ranging from casual to fine dining.
Some of the best foods to try in Folsom are tri-tip sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, and freshly-baked pastries. There are also a number of great places to get coffee if that’s what you’re into.
I sampled a bit of everything during my time in Folsom, and I have to say that I was impressed. Therefore, if you’re a foodie, then you’ll want to add this to your list of the best things to do in Folsom.
18. Hike The Johnny Cash Trail
Named after the famous country singer, the Johnny Cash Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that runs along the American River.
This is a great place to go for a hike or a run, and you’ll get some stunning views of the river along the way.
This trail passes through Folsom Prison, so you’ll definitely want to check out the prison museum before embarking on your hike.
The trail itself is relatively flat and easy to follow, making it suitable for all fitness levels.
One of the best things about this trail is that it has eight larger-than-life pieces of art that pay tribute to Johnny Cash.
These sculptures are definitely worth checking out, even if you’re not a fan of the singer.
19. Have Fun At Lake Natoma
Located within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Lake Natoma is one of the must-see attractions in Folsom.
Do you know what makes this place so special? Well, it’s the perfect spot for watersports!
Whether you enjoy kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, rowing, water skiing, boating, or swimming, you’ll be able to do it here.
There are also many different beaches to choose from, so you can find one that suits your needs.
In addition to all of the things you can do in the water, there are also plenty of hiking and biking trails. So, if you want to involve yourself with other fun activities in Folsom, this is the place to be.
Location: 7755 Folsom-Auburn Rd, Folsom, CA 95630, USA.
20. Enjoy Folsom’s Nightlife
After a long day of exploring all the best things to do in Folsom, it’s time to relax and enjoy the nightlife.
Folsom has a surprisingly lively nightlife scene, with many bars and clubs to choose from.
One of the best things about Folsom’s nightlife is that there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere, then head to a bar like The Brewhouse.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to dance the night away, then clubbing is more your scene. No matter what your taste, you’ll find a place to enjoy Folsom’s nightlife.