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15 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Sacramento, CA

15 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, the capital of California, is a beautiful and vibrant city that offers plenty of things to do for tourists. With its array of top tourist attractions, Sacramento is a great place to visit if you’re looking for an exciting and fun-filled vacation. From its beautiful riverfront setting to its many museums and historical sites, there is something for everyone in this city. In this post, I’ll highlight the 15 Best Tourist Attractions in Sacramento. So be sure to check out some of these amazing places!

1. Old Sacramento

Right in the heart of Sacramento, you’ll find a historic district known as Old Sacramento. In the late 1860s, Sacramento was in the midst of a major economic expansion. The city grew rapidly, and new businesses and homes were built along the waterfront. This area, which became known as Old Sacramento, was the first part of Sacramento to be developed. 

Many of the original buildings in Old Sacramento have been preserved and restored, and today the district is a popular tourist destination. Some of the Gold Rush-era structures that you’ll find here include the Big Four Building, the Eagle Theater, and the B.F. Hastings Building.

Old Sacramento is also home to a number of museums, including the California State Railroad Museum and the Sacramento History Museum. In addition, there are a number of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues in the district.

During my visit to Old Sacramento, I enjoyed walking along the riverfront and checking out all the historic buildings. I also had a chance to visit some of the museums, which were all very interesting. There are many other attractions and things to do in Old Sacramento, so be sure to check out the area when you’re in town. All in all, if you’re looking for a fun and historic place to spend a day in Sacramento, then Old Sacramento is definitely the place for you.

2. California State Railroad Museum

The California State Railroad Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in Sacramento and the most popular museum in the state. The museum is home to a vast collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia dating from 1862 to 1944. These include locomotives, passenger cars, and railroad equipment.

The museum is housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts-style building, which was once the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Central Shops complex. The building was declared a California Historical Landmark in 1976 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The museum offers guided tours of its exhibits, as well as rides on a steam train and a vintage locomotive during summer. There is also the Kid’s Corner, which is designed for children aged 3-12 and features hands-on exhibits and activities. In short, this is a great place for anyone interested in trains or California history. I think it’s one of the top Sacramento attractions, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

3. Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

If you’re looking for great places in Sacramento to enjoy the outdoors and some beautiful scenery, then make sure to check out Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. This recreation area is located just a short drive from Sacramento and offers plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy.

The recreation area is spread out over 19,000 acres and offers a wide range of activities, including fishing, boating, swimming, and windsurfing. There are also several picnic areas located around the lake, as well as a number of lovely hiking trails. One of the most popular trails is the 6.3 Mile Johnny Cash Trail, which is named after the country singer who filmed a music video at the lake in 1955.

And if you want to spend an evening under the stars, the recreation area offers a number of campgrounds where you can set up your tent. There are both primitive and developed campsites available, and the area is open year-round.

I had a great time exploring the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area and enjoyed all of the activities it has to offer. You can enjoy a variety of activities here, or just relax and take in the picturesque scenery. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a day or weekend outdoors with friends and family. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Sacramento.

4. State Capitol

The State Capitol is the home of the California state government and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sacramento. The building was constructed in the 1860s and is home to the governor’s office, the California Senate, and the California Assembly.

The State Capitol is an impressive sight, with its grand dome and Corinthian columns. It’s a very imposing building, and the interior is just as lavish as the exterior. The tour of the building will take you through the Senate and Assembly chambers and give you an overview of California’s history.

There are also a number of exhibits in the Capitol that offer insight into the political process and Californian history, as well as art displays. The Capitol is open for guided tours Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (except on holidays). The guided tour provides a lot of interesting information about the Capitol and its history, so I would definitely recommend taking one if you have the time. I really enjoyed learning about the history of the building and its many interesting features.

If you’re interested in politics or government, then a visit to the State Capitol is a must-do during your stay in Sacramento. It’s an impressive building with a lot of history, and I’m sure you’ll find it just as fascinating as I did.

5. California State Indian Museum State Historic Park

Next on my list of top attractions in Sacramento is the California State Indian Museum State Historic Park. The museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting the cultures, histories, and arts of Native American people in California. It’s the only state-owned museum in the United States that focuses exclusively on the history and cultures of Native Americans.

The museum focuses on three themes: FamilyNature, and Spirit. The Family Gallery tells the story of Native American families and their traditions, while the Nature Gallery showcases the natural environment and how Native Americans have adapted to it. The Spirit Gallery displays items such as regalia, tools, and artwork that reflect the spiritual beliefs of various Native American cultures.

The museum also has the Indian Basketry Collection, which is the largest and most comprehensive collection of baskets in the world. The baskets were made for many different purposes, including storage, cooking, and transportation. The Museum Store sells a wide range of Native American art and crafts, including baskets, jewelry, pottery, and textiles.

In general, this is a fascinating museum that provides a unique perspective on the history and culture of Native Americans in California. So if you’re interested in Native American culture, this is definitely a museum you won’t want to miss.

6. American River Bike Trail

If you’re looking for things to do in Sacramento, the American River Bike Trail is a great option. The trail is also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail in honor of the explorer who first discovered the American River.

This scenic trail follows the American River for 32 miles, from Folsom Lake to Old Sacramento. The trail is well-maintained and easy to ride, perfect for riders of all ages and abilities.

Along the way, you’ll enjoy views of the river, as well as plenty of opportunities to stop and rest or explore side trails. The bike trail is popular with both locals and visitors, so you’re sure to find plenty of people to chat with as you enjoy the scenery. And if you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the route. In addition to cycling, the American River Bike Trail can also be enjoyed by runners, walkers, and roller-bladers.

All in all, the American River Bike Trail is a great way to see some of the top Sacramento attractions. So be sure to add it to your list of things to do in Sacramento. Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or just looking for a leisurely way to sightsee, this trail is definitely worth checking out.

7. Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

If you’re interested in Sacramento’s history, then you definitely shouldn’t miss a visit to Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. This historical landmark is named after John Sutter, the man who originally built the fort in 1839. He is the man who famously welcomed the ill-fated gold-seekers in 1848 and started the California Gold Rush.

The park is now a museum and living history site that tells the story of California’s early settlers. It contains original buildings as well as exhibits on early California life, the Gold Rush, and the cultural diversity of the state. There are also activities and programs for visitors, such as living history demonstrations, hands-on exhibits for children, and special events.

The park offers visitors a chance to experience life in the early days of California and learn about the important role the fort played in the state’s history.

I really enjoyed learning about Sacramento’s history at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. If you’re interested in the city’s past, then this is definitely a place you need to visit. It’s also a great spot for kids, as they can learn about California’s history in a fun and interactive way.

8. Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is one of the top tourist attractions in Sacramento and a great place to visit with kids. Its home to more than 500 animals, representing 125 species from all over the world.

Some of the zoo’s most popular exhibits include the African lion habitat, the Australian walk-through aviary, and the Gorilla Forest. The zoo is also well known for its conservation and breeding programs for endangered species.

One of my favorite things about the Sacramento Zoo is that it’s so compact and easy to navigate. You can see most of the animals in a few hours, making it the perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon. You can learn all about the animals through educational talks and tours or simply enjoy observing them in their natural habitats.

I really enjoyed my visit to Sacramento Zoo. It’s well laid out, with plenty of exhibits to keep you entertained for a few hours. I think it’s a great place to take kids as they will be able to see all sorts of animals from around the world. The zoo is also very affordable, making it a great value for a day out in Sacramento.

9. Sacramento Mural Tour

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Sacramento, why not check out the city’s amazing mural art scene? Sacramento is home to some of the most vibrant and eclectic murals in the country, and there’s no better way to take them all in than on a guided mural tour.

The tours are led by local artists and knowledgeable guides who will take you on a fascinating journey through the city’s history, culture, and art scene. You’ll get to see murals in all different parts of the city, from the hip and trendy Midtown district to the energetic Downtown area.

Your guide will give you lots of information about the art and the artists who created it, as well as about the history and culture of Sacramento. You’ll learn about the neighborhoods where the murals are located and hear some great stories and anecdotes about Sacramento’s past. 

Tours typically last around two hours, and they cover a distance of around two miles. And during the tour, you’ll see everything from old classics to new pieces.

The tour is a great way to see some of Sacramento’s best street art and learn about the city’s history and culture. These tours are great for all ages, so bring your friends and family along for a fun and unique experience. 

10. California Automobile Museum

If you’re into cars and automotive history, then the California Automobile Museum is a must-visit tourist attraction in Sacramento. The museum is home to an impressive collection of over 120 classic cars and trucks.

The museum tells the story of the automobile and its impact on California and the world. It features cars from all over the globe, including rare and one-of-a-kind specimens. Many of the vehicles are from the late 1800s and early 1900s, making it a fascinating look at automotive history.

There are also interactive exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages. You can explore the history of the car through exhibits on how they’re designed and manufactured, learn about the people who built and drove them, and even take a spin in a classic car.

The museum also holds special events throughout the year, such as Drive-in Movie Nights, where you can watch a classic film in your car on the museum’s lawn.

The California Automobile Museum is an absolute must for auto enthusiasts, but even those without a particular interest in cars will find something to enjoy here. It’s a great place to learn about the history of transportation and see some beautiful classic cars. I definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Sacramento.

11. KennedyGold Mine

Another one of the top tourist attractions in Sacramento that I highly recommend is the KennedyGold Mine. This is a living history museum that tells the story of the American Gold Rush. This mine was in production from 1856 to 1942.

Today, the park offers visitors a chance to explore the mine’s tunnels and learn about its history. You can tour the mine shaft, learn about the tools and techniques of gold mining, and see how the miners lived and worked. There is also a Visitor Center on site, which tells the story of the Gold Rush and provides interesting exhibits on the history of Sacramento. Exhibits include antique mining equipment, photographs, maps, and artifacts.

This mine is located in the town of Jackson, just a short drive from Sacramento. This town has a rich history and was an important center of the Gold Rush. There are several other buildings in the Jackson Historic District that are open for tours, which will give you a complete picture of this important time in American history.

I really enjoyed my visit to the KennedyGold Mine and found it to be a fascinating look into Sacramento’s history. If you’re interested in learning about the Gold Rush era or just want to explore some old mines, then this is definitely a place you should visit. It’s great for all ages and makes for a fun and educational day out.

12. McKinley Park

There’s no shortage of things to do in Sacramento, and McKinley Park is a great place to visit. This beautifully landscaped park was originally established in the 1870s and named after William McKinley, who would later become the 25th president of the United States.

Located East of Sacramento, the park is home to a wide variety of attractions, including a playground, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and a softball field. There’s also a scenic walking trail that winds its way through the park, making it the perfect place to get some fresh air and take in the sights and sounds of Sacramento. And on hot summer days, the park’s swimming and wading pool provide a welcome respite from the heat.

The highlight of McKinley Park for me was the rose garden. This colorful garden features over 1,200 rose bushes of more than 60 different varieties. I was really taken by the beauty of the roses and spent quite some time admiring them.

McKinley Park is a great place for a walk, a picnic, or just to relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s one of the top attractions in the city and offers plenty of things to see and do. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time here.

13. California Museum

The California Museum in Sacramento is one of the state’s most popular attractions. Located in the heart of the capital city, the museum features a wide variety of exhibits on California history and culture. Visitors can explore the museum’s collections on topics such as the Gold Rush, the sidewheel steamboat era, and the life of Native Americans in California.

The museum is also home to the California Hall of Fame, which honors noteworthy Californians such as Walt Disney, Clint Eastwood, and Dr. Maya Angelou. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the California Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year.

One of the highlights of a visit to the California Museum is its impressive architecture. The main building is an imposing structure with a grand entryway and a sweeping staircase. It’s well worth a visit just to see the building, but the exhibits inside are equally fascinating.

So if you’re interested in learning more about California’s history and culture, then be sure to visit the California Museum in Sacramento. There’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun day out with the family, this museum is definitely worth a visit. It’s no wonder that it is one of the top tourist attractions in Sacramento.

14. Midtown

Midtown Sacramento is a vibrant and eclectic district that offers something for everyone. This centrally located neighborhood is home to a diverse mix of businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues, as well as a growing art scene.

You can find all sorts of unique shops and boutiques in Midtown, including independent bookstores, record stores, and vintage clothing shops. There are also plenty of great places to eat, with everything from food trucks to high-end restaurants.

Midtown is also home to some top-notch entertainment venues, including the Sacramento Kings basketball team’s home arena, Golden 1 Center, and the Community Theater Company. The district is constantly alive with activity, whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or just want to wander the streets and take in the sights and sounds.

I had a great time wandering around Midtown Sacramento and discovering all of its hidden gems. If you’re looking for a fun and eclectic neighborhood to explore, then Midtown is definitely the place for you. So be sure to add it to your list of top things to do in Sacramento.

15. Fairytale Town

Located in Sacramento’s William Land Park, Fairytale Town is a top family attraction and one of the most popular spots in the city for children. Founded in 1959, this 3.5-acre amusement park is designed to look like a storybook town, with gingerbread houses and stone bridges.

The park is home to 25 life-sized fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters, including Humpty Dumpty, the Three Bears, and the Big Bad Wolf. In addition to the storybook character, the park also features a replica of an old-fashioned carousel, a puppet theater, a mini-farm, and a playground. There are also picnic areas and a small cafe for refreshments.

Fairytale Town is a great place to take your kids for an afternoon of fun and excitement. They’ll love exploring all the different areas of the park and meeting the colorful characters from their favorite fairy tales. Be sure to bring your camera, as there are plenty of photo opportunities here.

Overall, Fairytale Town is a great family attraction in Sacramento. It’s a fun and affordable way to keep the kids entertained for a few hours. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you’re in the area, and I’m sure you’ll have a great time here.

In summary

These are just a few of the top tourist attractions in Sacramento. There’s definitely something for everyone in this vibrant and diverse city. So if you’re planning a trip here, be sure to include some of these top attractions on your list. You won’t regret it!

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