What to Do in Sacramento, CA

Things to check out while visiting the Northern California city and State Capitol

Thinking of visiting one of the most picturesque places in California? From museums, parks, bike trails, restaurants, bars, beautiful churches and historical sites, there's plenty to see in the city. 

Photo courtesy of Visit California

Be sure to look through the GiftYa database and find GiftYa electronic e-gift cards that can be used at some of the top restaurants and eateries in the country. You’ll also find e-gift cards for shopping and local attractions, giving you full access to all of the best hot spots in the United States. All of these cards conveniently download onto your debit card, giving you a secure way to enjoy your purchases!

The best way to navigate your trip to Sacramento is by planning out each step of where you want to go ahead of time. A virtual map will do. Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels.

The last thing that you want to think about is planning your travel agenda. Yes, it might be nice to find a local to give you a tour of the city but who's to say you can't do it on your own? If you're traveling to Sacramento for the first time this article can be your guide to visiting all the sites that you would like to see or might not even know about. Think of this as your travel book for on the go – keep this bookmarked so you can revisit our page whenever needed. 

Here are some of the sites in Sacramento we recommend.

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

Recreation of John Sutter’s fort with approachable docents in period attire

A young blacksmith in training at the Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is sporting period attire while learning how to create. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.

2701 L St. | Sacramento | suttersfort.org

If you're looking for a place to learn more about California State history visit one of Sacramento’s plentiful historical parks and attractions that they have to offer. There’s the Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, which takes up two city blocks. The site has costumed docents in period attire that reenact pioneer life, and is a recreation of John Sutter’s fort. They also have self guided tours with audio messages, but it’s recommended you visit when docents are around so they can answer any questions you might have about the history of the site. There’s a gift shop so you can bring home any trinkets you would like to remember. 

“Sutter's Fort is a must visit if you are interested in California history or if you enjoy fascinating places. This wasn't the first time I have been to the fort; my last visit was so long ago that it was all new to me.” - Yelp Review

The Old Sacramento State Historic Park

Old style historic buildings and landmarks

Photo courtesy of Keith A. on Yelp.

Front And I St. | Sacramento | parks.ca.gov

Another park to take a look at, The Old Sacramento State Historic Park, is located in the Old Sacramento Historic District and has a cluster of gold rush commercial statues. Historic buildings include the 1849 Eagle Theater; the 1853 B. F. Hastings Building, once home to the California Supreme Court; and the 1855 Big Four Building. Old Sacramento was made a National Historic Landmark in 1965.  With over 50 historic buildings, Old Sacramento has more buildings of historic value in its 296 acres than any area of similar size in the West.

“Over the years, this has always been my #1 go to spot in Sacramento. Yes it is touristy but it is tourism steeped in history. It is also a cornucopia of food, unique shopping and tchotchkes galore.” - Yelp Review

The Crocker Art Museum

One of the country’s finest art museums and haven for Californian art 

The Crocker Art Museum was one of the first art museums in the U.S. and is now one of the leading art institutions in California. Photo courtesy of Sacramento365.

216 O St. | Sacramento | crockerart.org

If you’re artsy and want to visit a place where the arts are appreciated, Sacramento has all the art and culture you’ll need for a day. Making one of your visit days a trip to the museum is a great way to kill some time while also having fun. Most museums also offer cafes or have places for lunch, as well as a gift shop so you can take home some trinkets. 

For example, the Crocker Art Museum, established in 1885, features one of the country’s finest collections of Californian art, exceptional holdings of master drawings, a comprehensive collection of international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The museum also hosts events all year round for people to attend. Their next show is called The Candy Store: Funk, Nut, and Other Art with a Kick which opens January 30 and is on display until May 8. The Crocker is closed every Monday and tickets average around $12 per adult, $8 for seniors and college students, and $6 for youth. 

“This museum was amazing! The staff were all very friendly and knowledgeable. The museum has a large variety of art ranging from different time periods, cultures, and art styles.” - Yelp Review

California Automobile Museum

Rolling exhibits of cars that demonstrate American history

2200 Front St. | Sacramento | calautomuseum.org

If you have a knack for old-fashioned cars, another museum to visit is the California Automobile Museum. This specialty museum is home to over 130 vehicles and rotating exhibits stemming from before the 1950s. Their next rolling exhibit will be featuring lowriding vehicle culture, starting on January 30. Tickets for admission are around $10 per person.

“The minute you walk in you're taken back in time. All of the well kept classic cars were simply amazing. There is so much history to this place. From gas efficiency to first for firsts to EVs to some being sold, I loved walking through the museum in wonder of how far we've come in cars.” - Yelp Review 

American River Bike Trail 

Picturesque biking and walking trail part of the American Discovery Trail

The American River Bicycle Trail is 32 miles (51 km) long, and is used as a major recreational destination, as well as a commuter artery for cyclists. The trail was recognized as a national trail in 1974. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.

1600 Garden Hwy | Sacramento | americanriverbiketrail.com

Sacramento is known for its picturesque views and easily accessible trails. If you're wanting to go out into nature as your retreat there are plenty of hiking and biking trails around the city and in the outskirts. Get a group together or go solo to any of these trails and you’ll have a great place to get a workout in while on the road (literally). 

Part of the American Discovery Trail, the American River Bike Trail is made exclusively for non-motorized use, and it extends throughout the city. The trail runs for 32 miles between Discovery Park in Old Sacramento and Folsom Lake's southwestern banks at Beal's Point. Another one to check out is the Sacramento River Parkway, which is a trail for both biking and walking in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. If you’re looking to rent a bike for your trip, you can visit Trek Bicycle Sacramento in Midtown, a local bike shop, to reserve a bike. 

“The trail is quite expansive, starting in Discovery Park and goes all the way to Folsom lake. As you traverse it you have access to countless parks, beaches and different activities throughout… Really an amazing place to get away from the busy city and find a little bit of nature in the middle of Sacramento county.” - Yelp Review 

California State Capitol Museum

Seat of California’s Government and a beautiful garden site

The State Capitol Building not only is beautiful, but has a museum and park attached to it for visitors. Photo by Steve from Pexels.

1315 10th St. | Sacramento | capitolmuseum.ca.gov

If you’re a history buff, Sacramento is a great place to visit. Rediscover history in the past, current and permanent exhibits, collections and historic rooms at the State Capitol Building Museum. The building serves as both a museum and the state's working seat of government. Visitors to the Capitol can at once experience California's rich history and witness the making of history through the modern lawmaking process. The building is open from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and closed on weekends. If you’re worried about the Covid pandemic or want to check it out beforehand, they also offer digital tours.

The Golden State’s also got their California State Capitol Park, which holds a Victorian style garden with statues, memorials, and monuments. In 1863, the California Governor Leland Stanford envisioned the gardens. Well over a century and a half later, California’s Capitol Park has a luxuriousness and beauty that few capitols can compete with. Some monuments include Civil War Memorial Grove, the Firefighters Memorial, Peace Officers Memorial, and the USS California Bell. 

“Great following protocols for COVID. Enjoyed the way the museum was set up, and the history. Enjoyed being able to see the government in work since the museum is located within the capitol. A great way to escape the heat and learn about California all at the same time.” - Yelp Review

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament 

Beautiful architecture and impressive pastoral services

Photo courtesy of Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

1017 11th St. | Sacramento | cathedralsacramento.org

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is considered one of three of the most historically significant buildings in Sacramento. Built at a time when Sacramento was transitioning from a mining town into a capitol city, it took many years for the building to be built to its current glory. As the mother church, it is the seat of Jaime Soto, the ordinary bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is home to the bishop's “cathedra” or bishop's seat. The cathedral is open daily for visitors, offering weekday and weekend mass. If you’re looking to catch a tour of the cathedral, English language ones are every Sunday at 9:00 am and 11:00 am.

“Now if you are coming here with the idea of comparing it to glamorous European style cathedrals, you may be let down a tad. That is not to say it is not up to par with some of them, but just keep that in mind. I will say for US standards, top notch cathedral.” - Yelp Review 

The Sacramento Zoo

Interact with zoo animals and visit with family and friends

Giraffes can stand up half an hour after they’re born. They enjoy interacting with humans and are super peaceful animals. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo

3930 W Land Park Dr. | Sacramento | saczoo.org

Visiting the Sacramento Zoo is great for those looking for fun attractions to kill some time. Visiting a zoo helps children understand the importance of taking care of the environment as it has a significant impact on the lives and welfare of animals. Zoos also teach families about the importance of conservation and animal care. Visitors can learn the unique story about each animal as they walk around the zoo. If the weather is nice and you are hoping to visit the Sacramento zoo, they offer animal exhibits, giraffe encounters, and fair rides such as the carousel, zoo train, and Serengeti Cyclone. 

“For such a small zoo they really offer a lot of diversity in terms of the animals you can see here. There's a reptile house, bird watching pond, playground, and lots of large outdoor animal enclosures with inhabitants from around the world.” - Yelp Review

Whatever places that you choose to visit, Sacramento California it's the perfect place for tourists and visitors. Whenever you're able to visit or if you're just planning your trip hopefully this can be your guide for when you start to plan your trip.

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