Sacramento is a city of contrasts. It’s a former cow town where state legislators' SUVs go bumper-to-bumper with farmers' muddy, half-ton pickups at rush hour. It has sprawling suburbs, but also new lofts and upscale boutiques squeezed between aging mid-century storefronts.
The people of ‘Sac’ are a resourceful lot that have fostered small but thriving food, art and nightlife scenes. They rightfully crow about Second Saturday, the monthly Midtown gallery hop that is the symbol of the city’s cultural awakening. Their ubiquitous farmers markets, farm-to-fork fare and craft beers are another point of pride.
Discover some of the most unique and fulfilling experiences your next destination has to offer.
Add visiting these must-see local hot spots and culture centers to your next travel itinerary.
Plan a day trip full of local flavor and get back in time with these same-day options.
Ways to maximize the fun without spending a dime on your next great adventure.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Sacramento.
Welcome to the arena of the future. This gleaming home to the Sacramento Kings is one of the most advanced sports facilities in the country. Made with the highest sustainability standard, it's built from local materials, powered by solar and cooled by five-story airplane hangar doors that swing open to capture the pleasant Delta breeze.
Housed in the ornate Victorian mansion (and sprawling additions) of a railroad baron, this museum has striking architecture and an excellent collection. Works by California painters and European masters hang beside an enthusiastically curated collection of contemporary art.
This modern museum is home to the California Hall of Fame and so the only place to simultaneously encounter César Chávez, Mark Zuckerberg and Amelia Earhart. The California Indians exhibit is a highlight, with artifacts and oral histories of more than 10 tribes.
The gleaming dome of the California State Capitol is Sacramento’s most recognizable structure. A painting of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a suit hangs in the West Wing along with the other governors' portraits. Some will find Capitol Park, the 40 acres of gardens and memorials surrounding the building more interesting than what's inside. Tours run hourly from 9am to 4pm.
The historic river port next to Downtown, Old Sacramento remains the city's stalwart tourist draw. The old-fashioned Gold Rush-era atmosphere and the pervasive aroma of saltwater taffy make it good for a stroll, especially on summer evenings. California's largest concentration of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places is found here.
It’s with some irony that the Indian Museum sits in the shadow of Sutter’s Fort. The excellent exhibits and tribal handicrafts on display – including the intricately woven and feathered baskets of the Pomo – are traces of cultures nearly stamped out by the fervor Sutter ignited.
Originally built by John Sutter, this park was once the only trace of white settlement for hundreds of miles. Reserve a couple hours to stroll within its walls, where furniture, medical equipment and a blacksmith shop are straight out of the 1850s.
Known by locals as 'The Kay,' this formerly blighted neighborhood has undergone a major redevelopment effort that has transformed it into a weekend hot spot. The pedestrian mall draws a party on weekends.
Exhibits, stories and artifacts of some of Sacramento's most fascinating citizens, though much of the information is focused on the Gold Rush. Get tickets here for the Underground Tour, a 45-minute look at what's under Old Sac's streets.