What to Do and Where to Go if You’re Visiting Sacramento

Written by EJ Ray

April 10, 2024
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Sacramento offers a captivating history, beautiful outdoor landscapes, a vibrant arts scene, and locally sourced culinary delights.

Sacramento is a city that beautifully intertwines its historical charm with modern elements. Here, the harmony between nature and city life is seamless, and diversity is celebrated in every aspect. The city’s rich past, expansive green spaces, and thriving arts community create a blend of experiences tailored to all types of visitors. When planning a trip to Sacramento, it’s essential to research what to visit in Sacramento beforehand to make the most of your time in the city.

Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast seeking adventure, a food lover, or a family looking for fun and educational activities, Sacramento extends a warm welcome to all! We invite you to keep reading for our recommendations on where to visit in Sacramento.

Historical and Cultural Landmarks

Sacramento’s diverse history and culture are showcased through its landmarks and sites. Exploring these gems offers a glimpse into California’s fascinating background, unveiling stories of pivotal events and influential figures shaping the state and the country.

Old Sacramento Waterfront

The Old Sacramento Waterfront exudes charm from the 19th century era. Its quaint cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and historic architecture transport visitors back to the time of the California Gold Rush.

Historic buildings line the street in Old Town Sacramento near the waterfront.

Historic buildings line the street in Old Town Sacramento near the waterfront. Photo by pabradyphoto via iStock by Getty Images

Sacramento also boasts an array of museums, such as the California State Railroad Museum, where visitors can delve into the history of the railroad’s impact on the Western region. The lively district also offers a variety of unique stores and dining spots and the chance to enjoy a leisurely boat ride along the Sacramento River.

California State Capitol and Museum

The California State Capitol is not only the seat of the state government but also a living museum that showcases California’s rich political history and legislative process. Visitors can explore the beautiful Capitol building, which combines Neoclassical and Renaissance Revival architectural styles, and wander through Capitol Park, which features gardens, memorials, and a collection of trees from around the world. Free guided tours provide a deeper understanding of California’s government workings and the Capitol’s historical significance.

California State Capitol Building

The California State Capitol Building in Sacramento. Photo by James Michael House via iStock by Getty Images

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

Sutter’s Fort is a reminder of Sacramento’s role in shaping Westward Expansion. Founded in 1839 by Swiss immigrant John Sutter, this fort was a hub for agriculture and trade during California’s early years. It held prominence during the Gold Rush era, serving as a sanctuary for those in need and as a meeting point for gold seekers and pioneers.

Today, the fort has been transformed into a State Historic Park where guests can wander through the restored buildings and discover the way of life in California before the gold rush.

Gastronomic Pleasures

Sacramento, known as America’s Farm to Fork Capital, is a haven for food enthusiasts. The city’s culinary landscape mirrors its farming history, diverse cultural influences, and creative chefs. From farmer’s markets brimming with fresh produce to eateries that skillfully craft local ingredients into culinary delights, Sacramento offers a dining experience that is both genuine and exciting.

Embracing Farm-to-Fork

Sacramento’s status as the Farm-to-Fork Capital is not just a title. It’s a movement embraced by the entire community. The city’s geographical location, nestled within California’s fertile Central Valley, provides an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products.

Vibrant red onions stacked in a pile near many other vegetable choices at a farmers market in Sacramento, California.

Sacramento is known as the Farm-to-Table Capital for its abundant produce and great restaurants. Photo by pjoswald82 via iStock by Getty Images

Restaurants across the city, like the esteemed Prelude Kitchen & Bar, take pride in sourcing ingredients from local farms and producers. Here, diners savor seasonally inspired dishes that showcase the area’s harvest with flavors and a focus on eco-conscious practices. It serves as an example of how Sacramento seamlessly blends local customs with modern dining trends.

Exploring the Culinary Scene

Sacramento’s diverse population has contributed to the city’s rich tapestry of global cuisine. From authentic Mexican taquerias and Italian trattorias to Asian fusion eateries and Middle Eastern cafes, the city offers a world tour of flavors. This culinary diversity mirrors Sacramento’s cultural mix and enriches the local dining scene with different tastes and experiences. Food lovers can journey through unique dishes and traditional flavors from around the world in the city.

Wine Appreciation

A visit to Sacramento wouldn’t be complete without savoring its wine culture. While the city is known for its dining scene, nearby regions like the Sierra Foothills, Clarksburg, and Napa Valley offer many wine-tasting opportunities. Local wine bars in Sacramento showcase a selection of wines, allowing enthusiasts and casual drinkers to taste California’s diverse vineyard offerings. Whether joining a wine-tasting tour or relaxing at a wine bar, exploring California’s renowned wine production perfectly complements Sacramento’s farm-to-fork concept.

Outdoor Fun

With its mild climate and scenic landscapes, Sacramento offers many outdoor activities that cater to nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. From tranquil river walks to exhilarating bike trails, the city and its surroundings are a playground for those who love to explore the great outdoors.

Exploring the American River Parkway

Sacramento’s pride—the American River Parkway—serves as an oasis amidst the urban setting. This 23-mile stretch welcomes cyclists, joggers, walkers, and families with its maintained trails running alongside the picturesque American River. Due to its abundant wildlife and serene picnic areas, the parkway is an excellent spot for kayaking, fishing, and bird-watching. The American River Parkway promises an invigorating outdoor escapade, whether you seek a workout or a tranquil communion with nature.

With Folsom Lake and the South Fork of the American River at very high levels The Salmon Falls Bridge is a favorite destination of local Sacramentans.

The American River Parkway offers abundant outdoor activities. Photo by casch via iStock by Getty Images

Sacramento River Cruises

Discover Sacramento from a different perspective by embarking on a leisurely cruise along the Sacramento River. These cruises provide a way to explore the city while blending scenic beauty with historical insights. From sightseeing excursions to sunset dinner cruises, each voyage offers captivating views of Sacramento’s skyline, historic waterfront district, and verdant riverbanks. Against the serene backdrop of the river waters, it’s an excellent choice for those pursuing relaxation and a touch of romance.

Boats on American River in Old Sacramento California

Boats on the American River in Old Sacramento. Photo by ziss via iStock by Getty Images

Seasonal Celebrations

Sacramento’s annual calendar is packed with gatherings that honor the city’s rich heritage, sense of community, and natural surroundings. One standout occasion is the Sacramento Jazz Festival, where lively jazz tunes echo through the streets, attracting musicians and music enthusiasts from near and far.

Another highlight is the California State Fair, a showcase of the state’s farming traditions featuring exhibits, live performances, and delectable food samplings. Nature lovers can savor the abundance of farmers’ markets, art strolls, and cultural fiestas held throughout the year that reflect Sacramento’s community spirit.

Articles Related to Visiting Sacramento

Visiting Sacramento

Immersing yourself in Sacramento means diving into its captivating history, embracing its outdoor landscapes, delving into its vibrant arts scene, and relishing its culinary delights sourced locally. Whether meandering through Old Sacramento’s avenues, pedaling along the scenic American River Parkway, enjoying a range of artistic and entertainment offerings, or indulging in farm-fresh culinary experiences—Sacramento weaves together old-world appeal with contemporary dynamism.

Every landmark—from the Capitol building to serene river cruises to spirited seasonal celebrations—unveils a facet of Sacramento’s narrative. We encourage you to plan your visit and see its unique charms. Whether you’re looking for excitement, some downtime, or delicious food, Sacramento has a knack for turning every moment into something special. We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more to do when visiting Sacramento and other parts of Northern California.

Written by EJ Ray

EJ Ray is a traveler at heart. It is part of her soul and she loves to share her travels through her words. She has traveled the world, seeking great food, wine, and experiences. EJ was born in the Eastern US but has lived across the country and in Europe and Mexico. She also took to the road for a while, exploring from her RV. EJ always seeks the next great sip, bite, and adventure.

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