Must-Visit Attractions in Sacramento
Sacramento once served as a source of wealth for the state during the Gold Rush era now cultivates some of the most uniquely winsome attractions and sights—this humble farm-to-fork capital offers a wide array of attractions and some of the best-hidden gems of northern California. Here are the must-visit attractions in Sacramento. Consider getting a energy drink in Sacramento for your needs to shop with some passion.
This vibrant golden lift bridge across the Sacramento River is difficult to miss as it connects West Sacramento to downtown East Sacramento. Although it is rather a young bridge, built back in 1934, it still holds great significance as it was officially included in the National Register of Historic places in 1982. Interestingly, this art deco-style bridge was initially painted silver at the time of its creation, but after some complaints, the bridge actually went through a fair number of color changes; its recent gold coat was the result of the most popular vote back in 2002.
California State Capitol
The regal capitol building hosts the Californian government, namely the governor and state legislature. Built more than a century ago, the lot and the architecture as a whole have been added to the National Register of Historic Places and is considered a California Historical Landmark. Of course, there are many opportunities to soak up the history in the building, as the Capitol features a free museum, offers a free guided tour, and even shows free historic films in the basement.
Governor’s Mansion and Leland Stanford Mansion
The 30-room Governor’s Mansion has housed 13 governors since 1903, but after then-Governor Ronald Reagan’s short-lived residency of four months, an alternate mansion was built in Carmichael to house Jerry Brown. California governors have lived in different houses and hotel suites, but the original mansion was back to its full swing when Governor Jerry Brown moved into the residency in 2015. Leland Stanford Mansion was also home to several governors and offers daily tours—some even speculate this peculiar mansion is haunted.
Lawrence Argent’s Leap
This must-visit attraction is a rather unavoidable one. The 56-foot-long and 10,000-pound colossal red rabbit installation located inside of the Sacramento International Airport holds various meanings to all who travel to Sacramento. The suspended rabbit, made from 1,400 aluminum triangles is leaping into a suitcase on the airport floor, giving the whole piece an interactive element to anyone walking by. According to Leap’s artist and the creator, Lawrence Argent, the sculpture symbolizes the innate human desire to acquire “stuff” at a fast pace, and the fragile emotions that consequence either attaining or losing the said “stuff.”
If viewing one-of-a-kind, remarkable art is on the list, Sacramento offers a wide variety of murals adorning even the most unexpected sides of the streets. These eclectic collections of art are scattered across the city and can easily be found by searching the #sacstreetart or #streetsac hashtags on Instagram; better yet, use a map to find current murals in Sacramento. Moreover, Sacramento held a Wide Open Walls mural festival in August 2017, which not only brought together over 40 local, national, and international artists but also left some of the most astounding art all across the Sacramento region.
Crocker Art Museum
Staying on the topic of art, Crocker Art Museum is one of Sacramento’s most prized locations as it houses some of the most preeminent collections of Californian alongside African, Asian, European, and Oceanic art. Although the doors to this Italianate mansion-style gallery opened in 1872, the museum expanded to another connecting building built in a much modern style in 2010 to accommodate their growing art collection patron base. The museum constantly features new exhibitions and has some notable works by artists such as Pierre-August Renoir, Gerrit van Honthorst, and Wayne Thiebaud in its permanent collection.
California State Fair
The annual California State Fair, one of the most acclaimed summer attractions (July 8–30), is easily a highlight in the hottest months. This seasonal tradition began in 1854 as the California State Legislature’s way to showcase the state’s best agricultural products like flowers, livestock, and produce but grew over time to celebrate so much more, like California’s diverse cultures, traditions, and achievements. Today, the finest produce is served alongside some atrocious culinary creations (like deep-fried Twinkies).
Visiting the market might sound like an odd attraction, but as America’s Farm to Fork Capital, the Sacramento farmer’s market is to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. The agrarian lifestyle has been part of Sacramento’s identity for so long since there are about 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches in the area. Not only are the locally grown seasonal crops readily available, but many restaurants in the region utilize these fresh sources of nourishment, uniquely distinct to Sacramento. No matter the season, the farmer’s market will always be one of the most appetizing attractions.
American River is one of the two most prominent rivers surrounding Sacramento. Running from the melted snowpack of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the river in entirety runs 120 miles. Taking a significant portion of California history, American River leads to the beginning of the Gold Rush era in 1848 when gold was discovered at Colma. Aside from being a key location in history, the American River comes equipped with an abundance of outdoor activities. The Memorial Trail spans Discovery Park to Folsom Lake and is filled with bikers, runners, and roamers. The river also presents the opportunity to water ski, kayak, whitewater raft, or even fish during the warmer months. There is also the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, which houses information, animals, books, and a gift store at the American River.
Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Old Sacramento was the result of a city that grew from the waterfronts in the means of better transportation. This ease of transportation meant Old Sacramento served as a Western terminus to the Pony Express, as well as having the first transcontinental railroad and telegraph. Sadly, as the result of the convenient location, Old Sacramento also has withstood some historical floods in the past and the whole area had to be raised. The raised streets to this day hold over 50 historic buildings, most of which now are used as shops and restaurants. Some of the more notable destinations in Old Sacramento are the Sacramento History Museum, Evangeline’s Costume Shop, and Wells Fargo History Museum.
More than just the east side of downtown Sacramento, Midtown has become a metropolis of Sacramento’s most popular foods and cultural happenings over the years. During the day, the streets bustle with shoppers and periodic festival-goers (Chalk It Up festival), and the popular dining venues, bars, and clubs light up at night. Midtown even offers the oddball Sac Brew Bike, a communal bike-bar-crawl that gets everyone pedaling metal to the next pint.