Sacramento is a charming city with many experiences available for all types of travelers. There are a variety of cultural and recreational attractions in Sacramento to enjoy when you visit.
It is the state capital of California. This creates ample opportunities to experience history. It is especially a perfect place for those that enjoy outdoor activities.
The city is named "the city of trees" for a reason, and you will see why. There are many hiking trails, arboretums, and gardens around the city.
With close proximity to San Francisco, Sacramento is an ideal day trip. Sacramento is an unlikely unsung hero of California destinations. There is a myriad of things to do in Sacramento.
Be sure to add the following Sacramento attractions to your itinerary to guarantee a fantastic vacation.
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Old Town is one of the best Sacramento attractions to connect with the history. Step back in time to the Gold Rush era and enjoy this historical area.
It is right on the waterfront, which is nice to walk along and view. Be sure to check out the Pony Express Statue. Also, there are horse-drawn carriage rides along the cobblestone streets for an immersive experience.
There is a great selection of bars and restaurants. This gives Old Town a pretty lively nightlife to engage in. Our favorite selection for a bar that meets history would be the River City Saloon.
It was originally a bar in a house of “ill-repute”. It was once a rowdy and unruly saloon. A true example of the wild west. There has been a saloon in this location since 1871. It is worth a visit if you are in Old Town.
Address: Old Sacramento, CA
William Land Park is one fabulous city park. It is one of the most popular things to do in Sacramento for locals.
While it is not very large, it is overflowing with activities for all to enjoy. They have a golf course, basketball courts, and a playground.
There are plenty of places to picnic as well. There is a charming rock garden to enjoy a meditative stroll in.
With the availability of a swimming pool and a children's wading pool area, this is also the location of some great fun for kids.
Come here for fun at Fairytale Town or the Sacramento Zoo as well (more information below).
Address: 3800 W Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822
Journey on over to the State Capitol Museum to learn more about California and enjoy the architecture.
The rotunda of the capitol is common in US capitol buildings. They are excellent examples of beautiful architecture.
You can come here to learn about California's legislative history. There are multiple exhibits to explore.
Venture outside to take a walk through the park. It is 40 acres and quite impressive. There are monuments scattered throughout commemorating American wars and history.
There is a cool native plants garden within the park featuring interesting cacti and succulents. The World Peace Rose Garden is also quite beautiful. The park may even outshine the State Capitol Museum to some.
Address: 1315 10th St room b-27, Sacramento, CA 95814
There are many beautiful places in Sacramento the locals love, but this has to be one of the most well-loved. This sweet little spot in the city of trees has a little bit of everything.
You can come and camp here, RVs included. You can also swim in the American River while you explore this spot.
The Jedediah Smith Bike Trail begins here so biking is a possibility as well. Plus, there is a boat launch and fishing available (permit required).
There is also an archery zone if it pleases you! There are great picnic areas for a BBQ, too. Dogs are also welcome.
It is quite a large park expanding over 300 acres, offering many adventures. Whether you spend the night or just have lunch, you will enjoy the sights and sounds of Discovery Park.
Address: 1600 Garden Hwy, Sacramento, CA 95833
Also Read: The Most Beautiful Cities in California
This museum is one of the best places to go in Sacramento if you have kids ages eight and under.
It is an interactive museum that focuses on child development. Children will enjoy hands-on exhibits covering many topics like science and art. The staff is friendly and helpful.
They offer music enrichment programs and programs for children with disabilities. Their Discovery Play Program for disabled children is unlike any you will find.
They are sensitive and create exceptional programs for the kiddos. During Covid-19, they have virtual movie offerings. They also have a subscription box program.
Address: 3615 Auburn Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95821
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is one of the best places in Sacramento for outdoor activities.
There are miles of hiking trails. One such popular trail is the 6.3 Mile Johnny Cash Trail. It commemorates the country musician who famously recorded an album at nearby Folsom Prison in 1955.
There are huge art displays along the way. You can use your phone for an audio tour along the way as well.
Some of the popular activity at the park includes windsurfing, swimming and fishing. There are showers, restrooms, and picnic areas. A great feature of the park is that it has multiple ADA accessible areas.
For those looking for an overnight stay, camping is available in the park. Dogs are allowed at Folsom Lake, but there are some restrictions. Check out their website for all park restrictions.
Address: 7755 Folsom-Auburn Rd, Folsom, CA 95630
When you visit Sacramento, your trip will not be complete without some wine tasting.
California is world-renowned for its wine. Sacramento and the surrounding areas are no exception.
It is a great way to spend the day driving to wineries tasting libations and enjoying tapas. Julietta and Fransinetti Wineries are must-stops. The Underground Tasting Room downtown is a good stop too.
It is not common to have the opportunity to tour a meadery and try different types of mead. However, this is a fun twist on your typical wine tasting tour. They have mead in many forms. Think cranberry, dragonfruit, or classic mead.
When you come to this arboretum, you will understand why it is on this list of top Sacramento attractions. It is such a nice park and public garden, complete with a winding creek.
The view of Putah Creek adds to the magic of this place. It is open to the public 24 hours a day and is one of the best sights to see in Sacramento.
Extensive plant collections are ranging from Redwoods to cactus, Asian to the Mediterranean, and Australia.
They have some excellent exhibits branching from the UC Davis GATEway program (Gardens, Arts, and The Environment).
Some include gorgeous plant-made archways and a hummingbird garden. That is just scratching the surface as to what you can expect from the incredible UC Davis Arboretum.
Address: 448 La Rue Rd, Davis, CA 95616
Midtown Sac is a great place to go for great dining and nightlife. If you are wondering what to do in Sacramento, start in Midtown and begin exploring.
It is full of unique and entertaining restaurants. Many spots here feature live music like jazz and funk.
Harlows is one of the best places for high-quality music acts in the area. Check out Esquire Grill for a meal in a funky outdoor garden.
The unique bar in this area has to be the popular Dive Bar. You will be immersed in an underwater wonderland at this 21+ only venue.
It is complete with women dressed as mermaids swimming in a massive saltwater tank. The tank is home to 15 species of tropical fish.
Address: Midtown Sacramento, CA
The State Indian Museum is undoubtedly one of the top Sacramento tourist attractions. The museum focuses on the Native American art, culture, and life of the first inhabitants.
There are many exhibits on display featuring rare artifacts and photographs dedicated to the honoring California Elders.
Amazingly, some artifacts are more than 2400 years old. This includes ceremonial clothing, beadwork, a dugout canoe, hunting, and fishing artifacts.
Address: 2618 K St, Sacramento, CA 95816
Sacramento is situated along the Sacramento River. This means access to the water is extensive in and around Sacramento.
There are ample opportunities for whitewater rafting and river adventures of all sorts. It is one of our favorite Sacramento attractions.
Folsom Lake State Recreation area is a popular spot for kayaking or canoeing.
In nearby Fair Oaks, try River Raft Rental and Bike for adventures along the lower American River. Their whitewater trips include a BBQ lunch.
Head east of the city for whitewater rafting tours on the American River in a more remote setting. Head out to Placerville, Coloma, or Lotus CA to find outfitters for your water adventure in Sacramento.
Crocker Art Museum is home to a collection of Californian art. A lot of it dates back to the Gold Rush era. They also have one of the largest international ceramics collections in the world.
You can connect with Asian, African, and Oceanic art here, too. Additionally, they have a collection of master drawings and European paintings.
Another fun fact about this museum is that it is the oldest museum west of the Mississippi River, established in 1855.
They have children’s art and music programs. They also have classes and special events at the museum for everyone to have the chance to participate in.
Address: 216 O St, Sacramento, CA 95814
Also Read: 20 Best Art Museums in the USA
This multi-use trail is 32 miles long. It runs at the junction of the Sacramento and American Rivers. It begins in Old Sacramento at Discovery Park and runs to Beals Point at Folsom Lake in Folsom.
You will traverse the city past parks and beaches. You may see wild turkeys and deer along the trail. There are impressive bridges with excellent views. The Guy West Bridge is incredibly cool. It is a suspension bridge with grand vistas of the city.
There are also some amenities along the way. You will find restrooms, water fountains, and phones on the path. There are also many picnic areas to rest and recharge.
Take a trip out of town and head to Jackson for a tour of the Kennedy Gold Mine.
The Kennedy Mine is a historic mine that was once-booming. They excavated millions of dollars worth of gold here.
It is one of the deepest mines in the world. They offer tours daily. You can also use the hiking trail there if you please.
Jackson itself is a lovely town to visit for some more Wild West history. The Jackson Historic District will provide all the feels of an old western town.
There are multiple cute little shops and cafes in town. Stay at The National Hotel to enhance this experience. This supposedly haunted hotel was built in 1862 and has all the charm in California.
Address: 12594 Kennedy Mine Rd, Jackson, CA 95642
The McKinley Park Rose Garden is one of the coolest things to do in Sacramento. There are lots of recreation opportunities available at this park. This includes a swimming pool and a wading pool.
There is also an art and garden center. The jungle gyms here are also a crowd-pleaser among small kids. It has a great adventure set and a rock wall. Plus, there are horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, and tennis courts.
McKinley Park is an excellent spot to spend an afternoon with the family and a picnic. Or, stroll through the rose garden with your sweetheart. The Rose Garden is located in the park and is mainly used for events. It is a beautiful spot to check out.
Address: 3255 H St, Sacramento, CA 95816
The California State Railroad Museum is the most prominent in North America. It is located in Old Town Sacramento.
The exhibits are extensive and quite large. The museum has been featured in many movies throughout the years. Some examples would be Iron Horse (1924), Union Pacific (1939), Rock Island Trail (1949), Last Stagecoach West (1957), Pollyanna (1959), Wild Wild West (1999), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), and more. This is one of the most iconic attractions in Sacramento.
The activity centers are great for kids. They feature a storytime as well. They have train ride excursions, tours, and movies available to enrich your experience.
Address: 125 I St, Sacramento, CA 95814
Looking to visit other amazing places in California? Check out our lists of things to do in San Diego & things to do in Los Angeles!
The Sacramento Zoo is located in William Land Park. The zoo is home to birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, and reptiles. See big cats like lions, African lemurs, or majestic ostrich.
They focus on wildlife conservation at this zoo, of course. They share information on this at their daily shows.
There are some great amusements at the Sacramento Zoo as well. You can find yourself climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or whipping through a cyclone.
There are a carousel and a zoo train, too! Their Giraffe Encounters experience allows visitors to feed the giraffes for an up-close and personal view of these gentle giants.
For anyone looking for family-friendly things to do in Sacramento, this is the place to go!
Address: 3930 W Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822
Come to the First Friday Oak Park for a lovely night of fun. It happens on the first Friday of every month. People from all walks of life come to this event. It is diverse and full of enriching experiences.
Live music is a large part of the city's culture. You will see some of the best local acts during the First Friday festivities.
You can also check out the artwork of all kinds and specialty vendors.
A night market is not complete without great choices for food and drink. Find craft beers and great eats. This is a great activity to attend to get to know Sacramento locals.
Address: 3433 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95817
Roseville is one of the best places to visit in Sacramento for a pretty stellar nightlife. One of the most popular of these nightlife experiences lies with the Food Truck Cinema.
They show movies amongst amazing food vendors. You can wander into a craft beer garden or wine bar as well. It is a great time underneath the sky.
You can also come to Roseville for great live music. Try House of Oliver if you like Jazz.
Additionally, if you like shopping, Roseville is a good place for you to go. The Westfield Galleria is one of the largest malls in the state and has hundreds of shopping options available nearby. It is surrounded by some other shopping areas and an REI.
Fairytale Town is a popular kids attraction in Sacramento that focuses on learning and education of children.
It is ideal for kids ages eight and under. Kids will love sliding down Jack's Beanstalk or ride in Cinderella's Carriage. They can water and play in the gardens.
There is also a petting zoo where they can meet Mary's lambs. The Crooked Mile is of the most beloved play structures here.
You can have a meal at the cafe in the park or bring a picnic. There are picnic areas strewn around the amusements.
Address: 3901 Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822
The weather in Sacramento is warm most of the year. It is especially hot and dry in the summer months.
A trip to raging waters is just the thing to cool off in the warm California sun. It is a great little option when it comes to vacation spots in Sacramento.
Many water-filled adventures are waiting for you. There is a great lazy river for those that want to relax.
Seeking thrills instead? There are multiple slides sure to get the heart pumping as you wind and plummet along. There are kiddie slides and a wading pool, too.
There is a volleyball net as well, if that is your thing. They also rent VIP cabanas as a bonus for your day in the park.
Address: 1600 Exposition Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95815
Sutter’s Fort is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Sacramento. The history is a huge draw. The location was originally settled by Swiss Immigrant John Sutter. It was later overrun by those seeking wealth during the Gold Rush Era of the 1800s.
There is an excellent collection of artifacts to view. There is also a trappers camp that puts on shows to teach about the history of trapping in the region. It is undoubtedly a great park to visit to understand the old American frontier.
While the gold rush was a pivotal point in California history, there is also a rich history of indigenous peoples living in the area. The park does not have much representation of native Americans in the region. This is something they are trying to change.
Address: 2701 L St, Sacramento, CA 95816
Everyone loves a walk outside, so why not enjoy some forest bathing at Sac State Arboretum. They have some impressive botanical gardens, including an area featuring prehistoric plants called Jurassic Park.
It is not very big as many arboretums go, but it is a lovely oasis in a city setting. If you want to learn about plants or just admire them, this is a great stop for you. This is definitely among the excellent things to see in Sacramento.
Address: Arboretum Way, Sacramento, CA 95826
The Nimbus Fish Hatchery raises Chinook salmon and steelhead that are released into the American River.
It is one of the most unique places to visit in Sacramento. Programs like this have helped revitalize these precious species and their ecosystem.
There is a nature trail to walk on. Also, you can see the thousands of fish awaiting their release in the hatchery. They have educational programs available as well.
Address: 2001 Nimbus Rd, Gold River, CA 95670
The Sacramento Wide Open Walls Festival has especially been a big part of the addition of more murals around the city in recent years.
They have a festival every year which features multiple new murals being commissioned. The artists come from diverse backgrounds and are intensely talented. Wide Open Walls offers mural tours.
Sacramento is teeming with fantastic street art. You will see examples of art throughout the city. You can easily make-your-own mural tour.
The weather is quite hot and dry in the spring, summer, and early fall in Sacramento. It can be 100 degrees and sunny for days in a row. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses; drink plenty of water.
The late fall and winter are the rainy season. This brings cooler temperatures in the '50s and '60s, dropping lower at night. In this case, you will want to pack for the rain and cooler temperatures. Plus, always bring comfortable shoes.
Whenever you travel, bring a water bottle you can fill to stay hydrated and reduce your plastic waste.
We strongly recommend this spacious Level8 Atlas Backpack as we personally used it while exploring Sacramento city. With 26 organizer pockets, this backpack is big enough to carry all your necessities yet slim enough to carry easily on a day excursion.
This backpack is the perfect companion for a weekend getaway or an epic adventure.
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How to get around the city? Biking. It is an extremely bike-friendly city for the main metropolitan area.
There are many ways to rent a bike. Bike-share programs are the most popular choice for bike rentals. They also have e-scooters available at many locations.
If you do not prefer to bike, renting a car or using rideshare apps is your best bet. You can walk around some neighborhoods, like Midtown or Old Town, but it is necessary to have a car to get around to access the full extent of what Sac has to offer.
Sacramento is a pretty mellow town with some excitement here and there. You will enjoy nature and the nightlife. You will drink wine and enjoy excellent food.
It is not a large city, but it is a fun city nonetheless. There are many places to go in Sacramento, especially for plant lovers.
Walk among arboretums and rose gardens, or wind down the American River. No matter your choice of adventure, you will enjoy a trip to Sacramento, the “city of trees”.