Explore Sacramento in California: A City Guide

sacramento in california

Sacramento, the capital of California, is a vibrant city with a unique blend of historic landmarks and modern attractions. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this comprehensive city guide will help you make the most of your trip to Sacramento. From must-see attractions and top-rated hotels to delicious restaurants and exciting nightlife, Sacramento has something for everyone. Discover the charm of this city and explore all that it has to offer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Located in California, Sacramento is the capital city.
  • Sacramento offers a unique blend of historic landmarks and modern attractions.
  • There are a variety of must-see attractions, including Old Sacramento, the California State Capitol Museum, and the Crocker Art Museum.
  • Sacramento has a thriving dining scene with farm-to-fork cuisine and a vibrant nightlife.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy parks, cycling paths, and nearby nature adventures.

Getting to Sacramento

Getting to Sacramento is a breeze, whether you’re flying in, taking a train or bus, or driving yourself. Sacramento is served by the convenient Sacramento International Airport (SMF), making it easy to access the city from major cities across the United States. The airport offers both domestic and international flights, providing seamless travel options for visitors.

Once you arrive at the Sacramento airport, there are several transportation options to help you reach your destination. You can take a taxi or use ride-sharing services for a convenient and hassle-free journey. If you prefer the flexibility of having your own transportation, car rental services are available at the airport.

If you’re coming from nearby cities or other parts of California, traveling to Sacramento by train or bus is a viable option. There are convenient connections from cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, making it easy to reach Sacramento by public transportation.

To make your trip to Sacramento even more enjoyable, here are a few travel tips:

  • Check for direct flights to Sacramento from your location to save time and avoid layovers.
  • Book your transportation in advance to ensure a smooth journey from the airport to your destination.
  • If you’re planning to explore Sacramento and the surrounding areas, consider renting a car for convenience and flexibility.
  • Check the Sacramento International Airport website for any updates or changes to your flight schedule.
  • Pack a travel guide or map of Sacramento to help you navigate the city and discover its hidden gems.

Traveling to Sacramento

With these travel tips in mind, you’ll have a stress-free and enjoyable experience when getting to Sacramento. So whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, get ready to explore all that this vibrant city has to offer.

Where to Stay in Sacramento

Sacramento offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, or budget-friendly motels, there is something for everyone in Sacramento.

The downtown area and Midtown neighborhood are popular locations to stay when visiting Sacramento. These areas provide easy access to attractions, restaurants, and nightlife, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable stay.

If you’re in search of luxury, indulge yourself in one of the many high-end hotels that Sacramento has to offer. From elegant suites to breathtaking views, the luxury hotels in Sacramento provide a world-class experience for the discerning traveler.

On the other hand, if you’re traveling on a budget, there are plenty of budget-friendly accommodations available. Budget hotels and motels in Sacramento provide comfortable rooms and essential amenities at affordable prices.

For those seeking a more personalized and intimate experience, boutique inns and bed and breakfasts are a perfect choice. These charming establishments offer a local touch and unique accommodations, ensuring a memorable stay.

No matter where you decide to stay in Sacramento, you’ll find a welcoming and friendly atmosphere throughout the city. Explore the options and choose the best place to stay that aligns with your preferences and budget.

sacramento hotels

  • Luxury hotels
  • Budget-friendly accommodations
  • Boutique inns
  • Bed and breakfasts

Things to Do in Sacramento

If you’re looking for a city with a wide range of attractions and activities, Sacramento has got you covered. Whether you’re interested in history, arts, or outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone here.

1. Explore Old Sacramento

Step back in time and wander through the charming streets of Old Sacramento. This historic district is home to well-preserved buildings from the Gold Rush era. Take a walk along the wooden sidewalks, visit the California State Railroad Museum, and immerse yourself in the rich history of the city.

2. Visit the Crocker Art Museum

Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the chance to explore the Crocker Art Museum. With its extensive collection of art, including works by renowned artists like Monet and O’Keeffe, this museum offers a fascinating journey through various artistic movements and styles.

3. Discover the California State Capitol Museum

Learn about the history and governance of California at the California State Capitol Museum. Take a guided tour of the Capitol building, explore the museum exhibits, and gain insights into the state’s political past and present.

4. Enjoy the Scenic Sacramento River

Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Sacramento River and enjoy breathtaking views. You can also opt for a riverboat cruise or rent a kayak to explore the waterways. The river offers a peaceful escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

5. Experience the Vibrant Arts and Culture Scene

Immerse yourself in Sacramento’s thriving arts and culture scene. Catch a show at one of the city’s many theaters and music venues, or explore the galleries and exhibitions that showcase local talent. From live performances to visual arts, Sacramento has it all.

6. Embrace Outdoor Adventures

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Sacramento won’t disappoint. Explore the city’s numerous parks and green spaces, such as the American River Parkway, where you can hike, bike, and enjoy picnics. The nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains offer even more opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.

With its diverse range of attractions, Sacramento promises an unforgettable experience for visitors. From its rich history to its vibrant arts and culture scene, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this captivating city.

Dining and Nightlife in Sacramento

Sacramento offers a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, making it a haven for food lovers and nightlife enthusiasts. With a plethora of restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, there’s something to suit every taste and preference. Let me guide you through the culinary delights and lively night spots of Sacramento.

sacramento restaurants

Delicious Dining Experiences

In Sacramento, you’ll find a diverse selection of restaurants serving various cuisines. From trendy farm-to-fork eateries to upscale fine dining establishments, the city’s food scene never disappoints.

  • Treat your taste buds to the flavors of locally sourced ingredients at the renowned farm-to-fork restaurants, where freshness and sustainability take center stage.
  • Indulge in international fare at the multicultural eateries scattered throughout the city. From Italian trattorias to Asian fusion restaurants, the options are endless.
  • Experience the classic American flavors offered at charming diners and upscale bistros. Enjoy a juicy steak, mouthwatering burgers, or delectable seafood.

Thriving Nightlife

When the sun sets, Sacramento’s nightlife comes alive with a myriad of entertainment options. From relaxed wine bars to electric dance clubs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

  • Unwind at cozy neighborhood bars and sip on handcrafted cocktails or local craft beers.
  • Experience live music at intimate venues or catch a show at one of Sacramento’s renowned theaters.
  • Dance the night away at vibrant clubs featuring diverse music genres and talented DJs.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner, a lively night out with friends, or a memorable food and music experience, Sacramento has it all. Immerse yourself in the city’s gastronomic delights and vibrant nightlife scene for an unforgettable experience.

Outdoor Adventures in Sacramento

Sacramento, the capital of California, is not only known for its historic landmarks and lively cityscape but also for the multitude of outdoor adventures it offers. With an abundance of parks, nature trails, and outdoor spaces, Sacramento is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

sacramento outdoor activities

Explore the Parks and Green Spaces

  • One of the highlights of outdoor activities in Sacramento is exploring the city’s many parks and green spaces. The American River Parkway, stretching along the scenic American River, offers a tranquil setting for jogging, picnicking, and birdwatching.
  • McKinley Park, located in the heart of the city, is another popular destination with its lush green fields, tennis courts, and a beautiful rose garden.
  • Discovery Park, situated where the American and Sacramento Rivers meet, is ideal for fishing, boating, and enjoying a scenic riverside walk.

Hit the Trails

  • For hiking enthusiasts, the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains provide ample opportunities to explore picturesque trails and breathtaking vistas. Donner Summit, Desolation Wilderness, and Tahoe National Forest are just a few of the stunning destinations within a short drive from Sacramento.

Embrace Cycling Culture

  • Sacramento has a vibrant cycling culture, making it an ideal city for biking enthusiasts. The city boasts a network of bike-friendly paths and trails, including the famous Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, also known as the American River Bike Trail. This 32-mile trail follows the scenic American River, offering a picturesque route for cyclists.
  • Whether you prefer leisurely rides along the river or challenging mountain bike trails, Sacramento has options for every level of cyclist.

Embark on an outdoor adventure in Sacramento and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds the city. From serene parks and hiking trails to a thriving cycling culture, the possibilities for outdoor exploration are endless.

Shopping in Sacramento

Shopaholics will love the shopping opportunities in Sacramento. The city is home to a variety of shopping districts, from upscale malls to quirky boutiques and local shops. Explore the lively streets of downtown Sacramento, where you’ll find a mix of big-name retailers, unique boutiques, and charming shops selling everything from fashion to home goods.

Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or one-of-a-kind treasures, Sacramento has it all. Indulge in a shopping spree at one of the city’s malls, such as the Arden Fair Mall or Westfield Downtown Plaza, where you’ll find a wide range of stores to satisfy your retail cravings. sacramento shopping

If you prefer a more eclectic shopping experience, head to the boutiques and local shops scattered throughout Sacramento. Discover unique pieces of jewelry, clothing, and accessories that you won’t find anywhere else.
Unleash your inner fashionista and support local businesses by shopping at these hidden gems.

In addition to malls and boutiques, don’t forget to check out the local farmers markets in Sacramento. These vibrant markets offer much more than fresh produce. You’ll also find artisanal products, handmade crafts, and delicious snacks. Experience the bustling atmosphere as you peruse the stalls and discover the best of Sacramento’s local offerings.

Cultural Experiences in Sacramento

Immerse yourself in the rich sacramento culture with a visit to the city’s vibrant arts community. Sacramento is home to numerous museums, galleries, and theaters that offer a diverse range of cultural experiences.

1. Museums

Explore the fascinating world of art and history at the Crocker Art Museum, the oldest continuously operating art museum in the West. Marvel at its extensive collection of European masterpieces, California Impressionist paintings, and diverse temporary exhibitions.

sacramento museums

Another must-visit museum is the California Museum, which showcases the state’s rich history and diverse culture. Learn about the contributions of various communities in shaping California’s identity through interactive exhibits and engaging multimedia presentations.

2. Art Scene

The sacramento art scene is thriving, with a wide range of galleries and art events. Explore Midtown’s Second Saturday Art Walk, where you can visit open galleries, meet local artists, and enjoy live music and food trucks.

For contemporary art enthusiasts, the B32 Gallery is a must-visit. Discover thought-provoking exhibitions featuring emerging and established artists in a dynamic space that fosters dialogue and engagement.

3. Music Scene and Performing Arts

Experience the vibrant sacramento music scene at iconic venues like the Crest Theatre and the Ace of Spades. From rock and indie to jazz and blues, there’s a concert for every music lover.

For a taste of theatrical performances, head to the Sacramento Theatre Company. Enjoy a wide range of productions, from classic plays to contemporary works, performed by talented local actors.

Whether you’re a culture enthusiast or simply looking to broaden your horizons, Sacramento offers a wealth of cultural experiences to explore. From museums and art galleries to live music and theater, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic city.

Day Trips from Sacramento

Take advantage of Sacramento’s central location and embark on a day trip to explore the surrounding area. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the beautiful Napa Valley wine region, where you can indulge in wine tasting and culinary delights.

sacramento day trips

If you’re a nature lover, head to the nearby Lake Tahoe for hiking, skiing, and water sports. The crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain backdrop make it the perfect destination for outdoor adventures.

You can also visit the breathtaking Yosemite National Park, known for its towering granite cliffs, waterfalls, and ancient sequoia trees. Explore the park’s hiking trails and witness its natural wonders up close.

For a scenic drive along the coast, head to the California coastline and visit picturesque towns like Mendocino or Santa Cruz. Enjoy stunning ocean views, charming seaside villages, and fresh seafood.

Whether you’re seeking wine country, natural beauty, or coastal charm, there’s a day trip from Sacramento that’s sure to capture your imagination.

Events and Festivals in Sacramento

Sacramento is renowned for its vibrant events and festivals that take place throughout the year. As a hub of entertainment, the city offers a diverse range of experiences, from music festivals to food events and cultural celebrations.

One of the highlights is the California State Fair, a beloved annual tradition that showcases the best of the region’s agriculture, entertainment, and culture. With thrilling rides, live performances, and delicious food, the fair is a must-visit for both locals and tourists.

If you’re a music lover, you’ll be thrilled to discover the numerous sacramento music festivals held year-round. From the lively Sacramento Music Festival featuring jazz, blues, and rock, to the Concerts in the Park series that offers free outdoor music performances, there’s something for every taste.

Food enthusiasts will delight in the variety of sacramento food festivals that celebrate the city’s diverse culinary scene. Whether you’re craving farm-to-fork cuisine, international flavors, or local specialties, these festivals offer a fantastic opportunity to indulge in delicious food and connect with the local community.


As I wrap up this travel guide on Sacramento, I can’t help but emphasize the city’s incredible appeal. With its perfect mix of history, culture, and outdoor adventures, Sacramento has truly captured the hearts of visitors from all over the world.

From the moment you step foot in this vibrant city, you’ll be enchanted by its unique charm and friendly atmosphere. Explore the bustling downtown area, lined with historic landmarks and trendy shops. Take in the beauty of the Sacramento River and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

But Sacramento isn’t just about urban exploration. Step outside the city limits and you’ll discover a world of outdoor adventures. From hiking in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains to biking along the scenic river trails, nature enthusiasts will find plenty to delight in.

And of course, no visit to Sacramento is complete without indulging in the diverse and delicious cuisine that the city has to offer. From farm-to-fork restaurants showcasing the freshest ingredients to local favorites that will satisfy any craving, Sacramento’s food scene is a culinary adventure in itself.

So whether you’re planning your first trip to Sacramento or returning for another visit, this travel guide has provided you with a taste of what makes this city so special. From its rich history and cultural experiences to its outdoor adventures and mouthwatering food, Sacramento has it all. Now, pack your bags and get ready to create unforgettable memories in the beautiful capital of California.


How do I get to Sacramento?

Sacramento can be accessed by flying into Sacramento International Airport (SMF) or by train or bus. The city is also well-connected to major cities across the United States.

Where should I stay in Sacramento?

Sacramento offers a variety of accommodation options, including luxury hotels, boutique inns, budget-friendly motels, and cozy bed and breakfasts. The downtown area and Midtown neighborhood are popular locations with easy access to attractions, restaurants, and nightlife.

What are some must-see attractions in Sacramento?

Some must-see attractions in Sacramento include Old Sacramento, the Crocker Art Museum, and the California State Capitol Museum. The city also offers scenic walks along the Sacramento River and a vibrant theater and music scene.

Where can I find good restaurants and nightlife in Sacramento?

Sacramento has a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, with a wide range of restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. The city is known for its farm-to-fork cuisine and offers options for every palate.

What outdoor activities are available in Sacramento?

Sacramento offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, with parks, green spaces, and biking trails. The American River Parkway and McKinley Park are popular spots for jogging, picnicking, and relaxation. Nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains also offer opportunities for hiking, biking, and skiing.

Where can I go shopping in Sacramento?

Sacramento has a variety of shopping districts, from upscale malls to unique boutiques and local shops. Downtown Sacramento is a lively area with a mix of big-name retailers, boutiques, and shops selling fashion and home goods. Local farmers markets are also great places to find fresh produce and unique crafts.

What cultural experiences can I have in Sacramento?

Sacramento has a vibrant arts community, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters. The Crocker Art Museum and the Sacramento Theatre Company are popular spots to explore. The city also offers live music venues featuring various genres.

Are there any day trips from Sacramento?

There are several day trip options from Sacramento, including visiting the Napa Valley wine region for wine tasting and Lake Tahoe for outdoor activities. Other options include national parks like Yosemite or exploring the California coastline.

What events and festivals can I attend in Sacramento?

Sacramento hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including music festivals, food events, cultural celebrations, and the California State Fair. Check the event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.

Why should I visit Sacramento?

Sacramento offers a unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor adventures. With its vibrant downtown, natural beauty, and diverse range of attractions and activities, Sacramento is a captivating travel destination for all types of travelers.

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