Despite being the capital of California, Sacramento doesn’t often top a tourist’s travel list, out-dazzled as it is by its cousin cities Los Angeles and San Francisco. However… there is much to love in this culturally diverse and historic big city with a small-town feel.
Visit Sacramento (or Sac as it is affectionately referred to by locals) and enjoy the pleasures of California without the cost and chaos associated with its competitor cities.
Sacramento is a charming city with a rich history. What it lacks in sandy beaches it makes up for with the picturesque countryside and rivers that surround the city. Visit Old Sacramento and be transported back to the 1800s. Similar to Victoria’s Sovereign Hill, Old Sacramento is a historic park where visitors can learn about Sacramento’s gold rush era. Go on a walking tour and buy some souvenirs or take a horse and carriage to explore the 11-hectare park.
For political buffs, plan a trip to California State Capitol, one of Sacramento’s finest buildings. You can take guided tours here to learn about the building’s history and even sit in one of the public galleries to witness parliamentary processes in action. Afterwards, take a stroll through the surrounding Capitol Gardens and see a series of memorials and exotic flora spread throughout the 16-hectare grounds.
If you’re after some history with a contemporary twist, check out the California Museum. This modern museum has a number of innovative tours and exhibits including the California Hall Of Fame, a dedication to Californians who have achieved success in fields from public service to sport and the arts. Inductees include Jack Nicholson, Buzz Aldrin and Magic Johnson.
Eat and Drink
Sacramentans describe their city as the “Farm to Fork” capital of America. The fresh farm produce of Sacramento combined with California’s migrant history has created a fusion of delicious cuisines in restaurants throughout the city. The significant Latino population has influenced foods like the Californian burrito, which includes french fries in addition to the traditional Mexican ingredients of barbecued meat, beans and rice.
One of the best-known restaurants in Sacramento is The Kitchen, whose food exemplifies this farm fresh, melting-pot cuisine perfectly. Its “New American” menu includes the likes of rabbit, summer squash and corn pudding croquettes. California is known for its vineyards and makes some exquisite wines, though the locals in Sacramento are known to enjoy a hearty beer.
Where to Stay
Old Sacramento is home to the city’s downtown area and is a popular district for tourists with its historic sites, buildings, restaurants and shops. This area is also near the brand new Golden 1 sports centre, which will be the new home of the city’s treasured Kings basketball team.
For a quieter option, Sacramento’s midtown district boasts tree-lined streets and nice cafes and restaurants. It is a lovely area to explore on foot and has a range of charming bed and breakfasts. The State Capitol area boasts most of the city’s upmarket hotels.
The Arden Fair Shopping Centre is popular among tourists and locals in Sacramento. It is a large complex with multiple levels of designer boutiques, elite department stores such as Nordstrom, a food court and restaurants.
But to get the brands at outlet prices it is worth visiting the Folsom Premium Outlets. Here you can save up to 65 per cent off designer labels like Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.
Sacramento Like a Local
Sacramentans love their sports and are particularly proud of their national basketball team the Sacramento Kings. In a way, the Kings have helped put Sacramento on the map – nationally and internationally. Don the beloved purple and silver jersey and the locals will welcome you with open arms.