Bring a date and enjoy exploring the many interesting and eclectic museums that the Sacramento region has to offer. From ancient ceramics to Pseudorealism and roadside diners from the 1950s to Indian Scout motorcycles, it is virtually impossible not to find something to love in these capital city museums.
The California Museum
1020 O St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
The California Museum has so much to offer that is always surprising, whether you or your date are new to the golden state or were born here. The nonprofit museum is filled with all things California, with an aim to highlight the history, people and innovations that make the state great. Reenactments, artwork, films and interactive activities are ongoing, and six or seven new exhibitions are unveiled each year. Learn about the unique discoveries, innovations and contributions made by all segments of the population, including Gold Rush miners, women and members of California Indian tribes. Check out the Constitution Wall, a sculpted six-story art installation featuring phrases from the state’s constitution, and the huge Sesquicentennial Quilt, crafted with scenes from all 58 counties. You and your date will also enjoy the Hall of Fame, celebrating people who have helped shape California, including explorers, settlers, politicians, artists, actors, business leaders, farmers, philanthropists, athletes, scientists and educators.
Reiff’s Antique Gas Station Museum
52 Jefferson St.
Woodland, CA 95695
If your date has a whimsical side, be sure to check out this one-of-a-kind home turned museum in Woodland. A local resident, Mark Reiff, had an enormous collection of memorabilia that he decided to share with the public. Step back into small-town, 1950s America via scenes from roadside diners, movie theaters, gas stations, highways and a general store. The ever-jovial Reiff offers personal tours of his quirky museum, created in and around the place where he continues to live. There are antique vehicles, original road signs and much more. The museum can be rented out for parties, events and wedding receptions, good to keep in mind if you and your date really hit it off.
California Automobile Museum
2200 Front St.
Sacramento, CA 95818
If your companion is a gear-head and/or just loves anything with wheels from the past and present, the CA Auto Museum will be a perfect outing. The large, permanent collection of early transportation includes Studebakers, 1904 Ford models C, B and K, a Metz Roadster from 1912, Hudson’s 1933 Essex Terraplane, as well as an original Indian Scout motorcycle from the 1930s. Bicycles like a high-wheeled beauty from 1885 and kid’s Schwinn bikes from the ‘40s are fun to check out, as are classic motorhomes, midget racers, early military jeeps, postal vehicles and tow trucks. Vehicles from the 50s through 2011 are on permanent display, as are modern cars by Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes, race cars from Indy and NASCAR, a Tesla Roadster and innovative alternative fuel vehicles. Cars from the stars include AJ Foyt’s ’32 Hardtop, the Kawasaki motorcycle ridden by Eric Estrada on CHiPs, Linda Ronstadt’s Porsche and the ‘87 Lamborghini Countach owned by Malcolm Forbes.
California State Railroad Museum
125 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
You or your date may have been among the millions of children who wanted to be a train conductor when they grew up. In any case, the 100,000-square-foot Railroad Museum brings out the kid in everyone. Take a 45-minute excursion on the Sacramento Southern Railroad, view photographs, art and other train memorabilia, peer into restored railroad cars and even climb aboard a gently rocking restored sleeper car. The history of California is interwoven with trains and locomotives, and this gorgeous, entertaining and informative museum makes for a perfect outing.
Crocker Art Museum
216 O St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Crocker is a world-renowned destination for art lovers of every stripe. If you are dating a fan of photography, visit the collection that starts in the American West in the 1800s and continues through the most up-to-the-minute digital imagery and photographic art techniques. More than 800 ceramic works from the Stone Age to last week are on display, as are collections including contemporary, naturalist, abstract, modern and classic fine arts, paintings, sculpture, pottery, glass and drawings from virtually every culture and time period. Past and upcoming exhibits have showcased the work of artists like Jules Tavernier, Wayne Thiebaud, Beatrice Wood, Toulouse-Lautrec, Charles Krafft, Claire Falkenstein and Eduardo Carrillo.
Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at Examiner.com.