Sacramento began as a bustling trading center during the 49er Gold Rush and still carries on that tradition today. History and modern rub shoulders today in a way which allows visitors and residents alike the pleasure of enjoying a multitude of venues for entertainment, sight-seeing and simply enjoying life. With so much to see and do, the hardest choice can be where to start.

Old Sacramento


Old Town
Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 442-8575

What better place to start than at the beginning? Old Town Sacramento carries on the architecture, traditions and sheer pleasure of small shops filled with a world class assortment of fashions, curios and hard-to-find items. Couple those shops with the many museums showcasing the highlights and origins of the state, plus the numerous food venues, and the day can be filled with something for everyone to enjoy. And don’t forget to stop in at some of the candy shops to sample some of the most decadent sweets on the West Coast.

Crocker Art Museum (Credit: Valerie Heimerich)
Crocker Art Museum
216 O St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 808-7000

Whether a first-time visitor to Sacramento or a life-long resident, the Crocker Art Museum is a venue sure to please. With 14,000 art pieces calling the museum home, and only 500+ on display at a time, the offerings are a never-ending selection to see. With permanent exhibitions highlighting African, Oceanic, Asian, European and many more, plus an astounding California series which includes Ansel Adams’ works, this museum is always a crowd pleaser.



Sutter’s Fort State Historical Park
2701 L Street
Sacramento, Ca 95816
(916) 445-4422

For all those who pass through Sacramento, or those who call it home, this is where it all began. Sutter’s Fort was the first establishment built by a European in what became California. John Sutter had a vision for the land and a keen eye for what would be the perfect site to begin a new chapter for America. Those dreams were sidetracked by the discovery of gold in nearby Coloma, but the fort itself was restored in 1893 and is maintained in pristine condition reminiscent of its heyday.

Related: Best of Northern California Train Trips

Docent explains the Gov. Stanford Locomotive

Photo Credit: California State Railroad Museum Press Office

California State Railroad Museum
125 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-7387

Trains and railroad museums can be fun for the entire family, with ongoing and always changing exhibitions. The terminus of the first Intercontinental Railway, the Railroad Museum offers a lot of choices to enjoy the time spent here. A special treat from November 29 through December 22 is the Polar Express train ride (check dates and times at the website). The one-hour trip to “The North Pole” is every young child’s dream come true, and even the adults can let go and enjoy the fun.

sac zoo tiger
Sacramento Zoo
3930 W. Land Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 808-5888

The Sacramento Zoo is a treat for all. The cost is extremely reasonable and the animals provide a terrific show everyday. If you don’t want to use the free on-street parking nearby, there is a $2 shuttle bus running from Old Town Sacramento. How long has it been since you’ve gone to see the monkeys, tigers and the rest of the crew at a zoo? Be sure to check out the new Red Panda cub. Plus, the Blue Poison Dart Frog is the bluest frog on the planet, it’s spectacular!

Related: Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles Of Sacramento

Gar Swaffar is a freelance writer covering all things Sacramento. His work can be found on