Things to do in Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento Attractions

Old Sacramento is the original historic 1850s business district during the Gold Rush Period. Old Sacramento, often referred to as “Old Town Sacramento” has been designated as a California Historical Landmark known as “Old Sacramento State Historic Park”. This piece of America West history includes over 50 buildings of significance including the 1849 Eagle Theater and the 1853 B.F. Hastings Building which at one time housed the California Supreme Court.

Old Sacramento sets along the edges of modern downtown at the riverfront of the Sacramento River. Its historical significance boasts of being the original river transport center to the San Francisco Bay area. It also claims the distinction of being the western terminus of the Pony Express as well as having the first transcontinental railroad and first transcontinental telegraph.

A Walk Back Into History Awaits You

Over 28 acres of Gold Rush era history beckons you to the streets of Old Sacramento where you will discover more historical buildings than any other area of similar size in the west. Many of these buildings are now occupied by modern businesses and museums. You’ll enjoy shops, restaurants, train depots, riverboats, stage coaches and maybe even a few ghosts as you wander through this taste of years gone by.

Old Sacramento is clearly the largest attraction in the area. Not only is it officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s also a charming, riverfront town with Gold Rush era architecture, rustic cobblestone streets and wooden sidewalks. Over 5 million visitors come here each year and it is also a favorite with Sacramento locals. Old Sacramento bustles with activities and events year round.

Old Sacramento Things to do Nearby

Be sure to take a walking tour of the area. Costumed docents from the Old Sacramento Living History Program lead tours from March through September on a regular basis. You can call the Old Sacramento Living History Program any time of the year to arrange a private walking tour at 916-445-3101. If a self-guided tour is more your style, purchase a self-guided walking tour map at the visitor center.

Check out the museums, most of which are inexpensive and some are even free, walk the streets, browse the shops and enjoy a meal at one of the many fine restaurants in or near Old Sacramento, California. The California State Railroad Museum is located here along with the California Military Museum, the Discovery Museum History Center, Old Sacramento Interpretive Center, Old Sacramento School House Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum.

Some of the must-see annual events include the spooky Ghost Tours each Halloween season. For three weekends in October, you can walk the streets of Old Sacramento with a docent from the Old Sacramento Living History Program and learn about the ghosts who are believed to inhabit the original buildings found here.

The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee is held each May for four days and attracts over 100,000 visitors each year with over 125 bands playing non-stop. With the stunning background of Old Sacramento, fantastic music, an opening day parade, wonderful shops and mouth-watering food, you can’t go wrong by heading out to the Jubilee.

You’ll often see re-enactment groups on the streets portraying the people and events from the 1848s to 1870s.

Getting around Old Sacramento

Getting around Old Sacramento offers as many choices as there are styles. You can walk, you can ride a horse drawn carriage, you can cruise the river on a riverboat, ride a steam locomotive or take a tour. No matter how you choose to get around, we’re sure you’ll agree, Old Sacramento is a great place to explore.

Location and Parking

Old Sacramento State Historic Park is located in downtown Sacramento and is convenient to reach by all freeways. Coming from any direction in the state, take Interstate 5 to the ”J Street” exit and follow the signs into park. Abundant covered parking is available at the main parking structure located at 3rd and J Streets. There are a limited number of metered, 90-minute on-street parking spaces throughout the park. See the Old Sacramento Map that identifies all buildings, stores, shops, parking lots and restaurants.

Sacramento Historical Tours

Sacramento architecture spans a variety of styles from the Gold Rush era to Victorian structures, classic Craftsman bungalows and more. To learn more about Sacramento’s historic architecture, Sacramento Heritage invites you to take advantage of some of the fascinating walking tours of Sacramento’s landmark, historic places. Sacramento Heritage is initiating a series of its own on-line historic tours of Sacramento while also featuring other organizations’ walking tours available in Sacramento, both self-guided and guided.

Downtown Walking Tours

980 9th Street, Suite 400, Sacramento CA, 95814; 916 442-8575

These unique tours through downtown Sacramento introduce visitors to the people, places and events that shaped California history. From John Sutter to Cesar Chavez, these tours cover more than 150 years of state and local history. Topics range from art and architecture to cultural, religious and urban history. Visit the Downtown Sacramento website for a menu of its tours. All tours are guided, last approximately one hour and are affordably priced.

Hysterical Old Sacramento Walking Tours

Old Sacramento, Sacramento CA, 916 441-2527

Old Sacramento Hysterical Walk is a unique evening of entertainment that appeals to everyone. You’ll laugh yourself silly when you join the celebrated stroll that takes a hilarious look at Old Sacramento’s history. You’ll experience unforgettable mysteries, thrills and surprises that stretch the traditional image of the Old Town. So, when you are looking for something hysterical and historical, come join us! Some of the tours: Segway City Tour Thru Downtown Sacramento; Hysterical History Walking Tour Thru Old Sacramento; Walk of the Dead – A Ghost Walking Tour Thru Old Sacramento; Magical Mystery Tour a Magic Walking Tour Thru Old Sacramento.

Fast Eddie Bike Tours

Sacramento Bike Tours, Sacramento CA, 916 812-2712

Explore Historic Sacramento or the Sacramento Delta Wine Region on a classic touring bike. Day trips are leisurely and include a classic Raleigh touring bike, local guide, safe routes, entrance to state parks, and lunch!

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