[y] Sacramento Visitors Guide
As the current state capital for the state of California, Sacramento is the state’s oldest incorporated city. Nestled between the Sacramento and American Rivers, the city was founded in 1849 after growth was aided by the California gold rush. Today, the city’s population has reached nearly 480,000, making it the sixth-largest city in the state.
Historical Monuments in the town include Sutter’s Fort, which is the country’s oldest restored fort. It dates back to the 1840s and hosts a treasure trove of historical information for children and adults. The fort is named after the man who initiated the incorporation of Sacramento as a city. Visitors may also tour the California State Capitol building, which sits next to Capitol Park. Nearby historical sites include the State Indian Museum, which features beadwork and clothing, and Old Town Sacramento. Old Town has been outfitted with boardwalk-style sidewalks, horse-drawn stagecoaches, and souvenir shops. Visitors may be able to visit the State Railroad Museum or catch a ride on a genuine steam train.
Sacramento is known for the abundance of outdoor activities in close proximity to the city. In the summer months, as the sun beats down intensely, many residents go river rafting. Others enjoy bicycling, especially along the American River Bike Trail. This paved trail runs along the river for about 32 miles, from Sacramento to Folsom.
There is other fun to be had throughout Sacramento, including the Sacramento Zoo in William Land Park and the weekly farmers’ market where visitors may get their fill of fruits, vegetables and locally-made crafts. There are also concerts in the park, art walks and Sacramento Kings basketball games to pass the time. Shopping is another popular activity in the city, especially with an abundance of opportunities to shop local boutiques. Local malls include Westfield Plaza, Arden Fair Mall and Country Club Plaza.
Transportation to and from Sacramento is aided by the Sacramento International Airport, which offers flights to other major cities. Amtrak service in Sacramento transports passengers up the coast and inland. Bus and taxi services are also provided for those wishing to travel within the town.
Like other major California cities, Sacramento has an alluring climate. The Mediterranean climate attracts visitors in the warm spring and summer months. The winters are cold and wet, with potential flooding in the most intense seasons. High temperatures in the winter might be 40 degrees, whereas high temperatures in the summer can reach higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sacramento Downtown Hotels
Downtown Sacramento boasts a wealth of attractions and destinations for visitors. Home to intriguing historical landmarks as well as top-rated music venues and restaurants, it holds something to satisfy just about anyone’s interest. As the city’s bustling and vibrant epicenter, Downtown Sacramento is always a great place to visit. Downtown Sacramento is the commercial, historical and governmental center of Sacramento, the capital of California. Currently, in the midst of a major renaissance, it is easily accessible and walkable and also boasts many of the city’s top cultural attractions and a rising nightlife scene to enjoy.
Attractions in Downtown Sacramento are varied and include the California State Capitol, Westfield Downtown Plaza, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacramento Community Center Theatre, the Crest Theatre and much more. The district also boasts a growing array of shops, clubs, art galleries and restaurants for visitors to sample. With its historic atmosphere and beautiful riverside scenery, Downtown Sacramento offers a distinct mix of charm, culture and cosmopolitan energy. Those looking for a fun time will surely find something that catches their eye in this bustling neighborhood. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Sacramento that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!
About Downtown Sacramento
Downtown Sacramento, California is filled with cultural and historical landmarks as well as plenty of shopping and sightseeing opportunities. The downtown area runs east of the Sacramento River and south of the American River.
Since it’s the capital of California, Sacramento houses the California State Capitol, a neoclassical style building that contains Senate and Assembly chambers where members of the state government meet. Corinthian columns, an ornate chandelier, and a Jane Stuart painted a portrait of George Washington are some of the building’s more prominent features.
Another important part of the downtown landscape is the Sacramento Convention Center Complex, where visitors can enjoy events at the Convention Center or the three other auditoriums that make up part of the complex. The Sacramento Ballet and the Sacramento Philharmonic perform at the Community Center Theatre. Graduations, concerts and other meetings take place at the historic Memorial Auditorium, while the much smaller Jean Runyon Little Theater is home to smaller theatrical events. Not part of the convention complex but located nearby, you’ll also find the Wells Fargo Pavilion, a theatre in the round that seats over 2,000.
If you’re interested in shopping in Sacramento, you’ll likely want to visit the Sacramento Downtown Plaza located near the Capitol. Anchored by Macy’s department store, the plaza contains over 100 stores and restaurants. If you’re looking for heartier fare, you might want to pay a visit to McCormick and Schmick’s, a nearby seafood restaurant that is part of the Portland based chain.
Important both religiously and historically is the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, the cathedral of the Roman Catholic diocese of Sacramento. It’s located at 11th and K Streets (numbered streets run north to south while lettered streets run east to west) and is the biggest U.S. cathedral west of the Mississippi River.
Cradled in California’s Great Central Valley, Sacramento enjoys a Mediterranean climate of relatively mild winters and very warm, arid summers. Less than 80 miles northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento’s climate is influenced by its low elevation of 25 feet above sea level, its proximity to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its location between California’s Coast Range and Sierra Nevada Mountains.
“Indian” summers are the norm for Sacramento, with beautiful, warm sunny days common in September and early October. Average temperature highs in September are just below 90 degrees and the lows hover in the high 50s. September generally offers 24 clear, sunny days, and October sees an average of 19 clear days. Rainfall, clouds and chances for tule fog increase in November, while temperature averages range from the mid-40s to the mid-60s.
Most of Sacramento’s average 17.5 inches of annual rainfall occur from November to March, with January being the wettest month. Although winter temperatures in the River City generally range from the 30s to the 50s, the season’s temperatures are greatly affected by the region’s tule fog. The thick, enveloping ground fog can settle in for days at a time, reducing visibility to an eighth of a mile to just one foot at times. More common after rainy days, the fog develops from cold mountain air descending into the valley at night. The result is the dense fog that lodges in the Central Valley until significant windbreaks it up. Tule fog often keeps Sacramento temperatures in the 30s and 40s, although if the sun breaks through the layer warmer temperatures prevail. The ground fog stops at about 1,000 feet elevation, so a trip to the hills can take travelers out of the Valley fog. Although the official foggy season is November 1 to March 1, the most significant fog is seen from November to January.
The weather starts to warm the Capital City in March with temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to the mid-60s and in April with highs in the low 70s. Warmth, sun and wind steadily increase into May, with temperatures reaching into the low 80s and winds increasing to an average of 9 miles per hour. The town averages only 3 days of rain in May, making it a good month to travel throughout the region.
The dry, hot air that pervades Sacramento’s summers can make it a beautiful but very warm time to travel to the area. With 94 to 97 percent chance of sunshine, the area offers clear, bright sunny days and temperatures occasionally reaching into the low 100s. Cool breezes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta River area can temper the warm summer evenings a bit. Average summer temperatures range from the high 50s to the mid-90s.
Many of the tourist attractions in Sacramento are within a comfortable walk from the most popular downtown hotels. This makes it a very good city for those who like to walk. The city also has wonderful weather for most of the year, which means that pedestrians can walk around the city without worrying much about getting too hot or too cold. Travelers will find that they will not want to walk to most destinations outside of downtown because the distances are too great.
This is perhaps the best method of transportation for visitors to Sacramento. The majority of the city is very flat, which keeps cyclists from having to exert themselves too much while getting around town. The beautiful weather is a cyclist’s dream as well. Also, most of the streets are tree-lined and have bicycle lanes. There are also many miles of bike paths for cyclists to use. Altogether, Sacramento is one of the best biking towns in the United States.
For those who need to get out to the suburbs while they are in town, it is preferable to have access to a car. The sprawling layout of Sacramento outside downtown basically demands that visitors have a car to get where they need to go. The parking for cars downtown is very limited, so be prepared to pay for parking when driving downtown. There are plenty of car rental agencies available both at the airport and throughout the city.
The traffic in Sacramento can be a bit of a nightmare, especially during rush hour. Try to avoid driving during rush hour if it is at all possible. If you have to get somewhere during rush hour, leave well ahead of time to make up for a good chance that you will be delayed by traffic.
Regional Transport is the name of the public transit service in Sacramento. Like most public transposition options in the state of California, it is a bit of a nightmare. It takes forever for passengers to get where they need to go, often requiring them to make a couple of transfers to get to their destinations. The sprawling nature of Sacramento combined with its traffic make this bus system very slow.
Taxis in Sacramento are not very good. They are pretty expensive, and they are not very easy to find either. Even downtown, it can be a bit difficult to flag down a taxi. Visitors who are planning on using taxis during their visits should program a few cab companiesâ€™ numbers in their phones.
Sacramento History Museum
If you are looking to learn more about the city of Sacramento, then there is no better place in the city to visit than the Sacramento History Museum. The Sacramento History Museum is the only museum in the state that is solely devoted to honoring the history of the city and the California Gold Rush. The museum first opened its doors in 1985, and it currently features thousands of artifacts on display each day. Sacramento has an extremely interesting history, and there is no better place to learn about it than this museum.
Crocker Art Museum
The Crocker Art Museum was established in 1871, which makes it the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River. The museum was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1971. There are currently six different permanent displays in the Crocker Art Museum that all revolve around art from a different location in the world. The museum is best known for its collection of drawings and international ceramics. Some of the most famous artists with works on display in the Crocker Art Museum include Renoir, Edwin Deakin and Georgia O’Keefe.
Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park
The Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park is the home of the mansion where the California governor lived from 1903 to 1967. The mansion originally built in 1877, and it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Ronald Reagan was the last person to live in the building. You will have a hard time finding a building that is more beautiful in the city of Sacramento.
Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park is a Californian park revolving around the mansion of U.S Senator Leland Stanford. Leland Stanford is one of the most influential men in California history, so it always interesting to see how such a powerful person lived. The mansion has been named a U.S National Historic Landmark and a California Historic Landmark.
The California Museum
The most popular attraction in Sacramento is probably The California Museum. The California Museum first opened its doors in 1998, and it currently features seven different exhibitions. All of the exhibits revolve around a different period of history in California. The California Museum is also home to the California Hall of Fame and the Constitution Wall. The California Hall of Fame was designed to honor the greatest people to live in California. There are very few attractions in the world that offer as much to see as The California Museum.
The heat gets turned up in this fabulous restaurant. The food is American, and the menu is the same for a month at a time. There are about six courses with each meal. This is not your average fast-food restaurant. You will get sushi, steak, wine and more. You can tour the kitchen and watch the chefs prepare your meal, or you can wait until your food is delivered.
After a long day or before you start your day, visit this famous bakery. The pieces of pie are huge, and they are filled with fresh fruits wrapped in a flaky crust. The biscotti are a favorite among the locals. If you want a very sweet treat, then try the fruit basket cake. It is full of different types of fruit, and it resembles a fruit cake. The bakery can make custom cakes for birthdays and other special events.
When you visit the Sacramento area, you should definitely try the Mexican food at this restaurant. It is only open for breakfast and lunch, so you need to go as soon as you can. The stuffed burrito is covered with a spicy red sauce. Many of the ingredients used in the dishes are from local farmers. The sliced cactus might seem a little different, but it is rather delectable. If you are in a rush, then you can order tamales to go.
This is California cuisine at its best. Although the restaurant serves salads, pork and beans are one of the best dishes. The Duck Pasta is a dish that has a light sauce and is great with a side order of rice or soup. There is a large room for banquets or parties. Make sure you abide by the limited parking sign, or you might get your car towed.
You can get a delicious sandwich at an affordable price at this restaurant. The business also caters if you have an event planned. There is a large courtyard if you want to eat outside. The pork chop plate with gravy is a good option if you are unsure of what to get. Chocolates are served with your dessert after your meal. One of the net things about this restaurant is that the pasta chef makes the pasta where you can see it being made. The menu changes based on the foods that are in season at that time of year.
As the capital of the state of California, the city of Sacramento plays hosts to a number of quality events, festivals, and fairs. Several major theater venues exist in Sacramento, and its collection of community theaters is one of the largest in the state. Live performance aficionados can always find several theater selections to choose from on any given weekend as well as on most weeknights. The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival takes place annually in William Land Park.
Cars Under the Stars
Because the state of California represents car culture at its finest, it’s only fitting that Cars Under the Stars takes place in the state’s capital. The California Automobile Museum stays open until 9 p.m. every third Thursday of the month and offers guest free hot chocolate, free coffee, one-half price off admission and free tours of classic cars. Live bands, food trucks and special guest speakers are often featured on these evenings. The Automobile Museum also hosts an event during the month of February called “Beer & Car Lovers Unite” which features craft beer, live music and antique and classic car shows.
Sacramento Jazz Jubilee
The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee is held every Memorial Day weekend and has the honor of being the largest jazz festival in the country. Featuring top jazz performers from all parts of the world, this festival has been occurring annually for over 40 years.
Sacramento French Film Festival
French cinema lovers can enjoy classic masterpieces and premieres of French films every July at the Sacramento French Film Festival. Sacramento also plays host to the Trash Film Orgy, which is an annual celebration of B-movies and various campy films. Horror fans will love the Sacramento Horror Film Festival for its theatrical and musical performances as well as full-length feature films and short horror flicks.
Grape and Gourmet festival
Because Sacramento is situated in the middle of a large agricultural valley, locally sourced food is abundant. The Grape and Gourmet festival celebrates area food and wine every summer at the California Expo Center. Craft beer lovers can choose from over 400 separate events during Sacramento Beer Week. Sacramento Beer Culture is well-represented during the last week of February through the first week of March.
California State Fair
As the state capitol, Sacramento naturally plays host to the 17-day California State Fair. Taking place during the month of July, the fair celebrates the industries, agriculture and people of the state of California. Entertainment, education and fun are all provided in abundance at this event.
Sacramento enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and a wet season that lasts from October through April. Snowfall is rare in this city.
Family Fun near Downtown Sacramento
Sacramento is a great place for the family to enjoy some bonding time together. There are many activities in which are aimed at families and all different ages. Instead of each individual doing their own thing, why not encourage the family to have some fun together? Sacramento makes this possible with its many various family-friendly activities.
For families looking to mix fun with physical activity, BounceU is a great place to do so. This indoor bounce arena is filled with numerous rooms of fun things to do. Though it is most widely known for its inflatable bounce houses, BounceU also has arcade rooms, basketball courts, boxing arenas and a rock-climbing wall. Since this is a climate-controlled indoor location, regardless of what the weather is like outdoors, BounceU would be a perfect fit for the family.
Sacramento Community Center Theater
Instead of the same old movie theater shows that families go to, why not go to something more original? At the Sacramento Community Center Theater families are able to experience live productions right in front of their eyes. Many families take this type of theater for granted and do not realize the excitement that it can provide them with. Many of shows are interactive and can allow the family to enjoy them together. The Sacramento Community Center Theater houses many different productions, including The Sacramento Ballet, Opera, Philharmonic, Choral Society and Orchestra, and various Sacramento Community Concerts.
North Laguna Creek Park
For those beautiful days, why stay indoors? Families should be out exploring the beautiful weather and scenes that are located throughout Sacramento. The North Laguna Creek Park is a wonderful location to enjoy various outdoor activities. When at the North Laguna Creek Park families can create their own fun. Whether they choose to have a picnic, play with a Frisbee or put to use the park’s volleyball court, there will always be something entertaining for them to do. Going to a park with the family is a great alternative to sitting at home watching TV or playing on the computer. This will allow the family to bond and create memories while having an enjoyable time together.
Discovery Museum Science & Space Center
For a family activity that also stimulates the brain, the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center is a great place for the family to head to. This museum is filled with hundreds of different activities and displays. It also includes an outdoors trail that goes through over 14 acres of land. From insects to reptiles, the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center has it all!
Shopping near Downtown Sacramento
When visiting Sacramento, there are many different sites and attractions to visit for a memorable and enjoyable trip, while also learning about the history and culture of the city. Although there is beautiful architecture to admire and plenty of places to sight-see, there is also a wide array of shopping that can be enjoyed by those who are visiting.
If you want to visit quaint little shops and boutiques while you’re surrounded by ancient history and architecture, then visit Old Sacramento on 111 Second Street where locally-owned shops line the area. You’ll find plenty of places to purchase unique souvenirs to take home and plenty of art galleries where paintings and sculptures are on display. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself or your spouse to a bit of jewelry, then visit Krystal Garden or Super Silver Sacramento.
To shop for beautiful antiques that each carry their own history, visiting the Antique Plaza in Sacramento is a must. You’ll find hundreds of friendly merchants that sell one of a kind items and popular products from different eras. Don’t be afraid to haggle a little, and have fun asking questions about the history of products being sold.
When you want to find more traditional stores for everyday products, then Country Club Plaza Mall is the place for you. Here you’ll find plenty of good eats, your favorite department stores, and health and beauty services when you need to kick your feet up and relax. This is a great option when you’re going to be doing a bit of shopping with the whole family and are looking for general items like clothing, jewelry, and beauty products. You can also visit Creekside Town Center or Folsom Premium Outlets for similar stores and outdoor shopping when the weather is beautiful.
Creekside Town Center is another place to shop for a more low key and relaxing time with your friends. Nordstrom Rack is a popular store here, along with Justice, Carter’s, Marshall’s, and Famous Footwear. You can window shop while strolling outside and can grab a bite to eat at Jimboy’s Tacos or P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.
When visiting Sacramento, there are endless opportunities for fun activities and historic places to visit. Make sure you visit the California State Railroad Museum, take an underground tour, or go to the Living History Program. However, no trip is ever really complete though without getting a bit of shopping in and treating yourself to clothing or knick knacks. Get away for a few hours, and enjoy the best of Sacramento!
Map of Hotels in Sacramento
- Sacramento International Airport – Find hotels near Marty & Fremont Landing.
- Sacramento Downtown – Find hotels near Old Sacramento & Crocker Art Museum
- California State University Sacramento – Find hotels near Rosemont & Sierra Oaks
- California State Railroad Museum -Find hotels near Broderick & Crocker Art Museum
- Sacramento Zoo – Find hotels near William Land Park & Funder land
- Sacramento Funder land – Find hotels near Union Stadium & William Land Park
- Fairytale Town – Find hotels near William Land Municipal & Funder land
- McKinley Park – Find hotels near Boulevard Park & East Sacramento
- Tower Bridge – Find hotels near Old Sacramento & California State Railroad
- California State Capitol – Find hotels near Downtown & Roosevelt Park.