As you explore Sacramento's historic neighborhoods, relaxing parks, or do a little shopping, make sure not to miss these gems on our list of top attractions in Sacramento:
California State Railroad Museum
Located in Old Town, this museum is widely regarded as the best of its kind in North America. Here, the history of the 'iron horse' is brought to life through exciting exhibits, enthusiastic docents, and meticulously restored locomotives and railroad cars, some of which you can even board. The whole family will come to appreciate how railroads have influenced our lives, the economy, and the state of California. Of note is that the majority of the exhibits are accessible by persons with disabilities.
California State Capitol and Museum
Construction on this historic building began in 1860, and it serves as home to the California Legislature to this day. Take a guided tour and learn about the fascinating history of both California and the magnificent Capitol building. You can also sit in on a session of the Assembly or the Senate. Outside, there are about 40 acres of beautiful grounds in Capitol Park, featuring trees and plants from many corners of the world. In addition, throughout the grounds there are over 150 memorials honoring various noteworthy people and events in history.
Crocker Art Museum
Established in 1885, this was the first public museum of art in the Western U.S., is currently one of the most respected museums in the state, and hosts one of the largest collections of Californian art. Works on paper, photography, international ceramics, and European, African, Asian, and Oceanic art is also proudly featured. Originally a private home, it grew to include an art gallery. Today, after several restorations, it is a California Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2010, the Teel Family Pavilion was opened to house the museum's ever-growing collection, and includes an education center, space for Student and Community Exhibitions, expanded library, Tot Land, and Art Education Resource Room.
Sutter's Fort State Historic Park
Built in 1839 by a German-born Swiss pioneer of California named John Sutter, this fort served as the central fixture of the first non-native community in the Central Valley. Today it is the oldest rehabilitated fort in the U.S., and each area of the settlement has been restored to how it would have looked in its heyday. Take a tour and feel the pioneer spirit of the people arriving in wagon trains at the beginnings of the Gold Rush, learn about the fort's association with the ill-fated Donner Party, and see what day-to-day life was like at such a formative time in California's history. While there, head next door to the California State Indian Museum for a glimpse into the lives of the Native Peoples of the state.
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Located right downtown, this landmark should be on your itinerary for its religious as well as historic importance. The church came to be thanks to Patrick Manogue, a '49er who wished to earn enough money to join the seminary in Paris and become a Roman Catholic Priest. After returning to California, he was appointed as the first bishop of Sacramento and later built the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in the image of The Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris, which he admired. Today, it is the largest cathedral west of the Mississippi. A few years ago, it was lovingly restored and is simply breathtaking.
California Automobile Museum
If you love cars and their history, you'll feel right at home amongst this collection of over 150 vehicles on display. With cars dating from as early as 1885 to the present, it is like a walk through history. Models run the gamut from Model Ts to Lamborghinis and are all representative of vehicles that have travelled California's roads at some point in history. The museum features a permanent collection, as well as rolling stock, so there's always something new to discover.
Remember what we said about Sacramento being the star on the map? With rich history all around, cultural attractions that inspire, delectable farm-to-fork cuisine, and surprises that delight, venture out in any direction and you'll see why they say, "California begins here."