Quality places to visit in Sacramento, California

Top tourist attractions in Sacramento, CA

When you visit Sacramento, you’ll find plenty of quality places to visit. The city has something to offer everyone, from beautiful architecture to unique museums. If you’re traveling on a budget, there are many ways to save money while you explore.

The California State Capitol is one of Sacramento’s most famous historical sites. You can go on a guided tour to learn about the state legislature’s inner workings. This building is also an excellent example of 19th-century architecture.

Another popular site is Tower Bridge. This art deco lift bridge is on the river and offers incredible city views. Its yellow gold coloring also symbolizes Sacramento’s Gold Rush history.

tourist attractions in Sacramento

Located on the Sacramento River, Tower Bridge is also easily accessible from historic river cruises. In addition to providing impressive views, it’s one of the most iconic structures in the city.

Old Sacramento Historical Park is ideal for learning more about the area’s Gold Rush history. A hidden underground city from the era is located here. During the mid-19th century, Sacramento was home to several industries, including railroads.

Sacramento Zoo is an acclaimed family attraction. With over 500 animals, the zoo offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. One of the zoo’s most popular features is its Tower Bridge, which connects downtown Sacramento to West Sacramento.

places to visit in Sacramento - Sunrise Over Sacramento's Tower Bridge
places to visit in Sacramento – Sunrise Over Sacramento’s Tower Bridge

You can also explore Sacramento’s history at the California State Railroad Museum. This museum has an extensive collection of vintage trains. You can also go on an interactive tour to learn about the transcontinental railroad.

Top 15 things to do in Sacramento, California

  1. Old Sacramento Waterfront
  2. Sacramento Zoo
  3. California State Capitol Museum
  4. McKinley Park
  5. California State Railroad Museum
  6. Crocker Art Museum
  7. Scandia Fun Center
  8. Howe Community Park
  9. Fairytale Town
  10. Elk Grove Regional Park
  11. Discovery Park
  12. California State Capitol Park
  13. César Chávez Plaza
  14. Hagan Community Park
  15. Carmichael Park

things to do in Sacramento, California
things to do in Sacramento, California

Old Sacramento Waterfront

Located between the Tower Bridge and the California State Capitol, the Old Sacramento Waterfront is a part of town in the city of West Sacramento. It is a historic district home to numerous restaurants, shops, and attractions.

The California State Railroad Museum is located here and offers a variety of exciting exhibits. There are over 2.5 acres of displays showcasing the history of the rails. In addition, some exhibitions include a picnic area, a passenger station, and a turntable.

Old Sacramento Waterfront
Old Sacramento Waterfront

Also located in the neighborhood is the Delta King Hotel. This hotel and restaurant have two restaurants, including a burger joint, a bar, and a waterside room.

Aside from the hotel and restaurant, the waterfront has a couple of notable museums. One of the most interesting is the Railroad Technology Museum.

It is a much-anticipated extension of the CA Railroad Museum that will bring interactive exhibits from the science museum with the historical industrial tour.

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Sacramento River
Sacramento River

Another attraction is the Sacramento History Museum. The museum tells gripping tales of the 19th century in California. Among its many intriguing features is a trip on an old excursion train.

In addition to the museums, there is a lot of food and fun at the waterfront. You can ride in a riverboat, take a short train ride or explore a historic neighborhood. And for the Fourth of July, you can expect fireworks on the waterfront.

Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is a 14-acre (5.7-hectare) zoo located in the Land Park neighborhood of the city. It is operated by the Sacramento Zoological Society, a non-profit organization focusing on education, conservation, and recreation.

The Sacramento Zoo’s first elephant, Winky, was purchased through the efforts of the Sacramento Union newspaper. He later relocated to the Detroit Zoo. In addition, a new long-range master plan also prioritized building additions to the zoo.

King and Queen of the Sacramento Zoo
King and Queen of the Sacramento Zoo

In the 1980s, zoos started incorporating more natural looks into their exhibits. This included replacing iron bars with moats. Another new concept was the immersive zoo, which would bring visitors face-to-face with animals in their natural habitats.

Today, the zoo has a membership base of approximately 10,000 households. Admission to the zoo is a great family value. Membership also includes discounted admission to 150 other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

Phoenicopterus ruber - Sacramento Zoo
Phoenicopterus ruber – Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo’s current design plan is to emulate a savanna in Tanzania and house various animals native to central African forests. These include black and white colobus, okapi, and brown cranes.

Besides being clean, the zoo is also well-maintained. Volunteers make a big difference in the zoo’s success. They serve as educators, assisting visitors in learning about the different animals.

California State Capitol Museum

Located in the heart of Old Sacramento, the California State Capitol Museum is a great place to learn about history, politics, and the role of California in the United States. Visitors can take a guided tour of the building to see its rooms and learn about the state’s legislative history.

The California State Capitol has a beautiful dome, domed ceiling, and stately columns. It is an excellent example of 19th Century architecture. It has a gift shop and dining services. There is also a replica of the first Bear Flag and a working model of the Liberty Bell.

California State Capitol Building
California State Capitol Building

You can also learn about the early days of education in California in the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum. This one-room schoolhouse is a charming historic site.

Another great place for kids in Sacramento is Fairytale Town. A kid-friendly attraction, it includes a petting zoo, gardens, and learning and education programs. Kids can also feed giraffes in Giraffe Encounters.

McKinley Park

McKinley Park Sacramento is one of the most beautiful parks in the city. It’s also the oldest park in the Sacramento area. The park was built in 1871 to attract streetcar passengers; in the years since it has served as a community center.

McKinley Park is located at 601 Alhambra Boulevard in East Sacramento. It’s close to several restaurants and cafes. There are also sports fields and playgrounds in the park.

McKinley Park Rose Garden landscape in East Sacramento.
McKinley Park Rose Garden landscape in East Sacramento.

McKinley Park was built in six days by volunteers. Residents donated all of the materials, construction, and equipment.

The park is in the city’s heart and offers plenty of recreational activities. It features several play areas for children, a swimming pool, volleyball courts, and a rock wall. A basketball court and a wading pool are also available.

California State Railroad Museum

For history buffs, the California State Railroad Museum is a must. It features over 20,000 square feet of exhibits highlighting the history of railroads, steam engines, and locomotives. In addition, the museum boasts a collection of more than 200 cars, locomotives, and other historical vehicles.

Aside from the California State Railroad Museum, there are other quality places to visit in Sacramento. Some include the California State Capitol, Sutter’s Fort State Historical Park, and Discovery Park.

Sacramento: California State Railroad Museum
Sacramento: California State Railroad Museum

At the California State Capitol, visitors can tour the Capitol and its grounds, which are home to several monuments. You can also visit the Civil War Memorial Fountain and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Besides the Capitol, there are other historical sites to see in Sacramento. One of the oldest landmarks in the city is the Pony Express Terminal. Another historic site is the Tower Bridge, built in 1935 and connected East Sacramento in Sacramento County to West Sacramento in Yolo County.

Crocker Art Museum

Founded in 1885, the Crocker Art Museum is the oldest in the West. Its collection features premier Californian and European artwork. In addition, it has an Asian and African art collection.

The museum is located on the eastern side of the Sacramento River. It is the primary visual arts institution in the greater Sacramento metropolitan area.

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento

Since its establishment, the Crocker has grown into a world-class art museum. The museum carries out a variety of public programs, including traveling exhibitions and special exhibits.

The museum also offers educational programs that promote critical discussion of fine art. Specifically, Crocker is committed to developing a culture of scholarship. Its Block exemplifies this Block initiative. Using the power of art to foster connections, the initiative seeks to connect people in unexpected ways.

Scandia Fun Center

The Scandia Fun Center in Sacramento is an outdoor amusement park with rides, games, and arcades. It is open all year round. Visit the site with your family and have a great time.

Besides the rides, there is a video game arcade and batting cages at the Scandia Family Fun Center. You can also play laser tag and go-karts at the center. On your birthday, you can receive free admission.

There are over twenty water rides and slides at Raging Waters Sacramento. This water park is one of the largest in the city. Guests can enjoy various activities and attractions, including wave pools, slides, and VIP cabanas by the wave pool.

Animal Kingdom Park is a family-friendly amusement park located about an hour west of Sacramento. It features over 40 thrill rides.

Howe Community Park

Check out the city’s many parks and green spaces if you want something fun and educational in Sacramento, CA. Some more popular include the Arden-Arcade, Howe Community Park, and the Fairytale Town Children’s Park.

The Arden-Arcade is a shopping paradise with 165 stores, two levels, and valet parking. Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Sears are just some of the stores.

There is also a plethora of restaurants in this quaint neighborhood. From California Pizza Kitchen and BJ’s Brewhouse to Gen Korean BBQ House and Seasons 52, there’s no shortage of eateries to enjoy.

Other notable sights include the Discovery Museum’s History Center. It is a great way to learn about Sacramento’s past. Aside from being a fascinating museum, it has some of the best exhibits in the area.

Fairytale Town

Fairytale Town is an educational center for children located in Sacramento. It features a variety of rides, animals, and interactive play structures. The park also offers live shows, musical concerts, and special events.

Fairytale Town has been a source of entertainment for generations of Sacramentans. During the last 50 years, the park has entertained more than four million guests.

Fairytale Town
Fairytale Town

For over 60 years, the non-profit Fairytale Town has inspired kids and their families with educational, fun, and colorful play sets. They have 26 playsets based on nursery rhymes and famous fairytales.

They also have two performing arts stages. In addition to this, they have an extensive collection of farm animals. These include a cow, a miniature horse, a rooster, and a flock of chickens. Often, these animals are brought out into the lawn during the day.

Elk Grove Regional Park

Elk Grove Regional Park is a beautiful green area that offers a wide range of activities. This park has something for everyone, from biking and hiking to soccer and softball. There are also tennis courts, basketball courts, and a playground. You can also rent a pavilion for your special event.

In addition to these features, Elk Grove is close to two major freeways and ports. It has a variety of restaurants and shops. Plus, it is home to an award-winning school district.

Elk Grove Regional Park
Elk Grove Regional Park

The community is also known for its first-rate parks. For example, it has a unique rain garden plaza. This peaceful and open space has gardens, a banquet room, and plenty of event space.

Elk Grove also has many festivals. These festivals allow people to get together and enjoy the great outdoors. Some Elk Grove Regional Park events include a bike day, a teen festival, and dog days in summer.

Discovery Park

Discovery Park Sacramento is a regional park located at the junction of the American and Sacramento Rivers. The park offers many activities for people of all ages. It is open from sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Some activities include boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and biking.

One of the attractions of the park is the Discovery Center. This three-story facility comprises an observation tower, theater, cafe, gift shop, and nine permanent exhibit galleries. There are also outdoor learning areas and seasonal workshops.

The American River meets the Sacramento River - Discovery Park Sacramento
The American River meets the Sacramento River – Discovery Park Sacramento.

If you enjoy nature, you may want to check out the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, which passes through Discovery Park. It stretches 32 miles along the American River. You can take a side trip on the trail or go on a complete loop.

You can also visit the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park. This center incorporates traditional Northwest Native architecture. It is free to visit. However, donations are welcome.

You can also visit the park for various unique events and festivals. For instance, the Discovery Park Historical Theater Academy occurs twice a year. During this time, you can attend online sessions.

Sacramento Discovery Park
Sacramento Discovery Park

You can find out more about Discovery Park by visiting its official website. They are also active on social media, including Facebook and YouTube.

Concerts at Discovery Park are often sold out in advance. A concert ticket guarantee is available. Music fans can sign up for Songkick to learn about upcoming shows.

California State Capitol Park

California State Capitol Park is a 40-acre landscaped park surrounded by the California State Capitol. The trees are impressive, and a variety of species are planted. Some of the monuments are also interesting. This is a great place to visit.

The Agricultural Pavilion was constructed in 1884. It was used as the venue for State Fairs until 1905. Afterward, it became a garden showcasing native California plants.

Magnificent old Olive tree at the California State Capitol Park in Sacramento
Magnificent old Olive tree at the California State Capitol Park in Sacramento

There is a third-floor walkway that leads to a seating area. Visitors can also view the rose garden. In addition, the California Veterans Memorial is located in the park.

Capitol Park is a National Register historic district. Several monuments, trees, and plant life are in full bloom. Also, there are several restaurants and shops in the surrounding area.

Capitol Park has been in existence since 1869. William O’Brien designed the park grounds while the Capitol building was being built. He was the first State Capitol Gardener.

California State Capitol, Sacramento, California
California State Capitol, Sacramento, California

Capitol Park includes 150 points of interest, such as memorials and trees. You can learn more about these points of interest on the Capitol Park website.

There are several memorials to various events in California history. They are beautiful and compelling. These are engraved with intricate designs. One is the Purple Heart Monument, which honors all combat-wounded soldiers.

Capitol Park also has a life-size statue of Junipero Serra, a Native American. Additionally, there is the Civil War Memorial Grove. This grove is comprised of saplings transplanted from over forty Civil War battlefields.

César Chávez Plaza

Cesar Chavez Plaza is one of the oldest parks in California. It was named in honor of the civil rights leader and farm worker. The park has undergone several renovations over the years. One of the improvements was the new turf.

The plaza also boasts a beautiful fountain. An eminent farm worker, the Cesar Chavez statue, sits at the plaza’s center. In addition, there are benches and planter boxes.

Cesar Chavez Plaza
Cesar Chavez Plaza

The plaza is a great place to visit for locals and visitors alike. During the summer, there is a weekly Farmers’ Market. In addition, other events are held at the park, including the annual summer concert series.

Some of the best restaurants in the region are located near the downtown area. You can find everything from fine dining to fast food options.

Hagan Community Park Sacramento

The largest park in the Cordova Recreation & Park District is Hagan Community Park. The 80-acre complex provides a variety of amenities. It includes an aquatic center, a dog park, a community center, tennis courts, and a fishing lagoon. There is even a youth playground for the little ones.

Hagan Community Park is located at Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA. This park has been around for approximately six years. It is an excellent place for families to enjoy a fun day. In addition to sports fields, there are several group picnic spots, restrooms, and eco-commuter routes.

The Hagan Community Dog Park is a great way to spend a morning with your pets. It includes 2.5 acres of play space. Owners are asked to clean up after their dogs. They will also learn about training and socializing with their canine companions.

Another fun feature at Hagan Community Park is the Hagan Community Barn. This building houses animals that are part of a conservation program. These critters help clean up the area.

The Cordova Recreation & Park District is a non-profit organization that operates 40 parks and serves over 125,000 residents in Sacramento County. They also offer youth sports and enrichment classes. Among other things, they organize special events.

With its ample green space, it’s easy to see why Hagan Community Park is one of the most popular sites in the Cordova area. It’s also an excellent place to watch the sunset.

Carmichael Park Sacramento

If you want to visit quality places in Sacramento, California, you’ll want to check out Carmichael Park. This 38-acre park includes five ball fields, a playground, and a botanical garden. The park is open from dawn to dark.

Carmichael Park is located at 5750 Grant Avenue in Carmichael. It is a community-run park. There are many things to do here, including a local playhouse, dog park, disc golf, and softball.

Muhlenbergia rigens - deergrass
Muhlenbergia rigens – deergrass

Carmichael Park also has a farmers market that is open throughout the year. Other activities at this park include paddle boating, rock climbing, and zip lines. You can even take a guided tour of the art history.

Several festivals happen every year in Carmichael. One of them is the Healing Arts Festival. Another is the Sacramento Aloha Festival.

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