Why Go To Sacramento
Los Angeles has star power. San Francisco has urban culture. San Diego has to-die-for weather. So why is Sacramento the capital of California? The rationale goes back to the days of the Gold Rush when it was a hotbed for gold diggers — actual miners, not the other kind. And though it's not celebrity-studded or on the seaside, the seat of California's state government has plenty of culture. For this reason, the Capitol building of aptly named Capitol Park is the first stop for many visitors. And there is more to explore. The Midtown neighborhood hosts burgeoning theater and nightlife scenes that cosmopolitan visitors will appreciate. The Gold Rush may be over, but Sacramento's still a great place to be.
The Golden State's capital is rooted in history. Before Spanish settlers claimed the land in the 1840s, the Nisenan branch of Maidu Native Americans inhabited the Sacramento Valley. With the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, the area saw the largest migration in the country's history. Nowadays, the region is known as the most affordable of the California destinations. Plus it is home to plentiful outdoor activities, 200 parks and two rivers, and it's also the self-proclaimed "Farm-to-Fork Capital of America" with a large agricultural production of grapes, pears, corn and livestock. No matter what your interest, it's safe to say Sacramento won't leave you bored.
The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.
Sacramento is ranked as:
#8 Best Day Trips from San Francisco
Best Things To Do In Sacramento
Sacramento may be an uncommon tourist destination, but the city has attractions suitable for all ages. The epicenter of visitor activity, Old Sacramento hosts river views, eateries and museums, including the traveler-praised California State Railroad Museum. History buffs should stick to the downtown area to visit Capitol Park, home to the California state government since 1869, and about less than a mile away is Sutter's Fort, a popular home for immigrants who came to the West and helped harvest the wheat, cotton and bean crops within the fort. Young families should head south for the age-appropriate Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town.
Sacramento Travel Tips
More for your money - Sacramento is much less expensive than California's coastal cities. From hotels to restaurants, you'll be surprised how far you can stretch a dollar.
Make it a day trip - Many travelers can see Sacramento in a day. We recommend checking out the things to do and plotting a fun-filled day trip.
Time to visit - Summer temps can be quite high, while winter ushers in chilly, rainy days. Aim for a spring or fall trip.
Kids eat free - Check with local restaurants to see what nights kiddos can grub for free.
Grab some local produce - As the self-proclaimed capital of farm-to-fork cuisine, taking a stroll around one of the farmers markets and purchasing some produce can help you save on snacks.
Embrace the great outdoors - Nature lovers rejoice over the abundance of parks and the two rivers located in the city. The best part? They're free to explore.