Best Places to Visit in Sacramento

Best Places to Visit in Sacramento

Museums, parks, zoos and more! Sacramento offers an abundance of attractions whether you’re traveling with your family, for work or otherwise. The city boasts beautiful and historic museums such as the Crocker Art Museum and the California State Capitol Museum along with attractions that are great for families with kids like the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town. Be sure to check out everything the best places to visit in Sacramento.

Featured Photo: Lizzie Luh on Unsplash

A vintage steam locomotive is displayed inside an exhibit that simulates a rocky tunnel. The train, black with intricate brass fittings and prominent front lights, stands on track rails amidst wooden beams and blue accent lighting overhead. It's one of the best places to visit while exploring Los Angeles.

California State Railroad Museum

Regarded as one of North America’s largest Railroad Museums, the California State Railroad Museum puts on display 21 restored locomotive and railroad cars, some of which date back to 1862. The location of the museum is important because the old railroads in Sacramento were what connected California to the rest of the country back in the 1800s and early 1900s. The museum showcases the unique history of these California railroads in addition to the stories and people that helped build this history. California State Railroad Museum offers educational opportunities for kids of all ages, so it’s great for the whole family. During the summer, visitors can even take a ride down the Sacramento River on one of the historic steam locomotives or vintage diesel trains. 

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A richly decorated room features ornate wooden furniture, a central glass display case, grand chandeliers, and intricate ceiling designs. The room has detailed wood paneling, vintage carpeting, and several statues and artifacts on display—one of the best places to visit in Sacramento for history buffs.

Crocker Art Museum

Crocker Art Museum is the oldest art museum in the Western United States, as it was founded back in 1885. The museum is home to one of the largest international ceramic collections in the county, featuring the work of ceramists such as Hamada Shoji and Lucie Rie. The museum features a variety of historic artwork from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceanic areas. Notable upcoming artwork exhibitions include AI Am I?, A Marriage of Arts & Crafts, and ABC—123

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A quiet, sunny street in a historic downtown area offers a glimpse of what to do in Northern California. The street is lined with old-fashioned buildings featuring vintage architecture and balconies. Cars are parked along the side, and leafy green trees line the right side of the street. The sky is clear.

Old Sacramento Waterfront

Sacramento is home to the Old Sacramento Waterfront, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark due to the historic buildings that lie in this area. Old Sacramento offers over 125 activities for visitors to do such as: going shopping, seeing live entertainment, visiting museums, going out to eat and so much more. The cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and historic buildings make you feel like you’re back in the Gold Rush era. One of its greatest features is the Delta King, an old riverboat from 1927 that’s been restored and converted to a restaurant right at the end of the waterfront. 

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The image shows a large, white, neoclassical building with a prominent dome, columns, and steps, likely one of the best places to visit in Sacramento. In front are rows of white chairs arranged on a lawn, surrounded by trees, under a clear blue sky.

California State Capitol Museum

Home to the California State Legislature and the governor’s office, the California State Capitol Museum is a must-see for all Californians. Visitors are welcome to take tours of the historic building where they can see portraits of all the former governors, the 42 California state symbols, historic rooms, and more. Next door to the Museum is Capitol Park, a 5.2-mile long park that consists of beautiful gardens, extraordinary monuments, and significant memorials. These monuments and memorials pay tribute to many important figures in California’s history.

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A large group of people sit on the grassy lawn of a park, facing a white building. Some individuals are standing near the building. Trees with green foliage surround the area, and the sky is clear and blue. The scene appears to be a sunny day, perfect for those looking to explore Los Angeles.
Photo: Courtesy of Friends of Sutter's Fort

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

Sutter’s Fort was the first non-indigenous community to exist in the Central Valley. Established in 1839 by European settler John Sutter, the fort quickly became an epicenter for local trade, agriculture, and its economy. Nowadays, the fort is a California State Park, where visitors can explore the historic structures of the fort, many of which have been restored to their original style and form. Self-guided tours are very popular for visitors to do as they are no longer offering audio tours. 

More Info: Friends of Sutter’s Fort

A well-lit vintage car museum with classic cars displayed in two rows under a rustic wooden roof, making it one of the best places to visit. The polished exteriors create a historical ambiance, while visitors can be seen in the background, viewing the exhibits.

California Automobile Museum

Located right next to the Sacramento River, the California Automobile Museum features a collection of over 150 vintage cars, some of which date back to 1886. They have classic cars, muscle cars, race cars, and early model cars that are exhibited over 72,000 square feet. The collection of cars serves to illustrate the history of automobiles spanning over the past 120 years. Be sure to check out their “Sunday Drives” where visitors can ride in a museum car for free every third Sunday of the month. 

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Colorful map illustration of Sacramento Zoo depicting various animal exhibits, pathways, and amenities. Labelled areas include habitats for giraffes, zebras, big cats, monkeys, and birds, along with visitor attractions like ponds, restaurants, trains, and play areas. A must-see among the best places to visit in Sacramento!
Photo: Courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo

Sacramento Zoo

Accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Sacramento Zoo is the perfect place for families and animal lovers alike. The Zoo is home to over 500 exotic animals including snow leopards, kangaroos, flamingos, alligators and more. Many of these animals are endangered species, making them even more of a sight to see. The 14-acre zoo is located in William Land Park, so be sure to add this to your list of things to do in Sacramento. 

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An entrance made of stone with a sign that reads "Fairytale Town" welcomes you to one of the best places to visit in Sacramento. A Humpty Dumpty figure sits atop the center, while trees and a gravel path lie beyond. Signboards and multiple Humpty Dumpty images adorn either side, inviting all to explore.

Fairytale Town

Fairytale Town is a large recreational park that has 26 playgrounds for little kids to roam wild. As the name insists, many of the playgrounds are based on different fairytale stories such as Humpty Dumpty, Cinderella, Mother Goose and more. Kids can even pet little miniature farm animals like donkeys and cows. The park also offers two performing arts events, multiple gardens to play in, and a cafe to eat. 

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