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Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

Learn about the Donner Party and the California Gold Rush through reenactments and a restored fort in this open-air museum.

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park comprises a 19th-century fort that played a key role in the gold rush and the development of Sacramento. This open-air museum describes the lives and jobs of the early Californian pioneers and their first non-indigenous settlements. Watch reenactments to learn about the intriguing agricultural lives of these pioneers and consider how things have changed since then.

Hear the cannon go off daily at noon amid the reenactments. Piece together the various stories of the fort and its surroundings through the exhibits, which consist of narrative boards, photographs and videos. Swiss pioneer John Sutter set up the first non-indigenous community here, known as New Helvetia. Read about how he sent aid to rescue the Donner Party, a group of immigrants who were trapped in a snowy storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Admire the two-story adobe fort, which was constructed in 1841. It is the only surviving structure in the historic park. Enter the fort and take the self-guided audio tour for a comprehensive overview. Inspect the various trinkets and artifacts from another time. Learn how to make candles and melt metal, among other old-fashioned processes.

Hear how many immigrants moved to New Helvetia after word spread about Sutter’s hospitality. A decade later, the town dispersed in the chaos of the gold rush.

Amble through this open-air exhibit with your family and enjoy the quaint charm of this park, which is a welcome change of scenery from the modern, residential area enclosing it. Relax in the shade of a tree on a warm, sunny afternoon.

The site is open daily from morning until late afternoon. There is a fee for admission to the park, with discounts for youths. Toddlers enter for free.

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is in the Midtown Sacramento area, about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) southeast of the downtown district. Take a bus to one of the stops on the freeway on the eastern flank of the park. Visit nearby attractions, such as the California State Capitol Museum, McKinley Park and James Marshall Park.


Guide to Exploring around Sutter's Fort State Historic Park


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Lodging Near Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

See all 134 Hotels near Sutter's Fort State Historic Park
$58
Red Lion Inn & Suites Sacramento Midtown

Red Lion Inn & Suites Sacramento Midtown

1319 30th St, Sacramento
2.8
of 5, from 105 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Sacramento, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Sutter's Fort State Historic Park and Fort Sutter State Historical Park. California State Capitol and Historic Governor's Mansion are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$60
Motel 6 Sacramento Downtown

Motel 6 Sacramento Downtown

1415 30th St, Sacramento
2.2
of 5, from 43 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Sacramento, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Sutter's Fort State Historic Park and Fort Sutter State Historical Park. California State Capitol and Historic Governor's Mansion are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$168
Amber House Inn of Midtown

Amber House Inn of Midtown

1315 22nd Street, Sacramento
4.8
of 5, from 25 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Sacramento, this romantic bed & breakfast is within a 15-minute walk of Sacramento Art Complex and Fort Sutter State Historical Park. California State Capitol and Historic Governor's Mansion are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$163
Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel

Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel

1230 J St, Sacramento
4.1
of 5, from 352 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Rising grandly from the historical Public Market Building, this hotel is across the street from the convention center and 2 blocks from the California State Capitol buildings.

$189
Hyatt Regency Sacramento

Hyatt Regency Sacramento

1209 L St, Sacramento
4.3
of 5, from 418 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This downtown Sacramento hotel is across the street from the State Capitol and Capitol Park, and one block from the convention center; Sacramento Int'l Airport is 12 miles away.