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California State Railroad Museum

Discover how trains helped make America what it is today in the largest railroad museum in the country.

Get a glimpse into how America’s early settlers would have traveled as you wander through the sleeping and dining cars of the fully restored locomotives that rattled the tracks as far back as the 19th century.

See just how tough the work of building the railroads would have been in the Sierra Scene, a full-scale replica construction site depicting the work of building a track through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. And don’t miss the opportunity to chat with the costumed docents, who are happy to share their knowledge of the trains and their history.

Start on the first floor, where you’ll find 21 fully restored locomotives and cars. Exhibits include the 1862 Gov. Stanford, a wood-burning locomotive that pulled the Central Pacific’s first scheduled passenger train. There’s also the stylish Southern Pacific Cab-forward No. 4294 that journeyed the country’s railroads in the early 20th century.  

Children will love the chance to climb onto the conductor’s seat, or lie back in the sleeper car as the simulator mimics the sensation of rolling over the tracks. Find more to keep the children entertained upstairs, with the Thomas the Tank Engine and toy train areas offering plenty of chances to push buttons and play at being conductor.

If you visit during summer, climb aboard for a ride along the Sacramento Southern Railroad. This 40-minute scenic ride passes through Old Sacramento and along the Sacramento River. Excursions operate on the hour every hour from April to October.

To find out more about the exhibits, take one of the regular guided tours, or alternatively, step into the theater to watch one of the informative film screenings. Ask at the admissions desk for times.

The California State Railroad Museum is open daily and is located on the corner of Second and I streets in Old Sacramento. On-street parking in this area is metered and limited term. There is all-day parking for a fee in the large garage on I Street. An Amtrak train station is about two blocks’ walk away.

The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Purchase a 3-Park Pass to gain entry to this and two out of four other museums in the city.


Guide to Exploring around California State Railroad Museum


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Lodging Near California State Railroad Museum

See all 131 Hotels near California State Railroad Museum
$89
La Quinta Inn Sacramento Downtown

La Quinta Inn Sacramento Downtown

200 Jibboom St, Sacramento
3.3
of 5, from 1,695 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Sacramento, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from American River Bike Trail and within 3 mi (5 km) of Golden1Center and California State Capitol. Fort Sutter State Historical Park is 3 mi (4.9 km) away.

$85
Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown-Arena

Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown-Arena

300 J St, Sacramento
4.1
of 5, from 1,137 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Sacramento, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Downtown Commons and Golden1Center. California State Capitol and Fort Sutter State Historical Park are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$159
Embassy Suites Sacramento - Riverfront Promenade

Embassy Suites Sacramento - Riverfront Promenade

100 Capitol Mall, Sacramento
4.4
of 5, from 1,351 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Unique location on the river near the historic center and also downtown shopping and business districts with stunning views of Tower Bridge. Also near the Arco Arena.

$152
Hyatt Regency Sacramento

Hyatt Regency Sacramento

1209 L St, Sacramento
4.4
of 5, from 1,357 reviews
4.5 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.

$121
The Citizen Hotel, Autograph Collection

The Citizen Hotel, Autograph Collection

926 J Street, Sacramento
4.4
of 5, from 1,557 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Sacramento, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cesar Chavez Park and California State Capitol. Golden1Center and Fort Sutter State Historical Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$76
Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Sacramento

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Sacramento

321 Bercut Dr, Sacramento
3.6
of 5, from 2,362 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Sacramento, this hotel is 0.6 mi (0.9 km) from American River Bike Trail and within 3 mi (5 km) of Golden1Center and California State Capitol. Sacramento History Museum and California State Railroad Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$105
Vagabond Inn Executive Old Town

Vagabond Inn Executive Old Town

909 3rd St, Sacramento
3.8
of 5, from 1,857 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Vagabond Inn Executive Old Town is just off highway I-5 and half a block from the carriage rides of Sacramento’s Old Town. The California State Capitol Building and Governor’s Mansion are 1 mile (0.6 km) away, the Crocker Art Museum 2.5 miles (4 km). Guests can drive 7 minutes to the Sacramento Zoo.

$148
Delta King Hotel

Delta King Hotel

1000 Front St, Sacramento
4.1
of 5, from 1,525 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Old Sacramento, this hotel is steps from Sacramento History Museum and California State Railroad Museum. California State Military Museum and Tower Bridge are also within 10 minutes.