What to do in Sacramento, CA

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Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park which includes a garden, a city and a house

Sacramento Attractions

Trees, rivers, and a lot of California history are part of the atmosphere in Sacramento, a city whose rustic landmarks and natural beauty point to its own unique place in the American story. Home to landmarks from Sutter's Fort to the State Capitol and the California State Fair, the city has been welcoming visitors since the days of the Gold Rush. With all that heritage, there’s no shortage of things to do in Sacramento. It doesn't hurt that you're surrounded by one of the greenest urban spaces in America, with a climate that wouldn't be out of place in the Mediterranean.

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Most popular experiences in Sacramento

What to do in Sacramento

Free Things to Do in Sacramento

Traveling to Sacramento on a budget? The following can be experienced for nada.

Wells Fargo History Museum - Filled with fascinating displays and objects, this place is a paradise for minds that thirst for knowledge.

William Land Park - Make this place one of your first stops if you're chasing fun during your stay.

California Department of Parks and Recreation - Be wowed by the creativity and design of this impressive example of modernistic architecture.

Libby's Cannery - Educate yourself about some of the unique history of the region through this site.

Sutter General Hospital - Make room in your itinerary to take a look at this site of local significance.

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament - Do some soul searching or just soak up the serene atmosphere at this sacred place.

Loch Leven Lakes Trail - Take a break from the big city and reconnect with Mother Nature at this incredible place.

Cesar Chavez Park - No matter if you can tell your cacti from carnations, you'll no doubt find beauty in this glorious display.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Sacramento


With just enough high-rises to make a nice skyline, Sacramento’s central business district includes City Hall, the California State Capitol, and the Sacramento Convention Center. That concentration of meeting rooms has attracted its share of Sacramento hotels, whose guests flock to the outdoor mall at Westfield Downtown Plaza and the more than 4 miles (6.5 km) of waterfront that stretches along the Sacramento and American rivers.


Just east of the city center, Midtown holds some of the Sacramento’s oldest neighborhoods. Victorian homes line orderly streets near landmarks like Sutter's Fort, and bicycle paths lead all the way out to the suburbs. The diverse community counts artists, musicians, and more than the usual share of state legislators among its residents, and its Lavender Heights neighborhood is the historic home of Sacramento's LGBT community.

Land Park

Named for the city park that anchors one of Sacramento's bigger stretches of green space, Land Park's well-shaded avenues are a good example of how the City of Trees got its nickname. The Sacramento Zoo and a pair of amusement parks fill out the space among the woods.


One of most recent parts of the city to be developed, Natomas is home to Sleep Train Arena, San Diego International Airport, and plenty of outdoor space. North Natomas Regional Park features a network of trails and grassy fields, with dog parks and open spaces for the Central California wildlife.

What to See in Sacramento

Fruit trees and gold helped to put Sacramento on the map, and you can still find signs of the 19th-century boom. The old colony of Sutter's Fort still stands at the edge of Midtown, while the cobbled streets and steamboats of Old Sacramento would look familiar to a visitor from the 1860s. And with a population closer to that of Portland than Los Angeles, the city has plenty of room left for the biggest tree canopy in the United States.

Sightseeing in Sacramento

State capitals tend to attract a wealth of historic monuments and museums, and a state like California has plenty of heritage to explore. The Crocker Art Museum hosts the oldest public art collection in the western United States, while the California State Railroad Museum celebrates the city's place at the end of the Transcontinental Railroad. You can take a look through California history at the State Capitol Museum, or at more than a century's worth of vintage cars at the California Automobile Museum.

If the weather's too nice for you to stay indoors, then there's plenty to do in the open air. You can board a heritage train car for a ride on the Sacramento Southern Railroad, take a cruise on the Sacramento River or take a food tour to see how the city got its reputation for trendy farm-to-table dishes. Out past the suburbs, you can go for a swim at Granite Bay Beach or take a hike in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, and you're just a quick drive away from the Napa Valley or the whitewater rapids on the Sacramento River.


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Frequently asked questions

What to do in Sacramento on a sunny day?
What to do in Sacramento on a rainy day?
When it’s pelting down, these fun indoor activities will keep you out of mischief — and nice and dry!:

What should I not miss in Sacramento?
Put these attractions at the top of your to-do list to get the most out of your trip:

  • California State Capitol
  • Sacramento Zoo
  • Crocker Art Museum
  • California State Railroad Museum

Are there cheap things to do in Sacramento?
What can you do in Sacramento for free?
Your time in Sacramento doesn’t have to cost a fortune with free things like these on offer:

  • Historic Governor’s Mansion
  • Thunder Valley Casino
  • Discovery Park
  • Arden Fair Mall

Popular places to visit

Areas of Sacramento

Day trip destinations from Sacramento