There are a lot of exciting things to do in Sacramento. While in this wonderful city, you’ll get to visit a wide range of historic sites and popular attractions, eat healthy delicious foods, drink beer and stay in the best hotels. Indeed, there’s much more to the capital of California than just politics and cows, so allow us to show you what your one day in Sacramento could look like. With the help of this itinerary, you’re going to have a blast!
Plan your trip
1. What’s the best time to visit Sacramento?
2. A few facts about Sacramento
3. One Day in Sacramento Itinerary
3.1. Start with breakfast at Old Sacramento Historic District
3.2. Head to the Sacramento Zoo
3.3. Visit Sutter’s Fort
3.4. Have your lunch at Delta King
3.5. Head to Leland Stanford Mansion
3.6. Go for a Sacramento Underground Tour
3.7. Visit the State Capitol Building
3.8. Enter the Governor’s Mansion
3.9. See the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
3.9.1. Wells Fargo History Museum
3.9.2. Watch the sunset from Tower Bridge
4. Where to stay in Sacramento, California?
5. Day trips from Sacramento
6. Extra tips for visiting Sacramento
The best time to visit this old town is from September to November or April to June because most of the festivals take place during these months. That way, you will have much more options during your visit.
However, the city is lovely to visit any time of year – this is California, after all. Therefore, you can expect some very mild winters, although it can get quite hot in summer. Keep in mind that July is the hottest month here if you can’t stand the heat.
While Sacramento is not as popular as Los Angeles or San Francisco, that’s exactly where its charm lies. It is also the capital of the state of California, but this title has shifted between four more cities. Sacramento was the capital in the mid-18th century but lost that status for a period, only to have it restored again.
The city is also home to Pony Express and has numerous nicknames such as “City of Trees”, “River City”, “Sactown”, and many more. Sacramento’s metropolitan area is home to almost two million people.
Here are the top things to do in Sacramento, no matter if you are a frequent visitor or a first-timer for one day:
If you are interested in the Wild West vibes, Old Sacramento State Historic Park is the ideal place to get them. Most of the stores in Old Sacramento have the feel of a western movie shoot-out. Once you’re here, you’ll find a lot of things to browse in the large shops of the area which are full of things like saltwater taffy, milkshakes, and ice cream. Just be on the lookout for horse poop.
According to professional paper writers, the restoration process of this area started up in the 1960s and it has become quite a tourist attraction in Sacramento. There are more than 125 boutique shops for you to visit. This district lies along the Sacramento River and is home to several beautiful restaurants and museums.
The Sacramento Zoo has been actively operating since 1927. It covers 14.3 acres with more than one hundred animals. The best thing about this zoo are the giraffe encounters. For only five bucks, you can get up close and personal with these wonderful animals. This only happens a few times a day.
Therefore, always visit the zoo’s website ahead of time to know when the encounters are happening during the day. If you have children and you are looking for exciting things to do in Sacramento with your kids, this zoo is the perfect place for you since it provides a few kid rides, too. These include climbing walls, a zoo train, and a conservation carousel.
Sutter’s Fort is a testament to the city’s pioneering history. The fort was in operation for eleven years and is one of the best places for school groups to visit. Lots of classes visit the place, dressed up in classic attires, and learning how to live like westerners in the early 19th century.
Cannon demonstrations are usually done here, but Sutter’s Fort provides an amazing look at California’s history through an interactive museum. The fort has been restored to give you a glimpse into the kind of life that pioneers lived back then. The man who built the fort came from Switzerland.
John Sutter intended to have a successful agricultural setup in Sacramento Valley with the land grant that he got from the Government of Mexico. In 1847, he became popular for his hospitality after he helped the Donner Party that was held up in Sierras. Immigrants from different parts of the world started seeking refuge at the fort that was popularly known as New Helvetia. And it became a famous pioneering community in California before being taken by gold diggers.
Delta King is located in Old Town Sacramento. It is a historic riverboat with a hotel, two restaurants, and a theater. It’s also one of the best places to visit in Old Sacramento if you have some extra cash to splash. Indeed, the restaurant located in Delta King is one of the top dining options in the entire city.
Leland Stanford Mansion is located a few meters away from the State Capitol. And it is a sight to behold in the Sacramento downtown area. The Victorian mansion was home to Leland Stanford, California’s governor, and the office of two California governors in the 1860s.
Since then, it has been turned into a beautiful museum that visitors can tour and learn more about the interesting history of California in the 19th century. If you love Victorian décor and architecture in general, this is one of the best places for you to visit. You’ll see historic paintings, restored woodwork, and 19th-century gardens.
Sacramento Underground Tour is one of the most underrated things to see in this beautiful city. Going on this tour helps you get a better overview of the entire city and how great it has become over the years.
Unlike the underground tours in Seattle and Portland which focus on the Shanghai system and ghosts, the underground tour of Sacramento showcases the original foundations of this city. It’s amazing to see how Sacramento has risen after the floods back in the 1870s. The tours start from Sacramento History Museum and last for around one hour.
The California State Capitol is one of the most interesting places you’ll see in Sacramento. Inside this place, there are a lot of exhibits for all the counties in the state together with historical rooms of famous senators and governors.
It is an amazing building that you should visit if you want to learn more about California’s political history and see the halls where lots of legislation have been passed. Free tours are offered every day from 9 am to 4 pm.
This is one of the most important landmarks in Sacramento. The Governor’s Mansion is a famous three-story building with 33 rooms that feature Victorian architecture. The mansion was a public museum for close to fifty years. However, it was reverted to the official governor’s residence when Governor Jerry Brown moved in with his wife and children in 2015. While you cannot go inside the mansion now, it is still an amazing historic building to look at from outside.
The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is a wonderful place to visit even if you are not into religion. You’ll get the opportunity to see its stunning glass windows, the lively interior, historic paintings, and detailed architecture. Always visit this place in the afternoon when there are no services taking place.
This is another popular sight in Sacramento. Visiting a bank museum might not sound like the most interesting way to spend your afternoon. But there’s much more than meets the eye. The coolest thing about this site is showcases how the Wells Fargo office looked like in the 19th century. It also shows how the organization influenced commerce.
Next to it is the Pony Express Terminal which is California Supreme Court’s first location. Pony Express was among the first US mail services in 1860 that delivered newspapers and letters between California and Missouri by horseback.
Tower Bridge is the most famous structure in Sacramento. It is a historic lift bridge that has a golden color. As you walk across the bridge, you’ll get a sweeping view of the Sacramento River.
You can take a river cruise or walk along the River Walk Trail. In any case, this bridge is one of the best places to visit especially during sunset.
Kimpton Sawyer Hotel
500 J Street, Downtown Sacramento, Sacramento
This beautiful modern hotel is just what you need if you want to pamper yourself during your stay in Sacramento. Kimpton Sawyer Hotel has an outdoor pool that’s open all year round, with a great cocktail bar right next to it. Its rooms are exceptionally well equipped and even have a docking station for your iPod. And if you’re lucky, you can hope to grab a free drink in the lobby in the evening.
The Citizen Hotel
926 J Street, Downtown Sacramento, Sacramento
If you want to enjoy an incredible view of Sacramento, get a room at The Citizen and go for a drink at its rooftop bar. You’ll be amazed by what you see, no matter if you’re there in the morning or in the evening. Apart from that, this four-star hotel is in a beautiful building and provides absolutely everything you’d expect from a hotel of this caliber.
Sacramento Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza
300 J Street, Downtown Sacramento, Sacramento
Sacramento Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza offers a fantastic location close to Old Sacramento and just a few minutes from the State Capitol itself. The hotel an outdoor pool, an on-site restaurant, a pub and a fitness center, not to mention friendly staff and comfortable rooms. Worth every cent!
WHOLE Family – Barette
337 Barrette Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95815
And if you’re looking to save on your sleeping arrangements, WHOLE Family – Barette is a great hotel to choose. It’s got everything you need for a pleasant stay, plus the rooms even come with a patio. Free WiFi, a shared kitchen and a shared lounge are also a part of the deal.
We won’t blame you if you decide to stay for a few more days – Sacramento is just that great! But if you do stay, you should know that there are some great opportunities for a day trip around here. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss.
Napa Valley – a day trip from Sacramento that’s bound to be at the top of every list. The valley’s incredible vineyards and fantastic wineries have made it known all over the world, and the ride aboard the Wine Train is something no wine lover should miss.
San Francisco – just an hour and a half away by car stands the great city of San Francisco. Now,we certainly can’t fit all he reasons why you should go and visit it in these few lines. Just know that you will have an amazing fun-filled day if you make the trip.
San Jose – another great US city, San Jose is just a two-hour drive away from Sacramento. The heart of Silicon Valley will quickly capture all your attention, and its charming streets and excellent food will make it so hard for you to leave.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park – nature lovers shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to go and visit Yosemite National Park. Ancient sequoias, majestic views, wonderful hiking trails, jaw-dropping waterfalls… A day here is as close to a day in paradise as you can get.
– Visit the farmers markets for some affordable meals created from ingredients from local farms
– If possible, get yourself a car. It’s the best way to get from A to be, although the public transport here is pretty good, too.
– Coffee is big in Sactown. There are many unique artisan coffee places scattered all over the town providing unique coffee-drinking experiences. You may want to stop by one of these.
– There are also many retro diners and even a drive-in theater you can visit for that awesome mid-20th century vibe.
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If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Sacramento Itinerary, feel free to share it in the comments below!
Logistical Tips and Tricks
Organize your trip in five easy steps!
BOOK A FLIGHT!
Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!
BOOK A ROOM!
To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.
GET A CAR!
If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.
INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!
Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.
FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!
Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.