One Day in Sacramento Itinerary – Top Things to Do in Sacramento, California

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!

One day in Sacramento Itinerary

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

What’s the best time to visit 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.

Tower Bridge, Sacramento
Tower Bridge, Author: Allie_Caulfield, Source: Flickr

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.

A few facts about Sacramento

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.

Welcome to Sacramento
Welcome to Sacramento, Author: Nick Ares, Source: Flickr

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.

Streets of Sacramento
Streets of Sacramento, Author: Robert Couse-Baker, Source: Flickr

One Day in Sacramento Itinerary

Here are the top things to do in Sacramento, no matter if you are a frequent visitor or a first-timer for one day:

Start with breakfast at Old Sacramento Historic District

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.

Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Old Sacramento State Historic Park, Author: Allie_Caulfield, Source: Flickr

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.

Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Old Sacramento State Historic Park, Author: Rojer, Source: Flickr

Head to the Sacramento Zoo

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.

Sacramento Zoo
Sacramento Zoo, Author: Creative Captures, Source: Flickr

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.

Visit Sutter’s Fort

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.

Have your lunch at Delta King

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.

Delta King, Sacramento
Delta King, Author: Allie_Caulfield, Source: Flickr

Head to Leland Stanford Mansion

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.

Go for a Sacramento Underground Tour

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.

Visit the State Capitol Building

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.

California State Capitol, Sacramento
California State Capitol, Author: Allie_Caulfield, Source: Flickr

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.

Enter the Governor’s Mansion

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.

Governor’s Mansion, Sacramento
Governor’s Mansion, Author: Loco Steve, Source: Flickr

See the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

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.

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Sacramento
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Author: Diocese Sacramento, Source: Flickr

Go to Wells Fargo History Museum

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.

Wells Fargo History Museum, Sacramento
Wells Fargo History Museum, Author: Gary Stevens, Source: Flickr

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.

Watch the sunset from Tower Bridge

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.

Tower Bridge at Sunset, Sacramento
Tower Bridge at Sunset, Author: Dennis Jeffrey, Source: Flickr

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.

Sacramento at night
Sacramento at night, Author: micadew, Source: Flickr

Where to stay in Sacramento, California?

Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, Sacramento

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, Sacramento

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.


Holiday Inn Sacramento

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 - Barrette, Sacramento

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.


Day trips from Sacramento

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

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

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

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.

Extra tips for visiting Sacramento

– 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.

Pin for later!

A complete one day itinerary for Sacramento, CaliforniaHow to spend a perfect day in Sacramento, CaliforniaBest of Sacramento, California - What to do and where to stay

If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Sacramento Itinerary, feel free to share it in the comments below!

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Charlie Svensson
Freelance Writer

Charlie Svensson is fast, engaging freelance writer at assignment writing service. Skilled in content writing and blogging. The favorite topics of his posts are education, social media, marketing, SEO, motivation blogging and self-growth. Excellent adaptability of skills to reach diverse audiences.


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