Sacramento might not be the go-to vacation destination in California, but it still has lots of fun things to do. After all, it’s the state’s capital, so it’s one of the best places to learn about California’s history.
And like most of the state, it’s known for its sunny skies and warm weather. So, it has lots to do outside, but also plenty of air-conditioned activities too. Here are 12 fun things to do in Sacramento to make your trip exciting.
#1 – California State Railroad Museum
The California State Railroad Museum is one of the largest museums of its kind, and it has some of the most impressive locomotive collections. It’s 200,000 square feet and it’s full of a wide range of trains dating from 1862 to 1944. As an added bonus, you can look inside most of them, where you will find unique furnishings and decorations. In addition to the vehicles, the museum also focuses on the history of railroads and everything related. Even if you’ve never been intrigued about trains before, you will be after visiting this attraction.
#2 – Old Sacramento State Historic Park
The Old Sacramento area covers 28 acres of the city’s waterfront. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Sacramento because it features lots of historical buildings, which have a fascinating history behind them. Most of these structures were built in the 1850s, and they made up the city’s original commercial district. Today, these old buildings still house plenty of businesses, including shops, restaurants, and museums. You can take tours, go on a riverboat excursion, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or hop on a vintage railroad ride.
#3 – Crocker Art Museum
Every good city also needs an impressive art collection. And the Crocker Art Museum dates back to 1885 with an always expanding collection of art. It was once known as the E.B. Crocker Art Gallery because the pieces were first collected by Judge Edwin B. Crocker before the museum opened. In fact, it’s one of the oldest art museums in the country. It includes art pieces from 1860 all the way to the present day. These pieces come from all over the world, including artwork from Asia, Europe, and Africa. It even has some hands-on attractions and art classes for younger guests.
#4 – Sacramento Zoo
The Sacramento Zoo isn’t the biggest zoo you’ll see, but it’s still an exciting place to visit. It has over 500 exotic animals, many of which are reptiles. However, you’ll also see a variety of other creatures, including lions, aardvarks, giraffes, and jaguars. It takes up 14 acres to ensure that all the animals have a suitable sized habitat. This zoo is big on supporting wildlife protection. So, they help out with conservation projects, both locally and internationally. The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary is another nearby zoo that guests love to visit.
#5 – California State Capitol Museum
Capitol buildings are always massive, beautiful structures. So, the California State Capitol Museum is no different. In this structure, you can learn about the state’s history while also seeing where the active California government takes place. The building has several rooms dedicated to the museum, where you’ll find portraits, artwork, and antiques. Outside, you’ll also find many beautiful gardens surrounding the capitol. You can visit any time during its open hours to witness its gorgeous architecture.
#6 – Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
Sutter’s Fort was a community in California that was around before the California Gold Rush. It was created by John Sutter in 1839, and it was a popular location until gold was discovered about 45 miles away. The fort was then abandoned and has been left as it was all these years. Today, the abandoned space has been restored and looks better than ever. You can take tours and learn lots of the state’s history during your visit. Depending on the time of year, special events are hosted here, such as dinners, movies, and haunted experiences.
#7 – California Automobile Museum
Trains aren’t the only fascinating mode of transportation in California. The Automobile Museum has an impressive display of vintage cars, dating anywhere from 1885 to 2011. You’ll find over 120 cars on-site. And it even has one of the largest collections of Fords in the world. Throughout the years, it also has special events where you can see different types of cars that aren’t normally on display. It has had events related to trucks, road trips, camping, and more.
#8 – California State Indian Museum
The California State Indian Museum is one of the most fun things to do in Sacramento because Native American culture is a crucial part of American culture. This museum goes into great detail about all the Native American tribes, detailing how important each one was. It has many photographs, artifacts, and other traditional items that have been donated over the years. This museum has been around for over 75 years, so it’s an excellent place to teach your family some history.
#9 – Leland Stanford Mansion
Leland Stanford is the founder of the famous California University. To commemorate him, people built the Leland Stanford Mansion right in Sacramento. It was owned by him for a while, but today, it’s a museum rather than a residence. Mansions are fascinating to many visitors, so taking a tour will show you what it’s like to feel like royalty. It has 19,000 square feet of Victorian architecture and 17-foot ceilings in most of the rooms. It has all the vintage charm you’d expect from an older mansion. Plus, it’s surrounded by beautiful foliage.
#10 – Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
A church might not seem like one of the most fun things to do in Sacramento, but wait until you see it! It’s a massive cathedral that was built in 1889. It’s beloved for its gorgeous details and furnishings inside, especially its 112-foot dome and vibrant stained-glass windows. This Catholic church offers services daily, and it often hosts weddings and baptisms too. Even if you’re not religious, it’s still a jaw-dropped structure that you’ll want to see.
#11 – Raging Waters
Vacations aren’t just about historical attractions and beautiful sights. Sometimes, fun adventures are preferred. Raging Waters is one of the best water parks in the state, and it’s perfect for those sweltering summer days. It has over 25 water rides for guests of all ages to enjoy. If you love thrills, then you can check out the water slides. But if you prefer to relax, the 800-foot lazy river or the wave pool might be better for you. With such a wide variety of attractions, it’s a great place for the entire family to spend the day.
#12 – Fairytale Town
If you’re traveling with kids, Fairytale Town is another fun attraction that you won’t want to miss. It’s a 2.5-acre play area that also doubles as a children’s museum. It’s designed to make fairy tale stories come to life and to boost your children’s imaginations. Throughout the play areas, you’ll see lots of familiar characters, like Humpty Dumpty and Peter Rabbit. Some of the popular exhibits include a petting zoo, an alphabet garden, and performing arts stages. It’s like paradise for young visitors.
Do you love vacations that are the perfect mix of exciting and educational? Then the California capital city might be the destination for you. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a big family, there are plenty of fun things to do in Sacramento. So, consider adding some of these attractions to your itinerary.