Sacramento is California’s capital, but there’s much more to Sactown than government offices. This spot is blessed by a ton of natural beauty and offers plenty of fun activities. I’ve been visiting California’s capital for most of my life: as a kid, I went there on school trips; now I go back to visit friends and for fun weekend trips. Every time I go, Sacramento continues to show me something new.
With three days, you can see beautiful spots like Capitol Park, visit the Sacramento Zoo, go indoor skydiving, ride bikes along the American River Bike Trail, and learn about the California Gold Rush in nearby Folsom. Here are my suggestions for how to spend your time on your first trip to Sacramento.
Bring a raincoat with you from September to March (just in case) and light clothing in the summertime.
If you only have time for one activity, visit the California State Railroad Museum to step back in time and see how the railway shaped the state.
On day one, get the lay of the land by getting out on the American River for a guided overview of the area. You’ll enjoy beautiful scenery and learn about the Gold Rush, the Pony Express, and how being the seat of government has shaped the city.
In the afternoon, hit up some historical sites on a self-guided tour of Capitol Park, where you can visit the Vietnam War Memorial, the Capitol Building, the rose garden, the firefighters memorial, and more.
Today, after breakfast, drive out to Folsom, a small city just outside Sacramento with a vibrant historic district. You can learn what it was like to experience the Gold Rush, see the historical homes, and hear stories of the Wild West.
In the afternoon, get your legs moving by cycling through the bike-friendly city grid with an audio guide. Imagine the time when Sacramento was a Spanish Territory, and feel like a local commuter, too.
In the evening, have one more river experience on an evening river cruise and enjoy views of the city twinkling in the night.
On your final day, hit up some of the city’s museums, like the Crocker Art Museum, the California State Capitol Museum, the California State Railroad Museum or the California Automobile Museum.
Before ending your trip, enjoy the quirkier side of the city: you can visit the abandoned riverboat the Spirit of Sacramento, pay a visit to Patty Reed’s Doll (a relic of the Donner Party), or check out the mosaics and sculptures at the Dragon House.
Alternatively, if you want to end your trip on an adrenaline high, try indoor skydiving—like this city, it’s something you’ll never forget.