Anyone who lives here is in on the secret: Sacramento is an incredible place. It’s a city of almost 2 million people, but somehow manages to feel like a small town. It celebrates it’s historical past, but it still has the vibe of an up-and-coming city. For kids, twenty-somethings, sports lovers, history buffs, and…well…anyone, really, Sacramento has so much to offer!
Located in Northern California, Sacramento is not only the California State Capitol but also America’s Farm to Fork Capital, which we celebrate daily. Our geographical location is prime; only a 2 hour drive west to the city of San Francisco, or a 2 hour drive East to Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Whether you’re going to a concert in the big city, or snowboarding in the mountains, you can make it a day trip, easily.
THINGS TO DO
Love a good museum? We have enough of them in town to keep anyone busy for a while. The California Museum and the Sacramento History Museum are great places to learn about our region’s rich history. For the artist types, the Crocker Art Museum has a vast collection that’s well worth a visit. It’s also partially located inside the original Crocker mansion, once owned by a prominent railroad tycoon! And if you’re looking for some fun, kid-friendly museums, the California Automobile Museum and the Railroad Museum are two of our favorites.
For the Kids
Other activities for the kids to enjoy include the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town, which happen to be right across the street from each other! The Zoo is always a fun time, of course, but Fairytale Town is a unique Sacramento treasure. It’s essentially a theme park that allows you to step into all of your favorite fairytale stories!
Old Town Sacramento is another fun area – for people of all ages. Located on the river and the railroad track, it’s a true look into life in the wild wild West. The raised wooden walkways, horse-drawn wagon rides and cowboy reenactments make you feel as though you’re a prospector in the gold rush.
During the summer, the rivers host numerous recreational activities. Sacramento was actually called the Twin River City, because it sits right where the American River and the Sacramento River meet. The State Fair is also held here in the summer (state capital perk!) which is always a fun time, or you can go see a free concert downtown at Concerts in the Park.
If you’re a sports fan, be sure to root for the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center, or the River Cats at Raley Field! Plus, it’s just a short 2-hour drive to see the San Francisco Giants, the major league affiliate for the River Cats. There are also rumors that a soccer stadium will be built nearby soon!
Sacramento offers numerous opportunities to see plays and movies as well. B-Street Theateroffers multiple live productions each season, and the Convention Center hosts plenty of ballet and off-Broadway shows. If movies are more your jam, the classic Crest Theater and Tower Theater are some of our favorites.
FOOD TO EAT & DRINKS TO DRINK
Ok, so we could probably do an entire blog post just talking about our favorite places to eat and drink in Sacramento, but we’ll restrain ourselves to this little section… for now.
Ella Dining Room and Bar has always been one of our favorite fine dining restaurants in town. It has the coolest interior (especially the ceiling covered in doors… just look it up) and most delicious food. But then, for our company Christmas party, we went to Allora, which – no joke – changed our lives. We’re still dreaming of the scallops. For Japanese food, try Kru. And then there’s The Kitchen, which we have a feeling might be receiving a Michelin star soon (or at least, it’d better).
The Dive Bar, located in downtown Sacramento, is best-known for the large tank of water above the bar where real live mermaids swim! For a quality cocktail, Block Butcher Bar is one of the best, with a major perk: you can eat yummy German sausages while you drink (because it’s attached to LowBrau restaurant!). If you’re a tiki bar aficionado, Jungle Bird is the place for you. They’re all about that tropical atmosphere, and it’s so much fun! And then there’s The Snug. Run by the brothers who opened deVere’s Irish Pub, it puts a modern twist on some old classic cocktails down on R Street.
As far as food trucks go, Drewski’s takes the cake! BEST grilled cheese, hands down. Their bacon wrapped hot dogs and tots are also to die for. Chando’s Tacos and Gyro King are two faves as well… but really, there are so many great ones it’s hard to choose!
Our city has an astounding number of coffee shops. Our favorites among them include The Mill, Temple Coffee, Insight Coffee, and Camellia Coffee Roasters. Not only do they give us the good good caffeine that keeps us going on the daily, but also the interiors are gorgeous and inspiring. We love our local coffee roasters, and encourage you to buy local as well!
In our opinion, Sacramento is really all about the little places; the hidden gems that never disappoint. The first thing that comes to mind when we think of “hidden gems” is the Tower Cafe, even though it’s far from hidden. In fact, it’s located right next to one of Sacramento’s favorite landmarks, the Tower Theater. We’d also include Tako Korean BBQ (which has Korean tacos… enough said), Selland’s Market-Cafe, and the Woodlake Tavern (which has some amazing BBQ) in this section.
IN THE AREA
Located in Placerville, Apple Hill is less than an hour from Sacramento. It’s a popular destination for any Sacramentan, especially in the Fall! Apple Hill is the place to go for apple pies, caramel apples, apple donuts, apple cider, and anything else apple-related. It often hosts craft fairs, where local vendors cam show off their goods, too. And there are numerous kid-friendly activities, including fishing, horse rides, train rides, and face painting! The area is also home to many wineries.
Speaking of wineries, we have TONS of them close-by. Napa Valley is a 90-minute drive, but there are other great options even closer to town. All you have to do is head south on I-5 to the Sacramento River Delta for some of our absolute favorites, like Bogle and the Old Sugar Mill. Or you can drive on toward Lodi, Somerset, or Placerville to plenty of other local wineries to choose from! Local wine tasting makes for the perfect Sacramento girls day out or even a great couples retreat.
As we mentioned before, Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are only 2 hours away. In the summer, the lake is the perfect place to swim, boat, hike, or just hang out and barbecue! There shores host great crafts fairs and local activities to enjoy. In the winter, Tahoe becomes a haven for skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, or just sitting by a fire. The lake is gorgeous both times of year – and during the off seasons – so really, whenever you go up, be ready for the best time ever!
A 2 hour drive in the opposite direction and you’re in San Francisco, one of the largest cities in California. It’s a mecca for culture and adventure. There are too many museums and restaurants to count, no to mention the famous San Francisco landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Even if you just want a fun shopping trip, dumplings in Chinatown, or a quick change of scenery, the city makes for a great get away.
Sacramento and its surrounding areas obviously have a lot to offer. Our State Capitol has all the amenities of a big city, with the feel of a small town. And you can tell how proud we are of our city – all you have to do is walk around or talk to someone from here to see how important it is to us. Thank you, Sacramento. We love you!