“You’re going to Sacramento? Is there anything to do there?” I was recently asked when sharing that I was visiting Sacramento for a wedding and making a long weekend getaway from it. “Well....Of course! If you’re wiling to look for things to do!” was my response – or somethin’ like that. And basically, it’s true. Time after time I find that when you seek adventure – you will find it. And, I was caught off guard in this moment because Sacramento is California’s state capitol! Of course there is PLENTY to do there, and I am grateful to have visited this historical, beautiful, tasty (their restaurant scene is fabulous), tree-filled (truly – so. many. trees.), and eclectic and urban city.
Like I mentioned, I visited Sacramento specifically to attend a wedding, which was located in Loomis and was absolutely stunning and full of love. I drove up to Sacramento from Los Angeles on a Thursday evening and returned Sunday (it was about a six hour drive), so I had roughly ~48 hours to enjoy and explore this city. Before visiting Sacramento I mapped out the top things I wanted to see and do and researched which neighborhoods I wanted to visit, as I do before embarking on most vacations or getaways. As I entered Sacramento I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy the city compared to L.A., but when I left Sacramento I couldn’t help but think, “I loved that city.”
Although I was only in town for a short while, I appreciated how intimate Sacramento felt (we could walk most places, which is difficult to do in L.A.), how many trees there were (according to Wikipedia, Sac is the city with the most trees per capita in the world), the public/street art, the restaurants/bars/wineries, and the unique places to see and experience. While the weekend was filled with exploring, we also were smart to not plan TOO much and to enjoy the days and experience what we wanted to in that particular moment. From exploring historic old town, to visiting the state capitol building, to checking out the up-and-coming midtown, to kicking back and relaxing in Sacramento’s little known wine country, this was a Getaway From L.A. I’d recommend. Below you will find an overview of things I’d recommend doing when visiting California’s capital city. Enjoy!
Explore Historic Old Town
Whether you’re in Sacramento for just a short time or are exploring for a few days, visiting Old Town Sacramento is a must. From the pictures above, you can probably imagine why it felt like I was walking through a Hollywood movie set while exploring this charming and historical neighborhood. From the old time architecture, to the wooden sidewalks, to the cobblestone streets, it definitely makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the Gold Rush era. There were people of all ages (including many families with children) walking around, stopping at the quaint shops, grabbing a bite to eat, and visiting museums (click HERE for all of the many museums and attractions in Old Town).
Here’s some history according to Old Town’s official website, “In 1839 John Sutter arrived on the shore of the American River near its confluence with the Sacramento River. With the promise of a Mexican land grant, Sutter and his landing party established Sutter’s Fort. As the settlement grew and became permanent, it attracted other businessmen looking for opportunities. Sutter and the people he attracted created a commercial center in the area, but it was the Gold Rush in 1848 that created the City of Sacramento.”
We were limited on time so we were unable to visit any museums (I would have liked to visit the California State Railroad Museum, the original Sutter's Fort, & take a horse and carriage ride), but I’d recommend stopping by Danny’s for mini donuts (delicious and made fresh right before your eyes), District Coffee for a tasty caffeine boost, and then walking around the town while you enjoy both. You can walk through the whole neighborhood in about 15-30 minutes, and it’s worth it to see it all.
Visit the State Capitol Building
The California State Capitol Building is another must see when visiting Sacramento, as Sacramento is THE capitol of California! This building was constructed from 1860-1874 and today remains the home to California’s government, including current Governor Jerry Brown. This building is open to the public daily, and while you can’t exactly pop into Mr. Brown’s office to say hello, you can explore the museum that takes up a good portion of the capitol building. As you walk through the museum area (enter at either the side or back doors of the capitol), you will see a variety of government official’s offices from the early 1900’s, the California Assembly Chamber, libraries, and other interesting exhibits. Both the exterior and interior designs were picturesque, with beautiful and neoclassical tiling, colors, and artwork. Admission is free, and you can walk around and explore on your own or take a guided tour for free, offered every hour on the hour. Open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm, you can visit the State Capitol building/museum at 1315 10th St, Sacramento, CA 95814, and click here for more information.
When I was browsing things to do and see in Sacramento, I kept seeing "Midtown this" and "Midtown that." From a very popular weekly farmer's market, to chic coffee shops on every corner, to a fantastic restaurant scene (it was hard to choose where to go with limited time!), to eclectic bookstores and boutiques, it's no surprise to me that this is currently the trendiest neighborhood in Sac. And it sure is colorful! It reminded me of a mixture of Portland and the Arts District in DTLA. As I've mentioned many times before on my blog, I'm a big fan of public art and street art. Not only does it help beautify a city, but it also gives artists and creatives a public platform to express themselves and their communities.The public art and street art above is located at BloodSource; 1608 Q St. Restaurants we thoroughly enjoyed in this neighborhood include Iron Horse Tavern for dinner and Magpie for brunch. I'd also recommend stopping by University of Beer for a cold brew (they have over 100 beers on tap - more than any other bar in Sacramento) and Shady Lady for a late night cocktail or two, if that's your thang.
This neighborhood has their own beautifully curated Instagram page and official website that I'd recommend you check out before you plan your visit.
Visit Vineyards & Wineries
"Ahhhhhh..." is all I could think when stepping onto the grounds of Scribner Bend Vineyard in Sacramento's little known wine country. Just a 15 minute drive from the heart of downtown Sacramento, this vineyard is located on a beautiful and historic property, offers wood fired pizzas on the weekends, a variety of delicious red and white wines to taste, and live music to enjoy. It's the perfect place for those 21+ to kick back and relax after a busy morning of exploring Sacramento's city. The staff are lovely, the setting picturesque, and the wine refreshing on a warm day. Scribner Bend Vineyards is located at 9051 River Rd. Sacramento, CA 95832, and is open for tastings Friday - Sunday from 11:00am-5:00pm. Click here for more information about Scriber Bend.
There are more than 200 wineries and vineyards in the Sacramento area, as the terrain and climate here is close-to-ideal for producing high quality wines. There's clearly no shortage on wineries to explore so to help you organize your trip, click here to check out Sacramento's Regional Wine Guide.
Old Sugar Mill
After stopping by the beautiful Scribner Bend Vineyard, we departed on about a 15-minute drive to a location I was super excited about visiting: The Old Sugar Mill! The Old Sugar Mill is just as cool as it looks and is exactly as it sounds - a historic old sugar mill from the early 1930's. The Delta Sugar plant was constructed in 1933 and stayed open for 60 years, closing its doors for good in 1993. In 2000, this space was renovated into a multi-winery venue and began attracting visitors from all over Northern California.
Today this beautiful and historical venue is home to eleven wineries total, all right next door to each other. I'd recommend you walk around the grounds before or after you enjoy some wine because it looks like somethin' straight out of a zombie apocalypse (ok - maybe a chic/vintage zombie apocalypse - but still). You'll be able to explore remnants of what used to be: large deserted warehouses with huge, broken glass windows, and an overall eery but cool feeling to it all. Inside the winery, you'll pay about $5 per tasting, but this fee will typically be waived if you decide to purchase a bottle of wine. Parking and entrance is free for those 21+.
The Old Sugar Mill is located at 35265 Willow Ave, Clarksburg, CA 95612 and is open daily from 11:00 am - 5:00pm. Click here for more information about the Old Sugar Mill.
Overall: I loved ya, Sacramento.
Whether you’re looking for a fun road trip destination from LA, are stopping by Sacramento for a wedding or business, or if visiting Sacramento has been on your bucketlist for a while, I hope you find this Getaway From L.A. travel guide helpful! For more information on visiting Sacramento, click here for their official tourism website. Bon voyage, my friends!
WANDER BEYOND THE CITY LINES...
As much as I love to explore L.A., it's good for the soul to getaway every now & then. Join me as I escape from the city to explore new locations, both locally and globally!
LET'S GET AWAY TO: