Sacramento travel guide

Sacramento Tourism | Sacramento Guide

You're Going to Love Sacramento

California's capital isn't just a political hub. It's got so much more going than that. This beautiful city offers attractions for all ages, a packed calendar of cultural events and natural beauty within a walk of the city center.

Sacramento is a city of experiences, and one that people return to again and again. In Old Sacramento, you can relive the history of the Gold Rush and the coming of the railroads at the State Railroad Museum. At Sutter's Fort, you can put yourself in the place of the first pioneers, before coming back to the present in Midtown bars and restaurants that match any in Frisco or LA.

The city comes alive during the State Fair and the Sacramento Music Festival, but every day is a cultural event, with open air festivals, art walks and live music in the city's bars.

It all means that Sacramento is a city that will live with you long after you leave. For memories that will last a lifetime, book your tickets to the Californian capital.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Sacramento

Watch a Sporting Spectacle

Sacramento may not be famous as a sporting city, but you can catch top-level basketball matches when the Kings are in action, and there are professional soccer and baseball teams in the city as well. That's without even mentioning the rodeo and motocross events at the State Fair.

Family Attractions for all Ages

Sacramento is an excellent family destination. Enjoy the wide range of rides at Funderland Park, get drenched in the sunshine at Raging Waters or pay a visit to Sacramento Zoo in William Land Park, where you'll find over 500 animals waiting to meet you.

World-Class Art Galleries

Sacramento is a thriving artistic center. Head to major internationally-famous institutions like the Crocker Art Museum or join the Sacramento Art Walk to tour the galleries and studios of Midtown for a window into the cutting edge of today's art scene.

Cycling and Hiking Trails near the Center of Town

Getting outdoors is part of California culture, and Sacramento offers plenty of ways to enjoy the sunshine and scenery. Rent bikes and head to Folsom Lake or head to Sunrise Boulevard to rent inflatable rafts that you can paddle down to River Bend Park.

Soak up the Atmosphere of Old Sacramento

Sacramento is one of California's oldest cities, and Old Sacramento is heaven for history fans. Not only can you see the beautifully restored houses and public buildings of the old city, you can see the period locomotives at the State Railroad Museum and visit Sutter's Fort, the first settlement in the area.

What to do in Sacramento

Pay a Visit to Old Sacramento

The beautifully restored Old City provides a unique window into the past, conjuring up images of miners seeking their fortune. The architecture is worth a visit on its own, but attractions like the Sacramento Music Festival and the California State Railroad Museum make it a must-visit.

Head to Amusement Parks like Raging Waters or Funderland

Sacramento is a superb destination for families, and the primary reason are the many attractions for kids in the area. When the weather is boiling, the water-based rides and activities at Raging Waters are irresistible, while the child-friendly rides at Funderland Park are the ideal way to spend an afternoon.

Buy Tickets to see an NBA Match

Sacramento also offers top-class sporting attractions. If Basketball is your passion, head to the Golden 1 Center to watch the Kings compete in the NBA, or check out the minor league action as the River Cats battle it out in the PCL.

Shop the Grid for Apparel, Cosmetics and Crafts

Sacramento's Grid is one of California's premier shopping neighborhoods. Whether you want to shop for kids apparel, dresses or bikinis, there are stores to suit your needs. The vintage stores are a particular treat, with great stores like Atelier and Bows and Arrows featuring fashions from almost any period.

Attend one of Sacramento's many Music Festivals

In Sacramento, there always seems to be a festival taking place. It's just one of those cities. From the Sacramento Music Festival on Memorial Day Weekend to the free summer concerts in Cesar Chavez Park, music fans will always find something to keep them happy.

Pay a Visit to Old Sacramento

The beautifully restored Old City provides a unique window into the past, conjuring up images of miners seeking their fortune. The architecture is worth a visit on its own, but attractions like the Sacramento Music Festival and the California State Railroad Museum make it a must-visit.

Head to Amusement Parks like Raging Waters or Funderland

Sacramento is a superb destination for families, and the primary reason are the many attractions for kids in the area. When the weather is boiling, the water-based rides and activities at Raging Waters are irresistible, while the child-friendly rides at Funderland Park are the ideal way to spend an afternoon.

Buy Tickets to see an NBA Match

Sacramento also offers top-class sporting attractions. If Basketball is your passion, head to the Golden 1 Center to watch the Kings compete in the NBA, or check out the minor league action as the River Cats battle it out in the PCL.

Shop the Grid for Apparel, Cosmetics and Crafts

Sacramento's Grid is one of California's premier shopping neighborhoods. Whether you want to shop for kids apparel, dresses or bikinis, there are stores to suit your needs. The vintage stores are a particular treat, with great stores like Atelier and Bows and Arrows featuring fashions from almost any period.

Attend one of Sacramento's many Music Festivals

In Sacramento, there always seems to be a festival taking place. It's just one of those cities. From the Sacramento Music Festival on Memorial Day Weekend to the free summer concerts in Cesar Chavez Park, music fans will always find something to keep them happy.

Where to Eat in Sacramento

Sacramento is a fantastic place to dine out, with a diverse local dining scene and restaurants from all over the world. Biba is a first-rate Italian, Morton's Steakhouse offers gourmet meat dishes; Zocalo is the city's best Mexican while Tower Cafe is the best place to grab a bargain breakfast. There's also a thriving mobile food scene, including trucks like Bacon Mania and Frenchy's Waffles, so keep an eye out when you are wandering around. Expect to pay $15-20 for a medium range meal and $40 or more at the best places.

When to visit Sacramento

Sacramento in February
Estimated hotel price
£71
1 night at 3-star hotel
Sacramento in February
Estimated hotel price
£71
1 night at 3-star hotel

If you want to beat the vacation crowds but still enjoy plenty of festivals and fine weather, try visiting Sacramento in April or May. However, the biggest show of the year is the California State Fair which takes place in July, so if you simply have to attend, a mid-summer getaway is essential.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Sacramento

Plane

The best way for most vacationers to reach Sacramento is by flying into Sacramento International Airport, which is a few miles north of the center of town. The cheapest route into Downtown Sacramento is to take YoloBus 42A (not 42B), which costs $2. Taxis are also available, and should cost around $30, and major car rental companies like Alamo and Hertz are also represented at the arrivals terminal.

Train

Sacramento's Amtrak station is located at 401 I Street and is served by a number of interstate routes. The California Zephyr links Sacramento to Chicago while the Coast Starlight connects the city to Portland and Seattle.

Car

If you are driving to Sacramento from the east, the city is handily located on I-80, which provides a connection to cities like St Louis, Kansas City and Chicago (and eventually New York). Those coming from San Francisco and Los Angeles can take I-5 straight into town.

Bus

Both Greyhound and Megabus run intercity bus services into Sacramento. Greyhound offers more connections and their main stop is at 420 Richards Boulevard. However, Megabus may well provide cheaper tickets from cities like San Francisco or Reno, so be sure to check their schedules.

Airports near Sacramento

Airlines serving Sacramento

Lufthansa
Good (1,067 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,328 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,780 reviews)
KLM
Good (264 reviews)
Air France
Good (271 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (944 reviews)
British Airways
Good (763 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,560 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (301 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (849 reviews)
Iberia
Good (547 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (469 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (155 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (582 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (331 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (67 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (267 reviews)
Finnair
Good (350 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (175 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (1,652 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Sacramento

The most appealing neighborhood for vacationers is probably Sacramento's Old Town, which has plenty of excellent hotels. Some of the most popular include the upscale Vagabond Inn and the more affordable Embassy Suites - both of which are next to the river. In Downtown Sacramento, the Sheraton Grand is a comfortable, reliable option, while Hosteling International Sacramento offers budget dorm beds in the center of town, so may be worth considering if you are on a budget.

Popular neighbourhoods in Sacramento

Downtown Sacramento – California's political hub, Downtown Sacramento is also a business center, but it has much to offer ordinary tourists as well. It's the place to go if you want to watch the Sacramento Kings in action in the NBA and it's also a creative district thanks to the regular crafts market in Fremont Park and a cluster of galleries and theaters - so it's a sensible base for a vacation in the city.

Midtown – Located just to the east of Downtown Sacramento, Midtown is a very different beast. Midtown is the city's artistic, musical and dining hub. It's home to lively music venues like Shine Sacramento, gastro pubs like the Firestone and small art galleries showcasing the area's most talented painters and sculptors. If you're there on the second Saturday of the month, don't miss the Midtown Art Walk, which sees hundreds of locals join tourists to find out what the artistic community have been creating.

Old Sacramento – Sacramento has been around as a city since 1848 when it was founded during the Gold Rush. Old Sacramento is the nucleus of the old city, and much of it has been lovingly restored. Visitors will adore the Spanish-influenced houses, with their fine wrought iron details, and culture fans will love the Sacramento Music Festival, held there every Memorial Day Weekend.

Most popular hotel in Sacramento by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Sacramento

Most booked hotels in Sacramento

Motel 6 Sacramento Central
Good (6.6, Good reviews)
£76+
Vagabond Inn Executive Old Town
Mediocre (2, Mediocre reviews)
£73+
Motel 6 Sacramento North
Okay (5.9, Okay reviews)
£68+
Motel 6 Sacramento South
Okay (5.7, Okay reviews)
£72+
Roy Inn & Suites -Sacramento Midtown
Okay (4.7, Okay reviews)
£48+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Sacramento

Public Transportation

Sacramento Regional Transit runs a useful network of buses and light rail services in the city. A range of day and week passes are available, and the best way to purchase tickets is via the RT Mobile App, although tickets are also available from more than 50 stores in the city center.

Taxis

Taxis are a handy alternative to driving or public transit but can be an expensive option. Typically, the meter drop in Sacramento is $4.50; after that the cost is $3 per mile. Uber is a much cheaper option, with UberX rates starting at $1 for the meter drop, then $0.75 per mile (with a minimum fare of $5).

Car

Driving around central Sacramento is fairly simple. All north to south streets are numbered and lettered streets cross the city from east to west, so it's hard to get lost. There are plenty of parking meters in the Downtown area and rates start at $1.75 but vary depending on the time of day. If major events are scheduled, it might be a good idea to book a spot with SacPark before you travel into town.

The Cost of Living in Sacramento

Shopping Streets

Shopping is a big deal in Sacramento, and "the Grid" (in the city center) is the best place to shop. There's a particularly high density of jewelers, fashion boutiques, household craft stores and more on J and K streets, including wonderful independent stores like Heart Clothing and ShopCuffs. If you are looking for a conventional mall, the Westfield Galeria in Roseville is easily Sacramento's largest, and hosts major brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry.

Groceries and Other

If you are self-catering or need to stock up for a picnic, Sacramento has plenty of options. There are famous chains like Trader Joe's along with local businesses like the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op and Sprouts Farmers Market on R Street, so finding groceries isn't a problem. However, food prices can be relatively high. Expect to pay $3.60 for a gallon of milk and around $3 for 12 eggs.

Cheap meal
£11.36
A pair of jeans
£38.34
Single public transport ticket
£2.09
Cappuccino
£3.33