I was born and raised in the heart of Sacramento. When someone comes to visit me from out of town I take them to my favorite restaurants, museums in either downtown or old-town sections of Sacramento. In my opinion the best time to visit Sacramento is usually during the summer because most of the city sponsored events occur during this time. The events held during summertime included the Sacramento Music Festival (formerly known as the Jazz Jubilee) and the California State fair.
Sacramento contains numerous museums in both downtown and old-town. Possibly the most popular museum is the California State Railroad Museum, located in Old Sacramento at 111 and I Streets. The railroad museum contains not only railroad memorabilia but historical exhibits pertaining to California history. Besides exhibits, a short train excursion offered by the Museum is a popular family friendly activity.
On the opposite side of town, in the mid-section of downtown, is Sutter’s Fort. Like the Railroad Museum, Sutter’s Fort is managed by California’s State Parks system. One of the oldest California landmarks, Sutter’s fort was founded by John Sutter in order to protect settlers from Native American Raids. The park also contains a museum with many local Native American artifacts. The popularity of Sutter’s Fort with children and families owes the colorful local history and the interactive curators.
It is important to know that everything in old-town and downtown sections of Sacramento is in walking distance. While the greater Sacramento area is spread out downtown and old-town is only a small portion of the incorporated city. Sacramento does have a public transit system, which is known locally as Light Rail, but it is only necessary to use it to travel to the suburbs.
When dining in downtown or old-town skip over the franchises and head for the locally owned spots. If you desire upscale dining I recommend Biba’s Italian restaurant. Located in midtown near Sutter’s Fort, Biba’s is run by the well-known Italian cook book author. Joe’s Crabshack in old-town remains a popular restaurant for both locals and tourists due to the quality food and the excellent view of the Sacramento River. Next to Joe’s Crabshack lies one of Sacramento’s most notable landmarks. The Delta King is a non-operation river boat that now functions as a hotel and restaurant. It is a great place to catch musical performances or a dinner theater show.
A trip to Sacramento would not be complete without a visit to the state capitol. Public tours to the state capitol occur daily. The museum in the west end of the capitol contains many fine pieces of art including numerous civil war artifacts. I recommend checking one of the local newspapers, such as the News and Review, for events happening at or around the Capitol. The area of downtown near the State Capitol often gets congested with traffic.