California’s capital city can be easily overlooked in favor of its more glamorous cousins along the coast, but Sacramento has slowly been coming into its own as a weekend-worthy destination. Whether your vacation style is eating your way through town, seeking thrilling outdoor adventure, or exploring local and unique neighborhoods, you can’t go wrong here. Take a look at just five reasons why you should add Sacramento to your travel wish list, and why this vibrant little big city won’t be overlooked for much longer.
Sacramento has long been known as a farm-to-fork capital – a foodie haven where restaurant menus are driven by the super-fresh produce that comes from local farms. From the budget-friendly eateries like Mother with its 100% vegetarian menu, to the splurge-worthy new spots in the Downtown Commons neighborhood, it won’t be difficult to find something to like. It’s also a must to go to a farmers market (there’s one almost every day of the week in the summer) if only just to see the amazing range of fresh things to eat.
Kickstart your days of exploring with a good, strong dose of caffeine at one of Sacramento’s many hip and cozy coffee joints, where the beans are often house roasted and the pastries are fresh. Then, when the clock strikes Happy Hour, check out one of the many craft breweries that offer everything from tasting rooms and beer gardens, to a bring-your-own-beer Brew Boat tour on the river. And since this is California, you should also try some local wines, either at a tasting room in the city, or out at one of the vineyards a little further out.
The Great Outdoors
One of the great things about Sacramento is that it’s a day trip away from a lot of great stuff. When the weather is just right locals and those in the know go for lazy tubing in the American river, but you could also hit the whitewater rapids for a little more action. You’re also close to great parks with hiking trails, abandoned Gold Mine towns, and spring wildflowers or fall-colored trees, making for great places to end up after a winding scenic drive.
The Art and Culture
Sacramento has enough of a burgeoning art scene to hold its own in California, even up against larger cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Walk Sacramento's downtown streets to discover the massive murals that have popped up over the past few years, and check out the works of California artists and European masters at the Crocker Art Museum. There are theatres for plays and live music, and of course, the Golden 1 Center for sports and big-name acts. For something different, head to the Historic R Street District where you can browse vintage stores and cool boutiques, then treat yourself to an artisan ice cream or craft cocktail.
The City Parks
One of Sacramento’s (many) nicknames is the City of Trees since it’s ranked as one of most leafy cities in the world, so it’s not surprising that it also has great parks where locals like to gather. There’s outdoor yoga and the annual Chalk It Up Festival at Fremont Park, farmers markets and summertime concerts at Cesar Chavez Park, and the duck pond and rose garden at McKinley Park. All of the above make excellent lunchtime picnic spots when you want to sit outside and people-watch.
Stay at HI Sacramento
Spend you nights at HI Sacramento, a hostel housed in a gorgeous converted Victorian mansion. Offering free breakfast and local tips, HI Sacramento is also conveniently close to downtown restaurants and nightlife, as well as public transportation.