Is Sacramento worth visiting? This is a question I asked myself recently when exploring Northern California with Globus Journeys. After all, California is filled with iconic, bucket-list cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. Why should we visit this smaller and lesser known city when there’s so much else to see?
Well, the truth is, Sacramento is so much cooler and quirkier than guidebooks give it credit for. As the capital of California, Sac is not only the political hub of the state, but it’s also a cultural center with a thriving food, art, and nightlife scene. Farmers markets and eccentric breweries are all over, and you won’t have to go far to discover rich history, either. Needless to say, I’m so glad Globus brought me here, as I likely wouldn’t have visited otherwise.
With its contemporary culture and Gold Rush heritage, Sacramento is a destination with broad appeal. This city exceeded all my expectations, and I already can’t wait to return. Here are 5 reasons why you should visit Sacramento.
1. Sacramento is the fastest-growing city in California
There’s something exciting about visiting up-and-coming cities, and Sacramento is truly the place to be right now.
According to California’s Department of Finance, Sacramento is growing faster than any other major city in the state. With a population of 500,000, Sacramento is tiny compared to California’s better known cities, but it’s no less thriving.
Sacramento draws people with its affordable housing prices, booming job market, temperate climate, and farm-to-fork dining. It has also attracted a diverse, international cohort that further fuels the city’s food, music, and art scenes.
Before my Northern California trip, Sacramento wasn’t very high on my bucket list. However, after spending 48 hours here, I realized my expectations were all wrong and Sacramento was well worth the visit. I’m so glad Globus Journeys brought us to this incredible city to experience its charm firsthand!
2. The history in Old Sacramento
For history lovers, Old Sac alone it enough of a reason to visit Sacramento. Dating back to the days of the Gold Rush, this historic neighborhood is bursting with color and character.
Stroll down its raised wooden sidewalks, passing by 19th-century buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and rustic country stores and antique shops. In addition to shopping and people watching, Old Sacramento has a fantastic food scene with restaurants that look like they’re out of a Wild West film. With its historic charm and abundant attractions, Old Sacramento is a top place to visit in California’s capital.
3. Riverside scenery
Rivers add a unique flavor to any city, and Sacramento is no different. It’s situated on the Sacramento River and American River, offering beautiful waterfront views and opportunities for kayaking and whitewater rafting.
One of the most beautiful sights in the city is Tower Bridge, which lies along the Sacramento River. It connects West Sacramento with Yolo County, and it’s a picture-perfect sunset spot. From here, walk and bike ride along the river, or head to the other side of Old Sacramento where you can do the same things on the 32 miles of path along the American River.
Whether you’re into nature or boating, Sacramento’s riverfront setting will certainly pull you in.
4. Sacramento is a foodie paradise
Located in the Central Valley, which produces half of the fruits and vegetables grown in the US, Sacramento takes farm-to-table dining to a whole new level.
The city is known as “America’s Farm to Fork Capital,” and it’s easy to see why. Farmers markets are all over the place, as are restaurants priding themselves on their locally sourced specialties. Sacramento is at the gateway of America’s most abundant agricultural region, so the word “organic” actually means something here.
Sacramento is a multicultural city with a diverse restaurant scene. So, expect to find pretty much every type of cuisine here, including Chinese, Ethiopian, Indian, Greek, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mexican, and more.
In addition, food and drink festivals happen in Sacramento year-round, including Farm to Fork in late September. Other popular fairs and festivals include BerryFest, Capitol Beer Fest, and Legends of Wine. If you’re looking to taste California’s very best food, beer, and wine, look no further than Sacramento!
5. Art scene and museums
During my 2 days in Sacramento with Globus, I was very impressed by the city’s art scene. From traditional art museums to modern street murals, Sacramento is chock-full of color.
Take a stroll through Midtown, and you’ll be amazed by what you see. This eclectic neighborhood is home to trendy shops and restaurants, but the main draw is its street art and galleries. Perhaps the most iconic work of art here is the Johnny Cash Mural, which is 15 stories tall. It was created by Shepard Fairey, the artist who did Barack Obama’s “Hope” print during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Some notable museums you’ll want to check out in Sacramento include the Crocker Art Museum, Verge Center for the Arts, California State Railroad Museum, and California Automobile Museum. You can also access the California State Capitol Museum for no charge.
Another must-see in Sacramento is the Leland Stanford Mansion. Dating back to 1857, this beautiful mansion is just a short walk from Midtown. It’s one of the official workplaces of the California Governor.
Whether you’re looking for a fun rainy day activity or a deeper look at the city’s rich culture, you can’t go wrong seeing Sacramento’s art galleries and museums.
Other reasons to visit Sacramento
If the above reasons aren’t enough to convince you to visit Sacramento, the nightlife and coffee culture will. It seems that every street corner in Sac has a bar and coffee house on it. There’s always something to do in Sacramento, so you won’t run out of reasons to visit California’s capital.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article on the many highlights of visiting Sacramento. There’s much more to Sac beyond being the state capital, so you’ll have to see this magical city for yourself.
To learn more about my Globus tour itinerary and other highlights of the trip, read next: