Sacramento, the capital of California, is about an hour-and-a-half drive from San Francisco, making it a perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
9 AM – Start your day at Sacramento’s Certified Farmers Market
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Out of the 40 Certified Farmers Markets in California, the Sacramento region is home to the largest. A visit to the Farmers Market in Sacramento is a great way to experience the flavors of the region, so head over to the market bright and early. If you are visiting on Saturday, Davis Farmers Market, located just 20 minutes by train from Downtown Sacramento, is a popular spot for a breakfast picnic, complete with music and food booths.
11AM – Admire the Architecture and Peek Inside the California State Capitol
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A visit to the California State Capitol is free, so walk in and explore at your own pace. Tours of the Capitol offer visitors an insider’s look and are available between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Leave some time to stroll through the Capitol grounds and admire the beautiful trees, roses, and monuments in the park.
1PM – Immerse yourself in history at Sutter’s Fort
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A short bike ride or a leisurely stroll from the Capitol is Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, which captures the spirit of families who arrived in wagon trains in the early years of the California Gold Rush. You can walk around the interior of the fort and imagine what life was really like back in the mid-1800s.
3PM – Continue a Walk Down Memory Lane in Old Sacramento
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Old Sacramento is a historical entertainment district, home to restaurants, bars, museums, theatres, shops, and hotels, but walking around Old Sacramento will undoubtedly remind you of the history that took place on these streets. Here you will find railroad excursions, horse carriages, and bike treks reminiscent of the 1850s. Grab a bite to eat at one of the local cafes, like the Rio City Cafe, which offers riverfront seating with beautiful views of Old Sacramento.
5PM – Catch a Free Outdoor Concert in the Park
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If you are visiting in the summer, catch a free outdoor concert from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday nights at Cesar Chavez Park. The city’s longest-running outdoor music festival, which has been around for over 20 years, attracts over 5,000 fans for a night of local bands, artists, and DJs.
7pm – Cheer on the Sacramento Kings
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The NBA’s Sacramento Kings play basketball from October through April at the Sleep Train Arena, formerly known as the ARCO Arena. The Kings have grown in popularity over the years, and today attract over 16,000 spectators each game.
If you are vising in the summer, head over to Raley Field and spend a perfect summer evening at a River Cats baseball game. Be prepared for a night of beer, hot dogs, and popcorn, with a view of the golden Tower Bridge and the city’s skyline across the Sacramento River.
10pm – Finish off the night at one of Sacramento’s late night joints
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INK Eats & Drinks is a midtown cultured American bistro that’s been a locals’ favorite late-night stop since 2003. INK offers well-portioned meals and specialty cocktails, like Blueberry Cheesecake and Key Lime Pie Martinis, both rimmed with a graham cracker crust. Open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, INK is a perfect way to end your day in Sacramento.
Must Eat: Explore Sacramento’s Food Tours
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Local Roots Food Tours are popular food tours running daily in Sacramento and featuring Northern California’s best restaurants and specialty food stores. The 3.5 hour guided tour will take you through the historic tree-lined streets of Sacramento and allow you to sample the creations of the talented chefs of the city’s off-the-beaten-path eateries.
Popular Hotels in Sacramento
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There are many great hotels in Sacramento from $47. The Citizen Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel in downtown Sacramento is considered one of the best options for its price, location, and rating, starting at around $209 a night. For more basic options, there are the Good Nite Inn Sacramento, Rodeway Inn Capitol or Motel 6 Sacramento West all with rates below $100 per night. Hostels and Airbnb options are also popular with savvy travelers.