Explore the Charm: Your Ultimate Guide to Downtown Sacramento Attractions

Welcome to downtown Sacramento! Known for its rich history, vibrant art scene, and bustling business district, this part of the city is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Weaved with the Sacramento River’s charm, the area’s inviting cafes, thriving events scene, and numerous parks make for an unforgettable experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the Heart of Sacramento – unique museums, delicious dining spots & vibrant coffee culture.

  • Experience picturesque beauty at Old Sacramento Waterfront and treasures at Crocker Art Museum.

  • Enjoy entertainment, festivals & leisurely pursuits like biking trails in Downtown!

Discover the Heart of Sacramento

Tower bridge, sacramento, california

Downtown Sacramento, the pulsing center of the city’s business district, seamlessly blends history, culture, and modernity. This lively area, also known as downtown sac, is home to some of the city’s best museums, including the California State Railroad Museum and the Crocker Art Museum, showcasing a unique mix of history and art.

Coffee enthusiasts will find themselves at home in Downtown Sacramento, a city noted for its vibrant coffee culture. Notable coffee roasters like Temple Coffee Roasters deliver an unparalleled café experience. So, whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or a coffee enthusiast, downtown Sacramento has something for everyone.

Sacramento Riverfront Ambiance

A walk along the Old Sacramento Waterfront is a feast for the senses. This popular spot offers scenic views that perfectly capture the essence of the city.

Operating from 11 am to 9 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 9 pm on weekends, this location perfectly marries culinary indulgence and picturesque beauty at one of the best restaurants in town.

Artistic Treasures at Crocker Art Museum

painting, abstract, background

The Crocker Art Museum, one of California’s premier art venues, was founded in 1885 as the state’s first public art museum. It houses a remarkable collection of:

  • Californian art, spanning from the Gold Rush era to present day

  • American art from before and after 1945

  • European art

  • an array of works on paper

The museum’s collection, initiated by Edwin B. Crocker and his wife, Margaret, in the 1860s, has been a significant contribution to the city’s cultural heritage.

From pieces like ‘Two Seated Figures’ from the Wayne Thiebaud collection to many others from different artists and time periods, the museum is a treasure trove of artistic wonders.

Historic Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento in Downtown Sacramento, CA

Visiting Old Sacramento is akin to journeying back in time. This state historic park, established in 1839, transports you to the era of:

  • the Pony Express

  • the inception of the first transcontinental railroad

  • the gold rush

  • the evolution of the city into a central hub on the Central Pacific Railroad.

There is no shortage of historic landmarks to explore in this district. Some of the notable ones include:

  • Old Sacramento State Historic Park

  • Old Sacramento Underground

  • Lady Adams Building

  • Eagle Theater

  • Big Four Building

Each location, located in a unique story to tell, and the best part is that you can join a guided tour to explore these fascinating sites.

Among the main attractions, you’ll find the Delta King, California State Railroad Museum, and the Sacramento History Museum. And don’t forget to check out the unique shops like American Legacy and Garden of Enchantment that add to the district’s charm.

Coffee Culture and Cozy Cafes

Downtown Sacramento’s coffee culture flourishes, courtesy of local cafes and coffee roasters such as Temple Coffee Roasters. Known for their exceptional coffee roasting and café experience, they offer a wide variety of coffee types, including Typica and Bourbon.

But the city’s coffee scene doesn’t stop at Temple Coffee Roasters. Other highly-rated spots include PACHAMAMA and THE MILL, offering a unique café experience that will leave you coming back for more.

Whether you’re starting your day with a fresh brew or looking for a cozy spot to unwind, these coffee spots in downtown Sacramento are worth a visit.

Entertainment and Events Around Town

golden 1 arena, kings, sacramento

Downtown Sacramento offers a diverse array of entertainment options, including:

  • Sports events at the Golden 1 Center

  • Live performances at local theaters

  • Basketball games, live music, and performances at the Golden 1 Center

  • Public art installations and impressive sculptures at the center’s plaza

There’s always something happening around town to keep you entertained.

Apart from the Golden 1 Center, the Sacramento Convention Center Complex is another major event venue that hosts a variety of events in the downtown area. So, whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a music lover, or a theater buff, downtown Sacramento has got you covered.

The Golden 1 Center Scene

The Golden 1 Center, a cutting-edge arena, offers the following features:

  • Accommodates up to 17,500 spectators during basketball games

  • Fancy seating

  • Exclusive lounges

  • VIP parking

  • High-tech digital services

These features make it an exciting venue for sports events and concerts alike.

Not to mention, some of the biggest names in music, such as Muse, Paul McCartney, and Lady Gaga, have graced the stage at the Golden 1 Center.

So, whether you’re a sports fan or a music lover, the Golden 1 Center is the place to be.

Theater Nights and Cultural Performances

Sacramento’s theater scene is vibrant and active, featuring a variety of live performances at venues such as:

  • B Street Theatre

  • Sacramento Theatre Company

  • William J Geery Theatre

  • River City Theatre Company

Tickets for performances can be easily purchased online from the official websites of these theaters.

The city’s theaters are not just entertainment venues but are also significant cultural landmarks. The Tower Theater, Crest Theatre, and the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium are some of the city’s architectural gems, representing the city’s cultural vibe and enhancing the local convention and entertainment scene.

With annual cultural events like:

  • the Sacramento Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ during the holidays

  • the Sacramento Music Festival on the Memorial Day weekend

  • the Pacific Rim Street Fest celebrating Asian Pacific American heritage

the city’s theatrical scene is diverse and vibrant.

Festivals and Street Fairs

Downtown Sacramento’s festivals and street fairs exemplify the city’s vibrant culture and strong sense of community. The city hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as:

  • Concerts in the Park

  • California State Fair and Food Festival

  • Sol Blume

  • Foodieland Night Market

  • Sacramento Banana Festival

  • Sacramento Juneteenth Festival

In addition, art walks and outdoor events with live music and dining happen every second Saturday of the month in the central business district area.

Whether you’re looking for handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculptures, or textiles, you’ll find them at Sacramento’s street fairs. Crafted by local artisans, these pieces are a testament to the city’s creative pulse. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, the event promoters and organizers follow stringent security rules and conduct protective screening and security searches for people and containers entering the festival areas.

Leisurely Pursuits: Parks and Recreation

Water Lilies at William Land Park in Sacramento, CA

Amidst the city’s lively downtown area, Sacramento’s parks provide a serene oasis. From the lush greenery of William Land Park to the city’s extensive network of jogging and biking trails, these recreational spaces provide the perfect setting for outdoor activities.

William Land Park, in particular, is a family-friendly destination packed with attractions such as Fairytale Town, Funderland, the Sacramento Zoo, and a golf course. Visitors can also take advantage of the park’s jogging path, amphitheater, picnic spots, and barbecue pits.

For those looking to stay active, the city’s jogging and biking trails are a must-visit. Extending about 32 miles along the American River, these trails are suitable for all fitness levels, offering plenty of space to explore and stay active.

William Land Park Adventures

A visit to William Land Park promises a day filled with exploration and adventure. It offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages, including:

  • The Sacramento Zoo with its 100 unique animal species

  • Fairytale Town

  • Funderland Amusement Park

  • A golf course

  • An amphitheater

Take a stroll through the park’s diverse wildlife, where you can spot:

  • ducks

  • geese

  • herons

  • cormorants

  • egrets

  • various frog and salamander species

amidst the park’s picturesque setting. For those interested in history, the park also offers a glimpse into its past, having been used as a Civil War military camp for union regiment field exercises.

Jogging and Biking Trails

The jogging and biking trails in Sacramento provide a fantastic opportunity to maintain an active lifestyle while discovering the city. Popular spots for jogging and biking include:

  • Curtis Park

  • McKinley Park

  • T Street

  • the Capitol Park Loop Trail

  • the American River Bike Trail

  • William Land Park

These trails offer scenic routes for walkers and cyclists of all fitness levels.

The city’s trails are not just about fitness; they also offer a unique way to explore the city’s key attractions. For instance, the Sacramento River Parkway Trail connects Jibboom Street to Freeport Blvd along the river, providing easy access to attractions in nearby areas like Davis, Roseville, and Placerville.

Shopping and Style in Downtown

Downtown Sacramento also shines as a shopping destination, boasting a blend of chic boutiques and well-known shopping centers. From fashion to home goods, the city’s stores offer a unique shopping experience unlike any other.

Boutiques like:

  • Sisu

  • Madame Butterfly

  • Identity Boutique

  • Quality Boutique

  • Bru


  • The Bag Lady

  • Krazy Mary’s Boutique

  • RIRE Boutique

offer an eclectic mix of local gifts, lifestyle products, home decor, and fashion accessories. Whether you’re looking for the perfect outfit, a unique gift, or just want to indulge in some retail therapy, these boutiques have got you covered.

For a more traditional shopping experience, the Arden Fair Mall, a two-level shopping center with over 165 stores, is worth a visit. Additionally, open-air markets like the Midtown Farmers Market and Downtown Sacramento’s Farmers Market offer fresh produce and local goods in a lively street market environment.

Boutique Browsing

The experience of perusing the city’s boutique shops is an enjoyment in its own right. Stores like:

  • Sisu

  • Sugar Shack Boutique

  • Article Consignment Boutique

  • Wild Poppy & Co Boutique

  • 1 Heart Clothing Boutique

  • Identity Boutique DOCO

  • Kulture

  • Krazy

We offer a range of fashion, home goods, and specialty items, reflecting the city’s unique style and creativity that you won’t want to miss.

The city’s boutiques are not limited to fashion. Stores like PURPOSE, Urban 57 Home Decor, and Scout Living offer a range of home goods, making it easy to find unique pieces for your living space. Whether you’re looking for Peruvian crafts, jewelry, outfits, or home goods, Sacramento’s boutiques offer a shopping experience like no other.

Navigating Downtown: Transportation Tips

Traversing downtown Sacramento is effortless and convenient due to the city’s comprehensive public transportation system. Here are some options for getting around the city:

  • Light rail

  • Bus services

  • Cycling paths

  • Walking paths

With these options, getting around the city is a breeze, and they are among the best things to make your experience enjoyable.

The Sacramento Regional Transit District operates over 80 bus routes and 43 miles of light rail coverage, making it easy to get around the city. Additionally, plans are underway to add a streetcar service in the future, enhancing the city’s public transportation network.

For those who prefer to explore the city on foot or by bike, the city’s extensive network of jogging and biking trails offers a unique way to explore the city. These trails connect key attractions and neighborhoods, making it easy to get from one point to another.

Light Rail and Bus Services

Sacramento’s light rail and bus services provide a cost-effective and efficient mode of transportation around the downtown area. The Sacramento Regional Transit District, with over 80 bus routes and 43 miles of light rail coverage, ensures that no part of the city is out of reach.

Operating from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., these services are available throughout the day, making it easy for residents and visitors alike to move around the city. The cost starts at $2.50 for a single adult fare, with daily passes at $7.00, and discounted rates are available for senior citizens.

Cycling and Walking Paths

Cycling and walking in Sacramento are more than just modes of transportation; they form a part of the city’s lifestyle. The city’s extensive network of cycling and walking paths make it easy to explore the city at your own pace. Some popular routes include:

  • Clarksburg Path Loop

  • American River Loop

  • Sacramento River Parkway Trail

  • Two Rivers Trail

These routes offer scenic views and a unique way to explore the city.

The city’s cycling and walking paths are also designed with safety in mind. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Bikes are not allowed on unpaved trails outside of designated areas.

  • It’s recommended to carry a whistle or personal alarm.

  • Avoid using phones while riding.

  • Follow California’s traffic laws for both motorists and bicyclists.

Historical Highlights and Tours

Downtown Sacramento is rich in history, best experienced through guided tours and visits to its architectural landmarks. The Sac Tour Company offers walking, running, or biking tours, allowing you to delve into the city’s history, culture, and beauty at your own pace.

The Old Sacramento Underground Tours are a must-visit. These tours take you beneath the historic buildings of Old Sacramento, offering a unique perspective of the city’s past. For those interested in architecture, the city boasts several architectural wonders, including the California State Capitol building and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

Old Sacramento Underground Tours

The Old Sacramento Underground Tours provide a distinct viewpoint on the city’s history. As you explore the tunnel network under the city’s historic district, you’ll learn about how the city was raised above the floodwaters in the 1860s and 1870s. These tours, which start at the Sacramento History Museum, offer a unique glimpse into the city’s past.

The tours last about an hour, providing a comprehensive overview of the city’s history. Children as young as 6 are allowed to join the tours, making it a fun and educational activity for the whole family.

Architectural Wonders

The architectural marvels of Sacramento serve as a testament to the city’s extensive history. The California State Capitol building, built between 1861 and 1874, is a prime example of Neoclassical design. The building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, adding to the city’s architectural heritage.

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is another architectural gem. Known for its Italian Renaissance architectural style on the outside and Victorian style on the inside, the cathedral is a treasured historic landmark. These buildings, designed by renowned architects like Edwin Kado and Charles Gwathmey, add to the city’s architectural landscape.


From its rich history and vibrant art scene to its bustling business district, downtown Sacramento is a city that truly has it all. Whether you’re exploring the Sacramento Riverfront, admiring the artistic treasures at the Crocker Art Museum, catching a game at the Golden 1 Center, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll through one of the city’s beautiful parks, there’s always something to see and do in downtown Sacramento. So, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, we invite you to explore the charm of downtown Sacramento and discover all the amazing experiences it has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is downtown Sacramento walkable?

Downtown Sacramento is an incredibly walkable neighborhood, with a Walk Score of 93. Its population of 6,512 residents enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to hundreds of restaurants, the California Museum, the Sacramento Convention Center, and more.

How do you spend your day in Sacramento?

Spend your day in Sacramento exploring the unique attractions such as the Capitol Park, Crocker Art Museum, California State Railroad Museum, and Leland Stanford Mansion. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the city on a river cruise down the Sacramento River or take a leisurely bike ride along the American River Bicycle Trail. No matter what you choose to do, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

What is Sacramento most known for?

Sacramento is widely known as the “City of Trees” for its abundant urban forest, and it boasts more trees per capita than any other city in the world. It’s a seldom-explored destination with plenty of history and culture, plus an array of activities ranging from wandering around old town to trying out delicious brews on K Street.

Where is the best place to live in downtown Sacramento?

East Sacramento and Midtown are the perfect spot for those looking for an urban, yet safe and walkable area with plenty of dining and entertainment options.

What are some of the must-visit museums in downtown Sacramento?

If you’re downtown Sacramento, be sure to visit the California State Railroad Museum and Crocker Art Museum for an unforgettable mix of history and art.

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