California’s capital is central to so much of the total California experience. From the Sierra Mountains to the wine country to the foothills of California to San Francisco to the Pacific Coastline, Sacramento is close to many attractions, all merely an hour or so away. But it also has plenty to offer in its own right.
The city was founded in 1839 when Johann Augustus Sutter settled at the American and Sacramento Rivers, ultimately acquiring a sizable land grant from Mexico—a fortuitous grant located only thirty miles from the discovery of gold in 1848. The Gold Rush brought people from all over the world not only to California, but directly to Sacramento. Two years later, in 1850, California became a state and then eventually Sacramento its capital, which is now one of the most diverse, accessible, dynamic and fastest growing regions in the United States.
Must See: A pleasing combination of location and history make several historical Sacramento sites a necessity, including Sutter's Fort, the actual, early settlement founded by John Sutter in 1839 and considered to be a finish line for California pioneers. A portion of the city has been reserved as Old Sacramento and is home to the 100,000 square-foot California State Railroad Museum, which explores the history of the railroad and its transformative effect on the country.
Lodging: The Citizen Hotel–This classy luxury, boutique in downtown Sacramento is located close to the California State Capitol and the Sacramento Convention Center. Another option is the Inn & Spa at Parkside, near Sacramento’s Southside Park and close to mid- and downtown Sacramento.
Cuisine: From Thai to Mexican to Chinese to California cuisine, the food of Sacramento reflects the landscape of the diverse region that the city has become. The Chinese-influenced restaurants of Frank Fat’s have become landmarks for locals and visitors alike, as well as a tradition for elected state officials.
Ground Transportation: After arriving in your private jet, there are plenty of airport shuttles and private ground transportation, yet Sacramento is most accessible by car. Guided tours to San Francisco, the Napa or Sonoma Valley wine regions, and the Sierra Foothill wineries are also available.
Packing Tips: Rain and fog dominate the late fall, winter and spring months, while intense heat is a signature all summer long, resulting in balmy, warm summer nights. Be prepared to dress in layers for the changing climate of the day.
Recommended Book: Patty Reed's Doll: The Story of the Donner Party by Rachel K. Laurgaard is a fictionalized account of the famous pioneer group that was stranded by a severe storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1846. Many members of the party died, but 8-year-old Patty Reed made it all the way to Sacramento’s Sutter’s Fort.
Currency: The U.S. dollar is the local currency.
Calling Code United States: 1
Best Travel Dates: Because of intense summer heat and extended winter fog, optimum months to visit are typically March, April, May and late September through December.