Sacramento has moved on from its past as a pioneer town to a modern metropolis that celebrates its history but prefers its more up-to-date image. This new spruced up reality is in evidence with its City of Trees nickname but, more importantly, is rooted in the number of green spaces scattered about the city.
Sacramento is the capital of California and is among the ten fastest-growing areas in the U.S. Although its population is just less than 500,000 it is part of a greater region that encompasses a population of more than two million, though even that makes it merely the fourth largest in the state after Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
Within Old Sacramento everything is housed within vintage 19th-century buildings. Little more than a stone throw’s away, the American River cuts through the heart of the city and offers several outdoor leisure activities such as river rafting and fishing.
Regardless of whether it is the great outdoors or the history of the Gold Rush that draws you here, you will not be disappointed.
Despite its California location, Sacramento has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot and dry summers. However, the summer heat is not accompanied by humidity, making it a lot easier to take. The local rainy season falls between November and March.
Best Time to Fly to Sacramento
With weather not playing a factor in determining the best time for travelers to fly to Sacramento, peak season is determined by the local events calendar. As such, the most popular time to visit is August and September when the California State Fair arrives at the California Exposition fairgrounds. This annual event has been taking place for more than 150 years and features exhibits, petting zoos, carnival games and live shows.
The Sacramento winter, or what passes for it with average temperatures in December and January dropping to a not-exactly-freezing 55 degrees Fahrenheit, constitutes the off-season though the place is far from inhospitable at this time.
Getting around Sacramento
Sacramento is a typical American city with an extensive road and freeway system connecting it to other cities, but unlike many other American cities it also has a widespread network of bicycle and pedestrian paths. Getting around by car is the most convenient, but the traffic can get very slow in downtown. Rental car offices can be found at the airport and in downtown. Local buses cover the city and surrounding areas with reliable, cheap service, but they can be slow. The light rail system connects the city to its surrounding suburbs.
Sacramento Travel Information
- The most popular attraction in the city is the National Historic Landmark of Old Sacramento. The area is frozen in a time in the late 19th century and features many restored historic buildings, wooden sidewalks and horse-drawn carriages. Rides on steam-powered historic trains and paddle steamers are also available.
- No visit to Sacramento is complete without partaking in an activity that involves the American River. Whether it’s river rafting or fishing, the river provides the setting for many of the local pastimes and is also the backdrop for a cycling trail that runs from downtown Sacramento to Folsom. The nearby town’s correctional facility is the setting for Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues and is the site of a museum.
- If you are traveling with children, be sure to visit Fairytale Town, near the city's zoo. An old-fashioned amusement park, Fairytale Town takes a low-tech approach to its attractions featuring fairy-tale themes including the boot from The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe as well as a pirate ship and puppet shows.
- Visit Sutter's Fort for a glimpse of life in the American West during the early 19th century. Founded in 1839 by John Augustus Sutter, a Swiss immigrant, local attractions include a period blacksmith shop and bakery as well as living quarters.
- The Delta King is a five-deck riverboat that once transported passengers and supplies between Sacramento and San Francisco, however it has since been transformed into a floating restaurant and hotel.