Sacramento is a city that is both easygoing and full of life. It has a busy downtown area with a great night life, daytime activites to do with the family, tons of events going on, and is surrounded by clusters of different towns that offer many different outdoor recreation activities.
1.) Old Town
It is what it sounds like… a town torn from the past made up of several blocks of old buildings that are packed with shops, restaurants and things to do. Old Sac’ is a blast from the past where you can spend the day wondering around with friends and family!
Most of the stores tend to close not too long after sunset, so if you do go, be sure to plan correctly or else you will miss out. Also, be on the lookout for special event going on, like the day of the dead festival, or other cultural actives that welcome everyone to celebrate along with them!
2.) The American River Parkway
The Parkway is composed of over 23 miles of pedestrian and horse trail, that stretch along the American River. There are tons of places to stop along the trail to swim, explore, or meet other bike riders and joggers along the way.
It is also teaming with wildlife. Some beautiful, but some deadly. That being said, please watch out for rattle snakes! Especially during the summer. I spent 4 weeks working on the parkway, helping to clear the horse trails after server flooding, and we were lucky enough to only see a few snakes. So if you hear a rattle, stay clear! And if you plan on swimming, which I recommend, be sure to check the news for the water levels and make sure it is safe to swim.
3.) The Sacramento Zoo
I have only been to a handful of zoos in my life but the Sacramento Zoo is by far my favorite. The zoo is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the community on wildlife. They take amazing care of their animal, helping to rehabilitate many different species. They even have a veterinary clinic on site!
I have volunteered with the zoo three or four times and would love to go back. The animals are usually super curious about the visitors, and the staff are so knowledgable and friendly. Just note that you probably won’t be able to get as close to the animals as my photos show- through volunteering I was able to get up close and personal.
4.) The Mermaid Bar & Kay Street
Kay street is where you want to be for all your night life adventures! It’s the perfect spot downtown for a fun time. If you happen to be there, you should definitely stop into the mermaid bar! Grab a cold drink and watch mermaids swim around in the tank above the bar.
Besides just the bars, there is also a lot more to do on Kay Street at night, as well as during the day. You will find tons of restaurants, shops, and lots of places that sell sweet treats.
5.) The River Walk & Downtown
Downtown is beautiful and also full of life. You can see the Tower Bridge peak out at you through the city skyscrapers, or get a full view of it while strolling the riverwalk that runs right along the river.
If you are there at night, you will get a view of the west coast’s beautiful sunsets.
Keep walking down the riverwalk and it will lead you right into Old Sacramento. Get a view of the Delta King, or make your hotel reservations here and stay on the old paddlewheel steamboat while you visit.
BONUS: The California State Fair & Farm to Fork!
I specifically wanted to add these as a bonuses, and not to the actual list, because they are both seasonal, so these options are not around everyday.
If you find yourself in Sacramento during July, the fair is a good place to spend the day. WARNING: Prepare for it to be crazy expensive. You may want to eat before hand, unless you are okay with spending $15.00 on a single hamburger. You also may want to take the bus to avoid paying for parking.
If you are in Sacramento during September, check out what day Farm to Fork is happening! It is a giant fair packed with local venders selling farm fresh produce, food, treats and beverages. They shut down the streets of downtown for the event.
And the following night they even shut down the Tower Bridge and host a benefit dinner. While the tickets were way too expensive for the dinner, a bunch of us volunteered and got to check it out! Now that was a night to remember. Farm to Fork was one of my favorite events and I would recommend it to anyone!
If you are looking for more to do, and have a sweet tooth, check out my post on crazy ice cream places in Sacramento!