Henry David Thoreau once mused, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” As you embark on your next vacation, pursue your truest self in the land known for lofty aspirations and sweet daydreams—California. Long before California became synonymous with aspiring starlets and successful startups, pioneers and miners rushed to Sacramento to carve their fortunes out of the rich earth.
If you imagine taking life at a slower pace and unleashing your inner glow in the “Golden State,” then it’s time to stroll down cobblestone streets, discover artifacts of ancient civilizations, and explore the surrounding landscape laden with vineyards. To discover all this city has to offer, book one of our hotels in Sacramento, where you’ll wake up more yourself every day.
Things to Do in Sacramento
As you build an itinerary, embrace the fact that most of the things to do in Sacramento are tinged with antiquity, like a light layer of gold leaf of the edges of your favorite books. To start your journey in the heart of the city—where wooden sidewalks lead you to another era—take a turn through Old Sacramento, the region’s historic railway hub, which is nestled against the Sacramento River.
As the currents ebb and flow, sidle up to the bar at River City Saloon or wander through one of the many museums. Step through the doorway of the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, and you can almost hear the soft scratch of chalk on slate. If turn-of-the-century Sacramento lodging is what you seek, this is where you’ll find it.
The old city is part of today’s modern downtown. As you venture east of the river, the architecture retains its vintage charm, and you will find ample opportunity to set your heart rate to “Zen” in the International World Peace Rose Garden, where fragrant blossoms infuse the city’s celebration of multicultural peacemaking.
While away an afternoon perusing the city center—there are a few stately mansions to see as well—and if you’re still wondering where to stay in Sacramento, book one of our downtown Sacramento hotels and spend your vacation visiting historic haunts and taking peaceful romps.
Speaking of romps, bring Fido along and be sure to check into one of the pet-friendly hotels in Sacramento. Stretch all six of your collective legs along the idyllic American River Bicycle Trail, which winds along the waterfront. You don’t have to worry about your companion chasing parked cars on this trail, because motors are a no-no—just paws and pedals.
Eating and Drinking
Whether you’re an early bird or a late-morning brunch connoisseur, head to the Tahoe Park neighborhood, where you'll find farm-to-table cuisine perfect for the first meal of the day. You can satisfy lunchtime munchies at Chandos Tacos at a few locations around town, where they make traditional Mexican street tacos that will make your mouth water and tortas that might get deliciously messy. Sacramento may be miles from any international borders, but it is certainly home to global flavors—from Italian and Thai to tapas and New American—all served with a NorCal twist.
In the evening, while you’re wandering through the city lights and Italianate buildings, seek out a local favorite: Il Fornaio Restaurant, near the State Capitol Building—a wonderful choice for traditional Italian pasta in an authentic environment. For a unique digestíf, The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar along J Street is perfect for a craft cocktail to close your evening. Start with a glass of chardonnay from the nearby Napa Valley and embrace the region to the last golden drop.
If the International World Peace Rose Garden is any indication—which it is—Sacramento is a place where natural beauty thrives. The city is sprinkled with several oases that are perfect for picnics and meditation, including tree-lined McKinley Park and the sprawling Sutter’s Landing Regional Park, where you can play with your pup near the banks of American River. Stay in nearby Sacramento hotels and surround your senses with the scent of tea roses and the gentle swish of palm trees in the breeze.
Perhaps the most stunning views that Sacramento can boast surround the city proper. Directly to the northwest, the Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area covers the spectrum of your wildest dreams and your most serene afternoon snooze. Slip on some skis and speed across the surface of the water, or float with your face turned toward the sun. Otherwise, stay on dry land and keep an eye out for the yellow-billed magpie and the purple martin—California may not see a lot of rain, but there’s always a rainbow in Sacramento.
Sacramento is surrounded with wide open spaces and charming small towns. As you seek out amazing places to stay in Sacramento, don’t forget to plan for day trips to wine country or camping near Lake Tahoe. Drive west along the I-80 to start tasting the tannins. It’s a 70-mile drive to the center of the Napa Valley, and there are plenty pit stops along the way. In fact, you’ll happen upon the small vineyard town of Vacaville just 34 miles into your trip. Napa—the dream destination of wine enthusiasts around the globe—awaits a mere 28 miles southwest of Vacaville. The rolling region is known for pouring some of the best cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and chardonnay in the world, so let your palate take flight…a with tasting flight, that is.
To the east of Sacramento, the deep blue waters and whimsical wilderness of South Lake Tahoe await. The drive covers a scenic 103 miles on US-50 and ambles through the Eldorado National Forest. Get out on the water and wander through the wilderness. Remember what we said about California starlets? Step outside after dark and look up.
Experience layers of history, beautiful landscapes, and sweet dreams when you book cheap hotels in Sacramento with Travelocity. With our price-matching promise, you won’t need to strike gold to have the best California getaway you could imagine—and you have a rich imagination.