Things To Do in Downtown Sacramento
Due to our large market reach and incredible surrounding communities, we often forget that there is so much going on in the heart of downtown Sacramento itself. It is, in fact, the state’s capital! And because Sacramento is saturated with shops, restaurants, attractions and events, you’ll certainly need a guide to the city to steer you in the right direction the next time you’re there.
For downtown residents, this may serve as a reminder of some favorite stops, or expose you to a few new ones. For neighbors tucked away in the suburbs or from other cities around the globe, we hope this helps make your downtown Sacramento visit a bit more streamlined.
Places to Eat
Photos courtesy of TableVine
TableVine serves exquisite farm-to-table fare surrounded by their inviting wine country decor that will make you forget you’re just steps from Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento. The “live menu” from Dan Sneed and his master culinary team features fresh and flavorful dishes from local farms, changing on an almost daily basis.
Take a break from the busy downtown atmosphere at The Press Bistro, offering authentic Mediterranean fare and libations in their comfortable and inviting setting. Turn your visit into a quick drink, some small bites or an entire meal — either out on their patio or inside their dining room.
Photos courtesy of Grange Restaurant
You mustn’t look far for more farm-fresh fare in this city. Grange Restaurant and Bar is a classy and sophisticated eatery presenting creative and healthy options on their menus, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Don’t miss out on their wonderful wines, cocktails and beers, which you can get for a reasonable price during their weekday happy hour from 3–6 p.m.
Be the first to rave about Iron Horse Tavern, a new dining destination from trusted Sacramento restaurateurs and creators of Cafeteria 15L and Firestone Public House. Iron Horse merges modern, vintage and industrial in an effortless manner, and perhaps more importantly, their menu is prepared with the utmost care and attention to detail.
Photos courtesy of Capitol Garage
Capitol Garage is an upbeat restaurant and bar, serving excellent fare during breakfast, lunch, dinner — and even for brunch on the weekends! With its central location, great food and drinks, fun environment and dog-friendly attitude — you can’t go wrong with Capitol Garage.
We can’t decide if we like the food or the atmosphere at Cafeteria 15L more. But who says we have to choose? This eclectic urban restaurant offers American comfort cuisine with a classic flair, featuring reclaimed woods, industrial light fixtures and an array of mismatched chairs. Perhaps more striking than the decor is the farm-fresh homespun creations that will leave you coming back for more.
Places to Drink
Photos courtesy of Shady Lady Saloon
The Shady Lady Saloon is a ‘20s era bar with a modern twist, serving handcrafted cocktails, craft beer, and full lunch and dinner menus in their upbeat environment. Step into the past while experiencing something new at the Shady Lady Saloon, which was pronounced one of the best bars in America by Esquire!
Karma Brew is a popular watering hole supplying craft beers, vintage and modern wines, sangrias and ciders, and more in their comfortable setting.
Photos courtesy of Blackbird
Not only does Blackbird offer 50 diverse beers on tap with selections rotating weekly, they have a killer happy hour that should not be missed. Stop by from 4–7 p.m. Monday through Saturday for some small bites and exceptional brews.
If you’re a planner, set aside time to visit Ruhstaller Brewery + Taproom, which operates on an appointment-only basis. Enjoy one of their brews on-site at their dog-friendly taproom by calling 916-447-1881 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org in advance! If you’d rather pick up some of their beer as a Sacramento souvenir, grab a pack of their beers at various locations in the Sacramento Region.
When you find a good wine bar, you shouldn’t let it go. 58 Degrees & Holding Co. is an upscale and relaxing environment debuting some of the world’s most interesting wines. In fact, they offer up to 58 wine selections by the glass, and the perfect small plates to complement your choice.
With Sacramento’s proximity to various wineries and the vineyard-saturated region of Napa, it’s only right to sit down for a glass or two at Downtown & Vine located in the heart of the city. This wine-bar-meets-restaurant-meets-event-center is the perfect destination for a flight of regional wines or craft beers. In fact, their retail area means you can take home your favorite bottle after all is said and done!
Photos courtesy of Whired Wine
Whired Wine is the latest wine bar on the scene, welcoming wine newbies and connoisseurs alike in their modern-industrial environment, with a vast selection of red and white wines. In fact, the name “Whired” is a witty combination of “white” and “red!”
Need some more options? Consult our list of the best places to grab a beer in Sacramento, if you’re looking for prominent beer hubs in and around the heart of downtown.
Places to Shop
Photo courtesy of Downtown Commons
Downtown Commons, better known as DOCO, is a popular shopping destination in the downtown area. Locals and visitors alike gather at this luxurious collection of recognized global brands and one-of-a-kind boutiques, experiencing a shopping trip like no other.
If you’d rather wander the charming streets of downtown (and who wouldn’t?), might we suggest stopping by m.a.r.k. vintage or Vintage YSJ?
m.a.r.k. vintage specializes in mid-century, atomic, retro and kitschy home furnishings, in addition to men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.
Vintage YSJ is Sacramento’s largest vintage retailer, where you’ll find a wonderful selection of both vintage and contemporary women’s clothing.
Attractions to Admire
Whether or not this is your first or fiftieth time visiting downtown, you’ll need to make sure you’ve visited at least one — or all — of these quintessential Sacramento attractions.
Get a glimpse of the famous Tower Bridge linking West Sacramento with the capital. Besides its fascinating history as a former part of U.S. Route 40, this bright yellow bridge is just spectacular to marvel at. In fact, you may be tempted to take a photo of it for Instagram, and that’s quite alright with us!
Visit the California State Capitol Museum at absolutely no cost, to experience an exciting integration of the past, present and future in this state-of-the-art architectural masterpiece. Learn more about California’s rich history and see the present-day workings of the state’s seat of government.
Photo courtesy of Crocker Art Museum
The Crocker Art Museum features an exquisite historical building alongside a modern architectural masterpiece that are true works of art in and of themselves. But step inside to behold diverse collections of Californian art, works on paper, European art, international ceramics, photography, Asian art, African art, and Oceanic art. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art.
The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park is certainly a sight to see during your downtown stroll. The mansion was originally built in 1856 and was later purchased and remodeled by Leland and Jane Stanford, the former of which served as the governor of California from 1862 to 1863. It later served as the office for three governors, and has a fascinating history spanning over 150 years. Today, the 19,000-square-foot mansion serves as a museum, where visitors can receive a tour highlighting its exquisite details.
Parks to Visit
With all this talk about businesses and attractions surrounded by asphalt streets and sturdy concrete buildings, you might be surprised to learn that downtown Sacramento has plenty of lush, green spaces to relax during your visit.
Capitol Park is one of the most well-known and centralized parks, as it is situated directly in front of the capitol building. You’ll find peaceful gardens, trees from around the world, benches, and memorials paying tribute to significant events involving California. Be sure to spend some time in this area before or after your visit inside the Capitol Museum!
Roosevelt Park is home to one of our favorite local farmers’ markets, in addition to a few basketball courts and a baseball diamond. Stay up-to-date with community events and practice your basketball skills at this centrally located Sacramento park.
Crocker Park is a mellow city park near the Sacramento River featuring a variety of lawns, playgrounds and facilities. This is a relaxing area to take a break, enjoy a picnic, or let the kids run around during the early days of fall.
Events to Attend
In addition to the myriad of spontaneous community events taking place throughout the year, you can count on a few regular events to take over the streets of Sacramento on an annual basis.
A few of our favorite downtown annual and seasonal events include:
Concerts in the Park — During the Summer
Second Saturday Art Walk — The Second Saturday of Every Month
Second Sunday Antique Faire — The Second Saturday of Every Month
Sacramento Pride — June
Farm-to-Fork Celebration — September
California Capital Airshow — October
California International Marathon — December
Overwhelmed? One of the best ways to stay in-the-know about community events is by subscribing to our blog, where you’ll receive timely articles unveiling the most important events in the city!
Like What You See?
Make your downtown visit a bit more permanent by taking up residence in the heart of the city. Downtown Sacramento real estate is particularly unique due to its central location, emphasis on townhomes, condos and apartments, and the big-city feel that is extremely desirable for many.
The beauty of our city is its ability to captivate you and feel like home, while not feeling too overwhelming to handle. Take a look at some of our favorite residences nestled in the heart of downtown.