15 Inspiring Instagram-Worthy Backdrops in Sacramento, Mapped
In a city as vibrant and artistic as Sacramento, you’ll find no shortage of artwork (both natural and man-made) certain to enhance your Instagram selfie, group shot or solo pose. In fact, the city has an overwhelming amount of colorful murals all over town, ensuring you will never run out of gorgeous backdrops created by talented artists.
Consult our guide to Instagram-worthy backdrops and embark on your very own city-wide photo tour — whether you’re looking for an idyllic garden setting or a modern work of art.
A final word of warning! Believe it or not, selfie-taking has become an increasingly dangerous activity. Be sure to look both ways before taking a mid-crosswalk photo and refrain from stepping into traffic to get the perfect shot.
Looking for more content for Instagram? Check out the most Instagram-worthy meals in Sacramento! Or follow The Lyon Local on Instagram so you stay in-the-know on local events, the best places to check out around town, and so much more.
Lavender Heights Crosswalk
The rainbow crosswalk in Lavender Heights, Sacramento’s most prominent LGBTQ community, is a popular photo opp spot! This colorful crosswalk at the intersection of 20th and K Streets was created through the efforts and support of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, the Midtown Business Association, and various public donations in 2015. Be careful as you snap a photo by looking both ways to ensure no cars are trying to pass by!
Crocker Art Museum
Photo Courtesy of Crocker Art Museum
The Crocker provides a diverse array of backdrops for a particularly artsy Instagram shot, whether you’re looking for a modern, minimalist feel or an elegant, historic look. Peruse the many exhibits at the museum, in both the historic mansion galleries and the state-of-the-art Teel Family Pavilion. The Crocker welcomes photography (without a flash!) overall, but a few exhibition contracts prohibit photography, so please refrain from taking photos when you see the “no photos” symbol.
Head to the River Walk Trail in West Sacramento to discover this awe-inspiring public art installation. And don’t worry — it won’t be hard to miss! Subtile is a towering sculpture comprised of 4,000 steel discs crafted by Prague-based artist Federico Díaz. Pause for a photo before your walk along the River Walk Trail. If you visit on a sunny day, you can even capture some brilliant sunlight reflected in the shiny reflective discs.
“Do No Harm” Snake Mural
Photo Courtesy of @artofjohnpugh on Instagram
Speaking of dropping jaws, this “Do No Harm” snake mural by John Pugh is simply remarkable. We had to do a double-take to ensure this wasn’t a 3D sculpture disguised as a one-dimensional painting! John Pugh created this piece for the 2018 Wide Open Walls festival, an event designed to promote and celebrate street art in Sacramento each summer. John is known for his optical illusion style that makes you pause and stare — and his snake mural in the 6th Street alley on J Street is no exception.
While you’re in the area, head over to The Barn, a brand new event venue along the river in West Sacramento. Don’t let the name lead you astray — The Barn is void of all hay and farm animals. This “bridge on land” is a massive, unique structure designed by Dutch architect Jerry Van Eyck of the internationally recognized firm !melk. While attending one of the many events, dining at an on-site restaurant, or grabbing a beer at Drake’s Brewing Company, be sure to pose for a picture in the foreground of this curvy structure. Your architecture-loving followers will drop their jaws.
Warehouse Artist Lofts Mural
You’ll have to look deeper to find Look Deeper, an inspiring mural by Anthony Padilla. This colorful and enchanting piece is tucked in an alley behind the Warehouse Artist Lofts on 12th and R Streets. The jungle-themed piece is extremely fitting for a mixed-use building housing a number of the city’s finest artists!
McKinley Park Rose Garden
For a more natural backdrop, head to the McKinley Park Rose Garden, a rose-filled oasis in the heart of East Sacramento. With over 1,200 roses in bloom, this fragrant and cheerful garden is an ideal background for your photos. Plus, the park has plenty of other idyllic backdrops, including a small serene lake, lots of foliage, and sprawling grass areas.
Colorful Mural by RISK
Head to this vibrant mural at the Old North Sacramento LaunchPad, a creative hangout space for community events. LA-based fine artist, illustrator and graffiti artist known as RISK created this brilliant piece filled with color for the 2018 Wide Open Walls festival. Pose here for a backdrop with lots of color and limited distraction.
Geometric Celestial Mural
This inspiring geometric piece was created by local artist Jose Di Gregorio, a well-known artist with murals in a number of public spaces throughout the region. His work focuses on geometric patterns, incorporating vibrant colors and celestial nightscapes in a beautiful way. This particular mural is no different! The mural is located on the CADA building on the wall facing the Beatnik Studios Parking lot.
The charming historic buildings in Old Sacramento make an excellent Instagram backdrop, no matter where you are within the 28-acre district. The architecture in Old Sacramento is most commonly attributed to the Gold Rush era. You’ll find tall colorful buildings with large arched doorways, full-height windows, and wrought-iron balconies overhead. Head to the river to add even more diversity to your shot; in fact, you may be able to get the Delta King riverboat in the background!
The Wishing Wall Mural
You may be familiar with the work of local artist Maren Conrad, who has created a number of iconic pieces dotting the city, including the koi fish on the M.A.R.R.S. building, the “Lady Bird” piece on 16th and I Streets, and the larger-than-life Chuck Taylor mural on the Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse building. The Wishing Wall is whimsical and simple, inspiring its viewers to believe the impossible. Find this 30-foot-tall dandelion in the historic alley on 19th Street between I and H Streets.
Tourist or local, you can’t deny the Instagrammability of this iconic landmark. Tower Bridge makes for an excellent backdrop for your photo, whether you’re a bit off to the side (and even as far as the Old Sacramento waterfront) or you can manage a photo while crossing the crosswalk. Whatever you do, use caution while photographing this popular attraction.
Coloring Book Sculpture
On your way to an event, concert or game at the Golden 1 Center, make sure you take time to pose in front of the new Coloring Book sculpture inspired by Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. This colorful public art piece adds a vibrant backdrop for your selfie or jumping group photo!
Sweet Dream Mural
Photo Courtesy of Katya Allison via Post Modern Marketing
Long-time Sacramento residents are well-acquainted with this iconic mural on the Alhambra Boulevard Safeway. It pays homage to the former Alhambra Theatre that once stood at that location. The historic theatre was built in 1927 and demolished in 1973. Artist Stephen Bauer created this timeless mural to commemorate the theatre in 1998 as one of four works commissioned for the Midtown Mural Project. He even included a boy, inspired by his son, bidding farewell to this community staple.
Mural in DOCO by Kristin Farr
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Photo Courtesy of @kristinfarr on Instagram
In the heart of DOCO, you’ll find this eye-catching mural created by San Francisco-based artist Kristin Farr for 2018 Wide Open Walls. Much like the rest of her work, this piece emits positivity through the use of color, and draws the viewer in with an obvious central focal point. Find this mural in the 6th Street alley along J Street.
While you’re at it…
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Category Neighborhood Guides, Sacramento
Cathy Harrington is Lyon Real Estate’s director of marketing, overseeing the content on the Lyon Local blog, website and social media channels.