Where to Take Out-of-Town Guests in Sacramento
We hear you have visitors coming into town! No matter how long you’ve lived in the area, it can be daunting to put together a list of things to do in Sacramento to appease your guests. You don’t want to miss out on some of the city’s must-see attractions, but also want to add a healthy dose of local insight. However, in the midst of your daily routine, which includes grocery shopping, dry cleaning and your work commute, you may have forgotten what it’s like to visit our city for the very first time.
That’s why we created a list of things to do when guests visit you in Sacramento. Glean a few ideas to enhance your visit or see how many activities you can check off your list!
Photo Courtesy of Crest Theatre
At the very least, taking a photo of Crest Theatre while strolling along the K Street corridor is a must. But if time allows, make plans to see a live performance, concert or film in this historic Art Deco theater built in 1912. And be sure to grab a drink in the cozy Empress Tavern in the basement before or after the show!
As you know, Midtown is one of the best areas to take guests, as it is filled with a variety of shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The square block between 18th and 19th Streets and L and Capitol Streets, also known as The Handle District, holds the majority of the best hotspots. Some of our favorites include Scout Living, The Rind, 58 Degrees & Holding Co., Zocalo, Pushkin’s, Mulvaney’s B & L, and more.
Photo Courtesy of Revival at the Sawyer
See the city from a fresh perspective at Revival at the Sawyer, a relatively new rooftop bar situated atop The Sawyer hotel in the heart of DOCO. This sleek indoor-outdoor lounge is the perfect place to relax with a drink or small bite while you take in views of the surrounding cityscape. Keep in mind there is a dress code at Revival, which means you should dress to impress!
Looking for more ideas while you’re downtown? Check out our itinerary for spending a full day in downtown Sacramento.
Stretch your legs with a visit to William Land Park, considered one of the most prominent parks in the city. But there’s so much more than what you might find at your everyday park, as William Land Park is home to some of the city’s biggest attractions, including the Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town, Funderland and William Land Golf Course. You could spend an entire day here with your guests, especially if you have kids in tow!
Take a stroll along the iconic Fab Forties area in East Sacramento, admiring the gorgeous historic homes primarily built in the ‘30s and ‘40s. You’ll see an array of housing styles in East Sacramento, including European revivals, bungalows, Craftsman, Spanish, Tudors and ranch style homes, ranging from quaint storybook to posh grandeur. Plus, you may even spot the famous bright blue Colonial mansion from “Lady Bird” during your visit.
Escape the rain or scorching heat at the Crocker Art Museum, featuring the world’s foremost display of California art. No matter how many times you’ve been to the museum, it’s likely things have changed since your last visit, as the Crocker maintains a steady rotation of exhibits in a variety of styles. In both an historic and stunning modern structure, visitors may explore a myriad of exhibitions and permanent collections at the Crocker Art Museum.
Visiting the California State Capitol Museum is a must when visiting the state’s capital city. This free museum offers an exciting integration of the past, present and future of California as you explore the present-day workings of the state’s seat of government. The museum is open on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are available hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Before or after your visit, be sure to travel through the park situated in the shadow of the capitol building, where you’ll encounter the International World Peace Rose Garden.
Spend some time at a local brewery in town to sample craft brews. Ask any craft beer aficionado in the city, and they’ll likely mention Track 7 on their list of must-visit breweries in Sacramento. Track 7 was given its name partly due to the brewery’s proximity to the old Western Pacific railroad tracks, west of Curtis Park. Their simple selection of beers means they value quality over quantity at Track 7 — and you’ll get just that. Their expert brewers experiment with all varieties and styles of beer, including American, Belgian, English and German. Plus, Track 7 has two locations, in Curtis Park and Natomas — and a brand new taproom and restaurant called The Other Side.
Maybe you haven’t been to Leland Stanford Mansion before! Now’s your chance. This gorgeous 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. Tours begin every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last tour starting at 4 p.m.
You may not have visited Old Sacramento since you were visiting the city for the first time, but it’s likely you remember the area’s undeniable historic charm. The 28-acre district near the river offers inspired eateries, renowned museums, exceptional views, and of course, the authentic Gold Rush-era architecture Old Sacramento is known for. Need a refresher of things to do there? Check out our local’s guide to spending a day in Old Sacramento.
Sacramento has plenty of urban wineries in its midst, allowing you to taste regional wines without traveling too far — or all the way to Napa. The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg is an excellent one-stop-shop for all your wine tasting and event needs. This premier destination just down the road from Sacramento hosts 14 unique wineries offering varietals from all over Northern California. Originally built in 1934 as an operating beet sugar refinery, the Old Sugar Mill offers a rustic family-friendly atmosphere to provide the perfect place to enjoy a variety of world-class wines.
Impress your guests with a visit to one of the city’s finest local coffee shops. Temple Coffee Roasters has several locations throughout the region, including downtown, Midtown, Arden-Arcade, and Davis, which means you have plenty of opportunities to try their freshly roasted beans. Temple is extremely passionate about the coffee-making process — all the way back to its origins. They are involved with the production from the farm to your cup, ensuring only the highest quality and most ethically crafted product. Plus, the modern and minimalist space of each location is as inspired as their sourcing, roasting and brewing process.
Snap a photo in front of Tower Bridge, standing either along the water in Old Sacramento, from River Walk Park in West Sacramento, or from I Street Bridge just north of Tower Bridge. Whether or not your guests get a photo, this shiny golden bridge is a sight to see!
A Farm-to-Fork Restaurant
After bragging to your guests about Sacramento’s status as America’s Farm to Fork Capital, take them to one of the many farm-to-table restaurants in our midst. This is perhaps the most “local” thing a visitor can do! Some of our favorites include Ella Dining Room & Bar, Grange Restaurant and Bar, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co., The Kitchen, Localis, Mother, Mulvaney’s B & L, and The Waterboy.
Photo Courtesy of the Midtown Business Association
It’s likely your guests’ visit will fall on the weekend. If that’s the case, you’re in luck! The Midtown Farmers’ Market is one of the city’s best farmers’ markets — and it happens every Saturday all year long from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit with over 50 vendors, watch monthly chef demos, shop from local craft vendors on the second Saturday of the month, and stop by Midtown stores while you’re at it! Keep your eye on the variety of events at the Midtown Farmers’ Market throughout the year, including tasting gardens, cooking demonstrations and kid-focused farm tours.
Step back in time at The Shady Lady Saloon, a Prohibition-era gem along R Street in downtown. From the vintage furniture and artwork to the moody lighting and atmosphere, you’ll feel as though you’ve stumbled upon a forbidden speakeasy. The expert bartenders at the Shady Lady will create a delicious seasonal cocktail — or whatever concoction you’re craving! Don’t miss their frequent live music events featuring a variety of styles including jazz, blues, country and more.
Photo Courtesy of Darren Peck via Sutter‘s Fort State Historic Park
History buffs in your group will appreciate a visit to Sutter’s Fort, a historic park in Midtown with a rich history dating back to 1839. Visitors to the fort may explore the historic structures and living history museum at their own pace, using a map and brochure or an optional audio tour. The fort hosts a number of events throughout the year, including hands-on history lessons, walking tours, festivals and more.
Don’t worry — we’re not suggesting you take your guests to the ATM. Housed in a 102-year-old bank building, The Bank is a culinary concourse in downtown Sacramento with a handful of eateries, a coffee shop, cocktail bars, a beer “vault” and several event spaces. Considered the second-oldest bank building west of the Mississippi, this historic 30,000-square-foot building originally housed the D.O. Mills Bank. Most recently, it functioned as the Sacramento Grand Ballroom, a private event space, before it was converted to The Bank in the last couple of years. Much of the original architecture and charming details remain, including the ornate ceilings, marble walls, brass railings, and the downstairs vault. Grab a bite to eat or a specialty cocktail, or retreat to the basement vault to sample from the 68 self-service beer and cider taps, available in 2-ounce, 4-ounce, 8-ounce and 16-ounce pours.
If you haven’t been to The Dive Bar, you (and your guests!) are in for a treat. The Dive Bar takes the term “dive bar” to a literal level with actual diving — and of course, an accompanying bar. The space features refurbished brick walls, dark wood, vintage furniture, and a large tank over the bar with a mermaid or merman making an occasional appearance. This perfectly subtle play-on-words completes the quirky experience you’ll have at Dive Bar.
Photo Courtesy of Drake’s BARN
Take your guests to one of the newest installments in the city — Drake’s BARN in West Sacramento. This new outdoor concept is the perfect place to spend a sunny day. Drake’s BARN is a landmark 2-acre community gathering spot, featuring food, beverages and entertainment, in West Sacramento’s Bridge District. Order pizza from the full-service PizzaSmith Restaurant or Santa Maria-style tri-tip sandwiches from the YO?LO! Truck. Choose from over 25 beers on tap, wine or cocktails, and lounge in the 400-seat beer garden and bar complete with fire pits. Plus, you can often hear live music coming from one of the three stages!
The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, also known as the American River Bike Trail, is a renowned trail hugging the banks of the American River. It runs for 32 miles between Discovery Park in Old Sacramento and Folsom Lake’s southwestern banks at Beal’s Point. With several access points along the way, there are various stretches of this paved multi-use trail you can travel on by foot, bike, or even skates!
Mural at Warehouse Artist Lofts
As you know, Sacramento is filled with a number of colorful murals, and one of the best places to spot them is the area surrounding Warehouse Artist Lofts. 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 mural is extremely fitting for a mixed-use building housing a number of the city’s finest artists! Looking for more Instagram-worthy spots in the city? Check out some of our favorite Instagram-worthy backdrops in Sacramento.
What hotspots are you most excited about showcasing? Or what destinations would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.