Top Things to Do in Folsom, CA
With a rich history, outdoor adventures and great restaurants, Folsom is an awesome city for both locals and visitors alike. There are plenty of things to do, from strolling through Gold Rush-era buildings to boating along Folsom Lake to sipping craft beer or local wine. Families especially love Folsom, with its lush parks and green spaces and kid-friendly museums and attractions. Following are some of our favorite things to do in and around Folsom.
Founded during the Gold Rush, Folsom has plenty of ways for history buffs to take a step back in time. The Folsom History Museum depicts life in the 19th century and earlier, complete with a blacksmith shop, miner’s cabin and old railroad caboose, and the Folsom Powerhouse is a historic landmark that brought electricity to the town.
Photo courtesy Helen Gordon via Flickr
If you’re a fan of Johnny Cash, or true crime, or weaponry, or just plain weird stuff, check out the Folsom Prison Museum. It showcases the history of the famous lockup complete with confiscated shanks, old shackles and a giant Ferris wheel made by a prisoner out of toothpicks. And, of course, an exhibit on the famous country singer’s 1968 performance and song “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Photo courtesy Visit Folsom
One of the best ways to take advantage of the Folsom area is to get outside! At the southern end of its namesake lake, Folsom is awash with natural beauty. For starters, head out to the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, where you can go boating, water-skiing, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking and even camping.
Photo courtesy Visit Folsom
Folsom is also the easternmost end of the American River Bike Trail, a paved multi-use trail that stretches all the way to Old Sacramento. You can also head to Lake Natoma, where the Sac State Aquatic Center rents kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards.
Photo courtesy Folsom Aquatic Center
Kids in tow? Head to the Folsom Aquatic Center, a city-run waterpark that has a waterslide, splash playground, inflatables course, lap pool and even movie nights in the summer! If you’re looking to keep the kiddos dry, check out Castle Park(formally known as Kids Play Park), which has an expansive fortress-like play structure, a pond and walking trails.
See Animals Up Close & Personal
Photo courtesy Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary
A visit to the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary is a must-do for families (or any animal lover). Unlike traditional zoos, the Folsom Zoo is a safe haven for rescued animals who are unable to live in the wild. Residents include black bears, wolves, cougars and even wild pigs! You can even take the kids on a mini train ride along the Folsom Valley Railway.
The littlest animal lovers will also love SeaQuest, an interactive aquarium with ocean-focused exhibits and experiences. Visitors can explore tide pools, feed sharks, snorkel with stingrays and snuggle with iguanas and other land animals.
Shop Til You Drop
Photo courtesy Historic Folsom Farmers Market
One of the most popular activities in Folsom is shopping! A stroll along Sutter Street in Historic Folsom is the quintessential Folsom experience, with its antique shops, home décor and jewelry stores. On Saturdays, visit the farmers market on the plaza to stock up on seasonal fruits and veggies, baked goods, fresh eggs and other locally produced goods. Another popular shopping area is the Palladio at Broadstone, which has national retailers including H&M, Sephora and Barnes & Noble. Or, you can hunt for deals at the Folsom Premium Outlets, home to the Coach, Michael Kors, Levi’s, Nike and other
Eat & Drink
After a day exploring all that Folsom has to offer, odds are, you’ve worked up an appetite. Luckily, Folsom has plenty of places to choose from, whether you’re looking for a high-end fine dining experience or a chill, laid-back vibe.
Thirsty for a craft beer? Manderes has one of the largest selections in the Sacramento area, with more than a dozen selections from local and international breweries on tap. They serve hearty American fare with a beer-centric twist, such as black-and-tan onion rings, Old Rasputin ribs and Chimay-glazed chicken.
If you’re looking for something a bit more refined, book a table at Bacchus House. The focus here is on seasonal cuisine produced by local farms, such as prime rib with organic vegetables and short ribs with wild mushrooms and sweet peas. Nearly two dozen California wines are served by the glass and tasting flights are available as well.
Photo courtesy Marly & Moo
If tots and burgers are more your thing, check out Marly and Moo. The vibe is modern and artsy, but the menu down-to-earth, with dishes such as parmesan tots, maple bourbon barbecue burger and short rib grilled cheese. Bring the little ones for a pretzel hot dog or s’mores for dessert.
Make Yourself at Home
After all this sightseeing and Folsom-admiring, you may be tempted to maintain a more permanent stay in this charming city. And you’d be in good company, as Folsom was recently named the top place for families to live by WalletHub. In fact, Folsom earned one of the top ranks when it comes to fun AND affordability. In Folsom, you’ll find both established homes on tree-lined streets and smart homes constructed with the latest technology — and everything in between.