The Best Things to Do in Folsom
August 20, 2021

The Best Things to Do in Folsom

Just a half hour from Sacramento, the historic community of Folsom is an awesome city for both locals and visitors alike. Founded during the Gold Rush, its quaint downtown maintains its historic charm, with shops, restaurants and community events. It’s a great place for outdoor lovers as well, as it sits on its namesake Folsom Lake, popular for boating, swimming, fishing and paddling, and has easy access to the American River Bike Trail. It’s also a hotspot for craft beer and 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.


Explore History

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Founded during the Gold Rush, Folsom has plenty of ways for history buffs to take a step back in time. The Folsom History Museum has artifacts from the 19th century, as well as a Pioneer Village that depicts the lives of early settlers, complete with a blacksmith shop, miner’s cabin and old railroad caboose. The Folsom Powerhouse is a historic landmark that brought electricity to the town, and visitors can see the huge transformers as well the forebays and canal system that brought the water from the Folsom Dam.


Get Outside


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.


Paddle Board

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 Steve Miklos Aquatic Center (also known as 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 Pampered Pet Salon and Boutique

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 national retailers. Folsom is also home to plenty of locally-owned shops and boutiques, including Pampered Pet Salon and Boutique for your furry friends; the Vintage Room for high-end luxury clothing; and the Candle Bar, where you can pick up custom-scented candles made from soy wax.


Eat & Drink

Sutter Street Taqueria Folsom, CA

Photo courtesy Sutter Street Taqueria

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.

If you’re looking for something a bit more chill, perhaps with a bit more spice, check out Sutter Street Taqueria. Modeled after the no-frills taqueria’s in San Francisco’s Mission District, Sutter Street Taqueria serves tacos (of course!), burritos, nachos and other Mexican-inspired specialties.


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’re in good company — Folsom has been named one of the top places to live in Northern California and one of the best places to raise a family on the West Coast. In Folsom, you’ll find every type of home imaginable, from those in established family-friendly neighborhoods to smart homes constructed with the latest technology, modern condos to stunning lakefront estates. Search for more homes for sale in Folsom and find the perfect place for you!


Category Folsom, Neighborhood Guides

Elizabeth Penney

Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.