How to Spend a Day in Folsom, California
September 13, 2023

How to Spend a Day in Folsom, California

Straddling the border of Sacramento and El Dorado counties, the city of Folsom is a quiet, family-friendly suburb known for its charming old town and proximity to outdoor recreation. Less than 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento, Folsom offers both locals and visitors alike plenty of things to do. With great schools, plenty of leafy parks and kid-friendly attractions, Folsom is especially popular with families. So, whether you’re a local exploring your own town or a visitor to this quaint community, following are some ways to spend a day in Folsom.


Step Back in Time

Photo courtesy Folsom History Museum

Folsom was inhabited by the Southern Maidu and Nisenan people long before prospectors arrived during the Gold Rush of the 1800s. Today, you can learn more about the city’s past at the Folsom History Museum, which 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. Another historic landmark is the Folsom Powerhouse, built in 1895, which brought electricity to the Sacramento region. Visitors can see the huge transformers as well as the forebays and canal system that brought the water from Folsom Dam.


Explore the Outdoors

Folsom Lake

Folsom sits on the edge of Folsom Lake, which has plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, paddling and water skiing are all popular activities. Or, you can just hang out by the lake to picnic, sunbathe or camp. Folsom is the eastern terminus of the paved, multi-use American River Bike Trail, popular not only for biking, but also horseback riding and walking. It hugs the banks of the American River with numerous spots for paddling and exploring. Folsom is also home to Lake Natoma, where the Sac State Aquatic Center rents kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards.


Enjoy Family Time

Photo courtesy Folsom Zoo

If you’re visiting Folsom with children, a great place to cool off on a hot summer day is the Steve Miklos Aquatic Center. This city-run waterpark has a waterslide, splash playground, inflatables course and lap pool, plus they host special events such as outdoor movie nights. 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.

If you have an animal lover in the family, a visit to the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary is another must-do activity. 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.


Shop Til You Drop

Folsom, California

With its many shopping centers, Folsom is a hub for retail therapy in the greater Sacramento area. 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.

You can find national retailers including H&M, Sephora, and Barnes & Noble at Palladio at Broadstone, which also has restaurants and a movie theater. Looking for deals? Head to the Folsom Premium Outlets, where you’ll find Banana Republic Factory, Coach Outlet and Guess Factory Store.

Folsom is also home to plenty of locally-owned shops and boutiques, including Pampered Pet Salon and Boutique for your furry friends; Terra Cottage Boutique, which has women’s clothing and home décor, and Dorothea’s Shoppe, which has gift items and holiday collectibles.


Have a Bite to Eat

If you’re hungry after all that exploring, Folsom has every type of restaurant to satisfy your craving. If you’re looking for a fine-dining restaurant, consider Sutter Street Steakhouse, which offers steaks, seafood and an extensive wine list in a romantic atmosphere. A unique dining experience is Mystique, which offers dinner and a show — a magic show, to be exact! Another restaurant in Folsom to consider is Visconti’s Ristorante, a family-owned Italian eatery offering hearty cuisine such as seafood linguini, chicken marsala and cioppino. For casual pub fare, try That Dam Place, known for its varied (and comical) menu including hot dogs, burgers, fish and chips, and lobster rolls.


Sample Craft Beer

Photo courtesy Out of Bounds

Folsom has no shortage of spots where you can have a pint of local beer. One option is Out of Bounds Brewing Company, which has a lovely outdoor patio, live music, and fire pits. They also have a full menu. Another option is Red Bus Brewing Company, a pet- and kid-friendly spot known for its IPAs. If wine is more your thing, check out Willamette Wineworks at Historic Folsom Station, where you can create your own wine blend.


Call Folsom Home

While Folsom is certainly a great place to visit, it’s also a great place to live. In fact, it 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. Folsom offers a wide range of housing types, including family-friendly ranch-style homes, modern smart homes, and expansive lakefront estates. Search homes for sale in Folsom today!



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Lyon Real Estate

With the Lyon Local blog, Lyon strives to deliver the most valuable information to both home buyers and sellers while highlighting our favorite local gems that make Sacramento the best place to live in California.