The Best Way to Spend a Day in Auburn, CA
March 8, 2024

The Best Way to Spend a Day in Auburn, CA

Nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, the small community of Auburn is a charming Gold Rush town with a thriving arts scene, great restaurants, and plenty of outdoor recreation. Less than 45 minutes from Sacramento, Auburn has all the amenities of modern life, but it somehow seems a world away. Old Town Auburn has rustic, 19th-century buildings plus plenty of shops to explore. The town is surrounded by hiking trails, and is just minutes away from the best Sierra ski resorts.

Whether you’re looking for a great day trip from Sacramento, or considering making Auburn your permanent home, there are plenty of things to do in this inviting Placer County town. Following are our favorite ways to spend a day in Auburn.

Explore History

Auburn is rich in Gold Rush history, so much so that the entire town is named a California Historic Landmark! But its history goes back much further than when the first gold miners arrived in 1848. For centuries, the Nisenan called the area home. Many Native American artifacts are on display at the Placer County Museum, located in the old courthouse. You can learn all about the Gold Rush at the Gold Rush Museum, which has a replica mining tunnel and indoor panning stream for kids. The Bernhard Museum Complex is a snapshot of days gone by, with 19th-century wagons and a furnished Victorian-era farmhouse. In Old Town Auburn, you can take a self-guided walking tour or meet up at the Historic Auburn Courthouse for a free guided tour every Saturday at 10 a.m.

Support the Arts

Auburn is a haven for creative types, and as such, there are numerous art galleries around town. The Auburn Old Town Gallery is an artist collective that showcases everything from paintings and ceramics to photography and jewelry. They also host classes and workshops. General Gomez Arts also highlights local art and hosts special events. Other options include Frank Ordaz Gallery, For the Love of Art Gallery, and Van Howd Studios. Placer Arts holds several events throughout the year, including studio tours, art walks, artist receptions and more.

In addition to visual art, Auburn is also well-regarded for its performing arts. The Auburn State Theatre hosts classic film screenings, concerts and performances by its in-house theater company (please note: as of 2024, the theater was undergoing renovations). Auburn also has its own symphony, whose community orchestra performs throughout the year. In the summer, you can hear live music for free at locations around town.

Luxury homes for sale in Auburn

Get Outdoors

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

With the American River Canyon in its backyard, Auburn is an outdoor lover’s paradise. In fact, it’s home to the Auburn State Recreation Area, which has miles and miles of trails for hiking, bike riding and horseback riding. Area lakes and rivers (including the North and Middle Forks of the American River) are popular for kayaking, whitewater rafting, boating, swimming and fishing. Another popular spot is within Hidden Falls Regional Park, which has multi-use trails, a swimming hole and, of course, an impressive waterfall. Plus, Auburn is just over an hour away from Tahoe-area ski resorts (and it occasionally gets its own dusting as well).

Go Shopping

If your idea of the perfect day involves a bit of retail therapy, Auburn is a great choice. In addition to national retailers and big-box stores, the city also has numerous boutiques, antique stores and consignment shops. Following are some spots to consider:

  •    Skye Clothing Boutique, offering modern fashion and accessories for women.
  •    The Front Porch, with seasonal home décor and gifts.
  •    Serendipity, showcasing locally made clothing and jewelry.
  •    Totally Cool, with old-timey toys, retro candy and novelty items.
  •    Omiyage, for Japanese-influenced gifts and home goods.

Sample Craft Beer or Wine

Photo courtesy Crooked Lane

For those who want to sample some of the best in craft beer, head to one of the many local breweries in Auburn. Crooked Lane Brewing Company hosts trivia nights, comedy and live music; Knee Deep Brewing Co. is known for its West Coast-style, hop-heavy IPAs; and Moonraker Brewing has a daily food truck and a band every Friday. The Auburn area also has a burgeoning wine scene. Warm summer days cooled by evening mountain breezes mean Italian varietals and Syrah do well here. Taste them all at Fawnridge Winery, Lone Buffalo Vineyards or Mt. Vernon Winery, among many others.

Auburn homes for sale with open houses

Try a Local Restaurant

Hungry yet? Auburn has no shortage of great restaurants. In fact, you can find food from every corner of the globe here. Whether you’re looking for a casual spot to take the kids or an upscale vibe for a celebratory event, you’ll find it in Auburn. Following are some spots to try.

Make Yourself at Home

Whether you prefer browsing an art gallery or hitting the trail, fine dining or shopping, Auburn truly has something for everyone. And if you’re considering putting down roots here, there are plenty of housing options too. Large country estates, rustic mountain retreats, family-friendly homes and historic properties are all on offer here. Find Homes for Sale in Auburn and make your dreams of foothills living a reality!


Category Auburn, Local Events, 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.