Discover the real Sacramento with these 10 memorable activities


If you’re looking for some offbeat and unique things to do in California’s capital city, look no further than these 10 under-the-radar experiences in Sacramento. From exploring a volcanic national park to sipping wine in a historic town, these hidden gems will make your trip unforgettable.

Visit an active volcano at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Did you know that California has an active volcano? Lassen Volcanic National Park, located about 160 miles north of Sacramento, is home to steaming fumaroles, boiling mud pots, and colorful hot springs. You can hike, bike, or drive through this stunning landscape and learn about its geologic history at the visitor center. Don’t miss the Cinder Cone Trail, which leads to the summit of a 700-foot volcanic cone with panoramic views.

Watch whales from a historic lighthouse at Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands

For a scenic coastal getaway, head to Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, about 140 miles north of San Francisco. This protected area features 1,700 acres of rugged cliffs, rocky shores, and grassy meadows. You can hike along the trails and enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean, or climb up the Point Arena Lighthouse, the tallest of its kind on the West Coast. Depending on the season, you might spot humpback, blue, or gray whales migrating along the coast.

Taste wine in a charming Gold Country town

Murphys is a quaint town in California’s Gold Country, where you can experience the history and culture of the region. Murphys has more than two dozen boutique wineries that offer tastings year-round, as well as restaurants, shops, and galleries. You can also explore the nearby attractions, such as Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where you can see giant sequoias, or Moaning Cavern, where you can descend into a massive cave.

Drive along an epic alpine byway

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway is a 100-mile loop that takes you through some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in California. Starting from North Fork, the geographic center of the state, you’ll pass by granite domes, alpine lakes, meadows, forests, and historic sites. You’ll also see amazing views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, including Mount Ritter and Banner Peak. The byway is open from late spring to early fall, depending on snow conditions.

Learn about railroad history at the California State Railroad Museum

The California State Railroad Museum is one of the largest and most popular railroad museums in the country. Located in Old Sacramento, the museum showcases the history and impact of railroads in California and the West. You can see more than 20 restored locomotives and cars, some dating back to the 1860s, as well as exhibits, artifacts, and models. You can also ride a vintage train along the Sacramento River or take an excursion to other destinations.

Meet exotic animals at the Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is a fun and educational place to visit for animal lovers of all ages. The zoo is home to more than 500 animals from around the world, including lions, giraffes, monkeys, reptiles, and birds. You can watch animal shows and feedings, participate in interactive programs, or even adopt an animal to support its care. The zoo also has a carousel, a train ride, and a playground for kids.

Admire art at the Crocker Art Museum

The Crocker Art Museum is the oldest and largest art museum in California, with a collection of more than 15,000 works. The museum features art from various periods and regions, including European, American, Asian, African, and Oceanic. You can also see contemporary art, photography, ceramics, and drawings. The museum is housed in a historic mansion and a modern expansion, both of which are architectural marvels.

Step into a fairy tale at Fairytale Town

Fairytale Town is a whimsical park that brings children’s stories to life. Located in William Land Park, the park has more than 25 playsets based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as Cinderella’s carriage, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Humpty Dumpty. You can also meet friendly animals, such as goats, sheep, pigs, and rabbits. Fairytale Town is a great place for families to have fun and spark their imagination.

Bike and drink at the Sac Brew Bike

If you’re looking for a unique and social way to explore Sacramento’s nightlife, hop on the Sac Brew Bike. This pedal-powered vehicle can accommodate up to 15 people and takes you to some of the best bars and breweries in town. You can choose from different routes and enjoy discounts on drinks along the way. The Sac Brew Bike is a fun and eco-friendly way to experience Sacramento’s craft beer scene.

Visit a historic fort at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is a living history museum that recreates the life of the early settlers in California. The fort was built by John Sutter in 1839 and was the first non-native settlement in the Central Valley. It was also the site of the first gold discovery that sparked the Gold Rush. You can tour the fort and see its original buildings, furnishings, and artifacts. You can also watch demonstrations of blacksmithing, carpentry, weaving, and other skills.

ENS Editors

Learn More →