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Why Go To Sacramento

Los Angeles has star power. San Francisco has urban culture. San Diego has to-die-for weather. So why is Sacramento the capital of California? The rationale goes back to the days of the Gold Rush when it was a hotbed for gold diggers — actual miners, not the other kind. And though it's not celebrity-studded or on the seaside, the seat of California's state government has plenty of culture. For this reason, the Capitol building of aptly named Capitol Park is the first stop for many visitors. And there is more to explore. The Midtown neighborhood hosts burgeoning theater and nightlife scenes that cosmopolitan visitors will appreciate. The Gold Rush may be over, but Sacramento's still a great place to be.

The Golden State's capital is rooted in history. Before Spanish settlers claimed the land in the 1840s, the Nisenan branch of Maidu Native Americans inhabited the Sacramento Valley. With the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, the area saw the largest migration in the country's history. Nowadays, the region is known as the most affordable of the California destinations. Plus it is home to plentiful outdoor activities, 200 parks and two rivers, and it's also the self-proclaimed "Farm-to-Fork Capital of America" with a large agricultural production of grapes, pears, corn and livestock. No matter what your interest, it's safe to say Sacramento won't leave you bored.

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Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

Best of Sacramento

Sacramento Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Sacramento is from April to June or September through November. Sacramento sees most of its festivals in May and June, but the California State Fair doesn't come to town until July when California's Central Valley usually experiences extreme heat. The hotter months also bring severe to exceptional droughts to the region. You'll find less crowding and more rainfall in the winter months. The rest of the year sees pleasant temperatures with highs in the 70s, 80s and 90s with low humidity. 

Weather in Sacramento

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
54
39
60
41
65
44
71
46
80
51
88
56
92
58
91
58
87
56
78
50
64
43
54
38
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
3.62
3.46
2.76
1.14
0.67
0.2
0
0.04
0.28
0.94
2.09
3.27
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
See details for When to Visit Sacramento

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • More for your money Sacramento is much less expensive than California's coastal cities. From hotels to restaurants, you'll be surprised how far you can stretch a dollar.
  • Make it a day trip Many travelers can see Sacramento in a day. We recommend checking out the things to do and plotting a fun-filled day trip.
  • Time to visit Summer temps can be quite high, while winter ushers in chilly, rainy days. Aim for a spring or fall trip.

How to Save Money in Sacramento

  • Kids eat free Check with local restaurants to see what nights kiddos can grub for free.
  • Grab some local produce As the self-proclaimed capital of farm-to-fork cuisine, taking a stroll around one of the farmers markets and purchasing some produce can help you save on snacks.
  • Embrace the great outdoors Nature lovers rejoice over the abundance of parks and the two rivers located in the city. The best part? They're free to explore. 

Culture & Customs

Named one of the most diverse and integrated cities in America, Sacramento is a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds. The city brings together theater and visual arts, music and cuisine from cultures around the world. Also reflective of its rich historical and cultural background, Sacramento plays host to a variety of yearly festivals and celebrations. Annual festivals like the Asian Pacific Film Festival, Aloha Festival and the Juneteenth Celebration bring together the city in a way few other city festivals can. 

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What to Eat

Sacramento prides itself on being "America's Farm-to-Fork Capital". The area is home to up to 1.5 million acres of farmland, up to 8,000 of which is considered "boutique," making California the leading agriculture producer in the country. With so much local produce, the region is also home to largest state-regulated "Certified Farmers' Market" as well as 40 to 50 smaller markets that have year-round offerings.

What does that mean for travelers? Some of the freshest and highest-quality ingredients are found in local grocery stores and restaurants. The diversity of the city is reflected in the assortment of ethnic restaurants that range from upscale venues to cheap eats. Guests can sample seasonal prix fixe menus at The Firehouse or The Kitchen, which are both consistently lauded by locals. Get a taste of Asian cuisine at Mikuni or grab some French fare in a diner setting at Cafe Rolle. With the intense summer heat in Sacramento, ice cream shops like Vic's and Gunther's are also popular among locals. 

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Getting Around Sacramento

The best way to get around Sacramento is by car. While the downtown area has several attractions within walking distance of one another, in order to get to Midtown or any of the surrounding suburbs you'll need your own set of wheels. The city also has an extensive bus and light rail system, but some residents say it's crowded and service can be inconsistent. 

Photos

Sacramento
Sacramento
1 of 16

Old Sacramento faces new Sacramento across the river.

nicksarebi/Flickr

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