By Michele E. Buttelman
Sacramento is more than just the state capitol of California, it is a diverse region with attractions ranging from the Gold Rush-era Old Sacramento Waterfront to the trendy Midtown area.
The area is rich with farm-to-fork restaurants, a burgeoning wine region, public art and a host of outdoor activities.
California State Sen. Scott Wilk and his wife, Vanessa, have become very familiar with Sacramento due to the amount of time Scott Wilk has spent as a former member of the state Assembly and currently as a state senator representing the 21st District which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.
Among Scott Wilk’s suggestions for seeing Sacramento is taking a public tour of the Stanford Mansion.
“The train museum and Crocker Museum are also awesome,” he said. “I’ve never been, but I heard the new children’s science museum at Discovery Park is incredible.”
Wilk also suggests taking a steamboat down the Sacramento River.
“Of course, there’s also Sutter’s Fort,” he said. “And 20 minutes south of Sacramento is Clarksburg with beautiful scenery and about 10 wineries.”
Vanessa Wilk suggests visiting historic Midtown Sacramento.
“There are so many wonderful restaurants and it’s always hopping,” she said. “Of course, the Old Sacramento Waterfront district is also always fun, and it is right on the river. It’s one of my favorite places.”
State Capitol Tour
1315 10th St.,
Sacramento, CA 95814
If you’ve never seen the majestic state capitol in Sacramento it is worth a visit. Construction on the permanent state Capitol was begun in 1860 and completed in 1874. It continues to be a living museum.
Scott Wilk encourages SCV residents to contact his office to arrange a tour of the state capitol or to stop by his office when in Sacramento.
Wilk’s office is located at 1021 O St., Room 7140, Sacramento, CA 95814. Phone: (916) 651-4021.
You can also arrange a docent-led tour at the historic Capitol building by calling ReserveCalifornia at (866) 240-4655 for tour reservations or sign up for a first come, first served tour at the Information Desk in the first Floor Rotunda. Tours are free.
California State Railroad Museum
125 I St.,
Sacramento, CA 95814
View beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives illustrating railroad history in California and the West. It is considered the best railroad museum in North America and tells the story of the transcontinental railroad, the heyday of rail travel with numerous vintage train cars and engines that can be walked through along with other interactive exhibits.
Old Sacramento Waterfront
Meander the boardwalk and enjoy the beautiful Sacramento River. Find over 125 shopping, dining and attractions located in the beautiful Old Sacramento Waterfront historic district. Have lunch at the historic Firehouse Restaurant, 1112 2nd St., Sacramento, CA 95814. It was built in 1853 and originally was the home of the Sacramento No. 3 firehouse. Finish your visit with a fun souvenir photo at McGee’s Old Time Photos, 103 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814.
Crocker Art Museum
216 O St.,
Sacramento, CA 95814
This is the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi and features the world’s foremost display of California art. The museum, which underwent a $100 million expansion in 2010, includes California impressionists, ancient art from across the globe and one of the largest collections of European drawings in the world. The art is partly housed in a beautifully maintained Victorian home.
Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
800 N St.,
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Leland Stanford Mansion, which recently completed a 14-year, $22 million restoration, is a stunning example of the splendor and elegance of the Victorian era in California. Your tour of the 19,000-square-foot mansion includes 17-foot ceilings, elegant 19th century crystal and bronze light fixtures, historic paintings, original period furnishings that belonged to the Stanfords and 19th-Century style gardens.
Leland Stanford served as Governor of California from 1862-1863. The mansion served as the office of three governors during the turbulent 1860’s including Stanford, Fredrick Low and Henry Haight.
As a pro-Union Civil War governor and president of the Central Pacific Railroad, Leland Stanford negotiated political and business deals at the mansion that helped complete the transcontinental railroad.
There are 32 museums in Sacramento, and they cover everything from medical history to the Gold Rush in California and more. For more museum information, visit Sacramento Area Museums at www.sacmuseums.org.
Wide Open Walls Self-guided Tour
Grab a list or map of all the public art and start walking. The combination of so many different artistic styles and cultural backgrounds brings a unique diversity of murals to the Golden State’s capital city. There are more than 130 murals throughout the city of Sacramento. For a list of murals and a map visit www.wideopenwalls.com/map.
Sacramento is also a great jumping off point for nearby outdoor adventures. There are more than 32 miles of paved bike trails along the scenic American River Parkway in Sacramento that highlights the city’s cycling amenities. Hop on the trail at many different points and ride along the American River, or rent a bike in Midtown (www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/retail/sacramento_midtown) and take it for an urban spin. Sacramento has added multiple bike lanes in the past few years, including green-painted bicycling zones on Capitol Mall. For a downloadable bike trail map visit www.practicalcycle.com/self-guided-tours.
Fun on the Rivers
When water levels allow, take a lazy day rafting down the American River from historic Folsom to Sacramento, stopping at the riverbank beaches or islands on the way. You can also launch a boat on the Sacramento River and explore the waterway, passing under Tower Bridge and the century-old I Street Bridge along Old Sacramento. Sacramento also offers plenty of parks and river access such as Discovery Park and Sutter’s Landing.
For more information on rafting or tubing visit www.raftwet.com/american-river-rafting/blog/guide-to-floating-the-lower-american-river or https://raftrentals.com.