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Sacramento: State Capital and Gold Country

Sacramento, the state capital of California is also known for being the place where gold was discovered. Sacramento is just an hour and a half from San Ramon by car and is a wonderful place to visit. If you have time only for a day trip, leave early so that you can enjoy the many sites and attractions of the city.

John Sutter arrived in 1839 on the shores of the American River near its confluence with the Sacramento River. He established Sutter’s Fort and the settlement grew to become a permanent township. In 1848 John Sutter and James Marshall discovered gold while constructing a sawmill along the American River. This led to the frenzied Gold Rush and eventually resulted in the creation of the City of Sacramento.

The Old Sacramento Historic District is a 28-acre tourist attraction on Sacramento’s historic waterfront. By walking through the Western-themed Gold Country town streets you can get the full history of Sacramento from fire, flood, the raising of the streets, the founding of the Transcontinental Railroad, the terminus of the Pony Express all made possible by gold, agriculture and the river.

The Old Sacramento Historic District is located downtown and bordered by Interstate 5, Capitol Mall and the Sacramento River. Take the J Street exit off I-5. Many restaurants and shops line the streets in Old Sacramento, along with historical buildings and museums. There are more than 125 boutiques, souvenir shops, arts, gifts, jewelry and home décor shops on the boardwalk set amongst Gold Rush-era buildings, dozens of restaurants, clubs, museums and the Sacramento River.

There are many things in Sacramento that you can enjoy free of charge.

The B. F. Hastings Building has the Wells Fargo History Museum and Old Sacramento Visitor Center. This historic building once housed the Pony Express, the California State Supreme Court (1855 - 1869) and Theodore Judah's office.

The Big Four Building was named after the Big Four personages of railroad fame: Stanford, Crocker, Huntington and Hopkins. You’ll find the Huntington & Hopkins Hardware Store and Railroad Museum Library.  

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was built in 1889. Its design was influenced by 19th-century Paris architecture and the stained glass was imported from Austria.

Historic Chinatown-Sacramento Yeefow is between Third and Fifth streets, J and I streets. During the Gold Rush Chinese immigrants lived in this area. Today, association halls and a Chinese language school help keep Chinese culture alive.

La Raza Galeria Posada is a non-profit cultural center celebrating the art and life of Chicano/Latino and Native American peoples. It is located in mid-town Sacramento and displays art and culture. 

Art lovers will appreciate the fact that Sacramento has more than 600 pieces of art in public areas, including the front of many city and county office buildings as well as the Sacramento International Airport. The Sacramento Convention Center has a Sculpture Garden at 13th and K streets. Check out the front of the Safeway at 19th and R streets, and look for the giant silver horse that dominates the store’s entrance. It’s bright and shiny. Some people love it, others hate it.

You’ll find many restaurants in Sacramento. From world cuisines to American fare, restaurants specializing in breakfasts, pub fare and good old pizzas, you’ll find a variety of foods that will appeal to everyone in your group.

Make sure you plan your day trip to Sacramento so you can enjoy all the city has to offer. For a list of things you can do check out Sacramento Magazine’s suggestions.

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