Sacramento is California's state capital and a historic city with deep roots in the gloriously wild California Gold Rush. Set in the middle of the central Sacramento Valley, this metropolitan area transitions quickly from urban development to suburbs and on to open farm country to the north and south, with forests, mountains and even ski slopes situated to the east. The rolling hills and verdant valleys of wine country unfurl an equally short distance to the west making this governmental hub a prime base for area exploration. But Sacramento has more than just location to its credit. Home to an atmospheric Old Town, a clutch of museums and a scenic riverfront area there's good cause to linger around between forays out to nearby attractions.
With a major new convention center near the impressive capitol building to add to its list of cultural assets, it should come as no surprise to find that Sacramento's yearly visitors number in the millions. In addition to the shops, saloons and boardwalk-fronted streets of Old Town - a good place to start your city tour - there are also other popular cultural attractions to consider in the immediate area. Head across the Sacramento River for access to the California State Railroad Museum (steam train rides on offer nearby during summer months), the kid-friendly Discovery Museum and a few blocks to the west, State Capitol Park. Wander the carefully cultivated grounds of the capitol and enjoy a guided tour of the Governor's Mansion State Historic Park before breaking for lunch at area eateries. Other museums to consider while out and about include the California Museum for History, Women & the Arts; the California State Indian Museum; Sutter's Fort (a state historic park) and the Crocker Art Museum (which boasts both important works by Californian artists and international talents). Well-worth a wander when the weather is fine is the riverfront, the American River Parkway. A system of trails, including the 30-mile long Jedediah Smith National Recreation Trail, is suitable for both cyclists and pedestrians, though save some energy for a trip to Sacramento's fine little zoo or a rousing NBA game starring local favorite, the Sacramento Kings.