The Best Things To Do in Sacramento

Most people know Sacramento as the capital city of California but overlook many of its excellent offerings. Whether you are looking to explore the outdoors, learn some history, stuff yourself with delicious food or enjoy craft beverages Sacramento can provide a great destination for a day trip or vacation. I tried to keep this list from getting too long so if I missed one of your favorites please let me know. You’ll find my favorites on the map and more details below. To select a category click the icon on the top left.

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Note: Some meals, tours and stays were provide to the author at no cost. As always, all opinions remain my own. You’ll find affiliate links in this post which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article is useful for you. 

WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD

The Delta King

1000 Front St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Stay in the heart of Old Sacramento on the riverboat the Delta King. Escape to another time and place for a relaxing getaway. The rooms bring all the needed luxuries while still feeling authentic. Enjoy the sunsets over the river from the private deck available to guests. Also, enjoy the Delta King Bar & Grill for a relaxing meal and breakfast at the Pilothouse restaurant all on board. Read more about my stay on the Delta King.

A unique experience staying on the Delta King Riverboat in Old Sacramento.

The Citizen Hotel

926 J St, Sacramento, CA

The perfect combination of new and old is what you will find at the Citizen Hotel. When you walk into the lobby you will feel like you’re in a library from a century ago. The staff is friendly, the rooms are cozy and welcoming, the bathrooms have great tubs and you will find it conveniently located in the city. Room rates run around $150, but it is a great deal for the property. The restaurant the Grange is also worth stopping in for a meal or even just a cocktail.Best things to do in Sacramento, California.

Amber House Bed and Breakfast

1315 22nd St Sacramento, CA

A true bed and breakfast where you will feel right at home. One of the only spots to stay in town right in midtown, where you can walk to the restaurants, bars, and historic sites. This quaint property offers everything you need including a cookie on your pillow each evening.

The Sterling Hotel

1300 H St, Sacramento, CA

Another boutique property in town, in an old grand victorian mansion, and I promise no one I know who has stayed there has seen a ghost. If you are looking for some character out of your accommodation but still want to be surrounded by all the amenities this is the spot for you.Best things to do in Sacramento, California.


Traveling to Sacramento, California Soon?

Above are a few of my favorite places to stay in the Sacramento area.
Learn more about and book more fantastic hotels in Sacramento on Priceline and TripAdvisor.


MY FAVORITE EATS

Brunch

Orphan Breakfast House

3440 C St, Sacramento, CA

This is my favorite place for breakfast or brunch in town but just about everyone else would agree with me so I highly recommend getting there before 9:30am if you want to skip the line. It holds true to the Sacramento Farm to Fork theme with fresh and healthy options. You can read more about it in my Farm to Fork recommendations here.Sacramento Orphan Breakfast

Tower Cafe

1518 Broadway, Sacramento, CA

A Sacramento landmark, and yes this tower is the one Tower Records is named after. Sit in the eclectic garden or dining room, and order some of french toast or a scramble. People watch or pick out all the details surround each area. It actually takes them months to dust the place doing a bit each day since they have so many nick-nacks. This spot has great food, friendly service and is a Sacramento classic.

Bacon & Butter

5913 Broadway, Sacramento, CA

A fair warning that there is no way to leave this place without gaining a couple pounds, but trust me they are worth it. From their grilled cheese benedict to their hash you will find them true to their name of two of our favorite ingredients. This rich food will melt in your mouth and leaving you coming back for more. Also, the boyfriend swears these are the best pancakes he has ever eaten.The Sterling Hotel 1300 H St, Sacramento, CA Another boutique property in town, in an old grand victorian mansion, and I promise no one I know who has stayed there has seen a ghost. If you are looking for some character out of your accommodation but still want to be surrounded by all the amenities this is the spot for you.

Casual

Broderick Roadhouse

319 6th St, West Sacramento, CA

This has become my favorite places to get a burger and fries in town, as long as I am not trying to be healthy. Broderick cooks an amazing burger and then adds a delicious combination of topping including one with Mac & Cheese. The fries as well are to die for and the chilly fries have to be my favorite. Also a great spot for brunch and trying out local brews. Close to the River Cat’s and a perfect spot for before or after a game.

Sandra Dee’s BBQ & Seafood

601 15th St, Sacramento, CA

If you are desperate to find good southern food in California look no further. This is my favorite BBQ I’ve had outside of the south. I recommend going with a group of friends, ordering one of their big platters and digging in! From the brisket to chicken and waffles, everything is excellent.

Dad’s Kitchen

2968 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA

Another spot where you will find the chef taking simple classics and spicing them up with new flavors. Whether you order a Hot Blonde or Angry Man Sandwich or go for a burger with the Cowboy, each entree is full of flavors. If you love avocado or veggie loaded sandwiches this is a great spot for you. They have live music on Friday & Saturday evening and a great selection of Northern California craft brews on tap.

Bombay Bar & Grill

1315 21st St, Sacramento, CA

Anytime I am traveling, Bombay is the Indian restaurant I am comparing the rest. I have yet to order a dish I don’t love, including seafood tandoori, palak paneer, and, of course, the samosas. Their chai tea is also delicious. A casual place to grab a good lunch or dinner.

Burgers & Brew

1409 R St, Sacramento, CA

If I am looking for a burger covered in more classic toppings than Broderick this is where I head. With  high-quality meat, their burgers melt in your mouth. The avocado burger or the lamb burgers have to be my favorite. Their burgers are so good that I don’t mind skipping the bun at all. On top of that, they have delicious sweet potato fries. And if you haven’t noticed a theme in town, they also carry a great selection of local brews on tap and many more in bottles.

A Notch Nicer

Hot Italian

1627 16th St, Sacramento, CA

If you like a true Naples style pizza all the way on the west coast this is the spot for you. With a thin but flavorful crust cooked in an oven with its stone flown over from Italy, and many traditional topping, Hot Italian holds my award for best Pizza I’ve eaten since I left Italy. The Murino, topped with pears and gorgonzola, is identical to what I would find at my favorite pizza spot in Rome just blocks from my apartment. My other favorite here is the Bellucci, topped with sausage and a lot of ricotta. Their desserts are also great where it’s pizza crust covered in Nutella or their gelato.Best things to do in Sacramento, California.

Ten 22 | Old Sacramento

1022 2nd St, Sacramento, CA

One of my favorite dinner spots right now, Ten 22 has a delicious rotating menu that include pizza, pastas, and meats that are full of flavor from whatever is the freshest ingredients they can get their hands on. The cocktails and wines are also delicious. Read more about it in my farm to fork story here.

Freeport Bar & Grill

8259 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA

On the way to the Clarksburg wine region, you will find Freeport Bar & Grill. Stop by for lunch for a great burger or dinner for delicious seafood pasta. They offer a little bit of everything and a great ambiance. Read more on my Clarksburg post.

A Splurge But Worth It

The Kitchen 

2225 Hurley Way #101, Sacramento, CA
Now before you get excited about this place, know that it is hard to get reservations and it costs $125 per person, before any beverages. With that said I really don’t know if I’ve had a better meal any other time. You have five courses, each delicately prepared right in front of you by a series of chefs. It is a fun experience to watch them, so take a seat at the bar, and the food will just melt in your mouth from the first bite to the last. It’s an experience worth the price.Best things to do in Sacramento, California.

For a Farm-to-Fork weekend take a look at a few more great spots here. 

TOP COZY COFFEE SPOTS

All have multiple locations, but these are my favorites for each. You can always find more about the best roaster in Sacramento in my Coffee, Coffee, Coffee post.

Temple Coffee

2829 S St, Sacramento, CA

My favorite roaster in town, with a light rich flavor in both their drip and espresso. If you’re looking for a relaxing outdoor patio this location has just enough shade to keep you cool on a warm Sacramento day. Also, there is a wine bar next door since sometimes a group might want different things and here you can have it all.

Old Soul Coffee

812 21st St, Sacramento, CA

Their Weatherstone location here is my favorite. One thing that stands Old Soul out over the other roasters in Sacramento isn’t necessarily the coffee, which mind you is as good as the rest, but instead is their food. They have a full kitchen with a quality menu. I eat breakfast here at least twice a week and love their breakfast sandwich.Coffee Weatherstone Sacramento

Naked Coffee

1500 Q St, Sacramento, CA

Another great roaster in town that you can enjoy at this coffee shop or at Orphan (listed above under brunch). They focus on getting a lot of flavor out of the roast without making it too dark our heavy, which is something both my palate and stomach appreciate.

Insight Coffee Roasters

1014 10th St, Sacramento, CA

Of all our roasters, Insight is probably growing the fastest right now and have just opened another location. My favorite spot is close to the Capitol and in an old bookstore that looks like it’s from a fairytale and is completely out of place in the middle of downtown.Coffee Sacramento Insighr

THE BEST PLACES TO GRAB A DRINK

Shady Lady

1409 R Street, Sacramento, CA

Some of the best craft cocktails you can find with a speakeasy vibe. If you like gin and tonics they serve one of the best with their homemade tonic. They have live music playing Thurs-Saturday nights, and the bands are always good. Their food is also worth giving a try, especially the duck tater tots.

Block Butcher Bar

1050 20th St, Sacramento, CA

A newer place in town that specializes in charcuterie and cocktails. Get a couple glasses and a plate of delicious meat and cheese and enjoy an evening with friends.

Crawdad’s on the River or Swabbies

On the Sacramento River

One great thing in Sacramento is the rivers that run through them. And one of the best ways to enjoy them is grabbing a drink on one of the restaurants floating right on it. Swabbies is a Sacramento classic, a dive bar right on the river. If you’re looking for a little less dive check out Crawdad’s and get a good drink and some good bites. Watch the sunset or enjoy a lazy afternoon.

58 Degrees & Holding Co.

1217 18th St, Sacramento, CA

One of my favorite places in town. A wine bar with just about everything you could ask for. Knowledgeable and friendly staff, a complex wine list and delicious menu from cheese plates to appetizers. You can stop in for a tasting or you can spend your whole evening here. Read a little more in this post.Best things to do in Sacramento, California.

Coin-Op Game Room

908 K St, Sacramento, CA

A brand new spot in town that is an arcade for grown-ups; mixing craft brews and vintage video games. Come pretend you’re a kid again while appealing to your adult tastes.

Red Rabbit

2718 J St, Sacramento, CA

An ideal spot for a craft cocktail. From their Krakow Salt Mine to the Chappelle Cocktail they have some of the best in town. One other great option is the dealer’s choice. Pull up to the bar and tell the bartender what type of alcohol you like and they will make you something delicious, often with homemade flavor liquors.

Pilot House on the Delta King

1000 Front St, Sacramento, CA

Another option for enjoying the river but a little higher up. Sit on the deck of the Delta King and have a cocktail after wandering Old Sacramento. Relax on the deck or have a full dinner inside.Best things to do in Sacramento, California.

ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES TO TRY

Getting Out on the Water

People often assume all of California is lacking in water, other than the ocean, of course, but Sacramento is surround by rivers and lakes. Whether you want to float down the river, go white water rafting, take a paddleboard out on a lake or go wakeboarding, there is a place in Sacramento for all of it. A great place to check out is the Sacramento Aquatic Center where you can rent boats, kayaks, and paddleboards for reasonable prices. For more outdoor adventures in Northern California click here.

Old Sacramento

Take a look at what Sacramento used to look like. From the railroad to the old buildings you can enjoy wandering the streets of Old Sacramento. You can pop into the variety of stores and don’t miss Evangeline’s. Visit the Delta King, a riverboat that is now a hotel and restaurant. You will find a variety of museums including the California State Railroad Museum. On top of this enjoy the restaurants including a few of the ones listed above.Best things to do in Sacramento, California.

State History

As the seat of the most populated state in the U.S. and one of the top ten economies in the world, you’d expect to find a lot of history in this city. Start with the State Capitol, and take a tour with the docents. You’ll learn fun stories and historical facts. Stop by the California Museum, and learn about who are Californians, in history and today. Other great spots include Sutter’s Fort and Stanford Mansion.

Wine Tasting

While you might know Napa and Sonoma, Sacramento has four other wine appellations within an hour. The closest is Clarksburg, only 20 minutes down the delta, read my post to learn more. Further South you reach Lodi, which you might have heard of Michael David’s wine “7 Deadly Zins”, they are one of many great wineries in this agricultural city. Head East instead and you will reach Amador and then El Dorado. All of these areas are more laid back than what you get in Napa or Sonoma, no or low tasting fees, more affordable bottles, and often the same level of quality. More posts will be coming on these regions soon.

Brewery Tours

If wine isn’t your thing, don’t worry, Sacramento has quickly been filled with quality craft brewers. In West Sacramento, you can find Jack Rabbit, Yolo Brewing Company, and Bike Dog. More central and you can find New Helvetia, Track 7, Rubicon and Two Rivers for Cider. Some have tons of hops and others are more Belgium styled, there is a little bit for every palate. Learn more about Sacramento breweries here.

For more information about Sacramento check out these great books on Amazon including Fodor’s Northern CaliforniaLonely Planet Northern California, and Lost Restaurants of Sacramento and Their Recipes.


Best things to do in Sacramento, California.

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  • Jenna Francisco

    Lots of suggestions here that are new to me. Thank you! 🙂

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  • carlingdoodling

    I know you mentioned a lot of fantastic places to eat here, but I think I would only go to the one with the pizza covered in nutella. 🙂 That sounds amazing and so much memories from my childhood and nutella!

  • America always amazes me. I have a preconception of ‘modern with skyscrapers’ and there is so much history!

  • Bacon & Butter??? hahaha for real? How much calories is that?
    This is a great list. California is on my-to-go-to-list. My brother visited there and loves it. I really should be visiting my neighbour to the south more often…

  • What a great guide! I’ve never been to Sacramento, but will have to bookmark this for the future if I ever make it there 🙂

  • Arzo Travels

    I have to admit that I did not know much about it (except the basketball team) but a city with lakes and seas? That sound like my kind of city 🙂

  • The grilled cheese Benedict at Bacon and Butter looks delicious and that is a very distracting photo!

  • If I’m ever in Sacramento, I would definitely look to staying at The Citizen Hotel. I love hotels that take me back in time with their design- with good bathtubs!

  • You’re killing me with the brunch photos! Both places look amazing. Thanks for sharing this! I can’t move on from the grilled cheese egg beni! YUM

  • Jenna

    We’ve been to Californa several times, but never to Sacremento. I think we need to make a visit there now though! Looks like you found a ton of great restaurants. I would love to check out Block Butcher Bar and check out some wine tastings and breweries as well!

  • Karla Ramos

    These are great recommendations. I shall keep them in mind when I go back to Cali. We are going to sacramento for a wedding, this is perfect timing.