Up until very recently, I had lived in California all my life and never been to the state’s capital, Sacramento. This Northern California town is often overshadowed by popular West Coast cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, but it still has plenty to offer visitors. During a casual conversation with a friend, I mentioned the fact that I have never been to Sacramento. One thing led to another, and suddenly we were in the car on a road-trip to the capital of California.
Because our Sacramento adventure was so spur-of-the-moment, we didn’t have time to book our accommodations in advance. Fortunately, we were able to book a last-minute hotel in Sacramento in just a few quick minutes thanks to HotelTonight. So as soon as we drove into Sacramento, we knew that we had a great hotel room waiting for us.
As the home of California’s state government since 1869, Sacramento has a very rich history. So the first thing we did on our mini Sacramento vacation was play tourist in our own state – we walked through Capitol Park. While I usually prefer to skip major tourist attractions, I wanted to see the epicenter of my state’s government, so I knew I couldn’t visit Sacramento without visiting the Capitol building. This park is also home to a number of memorials, such as the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Civil War Memorial Grove. The park itself is beautiful, with manicured lawns and colorful gardens surrounding the Capitol building, and I noticed many locals strolling through the grounds.
Once again, I found myself visiting a major tourist spot, but Old Town Sacramento is a place that first time visitors shouldn’t miss. Located right on the banks of the Sacramento River, a quick trip to Old Town will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The district is comprised of restored historical buildings, and the area has been recreated to feel like it did in the mid-19th century during the height of the Gold Rush. We spent a couple of hours wandering throughout Old Town, after I ducked into the old-fashioned candy store and bought some handmade taffy, we headed out of this touristy, yet beautifully preserved district to find a great local-favorite eatery.
Currently considered one of the hippest ‘hoods in Sacramento, Midtown is full of energy and excitement, as well as great restaurants and bars. Amidst all of the trendy boutiques and art galleries, we found a great restaurant with a fresh farm-to-table menu. We then gave ourselves a mini tour of this happening neighborhood, which is now home to over 600 businesses. It was easy to tell that Midtown was one of Sacramento’s “It” neighborhoods, and by the end of our afternoon in Midtown I could even picture myself living in this hip, vibrant neighborhood.
Since we visited Sacramento in the middle of summer, by the early afternoon we were sweating through our clothes. We wanted to escape the heat, but we didn’t want to spend all afternoon indoors, so we made an ambitious decision to hop in the car and drive to Lake Folsom, a favorite summer spot for locals. After about 40 minutes in the car, we arrived at the lake and decided to make the most of our short time at this Northern California lake by renting jet skis. Being from Southern California, I don’t get to spend much time at lakes, so our few hours at Lake Folsom was definitely the highlight of my weekend.
Since our hotel was located in downtown Sacramento, we showered and changed before walking to dinner. Sacramento’s downtown pleasantly surprised me, as it’s a bustling urban center filled with fine dining options, nightlife, and shops. This neighborhood was much more exciting than I had originally anticipated, and I was glad we were able to stay in the heart of it. Apparently, Sacramento has a great live music scene, and we were able to enjoy some great live music at entertainment venues downtown. Listening to talented musicians in a crowded music venue was the perfect way to wrap up our activity-packed day in Sacramento.
I’m thrilled that I can finally say that I have been to the state capital of my home state, California. While I definitely couldn’t see every inch of Sacramento in just one day, I did get to see some of the city’s most notable spots. Without HotelTonight, I wouldn’t have been able to plan such a hassle-free, impromptu getaway, so I have to give credit to HotelTonight for making spontaneous trips not only possible, but also fun. I’m sure I’ll make my way back to Sacramento in the future, and when I do I’ll be sure to check out HotelTonight’s great selection of last-minute hotel deals.