We always find it funny that people can live in a place their entire lives and still not experience everything their city has to offer. People fly overseas looking for adventure and entertainment, often forgetting how much fun is just a short drive from their own home.
We have a list of things you can enjoy in your free time in Sacramento. Get moving with your family and friends.
Most cities make do with just one zoo, but not in Sacramento. We have two. We have Sacramento Zoo, which opened its doors in 1927. The zoo adds animal habitats all the time, always looking to give its visitors a wonderful experience. One unique feature of the zoo is that you can have an overnight stay, sleeping just a few feet away from lions and other animals.
Folsom City Zoo is actually more like an animal sanctuary rather than a “traditional” zoo, dealing with orphaned and rescued wildlife. Most of the species on display here are native to North America. This zoo offers a completely different and more personal experience than any zoo you’ve visited before.
Learning the history of your city should excite you, and a trip to the many “Old Towns” in and around Sacramento will open your eyes to that. These areas are home to some of the best theaters, bars, museums and restaurants in the city.
These old towns also provide the kind of shopping experience you can’t have anywhere else. If you want to dig a little deeper, literally, then why not sign yourself up for an underground tour of Old Sacramento? You’ll never look at the city the same way again.
Regardless if you are biking fanatic or not, you will still find that Sacramento has the perfect bike trail for you. The American River bike trail (also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) is 32-miles of bicycling fun for you and your family. The trail starts at Discovery Park and ends at Folsom Dam. Plenty of rest stops exist along the way, and the paths provide incredible scenery. Be sure to join a cycling club such as the Sacramento Bee Hikers or the Wheelmen Rides.
Want to explore more of Sacramento? Let the expert tell you which trails to hop on.
You have several golf courses to choose from around Sacramento, but the two courses we recommend are Timber Creek Golf Course and Haggins Oaks Golf Complex.
The climate on the west coast makes year-round playing a possibility on either course, but Haggins Oaks also has a 24-hour driving range, so you can practice your swing at 3 a.m. if you’re wild enough. Timber Creek is more suited to pro players, though, and the food here is exceptional.
We should probably mention that the summers here are usually very hot—so hot that you’ll be looking for a way to cool down. Fortunately for you, the Sacramento and American Rivers flow around the city, which means you have access to lots of places to go swimming, fishing, water skiing or boating.
If you’d like something a bit more controlled then why not drop by Raging Waters or Roseville Golfland Sunsplash – some of the best water parks in Sacramento.
If we were forced to recommend one place to visit from this list, apple Hill takes the crown. You can get there in under an hour, and you have dozens of ranches to visit, microbreweries and wineries to sample, fudge shops to indulge in, and more than enough other activities to leave your entire family worn out, but satisfied, at the end of your visit.
If you like history, you should check out some local mansions. The Leland Stanford Mansion takes you on a journey through local history, as does the Governor’s Mansion.
Sutter’s Fort is better known because of its part in providing refuge for survivors of the Donner Party – an ill-fated group of pioneers who allegedly had to resort to cannibalism to survive the harsh winter.
Soak up the nostalgia with a visit to the Delta King. This paddle steamer is now a permanent fixture on the docks of Old Sacramento but is far more than just a musty floating museum piece. A complete night of entertainment involves a meal in the Pilothouse Restaurant, followed by an overnight stay in one of the stately bedrooms.
The Delta King also caters for weddings, providing you with such a unique venue.
Learn more at the Delta King homepage.
Sacramento summer nights are ideal for taking in a movie with your family and friends, and you get to do this under the stars at the West Wind Drive-In.
This drive-in movie experience is located on Oates Drive, and costs just $7 for an adult ticket, $1 for kids aged between 5 and 11, and kids younger than 5 get free admission.
Star Wars, popcorn, and a sky full of stars? Sign me up!
Most people think of museums as boring displays of art they struggle to understand, but Sacramento offers more than just traditional museums. The Discovery Museum Science & Space Center is ideal for fans of our cosmos and includes a number of fantastic activities that prevent boredom in kids of all ages (you know, like parents).
If you’re in love with American railroads, the California State Railroad Museum train rides are available most weekends. There is also the Crocker Art Museum and the California Automobile Museum, among many others.
You won’t have to look very hard to find this amazingly fun park for kids. Fairytale Town has been entertaining and educating kids of all ages for over 50 years now, using play sets to help them make their favorite stories and nursery rhymes come to life.
They can also meet some very special farm animals, including the Three Little Pigs, some Billy Goats Gruff, and Mary’s Little Lambs. Parents will earn an incredible amount of brownie points by bringing their kids here. It’s a no-brainer.
The Sacramento Theatre Company has been entertaining fans on the stage since 1942 and continues that tradition today. A theatrical production is a completely different experience than watching a movie at the theatre, and it’s something you should experience at least once in your lifetime.
They don’t only show musicals, either. How about going to see a production of The Hound of the Baskervilles or The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe? We thought that might pique your interest.
We’re not going to insult your intelligence by explaining the thrill of paintball. Is it worth the pain, sweat and even the tears you put into a game of it? Absolutely. You’ll enjoy the day out with friends, work buddies, or family members.
Sacramento provides several excellent paintball arenas, including Davis Paintball, Capital Edge Paintball and Surf Extreme Paintball.
Kids should know how to maintain our ecosystem. As the population of our world grows, it’s important that kids understand that we need to keep nature in balance.
The vernal pools (wetlands) in Mather Field show just how fragile an ecosystem can be and provides your kids with a chance to see all the critters that live in and around these wetlands.
If you enjoy people with no regard for their safety, you’ll enjoy everything that the Sacramento Raceway has to offer – especially drag racing.
Would you prefer to see gassed-up stock and sprint cars kick up some dust and dirt? Then check out what the Placerville Speedway has on offer.
And that folks, believe it or not, is just a small sample size when it comes to things you can do in Sacramento. We’ve tried to give you as broad a sampling, but if you do a little more research you’ll uncover hundreds of other activities just waiting for you.