Don’t have a lot of time to explore the capital of California? No problem. Check out these places, perfect for a morning visit to Sacramento.
Last updated: January 27, 2022
How to Spend a Morning in Sacramento: A First-Timer’s Guide and the Best Places to Visit
Spending a day or morning in Sacramento has never been on my bucket list. For some reasons, I pictured this city to be strictly professional, filled with boring government institutions. And thus, when my husband offered to visit Sacramento on our road trip through Central and Northern California, I hurriedly looked for other destinations nearby. If the city ended up being the way I had imagined it to be, at least the nearby places would soothe my disappointment.
With that in mind, we decided to stop in Sacramento on our way back to Los Angeles from Lake Tahoe. And as per our plan, we ended up spending only one morning in Sacramento. The city, however, exceeded all my expectations. Even this short amount of time was enough to be charmed by the capital of California. Without further ado, here’s a quick, first-timer’s guide to spending a morning in Sacramento.
Welcome to Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital of the US state of California and one of the most iconic places in the area. The city lies at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River.
As one of the most important cities in the state, Sacramento is a place that reflects both present and past. It’s especially vivid in downtown Sacramento. Spending a morning in Old Sacramento is equivalent to going back in time. The modern side of the city impresses with a series of landmarks, numerous parks and alleys, restaurants, and hotels for every budget.
Arriving in Sacramento on an Early Morning
As I mentioned before, we were driving to Sacramento from South Lake Tahoe. The fastest and easiest way to get here is by taking US 50 W / El Dorado Freeway. It took us approximately two hours to reach Sacramento on an early morning. The route, however, was so gorgeous that we didn’t even notice how the time passed.
Those who drive from North Lake Tahoe should take I-80 W. If you head to Sacramento from Los Angeles, like we were planning in the beginning, you can take either I-5 N or CA-99 N.
A Morning in Sacramento: Things to Do in Downtown Sacramento
It’s impossible to spend a morning in Sacramento without first paying a visit to the California State Capitol Museum. The most prominent building in the city is located on the intersection of 10th and L Street. It serves as both a museum and home of government of California. So, if you have any legal affairs in Sacramento, this is a place you need to visit.
Apart from the State Capitol, California State Capital Park entices with green lawns, orange trees, and a few memorials. This is a perfect place to spend the morning in Sacramento with your family and kids.
At the far end of State Capital Park, you’ll find the World Peace Rose Garden with a small fountain and pavilion. A few steps away, another city’s landmark further unveils the values of Sacramento. The California Vietnam Veterans Memorial is established to remember the names of the 5,822 Californians who died in the war or are still missing.
Your morning trip to downtown Sacramento can’t be complete without a visit to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The Cathedral is located just a block from the State Capitol. However, you can see its pointed spires from many other places in the neighborhood.
Bishop Gallegos Square, a small square between the Cathedral and the State Capitol, is another beautiful place for a quiet morning in Sacramento.
A few-minute walk from the Gallegos Square will take you to Cesar Chavez Plaza. This park in downtown Sacramento is a popular host of community rallies, music concerts, and Farmers’ Market.
A Morning in Sacramento: Things to Do in Old Sacramento
Old Sacramento entices you with an old-time charm. With its signature Gold-Rush-era buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and cobblestone streets, this neighborhood of Sacramento offers different kinds of morning activities.
Taking a leisurely stroll here is an adventure on its own. To enhance this experience, though, you should visit the Sacramento History Museum and the State Railroad Museum. While visiting the State Railroad Museum, make sure to take a ride on one of their old trains.
Additionally, the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum allow for a sneak peek into California’s early days of educations and banking.
On top of that, Old Sacramento offers its own parks, such as Old Sacramento State Historic Park and Pioneer Park, to complete your morning visit before getting back on the road.
For those who long for a piece of nature even in a city, visit Folsom Lake, a perfect place to spend a morning near Sacramento. Located 25 miles northeast of the city, the lake offers great opportunities for boating, fishing, and soaking up the sun.