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Sacramento is the state capital of California in the United States.
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Points of Interest in Sacramento
- California State Capitol, 10th and L Streets, ☎ +1 916 324-0333. M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM. The California State Capitol Museum includes the historical state capitol building and the surrounding 16 square city blocks, known as Capitol Park. Inside, tours of the capitol, its legislative chambers, and its restored historic offices are available daily. Outside, the public is free to visit the many gardens, memorials, and monuments located throughout the 40-acre park's grounds. You can get a view up to the Capitol from the Tower Bridge at the southern end of Old Sacramento. Free.
- Sutter's Fort, 2701 L St, ☎ +1 916 445-4422. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Sutter's Fort State Historic Park is the oldest restored fort in the United States. Built by John Sutter in the 1840's, the fort now hosts a collection of pioneer and early California artifacts. Self-guided audio tours are available. Adults: $5. Youth: $3. Children 5 & under: free.
- State Indian Museum, 2618 K St (next to Sutter's Fort), ☎ +1 916 324-0971. 10AM-5PM. Contains displays of Native Californian basketry, beadwork, clothing and exhibits about the ongoing traditions of various California Indian tribes. Adults: $3. Youth: $2. Children 5 & under: free.
- Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St.. The oldest continuously operating museum in the West, home to a premier collection of California art. Free on Sundays $6.
- Cesar Chavez Park. Formerly known as Plaza Park, Cesar Chavez Park is a scenic park in the middle of downtown Sacramento that adjoins historic City Hall, the Public Library and Sacramento's Citizen Hotel. Great place to take photos of the Sacramento skyline. During the summer on Fridays, it is used as an outdoor concert venue known as Concerts in the Park.
- Sacramento Zoo. A mid-size zoo located in William Land Park. A combination ticket with Fairy Tale Town makes for a fun day for families with young children.
- Folsom Lake. One of Northern California's largest lakes, Folsom Lake is where many local Sacramentans go fishing, biking, sailing, kayaking or jet-skiing during the summer. It is located 30 minutes east of downtown Sacramento off Highway 50.
Once a thriving riverfront pioneer town, Old Sacramento now primarily exists as living historic district. The boardwalk style sidewalks and horse-drawn stagecoaches give this small section of town a unique flavor. Old Sacramento contains several museums, restaurants, and the usual assortment of souvenir shops all within walking distance of each other. Best of all, it's a five minute walk from the Amtrak station. It's best visited in the morning and early evenings. Parking can be scarce, so be sure to utilize the reasonably priced parking structures in the K Street Mall. There's a nice, short, safe walkway between K Street Mall and Old Sacramento.
- California State Railroad Museum, 111 I St., ☎ +1 916 323-9280. A huge museum of railroad history with a large collection of old yet well-preserved trains and equipment. If possible, take Amtrak to the Sacramento station to get into a trainy mood for it. $8 adults, $3 ages 6-17, 5 and under free.
- Steam train rides, Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot ('just south of the Railroad Museum). Hourly, on weekends April through September. Operated by the Railroad Museum, these forty minute excursions are pulled by an historic steam locomotive along the nearby levees. $8 adults, $3 ages 6-17, 5 and under free..
- Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St., ☎ +1 916 808-7059. Open daily from 10am-5pm. The Sacramento History Museum explores the region’s history from the days before the Gold Rush to the present throughout the museum's two stories of interactive galleries. The museum also offers the perfect starting point for exploring the Old Sacramento State Historic Park! $5 adults, $4 ages 6-17, 5 and under free.
Sacramento has a Mediterranean-type climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Being further inland than most of the other major California cities, Sacramento is subject to more temperature variation. Winter high temperatures are commonly in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (10-20*C), and at night the temperature drops below freezing every so often. The summer heat can be intense, with temperatures exceeding 100*F (37.7*) not unusual. Generally speaking, the warmer it gets, the drier it gets, so even the most intense Sacramento heat is easily alleviated by a quick dip in the swimming pool.
Sacramento's hot, dry summers are mitigated by a phenomenon locals call "the delta breeze." Heat waves rarely last more than three to five days, because as hot air builds over California's interior valleys, cold ocean air is sucked inland through the Sacramento river delta, acting as natural air conditioning and dropping the temperature sharply. The delta breeze tends to hit the westernmost areas of Sacramento late in the afternoon and travel east/northeast at ten to fifteen miles per hour, so the hour at which your neighborhood cools depends on your proximity to the river delta or how far west/south you reside.
Most rain falls in the from around fall to mid spring and occasionally early summer. Generally speaking, however, you can count on sunny days from the middle of April until at least the middle of October. Winter is known not only for its rain but also its dense fog, which can hamper driving conditions and reduce visibility to 100 feet (30 m) at times. Snow is rare, but once every 5-10 years a light dusting occurs, and even some light accumulation away from the city. In the foothills not far east of the city, snow is much more common, and the Tahoe-area ski resorts are within easy reach of the Sacramento metropolitan area. Sacramento's location in the heart of California's agricultural interior gives it a blossom-laden spring as a profusion of fruit trees bloom and flower filled grassland. It also experiences a "foliage fall" -- autumn color without the severe weather that accompanies brilliant color in other parts of the nation.
Severe weather is rare in Sacramento, with the primary concern being heat in summer and local flooding in winter. Occasional summer thunderstorms and even tornadoes can occur, but they are extremely rare. Sacramento is not in a known earthquake zone.
- Certified Farmers' Market, ☎ +1 916-688-0100. The bounty of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley can be found at various certified farmers' markets  throughout the metropolitan region. Each venue is unique, with some selling dairy, meat, and seafood in addition to produce, crafts, and artisan items.
- Second Saturdays Art Walk (monthly). Art galleries in midtown Sacramento open on the second Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Garage parking is available for $2 on 17th Street between Capitol and L Street, and local restaurants stay open a little late for the art walk crowd.
- Concerts in the Park (weekly, May through August). Each summer, a free outdoor concert is held on Friday nights from 5 pm to 9 pm at Ceasar Chavez Park, located at 10th and J Streets.
- Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee (late May). An annual affair over the Memorial Day weekend. Bands come from all over the world to play this gig. You can hear everything from Billie Holiday to Scott Joplin to Paco Gatsby in venues set up throughout the Sacramento area.
- River rafting (late May through September). In the heat of the summer, self-guided raft trips along the Lower American River are popular (this is leisurely floating, not whitewater rapids). Inflatable rafts can be rented from companies along Sunrise Boulevard and floated down to River Bend Park, a 6-mile trip that takes 3 to 4 hours depending on river flows. Shuttle service is available to return rafters to the start point. Rafts sizes vary from 4 to 12 person, and rental fees range from $50 to $150. Note: state law prohibits alcoholic drinks on the river during the holiday weekends of Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.
- Sacramento Pride Festival and Parade (June). First celebrated in 1984 as the Sacramento Freedom Fair, Sacramento Pride Festival and Parade has become an annual LGBT Pride Month tradition, attracting nearly 10,000 visitors from throughout Northern and Central California.
- California State Fair (mid-July through early August). The Cal Expo fairgrounds come alive every summer as the State Fair becomes a "city within a city" that hosts nearly one million visitors. Folks come from near and far for the memorable delights of this 150+ year old extravaganza that includes exciting exhibits, amazing attractions, live entertainment, and the Magnificent Midway.
- Sacramento Gold Rush Days (early September). Every Labor Day weekend, Sacramento trucks dirt into its historic Old Sacramento area in downtown, where the stuff is unloaded onto the streets, the first step in setting the scene for this annual event. Music, food, and stories accompany shows and reenactments of life in the Old West for days of fun.
- Sacramento Kings NBA basketball (October through April). The Kings are the local basketball team, and they have been growing steadily in popularity in recent years. If you're able to obtain tickets to a Kings game, the experience will be a memorable one, as Sleep Train Arena, where the Kings play, is widely known to be one of the loudest NBA venues in the country.
- American River Bike Trail. Officially known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, the American River Bike Trail is a world-class bike path between Sacramento and Folsom, California. Beginning at Discovery Park in Sacramento, the trail is a 32-mile (51 km) stretch of automobile-free pavement running along lush parkland beside the Sacramento River, past Lake Natoma and ending at Folsom Lake. Plenty of picnic-spotted parks offer water and shade, convenient parking, and you may spot the occasional deer or wild turkey. The trip from Folsom to Sacramento is slightly downhill, making the return trip fairly easy. If riding after dusk, be alert in the area of the bridges near downtown. There are walkers and joggers all along the trail so it's bad manners to ride too fast.
- Raging Waters, 1600 Exposition Blvd. (Northbound Northbound drivers to Sacramento can take either Interstate 5 or Highway 99. From I-5, take the Capital City Freeway East exit from Downtown Sacramento, follow the signs to Reno. The Cal Expo exit is just Northeast of the American River. Highway 99 becomes the Capital City Freeway just North of the 12th Avenue exit. Continue over the river to Cal Expo. Southbound Southbound drivers to Sacramento can arrive via Interstate 5, Highway 99 or Highway 70. Highways 99 and 70 join I-5 just North of Sacramento. From I-5, take the I-80/Reno exit East and continue to the Capital City Freeway exit just past Watt Avenue. Continue toward downtown Sacramento until you reach the Cal Expo exit. Eastbound Eastbound travelers to Sacramento should take Interstate 80 to Sacramento, taking the Capital City Freeway exit in West Sacramento (following the signs to Lake Tahoe). Continue on Capital City Freeway, through downtown Sacramento and make the turnoff to Reno. The Cal Expo exit is just Northeast of the American River. Westbound Westbound travelers can take Interstate 80 or Highway 50 to Sacramento. From I-80, take the Capital City Freeway exit to Downtown Sacramento just beyond Madison Avenue. Continue to the Cal Expo exit. From Highway 50, take the Reno turnoff just past Stockton Boulevard to the Cal Expo exit just Northeast of the river.), ☎ +1 916 924 3747. Located in the heart of the city, Raging Waters Sacramento features more than 25 water attractions, slides, pools and activities for children and adults of all ages. $30.
The diversity of Sacramento is not only reflected in its various neighborhoods but also in the food choices you can find here. The places in the central district tend to be more trendy and hip while food establishments in their respective neighborhoods reflect the tastes of their residents. Finding unique fare in suburban Sacramento, northeast of the city limits, can be difficult as many of the establishments are dominated by national or large regional chains.
- Jack's Urban Eats, 1230 20th Street (Midtown at 20th Street and Capitol Avenue), ☎ +1 916 444-0307. A modern-day diner with a retro feel, Jack's grills and roasts meats for sandwiches and salads and offers comfort food side dishes like mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and garlic fries. Additional locations in the greater metropolitan area.
- Shoki Ramen House, 1201 R Street, ☎ +1 916 441-0011. A very popular and excellent ramen house serving up delicious Japanese ramen as well as sets and other entrees. $5-10.
- Luigi's Pizza Parlor, 3800 Stockton Blvd, Oak Park, ☎ +1 916 456-0641. A long-time Sac institution, still churning out tasty pizzas. Pizzas $12-20.
- Crepeville, 1730 L Street, ☎ +1 916 444-1100. Serves a unique menu of fresh, delicious, and healthy alternatives to fast-food. Other locations also exists in the Curtis Park neighborhood and outlaying Davis.
- Pieces Pizza by the Slice, 1309 21st Street (near the corner of 21st and Capitol), ☎ +1 916 441-1949. A tiny little place with extraordinary stuffed-crust pizza. Open until 2:30 am on weekends, Pieces is a very popular spot to load up on carbs after a late-night weekend pub crawl. Several different combinations are offered, and the staff is also happy to build your pizza to order. The vegetarian pesto pizza, with sundried tomato and feta cheese, is especially good. They also offer several excellent beers on tap, including (usually) Arrogant Bastard. The decor isn't much, but the people are friendly and the food is delicious. $5-10.
- Rick's Dessert Diner, 2322 K Street, ☎ +1 916 444-0969. Tue-Thu: 10AM–12AM; Fri & Sat: 10AM-1AM; Sun: 12PM-11PM; Mon: 10AM-11PM. Designed as a retro 1950's style diner, Rick's is a popular and award-winning Midtown destination for dessert lovers. Open late for post-dinner date sugar cravings.
- Andy Nguyen's, 2007 Broadway, ☎ +1 916 736-1157. Quality vegan and vegetarian Southeast Asian dishes.
- Cafe Marika, 2011 J Street. M-W Lunch, Th-Sat Lunch/Dinner. A great Hungarian restaurant in the heart of Midtown. The husband and wife offer great meals like cabbage rolls and schnitzel. Be aware they accept only cash. $10-$15 per person.
- Centro Cocina Mexicana, 2730 J Street, ☎ +1 916 442-2552. M-F Lunch, Dinner Sat-Sun Dinner. A staple in the Sacramento dining scene for over 15 years, Centro Cocina Mexicana offers the finest regional Mexican cuisine in a festive and colorful atmosphere.
- Kathmandu Kitchen, 1728 Broadway, ☎ +1 916 441-2172. Serves excellent Indian and Nepalese food - the Mismas Tarkari thali is delicious. Most dishes hover around $10-12.
- Tapa the World, 2115 J St, ☎ +1 916 442-4353. 11:30AM-midnite daily. An old favorite serving up tasty Spanish tapas and delicious sangria. Live music on most nights, and open late.
- Tower Cafe, 1518 Broadway, ☎ +1 916 441-0222. Su-Th 8AM-11PM, F-Sa 8AM-midnite. A great breakfast spot, busy at any time of day. There's sometimes a line, but absolutely worth it. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Breakfast served 8-11am, Monday through Friday. Brunch served 8am-2pm, Satuday and Sunday. Voted Best Breakfast and Best Sunday Brunch in the 2009 Sacramento magazine readers poll. Voted Best Outdoor Dining and Best Breakfast in the 2008 Sacramento News & Review readers poll. Located in a historic and very interesting building, with lots of art from around the world. International, eclectic menu.
- Zócalo, 1801 Capitol Ave, ☎ +1 916 441-0303. M-W 11AM-10PM, Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnite, Sa 9AM-midnite, Su 9AM-10PM. A newer Mexican restaurant affiliated with the legendary Ernesto's, the food is great and the place is usually busy.
- Asian Pearl 2009, 6821 Stockton Blvd, Ste 165, ☎ +1 916 391-8881. S-Su 10am-10pm, M-F 11am-10pm. Fast becoming the place to go for dim sum bypassing stalwarts New Canton and Rice Bowl. They also serve authentic Hong Kong and new style Cantonese food.
- Courtyard D'Oro, 1107 Front St., ☎ +1 916 552-2940.
- Biba Ristorante Italiano, 2801 Capitol Avenue, ☎ +1 916 455-2422. Started by Biba Caggiano, the famous chef, author, and television host. It has been selected as the best restaurant in Sacramento on multiple occasions. Reservations are strongly recommended.
- Morton's Steakhouse, 521 L St., ☎ +1 916 442-5091. High-scale restaurant that is perfect for taking that special someone or take the whole family to celebrate any occasion. They pride themselves on cooking the most tender steak, but don't count out their seafood portion of the menu as this place has delicious food with excellent dessert! Fun fact: instead of menus, the waiter brings out a tray of all the raw meat and fish (even crab that is still alive) and explains in detail what the meat or fish is and what the dish comes with.
- Ella Dining Room & Bar, 1131 K St., ☎ +1 916 443-3772. Ella serves its fabulous food, family-style and encourages diners to share. Their great bar serves fantastic concoctions like home made gin and tonics and "limeade," making for a perfect place for friends and family alike. The fabulous interior was created by award winning design firm, UXUS.
Nightlife in Sacramento is vibrant if you know where to look. Stay in Downtown or Midtown. This is where most tourists are anyway. The upscale clubs and lounges tend to be on or near J Street. Directly across from the Capitol grounds is the Park which is the premiere Sacramento nightclub. The dress code and cover charges tend to be stiff.
Just around the corner is the Capitol Garage which typically has guest DJ's on Saturday and a $5 cover in a laid back atmosphere. On K Street, you'll find Marilyn's, a really cool underground bar in the heart of downtown which showcases local live music talent.
Nearby is the Crest Theater, an independent historic movie theater that boasts art deco design. In the summer you can catch the French Film Festival here as well as the Trash Film Orgy, an all-night spectacle of old B movie flicks where locals gather in their cheesiest costumes.
On most days of the year, however, the Crest is the place to catch foreign and independent films as well as traveling stand-up comedy and music acts. On 16th and R Street. you'll find the popular bar R15. This is a trendy bar/restaurant (Cafe Bernardo is attached) that has an urban industrial feel. Despite being trendy the prices are very affordable with $2 Pabst on tap and $1 pool tables. They also boast couches and big screens where you can play x-box for free with a couple of friends.
R Street corridor offers Shady Lady Saloon, R15 Bar, and restaurants.
Another popular club is Mix Downtown with stiff cover charges and dress code as well, but Mix attracts an older crowd than District 30 and less pretentious crowd than the Park. On 10th and S Street, you'll find the popular indie-rock venue Old Ironsides. Local and traveling indie-rock talent showcase their music here. Every Tuesday you can catch Lipstick, a popular indie-rock dance party where you'll find mostly hip Midtown locals. Every first Saturday of the month you can catch After Dark which is like Lipstick only on a Saturday so it attracts a more varied metropolitan crowd.
The Press Club on 21st and P Street is popular with the college crowd with its $5 cover charges and cheap $3 24oz. of Pabst. It's known for playing 80's dance music and the best nights to go are Wednesdays or Thursdays as it is a small club and, on weekends, gets unbearably overcrowded.
- The Depot, corner of K and 20th downtown.. Gay-friendly video bar, two coin-op pool tables, covered smoking area.
- Faces, Corner of K and 20th. Faces is a popular gay-friendly club. Pricey cover, but the good strong drinks can quickly make up the difference. Recently renovated, Faces has now doubled in size with an upstairs and a pool in the back! Plays R&B on video floor and House on other dance floor.
- The Merc, 20th & L street. This is a gay-friendly bar to go to get your night started - cheap, big, strong drinks!
- Club 21, On 21st, between K and L streets. A gay-friendly establishment. It is 18+ Wednesday nights, which happens to be the only gay male night. Same owner as Faces, however generally plays upbeat, dance tunes. Other nights are predominantly lesbian nights.
- Sac Badlands, corner of K and 20th downtown.. This a gay-friendly club and is an offshoot of Badlands in San Francisco. It has three stories and an outdoor patio.
- Benny's (Q Street Bar), 21st and Q (across from the Sacramento Bee.). Casual and often-crowded dive not far from midtown. Large back area provides extra room. On busy nights, a bartender will operate in back as well. Great place for drinks, and the Mexican food next door is a popular after-the-bar stopoff.
- Streets of London, 18th and J. Trendy "upscale dive" right in the heart of Sac's midtown nightlife. Not really big enough to compensate for its popularity anymore. Drinks are average range. Quieter with a more laid-back vibe on weeknights. Worth a stop, but not exactly an institution.
- Pine Cove, 29th and E. Classic dive, possibly the best in Sacramento. Has gotten massively popular on weekends, but manages not to become unpleasant or lose its "divey" feel. Decently priced. Darts and pitchers make for a laid-back time. Avoid the popcorn machine; rumors abound about its level of sanitation. Karaoke two nights a week draws quite a crowd.
- Blue Cue, 27th and J. Terrific bar with an upscale sports-bar feel mismatched with its unbeatable prices on food and drinks; nightly specials keep savvy locals coming back. Billiard tables rented hourly. Most major sporting events will be played (or, the staff is laid-back enough that they will change the channel upon request). The food, made in the kitchen of the delicious downstairs restaurant, is leagues away from typical "bar food". Drink prices are average, but the specials can and will yield incredible deals.
- Sacramento Downtown Plaza, 547 L Street. It contains a Macy's department store, and numerous smaller shops.
- Shop the Grid, Midtown Sacramento (area surrounding 24th and J Streets). More than 50 boutique shops in Sacramento's original street "grid" cater to a variety of interests, including fashion, beauty, gifts, specialty items, home furnishings, antiques, sporting goods, health and wellness. Shops are located throughout the Downtown and Midtown areas, but the largest cluster of shops are located within a few blocks of the intersection of 24th and J Streets.
- Arden Fair Mall, 1689 Arden Way (Arden Way & Alta Arden Expressway). M-Sat: 10AM-9PM, Sun: 10AM-7PM; restaurant hours vary. Anchored by Nordstrom, Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears, Arden Fair Mall is home to more than 165 national retail shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The adjacent Market Square at Arden Fair is home to additional shopping and restaurants, including a movie theater and a Cheesecake Factory.
- Country Club Plaza Mall, 2310 Watt Ave., ☎ +1 916-481-6716. Country Club Plaza is ideally located between I-80 and Hwy 50 at Watt Avenue and El Camino, the dominant retail intersection of metropolitan Sacramento with established tenants Macy’s, Ross, Sport Chalet, and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse.
- Sunrise Mall, 6041 Sunrise Blvd.. Mall located in the Citrus Heights and Orangevale suburbs of Sacramento. Surrounded by numerous chain stores and restaurants.
- Westfield Galleria at Roseville, 1151 Galleria Blvd. Largest mall in the metropolitan area after recent expansion, located 20 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento. Westfield Galleria at Roseville has several retailers including Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Juicy Couture, True Religion, Lacoste, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Apple.
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