Hidden Gems to Explore in Sacramento, CA
There are many awesome events and places to check out when you’re in Sacramento, CA that everyone tells you about. Then there are the hidden, off-the-path places you need to check out. Here are six places in Sacramento hidden from tourists and the nearest hotels in Sacramento to make your travel experience easier.
Image via Flickr by kla4067
What stands out at this popular restaurant is the fact that you won’t know it’s there. Since there is no name anywhere on the building, if you’re not a local, you’ll pass it up. If you get lost, remember it’s a few minutes south of the Residence Inn Sacramento. Once you see the doorman standing out in front, you go in and be ready to enjoy an unforgettable experience. The tables surround the cooks and you watch them prepare your meal. This isn’t just a simple place where you get a four-course meal, but it is a show where the chefs describe to you each course while creating beautiful dishes from locally sourced produce. Get ready to spend a whole evening here, though: it can go for three hours and there is an intermission where you enjoy small appetizers.
Old Sugar Mill
For wine enthusiasts everywhere, include this on the top of your list. Located just outside of downtown Sacramento in Clarksburg, about a 15 minute drive south, which makes it easy to get to from any of the hotels in Sacramento. There are six wineries in Old Sugar Mill, so there is a variety of samples to have. Before it was a destination for wine makers, it was once an actual sugar mill, dating back to 1897 where the Amalgamated Sugar Company built the brick factory. It went through other sugar companies until closing in the early 1990s. A decade later, renovations took place to convert it into a wine facility, opening in 2005. Carvalho Family Winery, one of the wineries in the Old Sugar Mill, offers wedding packages so you can say your vows as you are either inside the factory or outside enjoying the sunset.
American River Bike Trail
The American Bike River Trail is north of downtown Sacramento where not only people use it for recreation, but commuters traveling to Folsom, CA and don’t want to deal with traffic. The trail goes along the American River and Sacramento River and is also called the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. Smith was a fur trapper who came to the Sacramento area during the early 19th century and considered the first white man to explore the country all the way west. Later on the Capital City Wheelmen carved out a path for bicyclists, but when cars became popular in the 20th century, the trail stayed unused until the 1970s. The highlight is that unlike most bike trails, the American River Bike Trail has restaurants on the trail to get something to eat, along with restrooms, water fountains, and rest areas.
Old Sacramento Underground Tour
Take a step back into history with an underground tour. Located a few steps away from the Delta King Hotel is where over 150 years ago, Sacramento took on raising their street level to what it is today and you can see how it took place. You spend 90 minutes right under the city’s streets to see hidden pathways used by builders for the street and sometimes even used by criminals or “women of the night” to engage in activity out of view from authorities. You learn the area with two rivers on each side became a place for the city and constantly flooded, which led to the decision to raise the street level since Sacramento was once on flat land. There are also buildings such as the California Telegraph Company and the California State Library that started underground and raised in their same site, so you see exactly how they looked during the 1800s.
Old City Cemetery Tour
If you want more history of the old city of Sacramento, then take a tour of the city’s cemeteries that have important Californians buried there. Built in 1849, it is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. Prior to that, people buried bodies nearby in Sutter’s Fort, but with frequent flooding they needed to move the buried. The following year after the cemetery opened, they buried over 600 people during the Cholera epidemic, and now there are more than 25,000 people buried there, including people who immigrated to Sacramento like city founder Captain John Sutter and other mayors and governors of California. Take either a guided walking tour or go at your own pace without a guide. Tours are available throughout the year and it closed during important city holidays.
J. Neely Johnson House
The oldest house in Sacramento is the J. Neely Johnson house on 1029 F Street and constructed in 1853. The house has an interesting history with the owners. The first owner, horticulturist William Cozzens, was making his way to his new home but he didn’t have enough money to pay the builder and he ended up losing the house. It was then bought by state treasurer Seldon McMeans, where Johnson lived there during 1855. Johnson would become California’s fourth governor in 1856, who at 30 is the youngest governor elected in the state’s history. After many fires, floods, vandalism and near-demolition, restorations to the house’s original architecture have now made it a home that guests can stay during their trip.
Sacramento is one of the smaller cities of California but it has a rich history. Behind the state capitol are places you can explore that many guides won’t tell you about. From the restaurant that almost has a theater feeling as your chef prepares your food, to looking back over 100 years ago and see what the city was like, these hidden gems let you experience a lot of Sacramento. The hotel locations are conveniently near these places, and you can find great deals on hotels in Sacramento on Hipmunk.com If you know more hidden gems in this great city, leave a comment below.
Renayle Fink is a writer and blogger who enjoys watching television with her husband and their cat. She is currently a writer for Hipmunk. When she’s not obsessing over “Scandal”, you can find her on Google+.