More than the state capitol of California, Sacramento offers days of family fun, like swaggering into old Sacramento, two different rivers to see and lots of park space to roam. And don’t forget to the arts and foodie scene, both offering spaces perfect for the littlest fans. Read on for the best things to do in Sacramento with kids.
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Best Things to do in Sacramento with Kids
Get a dose of the Old West along the waterfront at Old Sacramento, a registered national landmark and state historic park off the banks of the Sacramento River. As a throwback to the California Gold Rush era, the 28-acre area features wooden sidewalks, horse-drawn carriages, old-fashioned candy shops, Mississippi-style riverboats and historic buildings constructed in the mid-1800s.
During your trip, walk into the B.F. Hastings Building for the Wells Fargo History Museum, and see the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse, a one-room school. Also good for kids are the monument to the Pony Express and the G. Williker’s Toy Emporium.
Located between Tower Bridge and I Street Bridge It’s open every day except major holidays. Most stores and attractions open at 10 a.m. until early evening. Free to enter. Paid parking garages and metered street parking nearby.
California Railroad Museum
The railroad is responsible for much of the developement of California. See the California Railroad Museum’s collection of 19 stream locomotives ranging from 1862 to 1944. Visitors will find a collection of golden strikes from the transcontinental era as well.
The Chinese Railworker Experience details how Chinese immigrants constructed the western portion of the transcontinental railroad. The California Railroad Museum also offers excursion train rides. Prices start at $8 for adults and run from March until the end of the year with the popular Polar Express.
Located in Old Sacramento at 111 I St.. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $12, kids 6 to 17 cost $5 and free for 5 and under. Paid parking garages and metered street parking nearby.
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
John Sutter, a former Swiss of questionable credit, started on the fort in the 1840s. It was the center of commerce in the area for a while. The discovery of gold in the area changed that in 1848. Now it is a living history area, detailing the rigors of living at the time with period furnishings and a reconstructed exterior.
Located at 2701 L St. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $5, kids 6 to 17 cost $3 and free from 5 and under. Metered street parking nearby.
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California State Capitol and Park
Visit the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial with 22 shiny black granite panels memorializing the 5,822 names of California’s fallen soldiers. Then stroll through the International World Peace Rose Gardens, home to more than 800 roses in a variety of colors and fragrances. Free tours of the park are offered on Sunday at 11 a.m. and Wednesday at 10 a.m., first-come, first-serve.
California State Capitol Museum
Originally built in 1860s, you can walk through the halls, though tours of the interior are not offered at this time.
Located between 10th and L streets and open Monday to Friday, except major holidays. Free.
Crocker Art Museum
For families with art-loving kids, or parents that love art, check out the Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker’s collection of California art and its collection of European master drawings is notable.
The Crocker Art Museum hosts several free family events during the year. And the third Sunday of the month is pay what you wish.
Located at 216 O Street. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a,m, to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $15, kids 6 to 17 cost $8 and free from 5 and under.
William Land Regional Park
The 206-acre park offers trails, playscapes and several picnic areas along with several lakes and a wading pool. Inside William Land Regional Park find the Sacramento Zoo, Funderland Park and Fairytale Town.
Located at 3800 Land Park Dr. Open every day from dawn to dusk. Free.
Dedicated to beloved childrens stories, kids can climb over its adorable play structures. There’s even farm animals to pet and children’s theater.
Located at 3901 Land Park Dr. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from March to October and from November until February it’s open Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $7 during weekdays ($8 weekends) for everyone 2 and older.
It originally opened in 1946 and features 9 rides geared for younger kids. Find a carousel, flying dragon roller coaster and the crazy teacups.
Located at 1350 17th Ave. Open Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer. Adult admission is $17 and kids (34″ and taller) are $22.
With 400 animals from over 140 different species in a 14-acre facility, highlights include giraffes, several primates, zebras and snow leopards. Favorites include lions, red pandas and the reptile house. The Sacramento Zoo features a zoo train along with special animal encounters. This is one of the best things to do in Sacramento with kids.
Located at 3930 Land Park Dr. Open daily from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. Adult admission starts at $16.50 for timed entry. Kids (2 to 11) start at $12.00. The Sacramento Zoo uses demand pricing for admission. Parking is free.
American River Parkway and Discovery Park
Discovery Park is where the Sacramento River meets the American River. Find a 302-acre park with lots of space for picnicking, kite-flying or just running around.
Pack the bikes and take a ride along the Jedediah Smith Bike Trail. The 32-mile paved and lined bike path is perfect for riders.
Located at 1600 Discovery Highway. Open every day day from dawn to dusk. Free but $6 to park.
Sacramento Children’s Museum
Play while you learn is the motto at the Sacramento Children’s Museum. Find areas dedicated to babies and toddlers along with imagination areas, like Sal’s Flower Market, light play areas along with a bee hive. This is one of best things to do in Sacramento with kids.
Located at 2701 Prospect Park Dr., Rancho Cordova. Open Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. then 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday from noon to 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. General admission is $8.50 for a 90-minute play session.
Sacramento Farmers Markets
Learn to be a locavore and walk through the stalls at a Sacramento farmers market. Thanks to nearby California’s Central Valley, see the rich agriculture heritage in a rainbow of colors. Often stocking produce too delicate for cross-country trips, find different varieties of fruit and vegetables.
From May to October, the Capitol Mall Farmers Market is held on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Located in-between 5th and 6th streets at the Capitol Mall. Free to browse or grab a snack for later.
The Midtown Farmers Market is held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2020 J St., year-round.
Skate Parks in Sacramento
Grab a board and a helmet for some outdoor fun at one of 13 Sacramento skate parks. Dotted across the area, kids who skate will want to drop in.
- Baer Skate Park
- Granite Skate Park
- McClathy Skate Park
Splash Pads and Spray Parks in Sacramento
If the sun is blazing overhead and the kids are cranky, duck into one of Sacramento’s splash pads or spray parks. Check out several across the area.
- Shasta Park
- McClatchy Park
- Guero Park
Chinatown Mall in Sacramento
During the Gold Rush of the 1840s, Chinese immigrants moved to California. This area of Sacramento became a hub for the Chinese residents. Find a Paifang Gate and the Confucius Temple along with retail shops.
Located between I and J Streets and 3rd and 5th Streets in downtown.
McKinley Rose Garden
Walk through a historic rose garden with 1,200 rose plants. It’s also one of 130 All American Rose Selection Display Gardens across the U.S.
Located at 601 Alhambra Blvd and open daily from dusk to dawn.