Five Not-to-Miss Places in Sacramento
Whether you’re a local looking for a weekend adventure or a visitor seeking a day trip, there are plenty of things to do in Sacramento. With rich history and vibrant culture, this capital city sits amidst the beauty of Northern California. Here are our top five places not to miss in Sacramento.
Gunther’s Quality Ice Cream
Originally called Gunther’s Quality Ice Cream Company, Gunther’s Ice Cream has been part of the community since 1940. Opened and run by Herman “Pop” Gunther, the instantly popular original location was on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Franklin Boulevard.
Rationing as a result of World War II meant Gunther’s wasn’t allowed the amount of sugar and butterfat it had grown accustomed to using in its ice creams. Pop made the decision to continue producing high-quality products at a lower volume and was forced to cut operation days down to 14 per month for the duration of the war.
In 1949, Gunther’s moved to a larger space in the same neighborhood, where it still resides today. Pop Gunther died in 1968, and the business eventually came into the hands of Rick Klopp and his wife. They continue to operate Gunther’s, maintaining the standards Pop set in the 1940s.
Gunther’s has never sacrificed quality, and the popularity of this establishment is evidence of that. A centerpiece of the Sacramento community, this ice cream parlor isn’t to be missed.
The Croker Art Museum
The Croker Art Museum was the first public art museum in the Western United States. The building was constructed in 1868, when Judge Edwin B. Crocker commissioned Seth Babson to build a structure for his family’s growing art collection. Babson’s design included a bowling alley, skating rink, and billiards in addition to a library, gallery space, and natural history museum. Considered the masterpiece of Babson’s career, the space was completed in 1872. The Croker’s home was simultaneously renovated and eventually became a gallery space. Officially named The Corker Art Museum in 1978, the building was made public in 1885.
The Croker Art Museum now features several permanent collections, including international ceramics, Asian art, European art, California and American art, African and Oceanic art, and works on paper. Additionally, new exhibits rotate through these historic building with regularity. The architecture of The Croker Art Museum is worth a visit, and the artwork within makes it a must-see. Check out specialized tours, talks, and classes for an extra special visit.
Old Sacramento is a 28-acre span along the historic waterfront of Northern California. The Transcontinental Railroad was founded here, and it was the terminus of the Pony Express. With help from gold and agricultural resources, this became California’s first successful business district. Tragedy struck this region in the form of flood and fire over the years, but California worked to keep the old town alive and well.
There are several museums in Old Sacramento as well as vintage train rides and classic carriage rides. A large selection of shops and dining are available in addition to local tours. Gold rush, ghost, classic coach, cycling, cruising, and historic walking tours are among the offerings. This region was, in many ways, the birthplace of California as we know it, making it a top-five site in Sacramento.
California Automobile Museum
Within Old Sacramento is the California Automobile Museum. Displaying over 150 cars from 1885 through 2011, this destination provides a unique opportunity to experience days gone by. A comprehensive history of what brought the automobile into being and how it has progressed over the years is contained in a central display. Exhibits also include a collection of famous cars belonging to stars of stage and screen and a look at the green movement in automobiles. The car lover or history buff in your life will love this destination.
The Sacramento Zoo
In operation since 1927, over 140 species of animals reside at the Sacramento Zoo. Specializing in rare and endangered species, more than 600 animals live in this sanctuary. Mammals, bird, reptiles, amphibians, and fish are all on display for educational purposes. The Sacramento Zoo prides itself on conservation efforts, having raised over $150,000 in 2015 for a number of conservation organizations. These funds are collected through visitor admissions and memberships.
The Sacramento Zoo is heavily involved in education, supporting field trips, overnights, and many other internal programs. If you find yourself in the area, visit the zoo. You’ll have a fantastic time while helping animals in need of conservation assistance.
On your next trip to Sacramento, check out these five destinations.