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How to Spend 48 Hours in Sacramento, California

Today I want to bring you my travel itinerary for spending 48 hours in Sacramento, California. The state capital often gets overlooked in favor of cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, but Sacramento is worth visiting in its own right. From Gold Rush history to food and culture, this place has a lot going for it. I’m here now and I can’t wait to show you the highlights. I’ve included a map, too.

48 Hours in Sacramento

48 Hours in Sacramento

Situated at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in Northern California, Sacramento lies in the heart of the state between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

I haven’t traveled to Sacramento since I was a child, and I’ve heard the city has changed dramatically over the years. In fact, it’s changed even more than I imagined. As soon as I drive into town, I spot new restaurants, shops, and bars everywhere. I can’t wait to discover the best of them.

View of the California State Capitol
View of the California State Capitol

Where to Stay in Sacramento

I’m staying at The Citizen Hotel during my 48 hours in Sacramento. It’s housed in a historic building that’s been given a contemporary makeover. The decor is sleek and stylish, and my 11th-floor room has a great view of the city. You can book a room here.

There’s lots of other good options for accommodation in Sacramento, too. If you want to see more, you can find a place that fits your style here.

Sacramento Hotel Room
Room at The Citizen Hotel

Day 1

I arrive mid-morning and start my trip in the R Street Corridor. It’s a 27-block long, two-block wide historic industrial warehouse district located within the city’s original 1848 urban grid. This is a place where street art, markets, and bars bring life and energy to an older part of the city.

After walking around for a bit, I drive through Midtown and spot restaurants and cafes I’d like to check out. This city bills itself as the “Farm-to-Fork Capital” of California, and it has the culinary presence to back it up. I stop for a quick lunch at one of the restaurants, then continue my itinerary for 48 hours in Sacramento with some sightseeing.

Street art in the R Street Corridor, Sacramento
R Street Corridor

Sutter’s Fort

First I swing by Sutter’s Fort, a National Historic Landmark in Midtown. It was established in the 19th-century as an agricultural and trade colony in the Mexican province of Alta California.

Construction of the main two-story adobe building began in 1841, and it was here that James Marshall told John Sutter he’d found gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma in 1848. Thus began the Gold Rush.

Today Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park features exhibits on California pioneer life that visitors can explore on self-guided tours.

Leland Stanford Mansion

From the fort I drive over to check out the Leland Stanford Mansion. Once the residence of the 8th Governor of California and the founder of Stanford University, today it’s a museum and official state reception center.

Visitors can tour the 19,000-square-foot Victorian house and see original period furnishings, historic paintings, and elegant gardens.

Leland Stanford Mansion
Leland Stanford Mansion

Governor’s Mansion

My next stop is another Victorian beauty: the historic Governor’s Mansion on H Street. Originally built in 1877 for businessman Albert Gallatin, it served as the official residence of the governors of California from 1903 to the late 1960s.

In 1970 it opened as a museum featuring opulent rooms filled with the furniture and personal items of everyone from Earl Warren to Ronald Regan. From 2015 to 2019 it became the governor’s residence again, but today the official lives elsewhere. Visitors can admire the Victorian facade and gardens from outside.


After seeing the mansion, my 48 hours in Sacramento continue at The Bank, a former financial building that’s been transformed into a food hall and bar space. I sip a cocktail on the mezzanine and explore the subterranean beer hall, taking in the awe-inspiring ceiling in between.

Sacramento Bar
The Bank


After drinks, I continue my 2-day Sacramento itinerary with dinner at Grange Restaurant & Bar in The Citizen Hotel. This place is known for seasonal menus that feature the freshest and finest locally-sourced ingredients.

My butter poached Atlantic halibut is everything I love about good California cuisine, and the s’more is a refined version of my childhood favorite. After dinner I float up to my hotel room happy to have ended my first day in Sacramento on as high a note as I started it on.

Day 2

Following a good night’s sleep, I wake up early the next morning to continue my 48 hours in Sacramento with some more sightseeing in the city. But first, breakfast. I have a great latte and muffin around the corner from The Citizen Hotel at Temple Coffee Roasters.

Coffee and Muffin
Breakfast at Temple Coffee Roasters

Sacramento Museums

Fueled, I walk around for a while, taking in sightseeing highlights like the California State Capitol and the California Museum. The former is the state’s working seat of government and a museum where visitors can discover the Golden State’s past and learn about its modern lawmaking process.

The latter is the state history museum of California. It has a California Hall of Fame and other interactive and engaging exhibits about the people and culture here.

California State Capitol Sacramento
California State Capitol

Sunday Farmers’ Market

My next stop is the Sacramento Sunday Certified Farmers’ Market. It’s one of the largest certified farmers’ markets in the entire state, and I spend a long time browsing the produce.

The scent of fresh strawberries mingles with the sight of multicolored carrots, mandarin oranges, and fat purple cabbages as a live guitar strums a tune in the background.

Sacramento Farmers Market

Old Sacramento

After my market fix, I go past colorful Victorian houses to get to Old Sacramento. This part of the city looks just like it did in the 1850s, when California’s Gold Rush drew people from all over the world to seek their fortunes. It feels like the Old West here, with horses and carriages plying the streets.

I go on the Old Sacramento Underground tour, a half-mile guided historical walking tour that shows off the area’s highlights. As the name implies, it goes both above and below ground, revealing multiple layers of the city’s history.

I’m particularly fascinated by the stories of women who struck it rich during the Gold Rush by setting up shops and other enterprises in California. Unlike many other parts of the country, women were allowed to own property and businesses here at that time. Many of them made money “mining the miners” by selling them dry goods and other supplies.

Old Sacramento
Old Sacramento


After the tour, I walk over to the waterfront to have lunch at the Delta King Hotel in Sacramento. It’s a docked riverboat with a restaurant and rooms. The crab cakes are delicious, and as I explore the interior, I discover that it’s a cool place to stay in California, too.

California State Railroad Museum

After lunch I head to the California State Railroad Museum. It explores the historic role of the “iron horse” in connecting the Golden State to the rest of the country. The museum even has an excursion railroad where visitors can take a 50-minute ride along the scenic Sacramento River pulled by a historic steam or diesel locomotive.

Crocker Art Museum

From there my 48 hours in Sacramento continue with a visit to the Crocker Art Museum. Established in 1885, it’s the oldest art museum in the Western United States.

The museum is known for its collection of Californian art, which is one of the finest of its kind. I spend time exploring the rooms and taking in my home state’s history through paintings and other media.

Crocker Art Museum
Crocker Art Museum


By the time dinner o’clock rolls around, my feet need a rest. They find it at a restaurant called Scott’s Seafood on the River, where I order a heaping bowl of Cioppino. The steaming pot of mussels, clams, prawns, and fish is welcome sustenance as I wind down from a big day of sightseeing.

After dinner I head back to The Citizen Hotel for a good night’s sleep before my departure the next morning.

48 Hours in Sacramento

I’ve enjoyed my itinerary for 48 hours in Sacramento, and I’ve had a great time discovering the highlights of the California state capital. It’s been worth a special trip to discover the city’s history, food scene, and cultural attractions.

Sacramento Itinerary Map

If you want to follow my travel itinerary for 48 hours in Sacramento, you can find an interactive Google map of all the places I mentioned here. I hope it helps you get a feel for the city so you can enjoy your time visiting.

Old Sacramento Building
Old Sacramento

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48 Hours in Sacramento

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