Sacramento often loses out to its sister-cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the heavy hitters of the Californian coast. However, the Golden State’s capital has much more to it than you’d expect, and its wide leafy avenues are home to many heritage buildings, a good deal of shopping, excellent dining, and several great museums.
Things to do in Sacramento
Begin your tour of Sacramento by visiting Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, a site bought by immigrant Johann August Sutter in the 1830s. This is a wonderful attraction if you are looking to really learn about California’s gold-rush period, or gain an insight into the European pioneers that started exploring the area.
Then follow this with a trip to the California State Railroad Museum, where you can hop on a steam locomotive for a short journey, or head instead to the California Automobile Museum, and see antique cars from as far back as 1903. If trains or cars don’t interest you, then the Crocker Museum of Art will, holding both national and international art, and an impressive collection of photography that starts in the mid 19th century. For kids, make your way to Fairytale town, a small park with animals, gardens, and play areas.
However, the real charmer of Sacramento, is Sacramento itself, and in particular, its old town. Heritage buildings are home to restaurants, small museums, and quaint boutiques you will have fun discovering. Walk to the town’s most famous historical buildings, the State Capitol, one of the most beautiful buildings in the country, and the Governor’s Mansion, a Victorian villa decked in white cladding.
Best time to visit Sacramento
· California is renowned all over the continent for its year-round sunshine and temperate climate, and Sacramento is no different. However, being a little further north means that the winters can get a little chillier, and can drop to about 4-12°C. Spring, summers and autumns promise mostly sunny days and highs between 18°C and 30°C.
Best time to book
· Buying flights to the United States from Australia is always cheapest at the seven monthmark, so make sure you plan ahead.
Expect to pay
· United States Dollar (USD).
· Pick up an invigorating cappuccino in California’s capital for 4.00USD ($5.15).
Arriving in Sacramento by plane
· The Sacramento International Airport (SMF)is the aviation hub for Sacramento city, and airlines that travel to this city are mostly domestic ones. However, there are several carriers that will codeshare, or run connecting routes from Australia to this sunny part of the States. These are Hawaiian Airlines, Air Canada, Qantas, Delta, United, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines.
· Sacramento Airport has a fairly good range of facilities, including ATMs, free WiFi, a number of dining outlets, and a few shops you can browse in.
· From Australia, flying to Sacramento means be routed through a couple different cities; typically Los Angeles (LAX), Vancouver (YVR) and Honolulu (HNL).
· The United States has a visa waiver program know as the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) that you must complete before flying to this country. It is easy to find information on how and where to apply, just head to the smart traveller advice page on the U.S.A.
Transportation to city centre
· The airport is 20 minutes from the downtown area, and you can take a taxi directly there for 30USD ($39).
· Public buses and shuttles run routes into Sacramento, but you can also book airport transfersonline, and have your transport waiting for you when you arrive.
· If you want to hire a car online, you could save yourself some time when you land, but you can wait and reserve a vehicle within the airport after you arrive.
Where to stay in Sacramento
· You really have to stay in the centre of town to make the most of Sacramento’s charms, from its historic attractions to its restaurants and bars. You’ll find a good range of accommodation optionsfor every budget in this part of the city.
Useful tips before you go
· Tipping is part of life in the U.S.A., but not all services are equal. Keep to a rough guide of 15-20% for waiting staff, 10% for taxis, and a few dollars for porters.
Please note that the information provided above is accurate as of September 2016
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