- Sophie &Friends
I have been getting an unbelievable amount of grief over this blog title. My husband and sister literally snort every time I refer to Sacramento as a hidden gem! Yes, I know it’s our state capital (for those of you who don’t know, I live in San Francisco) but I still hold firm to my belief that very few folks appreciate Sacramento for all it has to offer.
I know for a fact that my SF-based clients rarely even consider venturing here. The crazy thing is, Sacramento is less than an hour and a half away! You can easily make a day trip out of it! And there is so much to do! There’s fun food, great history, amazing museums, and beautiful parks. What more can you ask for?
If you read my December blog about an experiential Christmas you know that my family and I have been trying to cut down on the physical clutter and instead focus on time spent together. Since I now travel to Sacramento once a month to appear on the TV show Sac and Co. I thought it might be fun to invite the whole family to join me. Scott and I decided it would be nice to spend the night, and share some of the wonderful places we have discovered on our monthly trips.
Here’s just a sampling of what we did in our 24 hours there.
This is a great slice of history, sporting over 50 historic building dating back to the mid-1800’s. Not only does it have the feel of the original Gold Rush town, but you can actually see where they raised the entire town 20 feet to protect it from the inevitable flooding of the American and Sacramento Rivers. You can take an tour through the “underworkings” of the city and learn all about it. There’s the old school house, the railroad, an assortment of shops and attractions, including a shooting arcade (where my dad showed off his video game skills by not missing a single shot!), and one of the most spectacular costume shops I’ve ever seen, Evangeline’s Costume Mansion. There is a candy shop where you can get handmade nut brittle of every type and an assortment of bacon flavored candies!
I wasn't nearly as good as my dad!
One of the amazing costumes
The best thing about Old Sacramento is there is always something going on! Signs for upcoming events dot the shop windows. Parades, light shows, carnivals; there always seems to be something fun to look forward to!
You can not begin to comprehend how awe-inspiring this museum is! You can spend the entire day exploring this museum for a very reasonable $10.00 entry fee. They allow you to come and go, so you can explore the 21 lavishly refurbished trains (some that even rock back and forth as you walk through), take a break for lunch in Old Town and then come back to enjoy an entire floor filled with antique toy trains, working dioramas, and a play zone filled with kid friendly trains! I was particularly fond of what I call the “prairie dog bubble” which allows you to be literally right in the center of it all!
The restored train cars are spectacular.
Dad and me at one of the awe inspiring dioramas
I think this was intended for children...
This museum is actually two in one. The original is housed in the Crocker Mansion, a building built exclusively to house the Crocker Art Collection and a piece of architectural art in it’s own right. That building is directly connected to a more modern structure and collection, including the astounding sculpture by Tip Toland, Wallflower. I was so mesmerized by this sculpture that I actually lost my family for a few minutes.
Tip Toland's sculpture
We were fortunate to be able to visit the museum on an Art Mix Thursday. Art Mix is similar to Friday nights at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. On the night we attended there was a huge crowd. The energy was absolutely electrifying. There were circus acts, dancing, live music, cocktails, and of course, art. It was a blast.
The thing is, this is just the tip of the iceberg! There’s a train ride, an unbelievable cemetery, an automobile museum, parks, bike paths, and even a self guided scavenger hunt around the city. Each time we go we discover something new!
For my part, I want to grab my soapbox and megaphone and share this hidden gem with everyone I can! Even if it does elicit snorts from my husband!