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Die Tower Bridge in Sacramento, Bild: Andrew Zarivny / shutterstock

Sacramento – Capital in the shadow of big names

When the awards for Best Supporting Actor are presented at the glamorous Oscar ceremony in glittering Los Angeles , there is applause, but the big headlines are dedicated to those who received the award for Best Actor. It’s similar with Sacramento.

The big city, surrounded by a far-reaching metropolitan area in which more than two million people live, is the capital of California. But it always lacks a little of the glamour that seems to surround the names of California’s flagship Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. The city in the heart of the Golden State has a lot to offer and is by no means a gray mouse, as one might assume.

The True Heartland of California

Sacramento
Image: Cassiohabib / shutterstock

California is known for its beaches and for Hollywood, for Silicon Valley and for beautiful stretches of coastline. A good part of the state’s prosperity, however, is not based on these well-known regions, but on the heartland in the interior, a good hundred miles from the waves of the Pacific. Here are the endless fields where fruit, vegetables, nuts and rice are grown.

And this is where California’s real success story began, when gold was found in 1848 in Coloma, a few miles northeast of Sacramento. The find triggered the gold rush, which not only brought thousands of new residents to the area, but even changed the entire country. The former site, a sawmill operated by Swiss immigrant John Sutter, is now the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and a popular destination for visitors to Sacramento.

Historic town centre

It was also Sutter who, together with a group of pioneers, had laid the foundation stone for Sacramento a few years earlier. The surviving elements of the fort built by these early explorers of California are now located in the middle of the city and are one of Sacramento’s attractions. In the city center, visitors will discover some more clues to history. These include several statues, museums, and the oldest buildings in the city. These are largely in typical Victorian architecture and in some places are reminiscent of streets known from southern Europe. Sacramento’s oldest neighborhood stretches all the way down to the river, where Delta King is anchored. The old paddle steamer now serves as a hotel, but it used to be one of the main means of transport for the trip to San Francisco.

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Sacramento has suddenly become hip

Sacramento is one of the sunniest places in the world. In the summer months, the sun shines on average for more than 14 hours a day and the climate in winter is pleasantly mild. These framework conditions contribute to the fact that people like to spend time here often in rejoicing. The open spaces in the old city centre are then used for events, for example for a well-known jazz festival in May or a film festival in July. In general, Sacramento has made a name for itself in the cultural sector. There are several theatre companies, a very lively music scene, a musical theatre and the Shakespeare Festival in the summer. This cultural offerings and Sacramento’s diverse, multicultural population have helped the fast-growing city grow hipper and slowly lose its status as a hidden gem.

Must-see attractions in Sacramento

Sacramento, California State Capitol
California State Capitol, Image: SchnepfDesign / shutterstock

One of the main attractions for visitors is, of course, California’s Capitol, seat of the state’s government. The impressive building is surrounded by a spacious park where you can discover more than 150 monuments and statues on a walk. Just a few steps away is the California Museum and the California Hall of Fame.

For the rare rainy days, a visit to the prestigious Crocker Art Museum is a good idea, whose collection focuses primarily on Californian artists. For technology fans, there is also an automobile museum and a railway museum. But people in Sacramento much prefer to be outdoors and there is plenty of opportunity to do so. The city has an extensive and well-maintained system of parks and green spaces.

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This also includes the banks of the two rivers, the Sacramento River and the American River, where walking paths have been laid out over long stretches. And if it gets too hot outside, you can also go underground. Under the old town there is a quite extensive system of cellars and tunnels, which can be explored in guided tours. This underground network was created when Sacramento was repeatedly flooded by the water of the rivers in the 19th century and it was therefore decided without further ado to raise all buildings by one floor. Thus, a new basement was created everywhere, the exploration of which provides an interesting insight into the history of the city. But the real pearls of Sacramento undoubtedly lie on the surface. California’s capital is noticeably in the process of growing out of the shadow of its well-known neighbors and becoming a destination that many people are likely to have on their list.

More information about Sacramento can be found on Wikipedia