Old Sacramento

Picture of Carriage Ride in Old Sacramento
Old Sacramento Creative Commons

Old Sacramento is the original historic 1850s business district during the Gold Rush Period. Old Sacramento, often referred to as "Old Town Sacramento" has been designated as a California Historical Landmark known as "Old Sacramento State Historic Park". This piece of America West history includes over 50 buildings of significance including the 1849 Eagle Theater and the 1853 B.F. Hastings Building which at one time housed the California Supreme Court.

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Old Sacramento sets along the edges of modern downtown at the riverfront of the Sacramento River. Its historical significance boasts of being the original river transport center to the San Francisco Bay area. It also claims the distinction of being the western terminus of the Pony Express as well as having the first transcontinental railroad and first transcontinental telegraph.

A Walk Back Into History Awaits You

Over 28 acres of Gold Rush era history beckons you to the streets of Old Sacramento where you will discover more historical buildings than any other area of similar size in the west. Many of these buildings are now occupied by modern businesses and museums. You’ll enjoy shops, restaurants, train depots, riverboats, stage coaches and maybe even a few ghosts as you wander through this taste of years gone by.

Old Sacramento is clearly the largest attraction in the area. Not only is it officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s also a charming, riverfront town with Gold Rush era architecture, rustic cobblestone streets and wooden sidewalks. Over 5 million visitors come here each year and it is also a favorite with Sacramento locals. Old Sacramento bustles with activities and events year round.

Things To Do and See

Be sure to take a walking tour of the area. Costumed docents from the Old Sacramento Living History Program lead tours from March through September on a regular basis. You can call the Old Sacramento Living History Program any time of the year to arrange a private walking tour at 916-445-3101. If a self-guided tour is more your style, purchase a self-guided walking tour map at the visitor center.

Check out the museums, most of which are inexpensive and some are even free, walk the streets, browse the shops and enjoy a meal at one of the many fine restaurants in or near Old Sacramento, California. The California State Railroad Museum is located here along with the California Military Museum, the Discovery Museum History Center, Old Sacramento Interpretive Center, Old Sacramento School House Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum. See our list of popular Sacramento Museums.

Some of the must see annual events include the spooky Ghost Tours each Halloween season. For three weekends in October, you can walk the streets of Old Sacramento with a docent from the Old Sacramento Living History Program and learn about the ghosts who are believed to inhabit the original buildings found here.

The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee is held each May for four days and attracts over 100,000 visitors each year with over 125 bands playing non-stop. With the stunning background of Old Sacramento, fantastic music, an opening day parade, wonderful shops and mouth-watering food, you can’t go wrong by heading out to the Jubilee.

You’ll often see re-enactment groups on the streets portraying the people and events from the 1848s to 1870s.

Getting around Old Sacramento offers as many choices as there are styles. You can walk, you can ride a horse drawn carriage, you can cruise the river on a riverboat, ride a steam locomotive or take a tour. No matter how you choose to get around, we’re sure you’ll agree, Old Sacramento is a great place to explore.

Location and Parking: Old Sacramento State Historic Park is located in downtown Sacramento and is convenient to reach by all freeways. Coming from any direction in the state, take Interstate 5 to the ”J Street” exit and follow the signs into park. Abundant covered parking is available at the main parking structure located at 3rd and J Streets. There are a limited number of metered, 90-minute on-street parking spaces throughout the park. See the Old Sacramento Map that identifies all buildings, stores, shops, parking lots and restaurants.

Old Sacramento Gold Rush Days Video

Visit the Gold Rush Days Website for dates.


Greater Sacramento California (CA)

A Sacramento Visitor's Guide. Tourist Attractions & Things To Do

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Old Sacramento State Historic Park