The Capitol Building - Sacramento

Sacramento Capitol Building

A visit to the Sacramento area isn’t complete without a stop at the Capitol Building. The past, present and future of California interact with equal force. The building serves as both a museum and the state’s working seat of government. The grandeur of this exquisite building is surpassed by the grounds surrounding it.

Capitol Park encompasses 40 acres of stunning gardens, groves and memorials. You could spend all day exploring the grounds before even setting foot into the building itself. The various memorials and groves honor Native Americans, Hispanics, fire fighters, California’s veterans, pioneers, and the people who shaped this great state. Symbolic flowers such as the Camellia and the rose are prominently featured in their own gardens.

Capitol Building Pillars

The 1863 California Governor, Governor Leland, is responsible for the grand gardens surrounding the Capitol Building. In his 1863 speech, he envisioned grounds surrounding the building as having a “beauty and luxuriousness no other capitol in the country could boast”. Over the years, his vision came true and today you can walk through the landscape of Governor Leland’s dreams.

The building itself is billed as the “People’s Building”. Grand, yet accessible, the Capitol Building reflects a spirit of vision and is a magnificent piece of architecture. Within its stately walls are the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the Senate and the Assembly. The Capitol Building welcomes the public for tours and to see government in action. Over three quarters of a million visitors tour the Capitol Building each year.

The building is designed to accommodate the public with spaces for citizen events such as rallies, concerts, ceremonies, public viewing of the legislature in action, and voicing concerns. It is an architectural marvel and a sight to behold. A remodel in the late 1970’s restored the chambers from an earlier “modernization” of florescent lights and drab white walls back to the original splendor of 1880’s complete with vibrant colors, bronze and crystal wall sconces, plaster pendants and elaborate carpets. Greek Revival and Roman-Corinthian architectural styles blend together to form this stunning building. The architecture symbolizes democracy, beauty and simplicity and defines this building as a place where government business is conducted.

The Capitol’s dome bears a striking resemblance to the one crowning our nation’s Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The dome shares the same construction technique, “double dome” with an inner brick dome and an outer, tall cast iron dome. It is accented with similar neo-classic design elements as the one in Washington. You’ll see pilasters, columns, colonnade windows and a cupola with a statue on top of the dome.

Art work including paintings and murals adorn the walls of the Capitol Building and tell a story of the history of this grand state. The Capitol contains three collections of art, the Permanent Collection, the Loan Collection and the Biennial Senate Contemporary Art Collection.

When you view the Permanent and Loan Collections you’ll see a common theme, distinctive Californian images filled with California scenery and people. The Permanent Collection contains over 50 paintings which portray the sights and scenes of California. The Loan Collections contains 100 additional paintings that have been temporarily loaned to the Capitol Building for display.

The Biennial Senate Contemporary Art Collection allows each Senator to choose a contemporary artist that represents his or her district to display a painting during the two year term. Two large murals interpret California’s rich history. Viewing these large scale paintings gives you a real sense of the various pieces of history that shaped California. To round out the art found at the Capitol, you’ll find portraits of all of California’s governors displayed throughout the West Wing.

Whether you want to see the California government in action, walk through this glorious building or spend time smelling the roses, the Capitol Building in Sacramento is a definite spot to spend some time while visiting Sacramento, California. Visit the California Capitol Building Museum website for more information and public touring schedule.

Capitol Building Video


More Information

Capitol Building Museum
10th Street between L and N Streets
Downtown Sacramento
(916) 324-0333
Open 7 days a week except Thanksgiving,
Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Museum hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Tours hourly: 9:00 am to 4 pm. No charge.
Times subject to change.

Downloadable Brochure & Map

Capitol Building Picture Gallery



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Capitol Building in Sacramento CA