This is the state capital and the gateway to Gold Country. The area grew rapidly as a supply town during the gold rush and, when the gold was depleted, residents turned their attention to the bountiful fruit and vegetables of the Central Valley. The city is still a prosperous shipping and processing center, and is also known as “the Camellia Capital of the World.”
In 1860, Sacramento was the western terminus for the Pony Express, and later four influential Sacramento businessmen financed building the Central Pacific Railroad from Sacramento through the Sierras to meet up with the Union Pacific Railroad, to be built west from the Missouri River. Today, the large metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1.9 million and is growing fast. As the information technology industry grows, spillover from Silicon Valley continues at a dizzying pace.
Sacramento’s main attraction is the State Capitol and grounds. The domed building is like a scale model of the nation’s in Washington DC. Hundreds of species of plants and trees are identified throughout the 40-acre grounds.
The California State Railroad Museum, the largest interpretive museum of its kind in North America, displays 21 restored locomotives. Sutter’s Fort Historic Park, Sacramento’s earliest settlement (1839) features a cooper and blacksmith shops, bakery, jail, dining room, and living quarters.
Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy river rafting on the America River and bicycling through the Old Sacramento Historic District or along the 22-mile American River Parkway. Lodging and dining options are plentiful.
The port accommodates 20 ships per month from around the world. They enter through a 43-mile channel from Suisun Bay in the upper reaches of San Francisco Bay.
Sacramento is 90 miles east of San Francisco via I-80. Trains and buses service the city, as does the Sacramento International Airport.