Sacramento Convention Center groups will find themselves centrally located in the Downtown Sacramento area, and there are plenty of things to do in Sacramento once those conference sessions are over. Here are five ways to enhance your Sacramento convention stay by getting out and exploring California's capital city.
1. Visit Old Sacramento. Don't miss this 28-acre National Historic Landmark district filled with buildings set within the time frame of the 1849 Gold Rush and the coming of the Transcontinental Railroad. Wooden plank sidewalks, historic architecture and the Delta King - a riverboat-turned-hotel and restaurant - all contribute to the district's historical ambiance. Delve deeper into that history by visiting one of the many museums in the area, including the California State Railroad Museum, the Sacramento History Museum and the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum. The popular underground walking tours take you beneath Old Sacramento where you can learn about how the city was literally jacked up to combat the floods that were too frequent in the early days.
2. Rub shoulders with politicos and fill up on fun facts during a free tour of the California State Capitol. On the tour, you'll learn that the Legislature chose Sacramento to be the capital of California in 1854, and it's been the center of government since. In addition to historic rooms and a rotating museum exhibit, you'll learn fun trivia such as the fact that the current front entrance wasn't what was originally planned - the larger doors on the second floor of the west side of the Capitol were originally to be reached by a grand staircase, but budget shortcomings meant the grand staircase had to be axed from the plans.
3. Get some fresh air in Capitol Park. Located around the Capitol just two blocks from the Sacramento Convention Center, this 40-acre park features a variety of memorials, gardens and pathways. Take a moment to see the Vietnam War memorial, the bell off the battleship USS California or memorials to fallen police officers and firefighters from the state. Rose gardens brighten up the space, and you might just see a couple getting married at the east end of the park. The myriad pathways are lined by all types of trees indigenous to California, and benches are perfect for taking lunch away from the bustle of the city.
4. Explore Midtown. Sacramento's vibrant Midtown district is home to dozens of boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. From the Sacramento Convention Center, turn right on J Street, and the district opens up before you. Whether you're looking for a farm-to-fork meal at Mulvaney's B&L, great Mexican food at Centro Cocina Mexicana or to shoot pool at Blue Cue, Midtown is a vibrant night spot. If you're there on the second Saturday of the month, be sure to check out the Second Saturday Art Walk and discover why Sacramento is such a great city for the arts.
5. Get happy. Midtown has plenty of happy hours, but Downtown Sacramento happy hours are just as abundant. You can knock back a Guinness in a bar actually built in Ireland at de Vere's Irish Pub, hold a reception or just grab a glass of wine at Downtown & Vine, or sample some sushi and sing karaoke in one of the private rooms at Oishii Sushi and Karaoke Bar. The Sacramento Convention Center is surrounded by restaurants and bars with great happy hour specials. Check the Sacramento Visitors' Guide for a list and map of restaurants in the area.