1. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride. There is no better way to experience Old Sacramento in its entirety than exploring the cobblestone streets via horse-drawn carriage. The 10-15 minute ride takes you from shops and museums to restaurants and the riverfront for a unique viewing of one of Sacramento’s great gems.
2. Have your child’s photo taken atop a buffalo. A wooden buffalo, that is. This popular photo-op and Old Sacramento landmark sits along the boardwalk outside of frozen treat shop Frozen in Time on K Street. Hardly a child walks by without the urge to stop and take a look. More often than not, they end up climbing on top and begging for a photo.
3. Hop on board a vintage diesel train. On weekends from April through September, passengers can board a Sacramento Southern Railroad coach car, open-air gondola or first-class observation car for a leisurely ride along the levee of the Sacramento River. Departing from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot on Front Street, a vintage diesel locomotive provides passengers a 6-mile, 45-minute scenic ride along the river
4. Pan for gold. Not quite as flashy and well-known as it’s neighboring California State Railroad Museum, the Sacramento History Museum offers guests a comprehensive view of Sacramento’s history, including the famous Gold Rush. Learn about the Nisenan and Maidu Indian nations that lived in the area and see many of their artifacts. Visit a working 19th-century print shop where you can get your very own “Wanted” poster. Lastly, try your hand at gold panning, learn the different processes and inspect real gold samples.
5. Satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’ve got one, then Old Sacramento is the place for you. There are treats aplenty within the bounds of Old Sacramento’s four blocks. Got a craving for a childhood candy favorite? You’re sure to find it at anyone of six, yep, SIX candy shops. Or try cute little mini donuts topped with strawberries and whipped cream at Danny’s Mini Donuts, or indulge in some fudge at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
6. Take a river cruise aboard the Hornblower. For a unique perspective on Sacramento’s history, climb aboard the Hornblower for an hour-long narrated river cruise. You’ll cross under bridges, pass old sunken boats and get a beautiful view of the city that many people never see.
7. Try out the old-time desks at the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum. Give your child a taste of what it was like to attend school long before computers. The museum is a living replica of traditional one-room schoolhouses found in America in the late 1800s. Admission is free.
8. Eat lunch aboard a real paddle-wheel riverboat. Christened in 1927, the Delta King and its twin sister, the Delta Queen, transported passengers from Sacramento to San Francisco for 14 years until they were drafted into the U.S. Navy at the beginning of WWII. Today, the famous riverboat serves as a floating hotel stationed in Old Sacramento along the Sacramento River, with two award-winning restaurants and a mystery theater.
9. Shop Evangeline’s. Located in the historic Lady Adams House and Shasta House buildings in the heart of Old Sacramento, stopping at
Evangeline’s gives one a truly unique shopping experience. Patrons will find unique gifts including vintage toys, movie memorabilia and costumes galore. Kids and adults of all ages can easily spend hours perusing Evangeline’s.
10. Enjoy Raley Field’s after-game fireworks show from the waterfront. Just across the river in West Sacramento sits Raley Field, home to the Sacramento River Cats, the city’s AAA baseball team. After every Friday and Saturday night home game, Sutter Health sponsors a 10- to 15-minute fireworks show. You don’t have to be inside the stadium to enjoy the show. You can get a wonderful view from a bench just south of Old Sacramento along the river walk. And its free!