One Fine Weekend in Sacramento
With a flurry of new development, California’s capital has become one of the Golden State’s hottest destinations.
The Golden 1 Center is a glittering addition to Sacramento’s skyline.
Photos courtesy of the Sacramento Kings
Sacramento was hit particularly hard during the Great Recession, but over the past several years, the city has undergone a dramatic transformation. The 2016 completion of the $558 million Golden 1 Center sports and entertainment complex sparked a wave of downtown projects, including gourmet restaurants, trendy bars, and a luxury hotel. These new attractions complement the state capital’s long-loved standbys—such as the revitalized historic district—making Sacramento an ideal weekend getaway.
Steps from the Golden 1 Center—which hosts the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and top musical and performing arts acts—stands the chic new Kimpton Sawyer Hotel. The 16-story, 250-room property also boasts Echo and Rig, an upscale steakhouse with an open-air bar. Acclaimed chef Sam Marvin, who also oversees the original Echo and Rig in Las Vegas, specializes in high-quality steaks cooked over California red oak logs, along with seafood and locally grown veggies.
Elsewhere in the Kimpton you’ll find Punch Bowl Social, a popular “adult playground” with bowling, video games, multiple bars, and a top-notch restaurant. For a nightcap, head to the hotel’s third floor and grab a seat at Revival at the Sawyer, a rooftop bar that connects to a glistening swimming pool. Revival offers sweeping views of downtown and has become one of the city’s most fashionable nightlife destinations, where it’s not unusual to spot celebrities. golden1center.com, sawyerhotel.com.
The Kimpton is situated in the heart of Downtown Commons (DoCo), Sacramento’s new cultural and entertainment hub. Here you can shop, catch a movie, indulge in a tantalizing French pastry at Estelle Bakery and Pâtisserie, or sample fine wines and champagnes at Fizz.
Less than a mile from DoCo is Old Sacramento, the city’s historic district. This popular eight-block stretch along the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers features some cobblestone streets and more than 80 shops and restaurants. Don’t miss the California State Railroad Museum—home to beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives—or the Delta King, a 1920s-era, multistory riverboat that’s been reconfigured as a charming hotel with two eateries. There’s also The Firehouse Restaurant, a fine-dining eatery opened in 1960 that’s noted for its decadent steak and seafood dishes, as well as its impressive wine cellar, which holds more than 16,000 bottles. docosacramento.com, californiarailroad.museum, deltaking.com, firehouseoldsac.com.
With its sunny, temperate fall weather, Sacramento is a great place to explore the outdoors, especially on the American River Bike Trail. Highlights along this scenic 32-mile path—which runs from Discovery Park to Beal’s Point—include the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, where you can see thousands of salmon and trout before they’re released into the river.
For a more active adventure, rent a raft from American River Raft Rentals and enjoy a six-mile trip from the river’s Lower Sunrise access point to River Bend Park near downtown. Before heading home, make a pit stop at 16th Street near L Street to see famed artist Shepard Fairey’s new Johnny Cash mural. After all, a rising city deserves a landmark work of art. wildlife.ca.gov, raftrentals.com.