It's time for a trip to the wild wild west with a trip to Sacramento. I have lived in California a long time and I cannot believe it's taken me this long to explore diverse and dynamic city. This historic gold rush city has so much to offer from farm to fork restaurants, a restored old town, museums, and the State Capitol Building of course!
1. California State Capitol - This iconic building is modeled after the US Capitol Building in Washington DC and houses the California state legislator and the governor. You can tour the building daily or visit at night when it is all lit up.
2. Brunch - Head over to the farm to fork restaurant Beast and Bounty, which is found in the trendy urban retail area called the Ice Blocks in Midtown Sacramento.
3. Cuisine from Around the World - Sacramento is one of the most diverse cities in America where you can find authentic cuisine from literally every corner of the world, including Chinese, Ethiopian, and Haitian. In fact, at each of these restaurants, we were able to meet the owners who grew up in their home country and brought the recipes straight to Sacramento.
4. Old Town Sacramento - The restored old town takes you back into time to the 1800s gold rush era of Sacramento. There are 50 restored buildings, including restaurants, saloons, antiques, and museums.
5. California Railroad Museum - Sacramento is known for the groundbreaking site of the Transcontinental Railroad built between 1863 and 1869. It was one of the largest engineering feats in American history as the rail crossed though the treacherous Sierra Nevada Mountains. Go all aboard the historic steam engines in the family-friendly California Railroad Museum.
6. Historic Neighborhoods - Walk through the downtown to see the funky Victorian-era homes. Another fun fact, is Sacramento is known as the "City of Trees" for having the most trees per capita in America.
7. Golden 1 Center - Catch a Kings Game or a concert at the Golden 1 Center, a fun vibrant sports arena. The area is surrounded by fun bars and pubs.
What are your favorite places to visit in Sacramento? Comment below!
Where can you find medieval castles, world class wine, mud baths, and redwood forests within a weekend trip? The one and only Calistoga, California of course! Calistoga is about two hours north of San Francisco and we explore the region with the Calistoga Wine Passport which grants us access to the numerous tasting rooms. We visit the winery that helped put Napa on the map, Chateau Montelena and a medieval Tuscan style castle winery called Castello di Amorosa. The natural scenery around Calistoga includes the breathtaking redwood forest of the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.
Weekend in Calisotoga Vlog:
Castillo di Amorosa - Medieval Tuscan Castle and Winery
Chateau Montelena - Historic winery and chateau. This wine estate produces the famous sauvignon blanc which won the 1973 Judgement of Paris blind tasting competition, an event that put Napa on the map.
Wineries featured in this vlog:
Calistoga Wine Passport:
Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful destinations in California, nicknamed the American Riviera. Located along the Pacific Coast and only 92 miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is the perfect weekend destination. We take the Amtrak Surfliner to Santa Barbara and explore the fun activities that the city offers, including the Cabrillo Bike Path, Urban Wine Trail, State Street, historic Spanish colonial architecture, Santa Barbara Zoo, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Santa Barbara Travel Vlog:
Here are the top 10 sights to visit during your trip:
1. Bike Rentals: One of best ways to see Santa Barbara is by bike. We rented bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals, which has hourly and daily bike rentals and a variety of fun bikes. We rode along the Cabrillo Bike Path, which is a scenic ride along the Pacific Ocean.
2. Santa Barbara Museum of Art: Enjoy the art scene at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which contains galleries of American, impressionist (Van Gogh and Monet), photographic art, and much more.
3. Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail - The perfect pairing to your visit to Santa Barbara is a glass of the local wine from the renowned wineries. Downtown Santa Barbara has many wine bars and tasting rooms where you can sample the wine from the nearby vineyards.
4. Street Art - The downtown of Santa Barbara has plentiful street art that changes all the time. Walk through the alleyways and streets to find it!
5. Santa Barbara Zoo: Santa Barbara has one of the best small zoos in the nation! Check out the exhibits ranging from gorillas, elephants, lions, giraffes, and penguins. You can even get up-close to the animals with the close encounters tours where you can participate in feeding the animals.
6. Sunday Arts & Crafts Show - Every Sunday since 1965, the city holds an Arts & Crafts show in front of the pier. Local artists display their works of art, including handmade creations and paintings of Santa Barbara. If you are looking for a unique local gift, you will find it here.
7. Santa Barbara Courthouse - One of the best things about Santa Barbara is the architecture. The courthouse is a prime example of the Spanish architecture found here, and you can even get panoramic views from the top floor of the bell tower.
8. Santa Barbara Skate Park - The skate park is located along the Cabrillo Bike Path and is a great way to catch the vibes of the local Southern California culture.
9. Santa Barbara Pier - One of the most iconic attractions in Santa Barbara is the pier. The pier is the perfect place to enjoy the ocean views and even visit a wine bar (yes - there is a tasting room on the pier) or enjoy delicious seafood.
10. State Street - One of the best reasons to visit Santa Barbara is for the food! Along State Street, you will find some of the best restaurants in town, and ice cream - including local favorite - McConnells. Many of the restaurants feature al fresco dining and entertainment.
A few months before our visit, the Santa Barbara county experienced devastating mudslides and fires. One of the best ways to support the community in the recovery efforts is through tourism and patronage of the local businesses. The community is stronger than ever and there is no better time to visit Santa Barbara. A convenient way to reach Santa Barbara is via Amtrak Surfliner, which offers service to the downtown. From the train station, you can walk or bike to each of the locations on this list.
What is your favorite thing to see in Santa Barbara? Comment below!
Published Travel Articles
Welcome to Run The Atlas!
We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.