Executive Inn and Suites State Capitol - 216 Bannon St., Sacramento, CA 95811 | Tel. (916) 393-2100

Downtown

Welcome to Old Sacramento

Experience a one of a kind visit to Old Sacramento. The unique 28-acre National Historic Landmark District and State Historic Park is located along the beautiful Sacramento River. Bustling with activity, the district is alive with shopping, dining, entertainment, historical attractions and world-renowned museums set within the time of the California Gold Rush and the Transcontinental Railroad.

History of Old Sacramento

In 1839 John Sutter arrived on the shore of the American River near its confluence with the Sacramento River. With the promise of a Mexican land grant, Sutter and his landing party established Sutter's Fort. As the settlement grew and became permanent, it attracted other businessmen looking for opportunities. Sutter and the people he attracted created a commercial center in the area, but it was the Gold Rush in 1848 that created the City of Sacramento.

When gold was discovered in the nearby foothills by James Marshall, local merchant Sam Brannan rushed to open a store near the Sacramento River to take advantage of the convenient waterfront location. What was then called Sutter's Embarcadero was soon known as the City of Sacramento. The city rapidly grew into a trading center for miners outfitting themselves for the gold fields.

Early Sacramento's waterfront location was prime for commercial success, but was prone to severe flooding. The city also fell victim to repeated fires engulfing its hastily constructed buildings composed mainly of wood and canvas. In 1850 the new city experienced its first devastating flood and in 1852 the city was again wiped out by high water. It was apparent that drastic measures would have to be taken if it was to be saved.

In 1853 a mammoth project was proposed to raise the city above the flood level. The ambitious and expensive proposal was not fully accepted until another devastating flood swept through the city in 1862. Within a few years, thousands of cubic yards of earth were brought in on wagons and the daring scheme to raise the street level began. The original street level can be seen throughout Old Sacramento under the boardwalks and in basements.

The center of the commercial district gradually moved east and the original part of the city on Sutter's Embarcadero became known as the worst skid row west of Chicago. Reformers, ministers, politicians and others spoke out against conditions in this part of the city, but little was done to change the basic conditions.

In the mid-1960's, a plan was set forth to redevelop the area and through it, the first historic district in the West was created. Today, with 53 historic buildings, Old Sacramento has more buildings of historic value condensed into its 28 acres than most areas of similar size in the west. Registered as a National and California Historic Landmark, the properties in the district are primarily owned by private owners, with individual businesses leasing shops and offices. The area has flourished and is once again a thriving commercial trade center.

Learn more about Old Sacramento by clicking on the articles below!

(Courtesy of the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation ).

Visit the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation website for more information.

Featured Events Old Sacramento

Whether you have a lunch hour or a long weekend, Old Sacramento has plenty of historical landmarks, museums and entertainment options to pique your interest.

Points of Interest

Entertainment

Landmarks

Museums

Museums Nearby

Services

Sightseeing & Tours

Theatres

Visitor Information

Driving Directions:

Coming from any direction in the state, take Interstate 5 to the J Street exit and follow the signs into the district. PDFClick here for a map .

Train

The Sacramento Amtrak Station is located at 401 I Street, adjacent to Old Sacramento and within walking distance to museums, shops, restaurants and more! Visit the Amtrak website for more information.

Boat Docks

The Old Sacramento Boat Docks are available for daily and overnight use. For more information, please contact the City of Sacramento at (916) 808-7031.

Parking

Abundant covered parking is available in two parking structures located at either end of Old Sacramento. Many Old Sacramento businesses will validate parking for these parking garages, so be sure to ask the waitperson or store clerk about parking validations at the end of your transaction.

In addition, a surface parking lot is located at Front & L streets (enter from L Street at Firehouse Alley).

There are also a limited number of metered, 90-minute on-street parking spaces throughout Old Sacramento. These parking spaces are monitored 7 days a week.

Main Highlights

The State Capitol

Learn about California and the Capitol
Check out the new Kids Zone Web site where students can learn about the California State capitol while having fun.
Kids Zone

See the Capitol from wherever you are.
Can't make it to Sacramento? The virtual tours provide you with a unique opportunity to visit the Capitol from any location in the world.
Virtual Tours

Planning to visit the Capitol in person?
Find out more about tour times, building security, parking, how to get here, and other information related to planning your exploration of the Capitol.
General Information and Tours

Calendar of Events
The California State Capitol Museum hosts numerous activities and exhibits throughout the year.
See Current Events

Explore the Capitol's art and artifacts.
The California State Capitol Museum is home to an extensive collection of important historical California artifacts, artwork, and antique furnishings.
Exhibits and Collections

Curious about the Capitol's architecture?
Designed in the neoclassical style, the Capitol reflects the Greek and Roman influences of our democracy.
Art & Architecture

See how California's laws have helped shape the state and nation.
Learn about important legislation that has been passed since 1849 and how these laws have helped shape the state, nation and world.
Historic Legislation

Find out something new about California.
Filled with fun facts and fascinating information, teachers and students can learn everything they ever wanted to know about California Government and its State Capitol.
Capitol Learning

Building Hours
Weekdays: 8 - 5
Weekends: 9 - 5
Admission: Free

Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year's Day

School and Group Tours
(10 - 35 people)
Free guided school and group tours are by reservation only for groups from ten (10) to Thirty-five (35) persons. We recommend a ratio of ten students to one adult chaperone.

Contact ReserveAmerica for your
reservation at (866) 240-4655.

For Additional school or group tour information, educational materials, and group rules:
contact Tour Office
(916) 324-0333.

Public Tours
Public tours are conducted daily, on the hour, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m .
For tour information contact Tour Office:
(916) 324-0333.

Tour Office
Located in basement Room B-27
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
(916) 324-0333

Basement Theater
Films are shown daily
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission is Free

Architectural Tour
A common feature found in many state capitols, including California's, is a portico opening into a central rotunda that rises into a dome. This architectural convention, borrowed from the Romans, creates an inspiring and majestic entrance. Learn other interesting facts about the design of the capitol in this section.
- Take the Tour
California State Capitol History

Part I: Planning
At the 1849 Constitutional Convention, plans to establish a capital for the 31st state in the union were conceived, years of ongoing controversy over location gave way to a final site selection, architectural plans were finalized in 1856, but was construction ready to begiin?
- Selecting Sacramento
- Architectural Ancestors
- A Capitol for California

Part II: Construction
Four years following the approved architectural designs, the construction of the Capitol building began. Floods, politics, labor issues and other problems made completing the massive undertaking a formidable task
- Concept to Reality
- A Tale of Two Stones

Part III: Growth
The rapid growth of the state and expanding government responsibility soon created the need for additional space at the Capitol, after several major expansion efforts and three-quarters of a decade issues arise concerning the structural integrity of the building. California had to make an important decision--rebuild or restore?
- Apse and East Annex
- Rebuild or Restore?
Part: IV: Restoration
The decision to restore the historic Capitol created one of the largest restoration projects in California's history, artisans relearned arts long forgotten, the Senate and Assembly Chambers would regain their glory and the building was incorporated with modern technology while maintaining the splendor of the Capitol's original appearance.
- Restoring a Legacy
- Lost Arts
- Fine Details
- Legislative Chambers

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