SACRAMENTO DAY 2: State Capitol, Governor's Mansion, Sutter's Fort
Head east today to explore all that midtown has to offer. Do what the locals do and begin with breakfast at the Tower Café. The palm-tree-lined outdoor patio, a quiet oasis on a busy intersection, is the perfect place to enjoy the famous custard-soaked French toast, a designer omelet or huevos rancheros. Afterwards, continue to the city's most recognizable landmark, the State Capitol. Completed in 1874, the Capitol building houses the state Senate and Assembly, and visitors can watch lawmakers in action in public viewing galleries. Take a tour of the restored historic offices or stand in the first-floor rotunda and admire the inner dome rising 120 feet. Step outside the massive structure into the serenity of Capitol Park, 40 acres of trees, shrubs and flowers. The park also features several key monuments, including the California Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Firefighters Memorial.
For lunch, head over to the bustling K Street corridor, which is home to several lively restaurants and nightclubs. A good bet for a casual lunch is Pizza Rock, a rock-and-roll themed pizza joint featuring dozens of creative pies — including the award-winning margherita baked in a wood-fired oven.
If you haven’t had enough of California government, head over to the Governor’s Mansion. Built by a hardware merchant in 1877, the mansion was home to thirteen governors before being turned over to the state in 1967 during Ronald Regan’s tenure. With 30 rooms, nine bathrooms and fourteen-foot ceilings, the structure is an example of Second Empire-Italianate architecture.
Continue your tour of the midtown area with a visit to Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. Founded by John Sutter in 1839, the fort is all that remains of Sacramento’s earliest settlement, which was abandoned after gold was discovered in the nearby foothills. Tour the historical exhibits and witness living history with demonstrations in weaving, blacksmithing and carpentry.
No visit to Sacramento would be complete without a visit to the Crocker Art Museum. Founded in 1885, it’s the longest continually operating museum in the West. The museum is partially housed in a Victorian mansion, which is itself a work of art, and is home to one of the premier collections of California art. The California Hall of Fame at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts highlights the innovative contributions of Californians; inductees include Amelia Earhart, César Chavez, Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.
If you're here on the second Saturday of the month, there is no better way to get a taste of Sacramento's burgeoning local art scene than by participating in Second Saturday Art Walk. Art galleries throughout town stay open late, usually until 9 p.m., welcoming guests free of charge to view their items, meet the artists and socialize with fellow art lovers.
By now, you should have worked up a hearty appetite. A good choice for dinner is The Porch Restaurant and Bar, a modern take on traditional Southern fare.
If you have enough energy left after dinner, enjoy Sacramento's thriving performing arts scene. The Music Circus, a nationally recognized theater-in-the-round, produces musical events during the summer months. The Sacramento Ballet offers world-class shows, and the Sacramento Community Center Theater stages Broadway musicals. At the Mondavi Center at the University of California, Davis, you'll find a full range of performing arts, from music to dance, traditional to innovative. Both the B Street Theater and Capital Stage are well-regarded for their local productions, or, for something more lighthearted, check out the Comedy Spot for a night of local stand-up, sketch or improv.
Continue to Day 3