Sacramento’s first buildings and streets were built in 1848, the same year James Marshall discovered gold in the American River at Sutter’s Mill. Sacramento soon flourished as a supply town for the ‘49ers that flocked to the area to pan for gold. The town became the state capital in 1854, four years after California was admitted to the Union. The arrival of the railroad and the Pony Express connected California both literally and figuratively to the rest of the country. Farming and agricultural roots were set down in the fertile soil at this time and Sacramento also began to establish its current reputation as a hub for highway, rail, and river travel. A deep-water channel connects Sacramento to San Francisco Bay, making Sacramento a major inland port, and military installations and aviation industries also contribute to the economy.
North Sacramento is in the process of restructuring its economy, and the city has undertaken the development of a unique uptown arts district. The Chamber of Commerce brought together businesses, local artists and local officials to develop the district and this unusual public-private partnership has resulted in over $5 million in redevelopment financing, an amount that is expected to grow along with the district. “Phantom Galleries,” temporary art exhibits in vacant storefronts, are one example of how the city uses art to stimulate the local economy. These exhibits allow local artists to display their work while also bringing attention to available commercial and retail space.
North Sacramento is part of the state’s capital city and therefore offers convenient access to all its attractions. The workings of the local government can be seen every day in the Capitol building. The main building took 14 years to build, has a glass dome rising 210 feet above the street and houses historical and art exhibits. The Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park contains furniture and personal effects of former governors of the state, including Ronald Reagan, the last governor to live in the mansion. The State Library houses a collection of early state newspapers, as well as a 100-foot mural.
History comes to life in the city’s many museums and historical areas. Old Sacramento is a four-block area that served as the commercial center during the Gold Rush. Its unique history is preserved in the now-redeveloped district, which contains museums, restaurants and shops. The California Military Museum honors Californians who served during peacetime as well as in wars and disasters with displays of weapons, uniforms, flags, medals, documents, and photographs. Listed on the 22 shiny black granite panels of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial are the names of 5,822 Californians who went missing or died in the war. The California State Railroad Museum celebrates the history of the railroad with exhibits, displays, a slide show and a short film.
For family-oriented fun, it’s hard to beat the Sacramento Zoo with its more than 400 animal species. Visitors can see lions, tigers, cheetahs, monkeys, apes, bears, and red pandas, as well as more than 50 species of reptile. Across from the zoo is Fairyland, a 2.5-acre park with scenes based on popular nursery rhymes.
Other family attractions in the area include William Land Park, encompassing more than 600 acres of cherry trees, picnic areas and golf courses. The American and Sacramento rivers provide opportunities for boating and fishing, with the Sacramento also offering other attractions including paddleboat tours, houseboat trips on the Delta and water- and jet-skiing. Waterworld USA is a large local water park, and visitors of all ages can enjoy wading pools, slides, wave pools, tubing, and a play area. Those seeking drier adventures can hike, ride horses, bike, or play tennis in the many parks to be found throughout the city. Golf courses for players of all abilities are also plentiful, while sports fans can see the Sacramento Kings tip off at Arco Arena.
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