Museums

Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Sacramento.

10 Wells Fargo History Museum
This enlightening museum highlights the growth and development of the Wells Fargo delivery company, as well as its role in Sacramento history. Items on display include gold and treasure chests, original documents, and a fully restored Concord stagecoach. (916-440-4161)

9 California State Capitol and Museum
This museum highlights regional and state political history in the very building that has served as the seat of California government since 1869. The facility offers an intriguing look at the people and issues that have made the state a center of interest and educates visitors on how they can, and do, impact political and legislative systems. Guided tours are available. (916-324-0333, 866-240-4655)

8 State Indian Museum SHP
This interesting museum showcases the rich fabric of Native Californian culture and civilization. Displays include Native American arts and crafts and an interesting look at the impact of the California Gold Rush on the native peoples. (916-324-0971)

7 Discovery Museum of Sacramento — Science & Space Center
This edifying museum features a range of thought-provoking scientific exhibits, most of which are interactive. A nature trail that winds through 14 acres is also a child-friendly draw, and kids can expect to encounter living creatures on their excursions. Plus, a discovery room brings insects, turtles, and the like close-up. A planetarium figures in as part of the complex as well, and simulated space missions are much-loved experiences. A third aspect of the facility (at a separate location) addresses Sacramento history and the Gold Rush. (916-575-3941)

6 California Museum for History, Women and the Arts
The latest incarnation of several museums that have examined California's history and development, the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts has a more inclusive vision than past institutions. Spearheaded by Maria Shriver, the facility not only relates how the state came to be but highlights prominent men and women who made great strides in its progress. The museum's living story also encompasses art and culture and showcases the state archives. The Constitution Wall sculpture is a tribute to government by the people, and various exhibits focus on pioneers, Spanish missions, local art, and Asian and Hispanic residents and traditions. (916-653-7524, 916-653-0563)

5 California Automobile Museum
A complete collection of historic automobiles is just minutes from Old Sacramento. Museum displays automobiles all restored to original mint condition. Interesting look at the changing face of American automobiles through the 20th century. Special exhibits and events insure a constantly changing experience. Events have included swap meets, classic movies, organ concerts, a show & sell, auctions, and concerts. Call for details about the latest exhibits. (916-442-6802)

4 Crocker Art Museum
This museum, housed in a historic 1870s-era mansion, presents the state's most extensive collection of art, both old and new. Works from European, Asian, and North American masters are rotated in from the extensive permanent collection, and holdings in Californian art and European drawings are particularly strong. Other offerings include photography and international ceramics. Special exhibits and a broad array of programs also foster a love of art and creativity. The museum is free to the public every Third Sunday of the month, "Pay as you Wish" Sunday, sponsored by Bank of America. (916-264-5423)

3 California State Railroad Museum
Permanent exhibits at this informative museum feature historic locomotives and train cars, and on-site theaters showcase films on the history of trains and their impact on the growth and development of the West. During summer months, a restored Sacramento Southern Railroad steam train runs a regular excursion six miles along the Sacramento River. Special theme trains run on occasion as well, including Thomas the Tank Engine and the Santa Claus Train. Affiliated with the California Department of Parks and Recreation. (916-445-6645, 916-445-7387)

2 Sacramento History Museum
Visitors to this museum have the opportunity to learn about the early development of the community of Sacramento and its history. Permanent and short term exhibits display the first half of the century in Sacramento City, information on the region's agricultural contribution and prominent citizens of the past and present. (916-808-7059, 916-808-7057)

1 Governor's Mansion
From 1903 to 1967, this lovely Victorian mansion was home to thirteen California governors. These days, guided tours lead visitors through beautifully decorated rooms that feature fourteen-foot ceilings. Participants are routinely regaled with "inside" stories about the mansion's occupants and families, taking away little-known facts and snippets of trivia. Tours are offered every hour on the hour. (916-323-3047)


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Maps and Directions

1
Wells Fargo History Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
2
California State Capitol and Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
3
State Indian Museum SHP 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: OLD SACRAMENTO
4
Discovery Museum of Sacramento — Science & Space Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, History Museums, Museums, Outdoor Activities, Planetarium / Observatory, Science Museums
Neighborhood: Fair Oaks
5
California Museum for History, Women and the Arts 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
6
California Automobile Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
7
Crocker Art Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Downtown
8
California State Railroad Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: OLD SACRAMENTO
9
Sacramento History Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: OLD SACRAMENTO
10
Governor's Mansion 10Best List Arrow
Type: Historic Sites, History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
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