Many California residents have never been to their own state capital. The Sacramento area has a lot to offer both on the cultural and recreational side. Downtown is the place that I would choose to stay, and lots of hotel rooms are readily available most weekends when the Legislature is not in session.
While the Sacramento area has experienced growth in every direction, Old Sac and the downtown area are still the hub. This is also the perfect place to base your trip as most everything in town will be no more than 20 minutes away.
This visit would not be complete without a visit to the Capitol. This neo-classical structure dates back to the 1860s, and the spacious park-like grounds make for a pleasant excursion. We got to see the State Assembly in session from the public gallery set above the proceedings. Spending time here made me appreciate more what these folks do and how important their role is. Several large expenditure issues were voted on just in the hour or so that we witnessed.
To get the spirit of what it was like here during the famous Gold Rush, take a few hours and tour Old Sac. The building have been preserved just the way they were in the mid 1800s when the area experienced a great boom. There are loads of restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Visiting historical sites and museums will pass the day, and if you have little ones in tow, they will really appreciate the many specially for kids. All of this is set right on the Sacramento River.
On this visit we were lucky enough to stay at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento located in the middle of downtown and just a couple of blocks from the Capitol. This is one of the top hotels in the downtown area with large multi-level common areas housing restaurants and lounge areas such as the Public Market Bar. Not hard to see how popular this hotel is with lobbyists and legislators as they carve out very important bills.
We even got to attend a luncheon where Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom was the guest speaker. His captivating delivery of more than 30 minutes kept the attention of all in attendance. Newsom has already announced his intention to run for governor when Jerry Brown steps down. With his background and personality, I would not bet against Newsom. In fact he seems destined for even higher positions down the road. The meeting space where the luncheon was held was very well appointed.
Our room was on the 26th floor, which is also the Sheraton Club floor with access to multiple servings per day in the Club Lounge. Whether it is a quick breakfast or snacks in the evening, this VIP area is well worth the upgrade. The Club Lounge enjoys a panoramic view of downtown as do most of the rooms on this floor. The room had recently been upgraded, and we were greeted with the finest bedding and electronics for our stay. The rooms are tastefully decorated in a Traditional theme with extra touches for the business traveler such as ergonomic chairs and oversized desks.
Sacramento has the finest collection of daily fee courses that I have yet to see in a city environment. Several of them were designed by famed architect Alistair McKenzie. An example of this is the Ancil Hoffman layout just east of town. Fronting a river this tree-lined layout is a classic and was in fantastic shape on this visit. On the private side Del Paso recently hosted the U.S. Senior Open and proved to be up to the test for the best players in the world. Del Paso is just north of town, but all the golf is no more than 20 minutes from the Sheraton. In fact many of the media and top players in the Senior Open stayed on this property.
Staying in Sacramento could be a good fit for a visit to Lake Tahoe either coming or going. Downtown is about two hours to either the North or South Shore, which will lighten the load on a drive from the Santa Barbara area. Both ways in to Lake Tahoe are quite scenic, but the route to the North Shore is a bit easier on larger highways.