On a wonderful whim, my family and I took a little day trip to Sacramento. From my hometown of Stockton, CA, the drive was a mere 45 minutes, and it was well worth the journey. Living in a different part of the Central Valley for 11 years, I always romanticized Sacramento from watching too much “Even Stevens” and learning about its rich history in the Gold Rush era. In an area as large as California, I find that there are vast differences between each city you visit, even though a city can be just a couple miles away. It almost feels like you’re in a separate state entirely. In the case of Sacramento, there are plenty of amazing sites to see that make a place like Sactown interesting.
Crocker Art Museum
Founded in 1885, this art museum is the first public art museum in the Western United States. Not only that, but a ticket only costs $8 with a student discount. There are exhibits that feature everything from ancient African artifacts and gorgeous 18th century still life paintings to modern sculptures of frog wedding cakes and mechanical bulls. I’m no art buff, but I really loved seeing the variety of artwork on display. While it isn’t exactly The Broad in Los Angeles, Crocker Art Museum has its own abundance of art pieces that are exceptionally Instagram-worthy.
After hours of appreciating fine art, my parents and I worked up quite an appetite. We started our exploration of Old Sacramento at a restaurant called the Indo Cafe, which is a tiny place that serves Indonesian cuisine. The restaurant itself might have been small, but the food had big flavor. I ordered Nasi Kuning, which is a delicious spicy beef dish with tumeric rice, scrambled egg and peanuts with fried anchovy. It’s the perfect place for those with adventurous palettes to try something new.
Evangeline’s Costume Mansion
If you’ve ever wanted to live in Halloweentown in “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” exploring Evangeline’s Costume Mansion is the closest thing you’ll get to that experience. The walls are lined with hundreds of different kinds of masks, costumes, wigs and everything in between. It’s like a Spirit Halloween Store on crack. There’s even an elevator to transport you to each of the three floors. If you aren’t in the mood to do some costume shopping, then there’s an abundance of novelty items and gag gifts to indulge in as well.
This cute little candy store boasts more than 400 fine candies on the sign outside, and it didn’t disappoint. When I walked in, my eyes widened with excitement after purveying the ginormous assortment of sweets. There were barrels and barrels of salt water taffy (including flavors such as Chicken and Waffles and Chile Mango) and classics such as Lemonheads and Chupa Chups. I picked up a little wooden basket and filled it up with some of my favorites. Munchie’s definitely makes you feel like a big kid in a candy store.
Just a short walk from all the shops in Old Sac, the Tower Bridge is a beautiful bridge that sits on the American River. It’s a 160-foot-high behemoth that’s also part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Maybe it isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge, but it has a quirky charm that makes you want to take at least one photo of it in all its glory.
By the time my mom and I got to the California State Capitol near the end of our trip, the tour to check out the interior of the building was closed, but the outside was still a must-see. With its majestic architecture, it’s a historic landmark that truly takes your breath away. If you ever wanted to hop in a car with your friends during the weekend when you come back to Berkeley, Sacramento’s only about a two-hour drive away. I promise you that you’ll have a capital time in Sacramento, no pun intended.
Contact Abigail Balingit at [email protected].