The first time I visited Old Sacramento was as a teenager, when my friends and I went to Evangelines to look for a Halloween costume. Now, two decades later, I often drive by Old Sac and am reminded what a special place it is. This state historic park and national historic landmark covers 28 acres on the Sacramento River next to Downtown. The original plank sidewalks, 58 historic buildings, and 19th century architectural details remind us of the city's origins as a hub of the California Gold Rush. Even though some of the buildings are occupied by tacky souvenir shops, the atmosphere and opportunity to learn about local history makes it worth a visit.
Besides walking around Old Sacramento, you can learn more at the old schoolhouse, the Sacramento History Museum, and the California Train Museum. There is an app that allows visitors to take a self-guided tour (link below). Stop in Evangelines for fun shopping. Special tours of the underground are also available through the Old Sacramento Historic Foundation at 101 I St. Free events and festivals often happen on weekends, and rides down the Sacramento River on a historic train are available every hour on weekends April-September at the old depot on Front St. between J & K. Parking is available at 3rd and J or on the streets of Old Sac.