2701 L Street
If you’re passing through the Sacramento Valley on a road trip or family vacation and want to venture beyond the swinging saloon doors and adjustable bar stools of Old Town Sacramento, a visit to Sutter’s Fort State Historical Site makes for a great pit stop.
Located downtown in the heart of Sacramento’s capitol district, Sutter’s Fort has been restored on its original site, allowing visitors to tour past rooms replicating fort life in the 19th century, see working dutch ovens, a blacksmith workshop, and more. Our kids loved the cannons in the towers especially, and there’s a great exhibit on John Sutter himself and his role in the California Gold Rush at the start of the self-guided tour. Rooms and other points of interest include audio stations depicting historical and cultural significance, but many areas also feature live reenactments and living history personnel. There’s a great gift shop (we recommend purchasing and reading Patty Reed’s Doll to your kids to give an age-appropriate retelling of the infamous Donner Party), picnic areas, and street parking. (Extra tip: summer temperatures soar in the valley, so plan to arrive early or do as we did: visit in December!)
Date last visited: December 2010
Admission: Adults $5, youth $3, kids under age 5: free.
Distance from the interstate: Five minutes from both I-5 and I-80.
Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily
Directions: The park is located in midtown Sacramento between K and L Streets and 26th and 28th Streets. Traveling on I-80 from San Francisco, take Business 80/Hwy 50 east. Take the Business 80 exit (north towards Reno) to the N Street turn off. Travel straight on 30th Street then turn left under the freeway at L Street to the Fort which will be located on your right.