Car-Free Fun at the State Capital
By Tamara Sherman
Map by Chris Dao and Tamara Sherman
The start of the year has been eventful, and for some, stressful. Why not get out of town and take some time for self-care with a short affordable trip? Instead of logging on to the Internet to look for the cheapest plane ticket to Mexico or sitting behind your steering wheel driving for hours, join the slow travel movement, an alternative to air and car travel, where you travel shorter distances, focus on your experiences, and sit back and enjoy the journey. Just a few hours north, Sacramento offers car-free, walkable, outdoor fun and cultural events for all to enjoy.
How to Get There
Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor offers a convenient and comfortable way to get to Sacramento. Just shy of a two-hour ride, you can sit back and enjoy the scenery, catch-up on that novel or study for your next exam. Free carry-on luggage, free WiFi, and all trains are equipped with bicycle racks so you do not have to box your bike. A regular price ticket is $29/one-way, and students (age 12-25) receive 15% off. Children (age 2-12) receive 50% off ticket price, with additional discounts available for seniors (age 62 and up), military personnel, and AAA members. If you don’t want to go alone, Amtrak’s current promotion through June 30, 2017, is to buy one full-fare fare ticket for Saturday travel and get another ticket free.
You can catch the Capitol Corridor from the Emeryville Station, accessed by the free Emery-Go-Round shuttle from MacArthur BART. The Berkeley Station, accessed by AC Transit 51B, FS or G and the Richmond Station accessed from Richmond BART.
Where to Stay
Walking distance from the Amtrak’s Sacramento Station (five blocks), is Hostel International (HI) Sacramento. The Victorian mansion, built in 1885, is located in Old Town and near the downtown and midtown neighborhoods. Dormitory style accommodations starting at $32, not only give you a place to rest but a chance to meet other travelers passing through Sacramento. Single rooms with a twin bed start at $58, double bed and single bunk above start at $69, double room with a double bed start at $76. You get access to a fully equipped kitchen, game room, on-site laundry, free WiFi and a daily light complimentary breakfast.
You can also find an AirBnB shared room, private room or apartment with prices starting at $27-$75; however, not many are within walking distance from Amtrak and downtown.
What to Do
Sacramento Heritage Organization offers self-guided walking tours highlighting historic landmarks, heritage homes and buildings designed by famous architects such as Julia Morgan and Rudolph Herold. You can stroll around the Capitol Mall and take a free tour of the State Capitol Museum.
If you did not bring your bike, you can rent one from Practical Cycles and roll along the Sacramento and American Rivers on the car-free Two Rivers Trail or Jedediah Memorial Trail. Pack a blanket and picnic for your ride and stop off in one of many park areas for lunch.
Take yourself on an art tour and check out local artist pieces at the Artist Collaborative Gallery cooperative then head over to Wells Fargo History Museum and explore the Old Sacramento Historic District. After a day out and about, wet your whistle at The Underground Wine Tasting with one of their red, white, or dessert selections from two local Sierra Foothill wineries. For the beer enthusiast, Big Stump Brew Company has Ale, Stout, Hefeweizen, IPA and Wit on tap.
Love the theater? Check the upcoming shows at the Sacramento Theater Company during your trip to cap-off the evening. Student tickets are $15 and regular weekend tickets are $38.
When to Go
Anytime you need a quick getaway. However, during the summer months, temperatures can range upward of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. April to June or September to November offer cooler weather for your walk-about.
Slow local travel is about appreciating the journey and slowing down to enjoy what is on offer.