What is the Capital of California?

Sacramento Downtown by the river and tower bridge
Sacramento Downtown by the river and tower bridge

California is renowned for its rich history and dazzling entertainment scene, but if you’ve never been there before, you may find yourself wondering: what is the capital of California?

The capital city of the state of California is Sacramento. Sacramento was the fifth capital of California until 1869, when it was briefly replaced by San Francisco. However, since its re-establishment in 1869, Sacramento has been the capital beloved for a selection of excellent eateries, breweries, bike paths, historical centers, cannabis manufacturing, and large homes!

In this article, we’ll not only explore where California’s capital is located, but the brief history of Sacramento, the reason it was chosen to be the capital, and the best places to visit in the area!

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Where Is The Capital of California Located?

Where is Sacramento on a map
Where is Sacramento on a map

The capital of California, Sacramento, is a city situated right at the junction of the American River and the Sacramento River in California. This is in the northern area of the central part of California.

The Sacramento Valley, near which the city is located, is a type of flat grassland. Sacramento itself is located on flat terrain. The state it is located in, California, is on the Western coast of the United States, a part of the continent called the Americas.

Brief History of Sacramento

Panoramic Aerial View of Sacramento Downtown, river and tower bridge.
Panoramic Aerial View of Sacramento Downtown, river and tower bridge.

Understanding Sacramento is impossible without some knowledge of its history! According to the city’s website, Sacramento’s first settlers were the Maidu people, who came to the valley in the 1770s. Afterward, a Swiss explorer named John Sutter came to the same region and set up the first colony of Switzerland there.

From this moment onward, Sacramento was established firmly as a place for American pioneers to settle down and contribute to the agricultural boom. In 1849, the Gold Rush started, causing Sacramento’s farmlands to be swarmed with those looking to mine gold and seek their fortunes. This was where the majority of the city’s population grew to around 100,000!

Sacramento was one of the very first cities in all of the West to have a paid fire department in 1860. One of it’s most notable landmarks has been the Tower Bridge, which features on plenty of Sacramento postcards and was built in 1934.

Nowadays, Sacramento’s California State Capitol building is a key fixture in the Downtown district of the city. It is large and profitable enough to be compared to San Francisco and LA, but still quaint in architecture and community.

When Did Sacramento Become The Capital Of California?

Sacramento did not become the capital of California officially until 1879. However, the legislature of the city was established there in 1842 unofficially. Thanks to intense flooding in 1862, the capital was briefly moved to San Francisco. It remained there until the end of the year, when it returned to Sacramento and has been there to this day!

Why Is Sacramento The Capital Of California?

Dawn over the landmarks of West Sacramento
Dawn over the landmarks of West Sacramento

Sacramento is the Capital of California for a few key reasons. The first is that it was one of the first cities in the state. The second reason was that it became the hub for much of the Gold Rush’s resulting businesses and economy. Finally, the third reason was thanks to the same reason you or I might choose to settle somewhere: location, location, location!

Sacramento is inland enough to be defended from ocean-based attack, but not too far from the Pacific Coast for trade to occur. After the Gold Rush, Sacramento was not only well-known, but firmly established by the time the state needed to choose where their legislature would reside.

Best Places To Visit In Sacramento

If you’re on your way to California, you’re sure to have a better time if you know what’s worth seeing and experiencing! In that interest, here is a list of the best places to visit in Sacramento!

  1. The State Capitol Building – The State Capitol building is distinct for it’s huge dome and the beautiful Capitol Park it rests in. Built in 1869, the place offers free tours. Inside, you can enjoy not only seeing firsthand how the state government operates, but several portraits of famous faces like Arnold Schwarzenegger and mosaic art!
  2. Canon – This restaurant is renowned for its melting-pot experience. The cuisine ranges from Mexican to North Africa and Southeast Asian. It offers shared plates and is especially famous for its Potato Flautas, a sweet potato cinnamon roll, and mole-topped tater tots!
  3. Old Sacramento – If you’re into history, you won’t want to miss exploring this 170 year-old historical area! Here you’ll find the California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento History Museum, and even a Central Pacific Railroad station for a train ride! The sidewalks are wooden and the streets are cobblestone, looking a lot like a western film!
  4. The Sawyer by Kimpton – This modern hotel is a wonder to be seen! It contains a tasty steakhouse, a rooftop lounge, a lobby wine hour, and even a bowling alley. It is inclusive of pets, contains spa treatments for guests, and of course, offers a large swimming pool! If you’re planning on staying in Sacramento, The Sawyer by Kimpton is a great option.
  5. Ruhstaller Tap Room – California is known for its breweries, but fewer cities in the state can boast as great a tap room as Sacramento’s Ruhstaller Tap Room! This place is styled like a speakeasy, requiring guests to ring a doorbell before climbing stairs and enjoying great drinks like the Ruhstaller 1881 red ale, a free pool table, and cozy atmosphere.
  6. California Automobile Museum – This car museum was established in 1987 and holds over 140 vehicles from the 1800s to the early 80’s! A free tour is offered, but anyone who enjoys seeing antique vehicles is free to peruse the gallery as long as they like and benefit from the free parking.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, California’s capital is Sacramento, located in the northern-central area of the state and home to beautiful breweries and museums. Though Sacramento is the fifth capital California has had, it’s great economy and advantageous location make it the longest-standing capital for the state.

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!