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September 9th, 2023

Discover Sacramento’s Must-Visit Museums & Historic Sites

Did you know there are 32 museums and historic sites in the Sacramento area, covering everything from art to aerospace, railroads, history, science, a children’s museum, and more. Each institution offers unique things to do, learn and experience, including special exhibitions, beautiful historic parks, literary lectures, play programs for children with special needs, interactive STEM activities, field trips, and even Happy Hours. Cap off your visit at a museum store, where you’ll find a curated selection of books, gifts, collectibles, and memory-making souvenirs. Here is Cyrene At Meadowlands‘ list of favorite places to start your museum journey, with something fun for everyone.

California State Capitol Museum in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

California State Capitol Museum 1315 10th St. Sacramento, CA 95814

Want to rub elbows with California’s most influential decision-makers? The California State Capitol is a living museum available to the general public ever since the State Capitol building opened its doors in Sacramento in 1869. Museum exhibits and historical items offer a glimpse into California’s political past while the rest of the building acts as a window into the present. In 1863, California Governor Leland Stanford envisioned a Victorian garden “with a beauty and luxuriousness that no other capitol can boast” surrounding the California State Capitol. Covering forty acres, today the Capitol Park contains species of plant life from nearly every part of the globe and is home to a plethora of memorials and monuments.

Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

Crocker Art Museum 216 O St. Sacramento, CA 95814

The Crocker Art Museum was created to house the art collected by the Crocker family on a long trip through Europe in the 1870s, with the goal to becoming the cultural hub of Sacramento. Today’s Crocker Art Museum is housed in a building that has two distinct wings: the Victorian house built in 1873, and the new Teal Pavilion, which opened in 2010. Known for its collection of California Impressionist art, German drawings, and everything ranging from contemporary to antiquity, the Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art, and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to augment its collections, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, children’s activities, and more. 

California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

California State Railroad Museum 125 I St. Sacramento, CA 95814

The California State Railroad Museum is regarded as the best of its kind in North America, and is the biggest draw for visitors in the Sacramento region. Home to 225,000 square feet of exhibits and beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives, the museum tells the story of the transcontinental railroad, the heyday of rail travel and more, with plenty of vintage train cars and engines that can be walked through, along with other interactive exhibits which illustrate railroad history in California and the West.

Sacramento Children’s Museum in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

Sacramento Children’s Museum 2701 Prospect Park Dr. Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

The mission of the Sacramento Children’s Museum is to spark a passion for life-long learning. by providing a place where children are encouraged to think for themselves, expand their problem-solving abilities through creative exploration, and exercise both their bodies and their minds. Programs include field trips, science & STEM activities, story time, and Sensory play, a fully accessible program for children with any special needs, including those on the autism spectrum, their siblings and friends. 

Aerospace Museum of California in McClellan, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

Aerospace Museum of California 3200 Freedom Park Dr. McClellan, CA 95652

The Aerospace Museum of California celebrates the history of aviation and aerospace and inspires future generations of explorers. With interactive STEM exhibits and hundreds of artifacts on site, aerospace fans of all ages can explore and pilot their own adventure. The Museum features a 40,000 square foot exhibit hall, over 40 historic aircraft and rockets, a 4-acre outdoor Air Park, incredible traveling exhibits, and free parking. A Smithsonian Affiliate and member of North American Reciprocal Museum Associate, the Aerospace Museum is truly a place where dreams take flight.

 California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

California Automobile Museum 2200 Front St. Sacramento, CA 95818

The California Automobile Museum has a collection of over 150 classic cars, race cars, muscle cars and early models displayed throughout 72,000 square feet of museum space. Apart from their regular exhibits, they have a rotating exhibit that changes every 3-4 months with a different theme each time. They also offer a  Car Club Cavalcade area where they invite a local car club to display some of their cars each month. Other events include Sunday Drives, Fall Craft Fair, Evening with the Authors, and Cruisefest, the Sacramento area’s premier car cruise. You can also donate your vehicle to the museum to help fund their educational courses, community programs, exhibits, and more.

SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity 400 Jiboom St. Sacramento, CA 95811

Introducing Sacramento’s newest science center: SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity, or simply MOSAC. The museum piques curiosity and sparks imagination in guests of all ages with hands-on interactive exhibits and programming that explore the wonders of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The over 100 exhibits  address global and local issues on topics relating to energy, health, water, nature, space, and design engineering. The state-of-the-art planetarium theater screens a variety of spectacular star shows and feature films. Come to MOSAC for a glass of wine and a salmon run at the monthly MOSAC Mixer. They pour and you explore.

California State Indian Museum in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

California State Indian Museum 2618 K St. Sacramento, CA 95816

Opened in 1940, the State Indian Museum depicts three major themes of California Indian life: Nature, Spirit, and Family. Native peoples lived prosperously for thousands of years in what is now California. All of the exhibits and photographs on display in the museum are presented with respect for those who went before us on this land and continue to live in California communities today. Cultural items include traditional baskets, a redwood dugout canoe, ceremonial regalia, beadwork, and hunting & fishing tools, some of which are more than twenty-four hundred years old. There is also an exhibit depicting the life of Ishi, reputedly the last survivor of the Yahi tribe, illustrating how Native culture was powerfully impacted and forever changed when outsiders arrived. 

 California Museum in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

California Museum 1020 O St. Sacramento, CA 95814

The California Museum engages, educates and enlightens people about California’s rich history, diverse population and unique influence on the world of ideas, innovation, the arts and culture. Through interactive and engaging exhibits and programs, the Museum inspires visitors to make a mark on history. Long term signature exhibits include the official California Hall of Fame, California Indians: The First People, California Missions: A Journey Along the El Camino Real, California’s Remarkable Women, Constitution Wall, Health Happens Here, and Uprooted! Japanese Americans During WWII. In addition, temporary exhibits are also open throughout the year. 

 Leland Mansion State Historical Park in Sacramento, CA not far from Cyrene at Meadowlands in Lincoln, California

Leland Mansion State Historical Park 800 N St. Sacramento, CA 95814

The Leland Stanford Mansion is a stunning example of the splendor and elegance of the Victorian era in California.  Leland Stanford, former California governor, railroad tycoon, and founder of Stanford University, purchased what would become this opulent mansion for $8,000 in 1861. A recent restoration has recaptured the mansion’s Victorian grandeur. On your tour of the 19,000-square-foot Mansion you will see 17-foot ceilings, gilded mirrors and exquisitely detailed carved moldings, beautifully restored woodwork, elegant 19th century crystal and bronze light fixtures, and historic paintings. Serving as the governor’s office prior to the opening of the State Capitol, today it is the State’s official location for diplomatic and protocol receptions, but non-diplomats can enjoy its grandeur on daily tours.

Photo Credits:

Photo #1: Crocker Art Museum

Photo #2: California Beaches

Photo #3: Visit Sacramento

Photo #4: California State Railroad Museum

Photo #5: Sacramento Children’s Museum

Photo #6: Aerospace Museum of California

Photo #7: California Automobile Museum

Photo #8: Visit Sacramento

Photo #9: California State Indian Museum

Photo #10: California Museum

Photo #11: Leland Mansion State Historical Park






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