Old Town Sacramento: What Shops, Restaurants & Museums to Visit

Old Town Sacramento is one of those spots that you have to visit at least once. Sure it is touristy and sometimes over priced, but there is a lot of character in its old streets, saloons and shops. I have been multiple times and each time I stumble on something new to explore. The shops all generally open at 10AM and you can get here via car, train, bus or even boat, so why not go explore?

The first time I visited Old Town Sacramento was much different then I expected, in a good way. I pictured it more like the older areas of San Diego, which still generally resemble the rest of the city; however, for Old Town Sacramento this was far from the case. The area itself resembled more of a cowboy town in the old west. It had a collection of saloons, shops, museums and stores all with a facade from an older era.

We spent the better part of a day walking around the area and exploring its many attractions, here are some of the spots I recommend you check out when exploring Old Town.

Munchies Salt Water Taffy

The candy shop was a great first stop on our tour of Old Town. It had hundreds of flavors of taffy ranging from bacon maple (tasted like pancakes) to frosted cupcakes. All of the candy was in barrels and you could try a sample if you were kind to the lady working there.

They also have other types of candies like rock candy and suckers. I dropped five bucks on assorted taffy and spent the car ride home eating them.

G. Willikers Toy Emporium

I am a kid at heart, so I am never one to shy away from a cool looking toy place. This one was even better than most with its large, controllable train mountain in the back to its arcade Pac Man machine that you could play. There were toys old and new at this shop and I would love to come back and spend more time looking up and down its aisles. I was also a fan of playing with the marionettes and there were many different items I would have loved to have  picked up to have on my desk at work.

The Train Museum

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One of the best museums in all of California, I highly recommend you check it out. There are so many interactive exhibits that engage your senses and help you to explore the railroad history in California, you can read all about it here.

Danny’s Mini Donuts

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No trip to Old Town is complete without stopping in for some cinnamon and sugar donuts at Danny’s. This fun little shop has fantastic funnel cake like donuts that I always splurge for.

Old Wells Fargo Bank Museum

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This small building that once was a bank houses a collection of unique pieces of Sacramento history. By far the most interesting for me was the old drawn picture of what the city looked like over 100 years ago.

Shooting Gallery

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One of my favorite spots in the area is the shooting gallery. Sure it is cheesy, but I always find it fun just to have a competition with friends. It costs a buck or two, and there are a bunch of interactive things you can shoot at.

Delta King

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The Delta King is located at the end of Old Town Sacramento and is a restored old riverboat from 1927. It doesn’t run anymore but it is docked right there, and you can walk on it to explore or to have a meal in the nice restaurant.

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It is also an excellent spot from which to get a view of the Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge at Night

If you happen to be here after the sun goes down, it can be fun to see the Tower Bridge lit up in all its glory.

Old Sacramento Schoolhouse

This little museum is located right in the heart of old town, and it gives students the ability to see what school life was like at the turn of the 20th century.

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There is even a replica one room school-house that is still present and can be explored.

Fanny Ann’s Saloon


The burgers are great, and the saloon itself has five stories of eclectic art with at least two cars hanging from the ceiling and an arcade on the top story. Pictures do not do it justice; you can check out my full review here.

So now you have seen my favorite spots, what are yours? Let me know in the comments what you think about this unique little town and leave recommendations for what I should see next time I visit.

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  • As the owner of The river city Saloon in your top pic., I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. Most of the businesses are owned by owner operators and we love seeing people post about our neighborhood.

  • I also noticed the post about Fanny Ann’s. On your next visit stop by the River City Saloon as well. It was originally established in 1871. And reestablished in 2009.

    • I will check it out for sure. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • peakbagr

    Warning!! Parking fees are a rip off at $13 a day and if you park on the street and get it a ticket it will be $42.50. I suggest you pass this place by unless you believe in supporting fat and lazy bureaucratic pigs in the city of Sacto. Head on over to Virginia City Nevada where there are no fees and a lot more fun things to do. Other options are old Folsom, Nevada City or Grass Valley, Truckee, etc.

    • Holly

      Obviously you have no appreciation for the finer things in life. Generations of history is located all over old town sac and go 2-3 stories below the streets. Get a clue!

  • bertdorf3

    $13 a day is that bad? Seriously? I guess you should just avoid San Francisco entirely your whole life too then, due to $4.00 and hour fee to squeeze your car in a small garage… So where do you take your spouse for your anniversary dinner cheapo? Taco Bell? Old Sac is the historic roots of the capital of the awesome state of California. It’s fun to hang out at and shopping is fun, if you’re not a stress-case over spending cash. Screw the idiot liberal Democrats that run the state… and enjoy each day because someday you’ll be dead, and you don’t get to take your precious dollars with you, peakbagger.

  • Tak Nomura

    I was born in Sacramento in 1935, and lived there until I was 17 years old. We lived on the “wrong side of the tracks,” but walked often to downtown, Sutter’s Fort, Southland Park to fish, and William Land Park. We lived between L Street and Broadway between 2nd and 4th Streets during most of my childhood, and remember going to the Sacramento Solons baseball game. Loved the Crest, Fox, Alhambra and Tower theaters. Even went to see Forrest Tucker when he came to town for his premier at the Crest theater.
    Since leaving Sacramento after graduating from high school, have lived in Chicago, Morocco (USAF), and now Sunnyvale. Have visited Old Sac several times since living here, and enjoy it every time.
    Sad to see several of my childhood friends from Sacramento have passed on.

    • Thanks for the comment and for sharing. I am sure it has changed a lot over the years but it is awesome that you still like visiting!

  • Gryphonisle

    Sacramento is a great example of terrible urban planning—The beautiful railway station is cut off from its tracks and trains and requires a ridiculously long walk from one to the other, and then it and the rest of Sacramento are cut off from Old Town by an ill considered freeway. Rather than integrating Old Town into the fabric of the city, Sacramento has abandoned it’s historic core to tourists in the manner San Francisco has abandoned its Fisherman’s Wharf to the same—where the best views in town are back up to the worst shops and most overpriced food in town. We had a company party at Fanny Annes, and it was fun, hamburgers were decent, beers cold. Otherwise I can’t really recommend Old Town for anything other than a walk about.

    The railway museum is very nice, but tiny–I’m always surprised at how small it is. We also hit the Crocker Museum (2nd and O) for the Diebenkorn exhibit—and I loved it: Museums in San Francisco are hopelessly overcrowded, especially for special exhibits, and even the old ladies are rude—they’ll shove you aside or walk up and stand right in front of you! But not here. We had the entire exhibit almost to ourselves—up close and personal with the art and no jostling or rush.

    I want to spend more time in Sacramento, and take the train to get there, but I need to do more research because Old Town is not a place I want to spend any more time in whatsoever.