Sacramento may be a bustling metropolis, but its location nestled in the heart of California’s farmland has helped make it America’s farm-to-fork capital. Sacramento is the fourth largest sushi rice producer in the world and even exports to Japan.
It wasn’t always a city so focused on incredible food, though. In the mid 1800s, the Gold Rush fueled it. Head to the Old Sacramento Waterfront, a state historic park which has preserved the city’s past. You’ll find shops, restaurants, candy stores and even a comedy club housed in original and restored buildings. But to really experience this city’s past, take an Old Sacramento Underground Tour with the Sacramento History Museum. The city was raised almost a story in the 1860s after repeated flooding, but parts of the original city still remain underground.
Next, it’s time to learn what farm-to-fork really means. Pioneered by the owners of Sacramento’s Michelin star restaurant, the Kitchen, you’ll find an unmatched enthusiasm for local ingredients everywhere you go. At the Waterfront, you’ll find them in everything from the dishes on Rio City Café’s beautiful patio to the fine-dining menu at the Firehouse. Book a room at the Residence Inn Downtown, so you’ll have a kitchen, and fill your bags with produce at one of the city’s 28 farmers markets.
Don’t get so caught up in the food that you forget Sacramento’s incredible libation scene. Mornings are best spent at Old Soul Co. to experience the coffee that catalyzed Sacramento’s roasting movement. When you’re ready for an adult beverage, head 15 minutes out of town to the award-winning Bogle Vineyards, which flies under most people’s radar. More of a beer drinker? Sacramento has more than 70 craft breweries.
After tasting your way through the city, it’s time to get a look at where all those incredible ingredients come from. The Sacramento River Fox Train will take you on a 2.5 hour journey along the river through the area’s gorgeous farmland. With themed rides for the family like a Wild West Show, and speciality rides for adults like the beer or wine trains, you’ll find something for every taste.
“Book one of the rides in the evening to see the sunset over the agricultural areas,” says Visit Sacramento’s chief marketing officer, Sonya Bradley. “It’s so beautiful and you can take advantage of our nice weather in an open car.”
The culmination of the city’s farm-to-fork movement, however, is the Farm-to-Fork Street Festival held in late September. The Friday and Saturday event drew 155,000 people in 2019 and stretched more than five city blocks including farmers, grocers, live music, restaurants, wine, beer, cider and more.
Learn more at VisitSacramento.com.