(Last UPDATED 6/23/2022) Description of the Old Sacramento Waterfront, a Gold Rush-era national and state historic landmark. NEW: See “Update” below.
The 2021 July 4th weekend was very special for me. My daughter was visiting for the weekend and this was our first “in-person” visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic! We spent a very laid-back weekend – and enjoyed every minute of it.
One day during the holiday weekend we decided that lunch along the river sounded appealing, so we headed to the Old Sacramento Waterfront.
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Old Sacramento Waterfront
A few years ago the City rebranded “Old Sacramento” by adding the descriptive term “Waterfront”. A large neon sign with the name of the district, visible from Interstate 5, is in the works. The sign will be located atop the world-class California State Railroad Museum. (See Update below)
See related blog post: California State Railroad Museum
The Old Sacramento Waterfront is home to numerous historic Gold Rush-era buildings and historic sites. Historic buildings include the 1849 Eagle Theatre, 1853 B.F. Hastings Building, and the 1855 Big Four Building. Cobble streets and wooden sidewalks add to the Gold Rush-era ambiance.
Old Sacramento was also the western terminus of the:
- Pony Express postal system
- First transcontinental railroad
- First transcontinental telegraph
Museums, restaurants (cafes, deli’s, full service), bars and assorted retail shops, are among the various other amenities. Museums include the California Automobile Museum, Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, and the Sacramento History Museum.
Old Sacramento Waterfront entertainment options include:
- train ride excursion
- river cruise
- tour of underground spaces that had in the distant past been street level
See related blog post: Underground After Hours Tour
The Old Sacramento Waterfront is also the perfect venue for a variety of local events and festivals.
Lunch on the River
My daughter and I did not have reservations but luckily we were immediately seated at Rio City Café – our first choice for lunch that day. We chose to be seated outdoors on the large patio adjacent to the river so that we could enjoy the weather and view while we dined. It was a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze.
I opted for a lunch salad (Asian Chicken Salad) and my daughter was drawn to the Prime Rib Chilaquilles on the brunch menu. Additionally, we each ordered a glass of wine to celebrate our special weekend.
Old Sacramento Waterfront Ferris Wheel
After a leisurely lunch, we decided to take a ride on the Waterfront Ferris Wheel ($6) currently located on the plaza in front of Rio City Café. I was very interested to see the view from the top and snap a picture or two.
We were both glad we took advantage of the opportunity to ride the Ferris Wheel. My current understanding is that both the Ferris Wheel and the carousel will remain in place through the end of the year.
To Sum Up
In short, the Old Sacramento Waterfront is both an educational and fun place to spend a day enjoying all it has to offer.
(6/23/2022) Earlier this week the long anticipated signage for the Old Sacramento Waterfront made its debut! The huge sign was created by Sacramento’s Pacific Neon Company utilizing a neon alternative. The sign, using only 7.7 amps, will be lit from sunset to sunrise.
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