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Sacramento, California's, role in the gold rush of the mid-1840s gave the city its nostalgic charm, but that's just a part of this capital city's appeal. Although historic Old Sacramento re-creates the city's gilded history, modern Sacramento's high-rises, high-tech industry and burgeoning art scene reflect its lively contemporary style. Free Sacramento Vacation Package Quote


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Sacramento's weather is pleasant most of the year, except the hot and dry dog days of summer. That fact, together with the city's location at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, creates plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Activities include white-water rafting and kayaking on the American River, bicycling and running on the spectacular American River Parkway, and boating and fishing on nearby Folsom Lake.


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8-Nights Northern California's Finest

Price: $4,289 - # of Days: 8 days
Southern California may be known for its stars, but northern California is the home of true legends. Despite the absence of paparazzi, you’ll hear countless shutters click as you enjoy a scenic tram ride through stunning Yosemite and coast along Monterey’s jaw-dropping 17-Mile Drive. From the hilly ...

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8-Nights Golden State Of Mind: Northern California By Design

Price: $4,769 - # of Days: 8 days
Head west for a 9-day adventure with the pioneer spirit of Northern California. How will you strike gold in the Golden State? Traipsing through coastal canopies of Redwood trees or touring foodie fun in Frisco? Trekking the trails in Yosemite or treading lightly on the timeless lanes of an old west ...

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Overview

Introduction

Not to be missed, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, is a charming 17th-century riverside town that is a former fortress and contraband port. Just 100 mi/160 km west of Montevideo, it's now a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its distinctive Portuguese colonial architecture and sycamore-shaded streets.

Once a walled city, the old Barrio Historico is a slow-paced hamlet, a place to stroll cobblestoned lanes, linger under palm trees in the park or sit and watch local fishermen cast for the day's catch. It's also home to an increasing number of bed-and-breakfasts, quaint hotels, and sophisticated restaurants and bars.

Tour the fortress walls, lighthouse, municipal museum, the historical museums (Museo Espanol and Museo Portugues) and Uruguay's oldest church, the Iglesia Matriz del Santisimo Sacramento, which dates from 1699.

There's also a crumbling bullring to check out, the only one in the country, at nearby Real de San Carlos (bullfighting was abolished shortly after the ring was built).

And take note of the daily yerba mate ritual—it's quite a spectacle to see so many people, with thermoses beneath their arms, strolling the streets imbibing the traditional herbal tea throughout the day.

Ferries and catamarans connect Colonia del Sacramento quickly and directly with Buenos Aires.

Overview

Introduction

Sacramento, California's, role in the gold rush of the mid-1840s gave the city its nostalgic charm, but that's just a part of this capital city's appeal. Although historic Old Sacramento re-creates the city's gilded history, modern Sacramento's high-rises, high-tech industry and burgeoning art scene reflect its lively contemporary style.

Sacramento's weather is pleasant most of the year, except the hot and dry dog days of summer. That fact, together with the city's location at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, creates plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Activities include white-water rafting and kayaking on the American River, bicycling and running on the spectacular American River Parkway, and boating and fishing on nearby Folsom Lake.

Must See or Do

Sights—The shops, historic buildings and riverfront in Old Sacramento State Historic Park; the California State Capitol Building.

Museums—Restored locomotives at the California State Railroad Museum; the collection of Western landscapes at the Crocker Art Museum.

Memorable Meals—A demonstration dinner at The Kitchen; homemade pasta at Biba; banana cream pie at Frank Fat's; excellent French-California cuisine on the patio of Slocum House.

Late Night—Award-winning microbrews at River City Brewing Company; a glass of wine and people-watching at Public Market Bar; listening to funky blues at the Torch Club.

Walks—An after-dinner stroll in the fresh air along the Old Sacramento Riverfront; a self-guided walking tour through architecturally distinct Midtown; hiking or biking the verdant American River Parkway.

Especially for Kids—Living History Days at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park; a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield; the Sacramento Zoo, Funderland and Fairytale Town at William Land Park.

Geography

Part of a large interior California valley, Sacramento is bordered on the west by the Sacramento River, on the north by the American River and on the east by the Sierra foothills. It's a flat city with no tall landmarks.

Downtown is laid out in a grid pattern. Old Sacramento is located west of Interstate 5 and east of the Sacramento River. First Street (also known as Front Street) runs north-south along the western edge of downtown, parallel and adjacent to the Sacramento River. Numbered streets (Second Street, Third Street, etc.) run north-south and increase as you head east (away from the Sacramento River). Lettered streets run east-west, with B Street at the north end of downtown and W Street at the southern end, just north of Highway 50. The state Capitol is at 11th Street, between L and N streets. Most of the city's downtown attractions are clustered on or around J Street. Midtown, a smaller area east of downtown, is home to many restaurants and Sutter's Fort. It begins just east of the Capitol, at approximately 16th Street, and extends east to 29th Street.

History

For centuries, the area where Sacramento now sits was populated by the Nisenan, Miwok, Shonommey and Maidu Indians. They lived undisturbed for thousands of years before a smallpox epidemic made their tribes vulnerable. Around 1808, the Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga discovered the valley and named it Sacramento (the Spanish word for sacrament).

The City of Sacramento dates back to 1839, when Swiss immigrant John Sutter received a Mexican land grant of about 48,000 acres/19,000 hectares and founded a trading post called New Helvetia, now known as Sutter's Fort. In 1848, at the same time Sutter's settlement was establishing a foothold in the region, gold was discovered by Sutter's employee, James Marshall, near the south fork of the American River. The California gold rush was on. More than a half million immigrants from around the world descended on the town. Sacramento fed, clothed and supplied the gold seekers, and the community profited immensely. Although it was devastated by fires and floods, the city was named the state capital in 1854 and became the final stop on the Pony Express delivery service.

The city also gave birth to the transcontinental railroad. The gold rush helped make Sacramento the headquarters for some of the most influential men in the Old West. Collis P. Huntington, Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford and Mark Hopkins—the "Big Four"—along with Theodore Judah, charted the route. Today, you can visit the hardware store where they discussed their plans. The completion of the route in 1869 linked Sacramento with the rest of the country.

With the railroad and the Sacramento Valley's fertile fields, the area became a major produce supplier, especially after the invention of refrigerated boxcars that carried perishable goods to distant markets. Fruit canning also became an important industry. Tomatoes were the principal crop and remain so today.

The prosperity in the surrounding valley exacerbated the decay of downtown Sacramento. By the mid-20th century, downtown's west end (including Old Sacramento) had become a skid row. City leaders developed a plan to reverse the trend, and eventually more than 100 buildings in the neighborhood were renovated. Today, the restored buildings of Old Sacramento are a state historic park and one of the city's top tourist attractions. Like other parts of northern California, Sacramento is also home to a cluster of high-tech companies.

Potpourri

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger still calls Los Angeles his home, but he works in Sacramento three days a week, residing in a suite at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Arnold-spotting has turned into a local sport, and he can sometimes be found working out at the Capital Athletic Club or enjoying a salad at the Esquire Grill. Tourists to the Capitol can catch a glimpse of his special cigar-smoking tent set up in an enclosed courtyard near his office.

Sacramento is home to the world's largest almond-processing plant, which handles 12 million lbs/5.5 million kg of almonds a day during the growing season. Almonds are California's largest food export, marketed to more than 90 countries.

Tomatoes are a main crop in Sacramento, and each summer, the freeways are filled with open-air trucks hauling them to canning factories. The frequency of spilled tomatoes on the highways has earned Sacramento the unofficial nickname of Sacra-tomato.

A former Sacramento air traffic controller, Fred L. Worth, published The Trivia Encyclopedia in 1974. The book and subsequent volumes were so popular that they led to the development of the board game "Trivial Pursuit" in the early 1980s.

The actual rush of people to the Sacramento area during the Gold Rush of 1848 was the largest human migration in recorded history.

The first Pony Express route, which started in 1860, was between Sacramento and St. Joseph, Missouri.

The Sacramento River is 20% longer than the Rio Grande.

Sacramento is the birthplace of a number of famous people, including author Joan Didion (1934), actor Sam Elliott (1944), comedian Brian Posehn (1966), actress Molly Ringwald (1968) and Tom Hanks' actor son, Colin Hanks (1977).


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