Family Fun in Sacramento: Crocker Art Museum and the California Museum

Our family visits Sacramento often, usually to meet up with family and friends, to see a show, or to attend an event. We don't tend to go to Sacramento as tourists, even though California's capital city is packed with awesome places to visit (including, of course, the Capitol). You could easily spend a full day just in Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum, and doing the Urban Adventure Quest

But don't plan on just one day in Sacramento - there is so much more to see! We took advantage of one of our newly-unscheduled days to explore two of Sacramento's most popular museums. Because I blog about educational travel, we received comped admission for one of the attractions we visited. 

We started our morning at the Crocker Art Museum.  

You know how much I love art museums, but I hadn't been to the Crocker since before their massive expansion in 2010. Wow! I was blown away. It's a beautiful museum, with so much to see.


This is made from colored pencils. It's stunning and looks different from every angle. 

This piece is very interesting. The red image that is stamped on the world map is the United States minus the states that voted Democrat (blue). 

This is part of a huge piece. It's 'painted' in plastic extruded from a 3-D pen. The level of detail is stunning. 

The special exhibit currently at the Crocker is Lee Alexander McQueen and Ann Ray Rendez-vous. It is well worth a visit to the Crocker just to see it. 

If you're not familiar with those names, McQueen was a famous fashion designer and Ray was the person he trusted to photograph both his work and himself. 


We watched the outstanding film McQueen (affiliate link) a few years ago, so we were familiar with him and his story. Seeing his stunning garments on display was great. My favorite is the green dress below, made from glass beads and feathers. 

The whole exhibit was outstanding, but the icing on the top was the interactive room. Here, you could try on costumes and walk the runway...

... identify different fabrics...

... play a memory game with different patterns used in fabrics, and create your own fashions and sketch them. 


We had a wonderful time at the Crocker. What a treasure it is! I will make a point not to let so many years go by before I return. 

Our next destination was less than a mile away and we had a break during the rain, so we walked. We came across some downed limbs here and there, but overall it was a really nice walk through the R St. Historic District

The area is the location of the first southern flood levee in Sacramento. 

We were hoping to eat a late lunch at the popular Fox and Goose, but alas it was too popular. The wait time for a table was over 45 minutes. 

We ate at a nearby vegan restaurant, which was the only place open within an easy walking distance. It was... fine. Mostly. The fries, onion rings, and sodas were fantastic. The rest... less so. 

Our next stop was at the California Museum

The California Museum is home to the California Hall of Fame

Inductees include a wide variety of Californians, including Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Dr. Seuss, Billie Jean King, Rita Moreno, George Lucas, Charles Schultz, and dozens of other names you'd recognize. From athletes to astronauts and tastemakers to trailblazers, the California Hall of Fame is truly a who's who of the Golden State. 

When Walt Disney was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, three Mickey Mouse statues were given to the museum. 


Permanent exhibits at the California Museum focus on the state's indigenous population, mission history, Gold Rush, and more.  

Other exhibits look at women in California. The Unity Center celebrates the incredible diversity of our state. 

In trying to see the Constitution Wall, I opened a door on the second floor labeled Emergency Exit Only, which I didn't notice until the siren started blaring throughout the museum. Oops. I've never done that before. When you view the Wall, do so from the ground floor. 

We went home for dinner, but we have a lot of favorite restaurants in Sacramento that we whole-heartedly recommend. Cafeteria 15L is on the north side of the Capitol, which is itself an easy walk from the California Museum. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at both the Crocker Art Museum and the California Museum. We definitely recommend a visit, whether you're local or visiting Sacramento from somewhere else. Sacramento gets short-changed as a tourist destination because of nearby San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite, but it's a great city with lots to see and do. Our day playing tourist there made me appreciate even further how lucky we are to live nearby. 

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