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California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento

4.8
#1 of 57 in Things to do in Sacramento
Specialty Museum Museum
Dedicated to the "iron horse" that connected the Golden State to the rest of the country, California State Railroad Museum holds over 20 locomotives and railroad cars. Watch for the large-scale model of the Donner Pass that allowed trains to pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains--it prompts photos from many visitors. Other locomotives outside have been restored to gleaming chrome and dark iron. Book a tour through the railcars, given by costumed train enthusiasts, who explain the mechanics and the lifestyle on the tracks. Make California State Railroad Museum a centerpiece of your Sacramento vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Sacramento tourist route planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
2,144 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • A very neat museum with a large variety of trains that you can walk around and through. The facility is large which make it nice when there are a lot of people it doesn't seem like it. Great education...  more »
  • The Sacramento Train Museum is another one of those something for everyone places. The history of the railroad and the people who made it happen is awe inspiring. The trains in and of themselves show ...  more »
  • Very well done Railroad Museum. Huge building housing several old steam locomotives, displayed extremely well and all in great shape! Toy train area for the kids. Lots of "conductors" around to answer...  more »
Google
  • Great museum full of yesteryear nostalgic railroad locomotives that trekked the beginning tracks of the State of California. I especially enjoyed the stroll through some old Pullman cars. There is also a gallery where young children can play with sets of Thomas the Train & others. And a nice display of older toy train sets. When you are done looking at everything, take a ride on a real locomotive. Just a fun time in Old Town Sacramento!
  • I'm a big museum buff but wasn't sure that I had an interest in trains. The reviews persuaded me to visit and I was overwhelmed at what an amazing museum this is and how informed and welcoming the staff was, especially the volunteers. The building is like an airplane hanger, enormous, which it has to be because it contains many trains. I didn't take a tour, but with some patient reading got the gist of history of why the railroads were built, to connect the west with the east, for commerce. This history is both local and national and I enjoyed learning more about California as I'm from the east coast. I was taken with the in-depth descriptions, not just of the wealthy men who administered the railroads, but of all the workers who built it and later, ran it. It was especially interesting to read about the Chinese workers contribution. Did you know that President Lincoln once worked as a railroad lawyer? His support helped fund the efforts. This is the type of information that the volunteer staff provided. I especially enjoyed Pat Randall's wonderful storytelling skills. Don't miss this museum if you're in the area and consider following a visit at the Firehouse Restaurant which is right down the street. It's not inexpensive, but the food and service were top of the line and it has a great flavor of old Sacramento.
  • My 2yo train lover was in heaven. You get to walk through some old trains and there are toy train sets for the kids to play with upstairs. My only suggestion would be to go in late fall-early spring because July is too hot. It was hard to enjoy the outdoor exhibits and charming old town. But the museum itself has a wonderful AC so if you're in the area during summer, go for it.
  • Not just a train museum, but a museum of the people who built the railroad and contributed to the building of the state. Tours available at no extra charge, a kid's play area with tables filled with Chuggington and Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Flash photography allowed but no tripods. Tickets are good for the entire day with in and out privileges. Bottled water welcome but no food or gum. Nice museum store that supports the museum's non-profit foundation. Great family place.
  • We purchased a membership so we can revisit throughout the year. It's a great place to roam around with the kids and look at trains. The train ride was a great little treat for the kids.

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Where to stay in Sacramento

Sacramento boasts a number of hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts that vary in price and character. Units downtown provide easy access to the majority of the city's attractions and nightlife but tend to be more expensive. If you are flying in or out of the city, consider one of the hotels near Sacramento International Airport for convenience. Vacation rentals are ideal if you are planning a longer stay in the city, with many located in quieter residential neighborhoods.
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