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The Governor's Mansion in Sacramento, CA
The Governor's Mansion in Sacramento, CA | © Robert Cutts / Flickr
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Where to Find Sacramento’s Most Impressive Buildings

Picture of Gwen Purdom
Updated: 4 April 2018
The Sacramento skyline might not get the screen time of its more widely recognizable neighbors to the south, but California’s capital city is crowded with historic houses, sleek contemporary towers, and other architectural standouts.

With its diverse population and its backstory as a major hub of the 19th-century Gold Rush, Sacramento has been shaped by a multitude of cultural influences, and those forces shine through in the buildings that make up the city today. Here are five of the city’s most striking structures.

Elks Tower

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Elks Tower in Sacramento, CA
Elks Tower in Sacramento, CA | © Tom Hilton / Flickr
The 14-story brick-and-steel tower at the corner of Sacramento’s 11th and J Streets was once the city’s tallest structure. Completed in 1926 to serve as the meeting hall for the Sacramento Elks organization, the building now is home to a popular top-floor restaurant and a sought-after venue for weddings and other events. The owner proposed a plan to transform parts of the tower into an upscale casino and card room in 2016, but so far, legal obstacles have gotten in the way of that proposal moving forward. Inside, the building features a newly renovated ballroom space and sweeping views of the city. Outside, it’s a sophisticated historic landmark that stands apart from the newer and less charming buildings around it.
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California State Capitol

Building, Museum
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California State Capitol
California State Capitol | © Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

Sacramento wasn’t the state’s first capital city—that was San Jose—but the California governing body moved there in 1854, and its grand new headquarters was completed in 1874. Visitors can check out the sprawling neoclassical-style building every day of the week and learn more about its history in its museum. As the seat of California’s government, the Capitol gives off an air of importance inside and out.

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Mon - Sun:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Free


Indoors, Photo Opportunity, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark, Touristy

Crocker Art Museum

Art Gallery, Art Museum
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