California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento

California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento (must see)

Located at the western terminus of the first transcontinental railroad, the Railroad Museum is part of the larger Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Besides the museum, you'll find many restored and reconstructed buildings here from the mid-1800's–California's boom years. There are a train station and depot, hardware store, theater, and various business buildings.

The state park system operates the Railroad Museum. The museum has exhibits that focus not only on the locomotives and rail cars but also on how trains helped develop California and the West. Since Sacramento played such an essential part in the first transcontinental railroad, it's no surprise that time is dedicated to discussing how the east and west coasts were first connected. The Golden Spike exhibit answers all of your questions and more about the completion of that railroad and the famous opening ceremony in 1869.

Other exhibits focus on the importance of railroads to California's agriculture sector and the diverse populations that helped create and used the railroads. There's a section dedicated to kids and young-at-heart so model railroad enthusiasts won't be let down.

Most notably, the museum is home to 19 different locomotives covering the period between 1862 and 1944. The massive machines visually tell the story of the incredible technological developments that occurred during the golden age of rail travel. There are also rail cars from the same time, including passenger, freight, and maintenance cars.

Why You Should Visit

The California State Railroad Museum is about a whole lot more than just trains. Railroads were instrumental in California's connection to the rest of the world and an important component of the state's history. By learning about this romantic form of travel and the technological challenges that came with it, visitors will learn the context of the state's history.

Situated in old town Sacramento, with history all around, the Railroad Museum is a top-pick for many visitors to the area.


Be sure to look into the museum's excursion train ride. The Sacramento Southern Railroad departs on weekends for a trip along the levees of the Sacramento River. The all-volunteer crews take visitors on a trip back in time to the heyday of California train travel.

Opening hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sacramento. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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California State Railroad Museum on Map

Sight Name: California State Railroad Museum
Sight Location: Sacramento, USA (See walking tours in Sacramento)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Sacramento, California

Create Your Own Walk in Sacramento

Create Your Own Walk in Sacramento

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sacramento is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Sacramento Introduction Walking Tour

Sacramento Introduction Walking Tour

Though little evidence is left now, the Sacramento Valley was home to the Modoc, Plains Miwok, and Nisenan Native American tribes for thousands of years before the arrival of the pioneers and the Spanish. John Sutter Sr. settled at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers, land bequeathed to him by the Mexican government in 1839. He had his eyes on creating an agriculture empire. You...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Sacramento Museums Tour

Sacramento Museums Tour

Sacramento boasts a wealth of museums commemorating lots of subjects, from art and railroad to the Gold Rush to California and the city of Sacramento itself. Those keen on all things railway will surely appreciate The California State Railroad Museum – the best of its kind in North America, while the art enthusiasts will take interest in the Crocker Art Museum. Equally fascinating is The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Historical Buildings Walking Tour

The Gold Rush of the mid-1800s brought a large number of gold miners and prospects into the Sacramento area. The city expanded further when California State Legislature moved to Sacramento in 1854. Some of the city’s most historic structures seen today were built during that period to serve the flood of gold seekers and the growing government business. This self-guided tour takes you to see the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles