Visiting the California State Capitol
San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego get the most attention when it comes to California cities while Sacramento often gets overlooked. It’s a shame, really, because it’s a lovely city with a lot to offer. Heck! It’s even the state capital! Last fall, while on our epic road trip my family and I spent some time in the city and made sure to visit its most famous landmark – the California State Capitol.
California was ratified as the 31st state in 1850 but it took 4 years to choose a permanent state capital. During that time it moved around the cities of Monterey, San Jose, Vallejo and Benicia before permanently staying put in Sacramento in February of 1854. In 1860, construction began on the beautiful capitol building and it was completed in 1874. Ever since then it’s been the seat of our state government.
Today it sits in the center of the city and is surrounded by the lovely Capitol Park. On our visit we took an early morning walk to the park and spent some time admiring the lush foliage and historic monuments.
The park, which was created concurrently with the building, contains such a huge number of sites that it’s nearly impossible to see them all in one visit. There’s a camellia grove, a trout pond, a rose garden, various war memorials and an outstanding variety of trees. After wandering around for awhile we came upon the building itself and were happy to find it open on a Saturday morning.
Beautifully preserved it’s part museum/part working government building. Once you pass through security you’re free to wander around much of the building. I loved looking at the hallways filled with county exhibits and peaking into historic offices.
But the real piece de resistance is the rotunda.
As stunning as it looks in the photo it’s even more awe-inspiring in person. Rising 128 feet it’s an impressive architectural achievement that’s been wonderfully preserved. In fact, the entire building is wonderfully preserved and contains many unique features.
I could have spent hours wandering around soaking it all in but time is short and we had a lot to see. I must admit capitol buildings are not high on my list when I travel but I may start changing my tune, If they’re anything like California’s I’m sure I’m in for a real treat.