Standing tall against Sacramento’s city skyline, the impressive white granite dome of the California State Capitol is beautiful from the outside…but even more interesting once you take a peek inside. The 19th-century structure is the center of the state’s government, and also home to an excellent public museum. It’s here that visitors can glimpse at the inner workings of the state government and learn about California’s extensive history.
The legislative chambers, styled in deep reds and with intricate wood carvings (taking cues from British Parliament,) are equally as important as they are elegant. Don’t miss the stained glass State Seal installed in the ceiling of the hallway leading from the rotunda — it’s stamped onto every bill signed into law in the state. Other details include tile work of state symbols as well as mosaics of the golden poppy, the state flower.
The tree-filled Capitol Park surrounding the structure contains war memorials from nearly every major war, paying tribute to California veterans. Art and history buffs should be sure to see the museum’s excellent permanent collection, which includes many land and seascape paintings, the historic flag collection, antique furnishings, and significant murals and governor portraits.
Located in downtown Sacramento at the intersection of 10th and L Street, the California State Capitol building and museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (from 8 am on weekdays) and is free to enter. Public tours are held on the hour every day from 9 am to 4 pm. Both garage and metered parking at available for a fee, and the Amtrak station is also nearby.