Arts & Culture

Adventure Into The Past At Gold Rush Days

Emily Bosh

Whether you’re a Sacramento native or a recent transplant you’ve probably heard about the endearing tradition where Old Sacramento is transformed back to it’s gold rush era – you know, the good ‘ole days when people had no AC, rode horses and bought eggs for $5 apiece.  After a one year hiatus, Gold Rush Days returns Labor Day weekend and offers a variety of family friendly festivities. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your adventure into the past!

GRD 2_gun fight

Watch a gun fight and strike it rich!

With gun shows 3-4 times a day, gold panning in Tent City (our reenactment of life in the day of a mining town) horse drawn carriage rides, live music, train and boat excursion rides and plenty of other entertainment, you won’t be bored for a minute.

GRD carriage

Streets are for parking horses, not cars

In order to really be authentic, the whole historic district of Old Sac closes its streets to traffic for the weekend. We cover J St with dirt so that the Pony Express can race in with the mail and we let our horse carriages become the only transportation on the streets! That means you need to park in either the Tower Bridge Garage or Old Sacramento Garage, or find alternative methods of transportation – think walking, biking, you know the drill.

BRD beerFoodies welcome

With over 30 eateries in Old Sac and added food vendors for the weekend like the Save Mart Farmers Market & BBQ Patio, you’ll want to sample everything! Grab some sarsaparilla in Tent City, lick an ice cream cone from Frozen in Time or sit down for a 5 star meal at The Firehouse. No matter your preference or budget, Gold Rush Days is a must for foodies.

GRD_movieGold Rush Days – and night

Stick around for evening activities in the district all weekend! The 21+ crowd can enjoy the legendary Gold Rush Beer Crawl on Friday night boasting, ‘“9 bars, 9 beers, 10 bucks.” Dance under the stars Saturday night at the Country Western Dance Party on 2nd St. Then catch an outdoor movie showing of the classic Western musical, “Paint Your Wagon” on both Saturday and Sunday night.

Kids not required 

Yes, we market ourselves as family-friendly because we love kids! But, Gold Rush Days is definitely all-ages-friendly, adults included. Did we mention we have a beer crawl on Friday night?

Photo Credit|Santiago Orosco @glasseye241
Photo Credit | Santiago Orosco @glasseye241

Don’t wear heels, ladies (or gentlemen if you roll that way)

Yes, we know they make your legs look fabulous. But have you seen our boardwalks, cobblestones and dirt? Nix the heels and wear some flats so you can make that walk from the car and around the district more enjoyable. We promise, your legs still look amazing.

Make a weekend of it

Entertainment changes daily, evening activities abound and let’s be honest, one gun fight just isn’t enough. Come back multiple times over the weekend and make the most of the festivities. Traveling from out of town and want to stay the weekend? Be right in the action at one of these local hotels:

Delta King Riverboat | Old Sacramento | 916.444.5464

Vagabond Inn Executive | Old Sacramento | 916.446.1481

Embassy Suites | Sacramento Riverfront Promenade | 916.326.5000

Holiday Inn | Sacramento Capitol Plaza | 916.446.0100