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“Nice place to visit, especially on a hot day.”

California State Capitol and Museum
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US$39.00*
and up
Sacramento Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Ranked #3 of 173 things to do in Sacramento
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This 19th-century granite building, modeled after the U.S. Capitol, is home to the California Legislature and houses a public museum.
Reviewed 1 August 2014

The capitol building is very impressive. 1/2 historical museum, 1/2 modern government at work. Many of the historical office rooms have been left as they were originally. Very nice capitol grounds. The capitol mall is pretty walk to Old Sacramento and then on to the Raley Baseball Park.

Thank bglockwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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647 - 651 of 1,152 reviews

Reviewed 28 July 2014

Although born and raised in central California, I had never been to the state Capitol. On a recent 6 state road trip, my husband and I decide to stop and see it. The building was beautiful, both inside and out. We didn't take a guided tour - instead opting to wander through the halls on our own. We were pleasantly surprised at how open to the public it was. There were only a few areas that were "off limits," and there was plenty of posted information for us to read. I'm sure a guided tour would have provided more detailed and personal history, but I don't think it was necessary. As we explored the building, friendly staff and security were happy to answer our questions and direct us toward points of interest.

On a side note, we were very pleased to see the government doing it's part to conserve water. Although the surrounding gardens are still very pretty, many areas are not being irrigated and the fountains are dry.

Thank Derek K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2014

The State Capitol building is beautiful! I couldn't take my eyes off and admired its great architecture for a long time! The museum is very informative, giving good details of the state history.
As for the staff, I guess they're the nicest people I have ever come across!!! I entered the building with a pizza box in one hand and a bottle of coca cola in the other! I thought the security at the entrance would confiscate the eatables but NO, they did NOT! Amazing, isn't it? Then, since me and my sister were curiously reading the history pictures and feminism posters, we were told by one of the staff members that the assembly session is in progress and we could attend it! We didn't know the way, so he warmly escorted us through the elevator. And another staff personnel who was standing outside the door which took us to the gallery welcomed us so warmly. We attended the session for some time, it was an amazing experience! I shall most definitely visit it again, if Lord wills! Amen! :)

1  Thank Senorita_ifa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2014

Less than one hour tour of the capitol with a talk about California history. Was geered towards school age kids as it is summer time. I don't think the kids were too bored. Takes a lot to entertain kids these days. The capitol building is beautiful inside.
Worth the visit.

Thank Charesef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014

We have made the trip many times over the years until my kids suggested that we take a tour.

To summarize this trip in a few sentences, the capitol looks like the "White house" in appearance. A tour inside and out was interesting as well as informative and I think our kids had a great learning experience in politics.

The “Capitol” grounds itself is beautiful to just walk around and admire the building and especially the “Police Officer’s Memorial” which is always a moving experience for me. After serving 32 years in law enforcement, I am glad to see a memorial such as the one here in Sacramento!

In 1850, the immigration of thousands of "Forty-niners" in search of gold prompted California's admission as the 31st state into the Union, thus creating the need for a state capital.

Even after Sacramento became the permanent seat of California's government in 1854, there were several unsuccessful efforts to relocate the Capitol to Oakland (1858-59), San Jose (1875-78, 1893, 1903), Berkeley (1907), and Monterey (1933-41).

In 1860, California has a permanent seat of government and cities vied for the opportunity to house the state capital for the power, prestige, and economic benefit that accompanied it.

• 4 capitol buildings existed in other cities before Sacramento became the permanent site.

December 4, 1860, groundbreaking for the Capitol started but construction took nearly 14 years and several administrations to complete the effort.

In 1869, the Capitol was partially completed and able to accommodate the Legislature and several state officers including the Governor.

In 1871, the Capitol was almost completed but recurring obstacles hindered a speedy completion, i.e., funds, floods, construction problems, and political fights.

In 1874, the Capitol was completed at a cost of $2.5 million. The original budget provided in 1860 was $100,000.

In 1864, Ruben Clark (one of its principal architects) was committed to a Stockton mental institution where he died in 1866. According to hospital's files, the cause of insanity was diagnosed as "continued and close attention to the building of the State Capitol in Sacramento."

The lack of a continuous and adequate funding source for the construction of the Capitol frequently hindered progress. Building progressed until funds ran out, then stopped until the next legislative session.

On January 9, 1860, in his annual address to the Legislature, Governor John B. Weller addressed the funding issue. From this original estimate of $100,000, the price tag eventually grew to $2.5 million.

In December of 1861, heavy rains and flooding from breaks in a levee of the American River created problems for the Capitol building project.

On January 6, 1862, the Legislature convened in the midst of this deluge and 4 days later the 4th in a series of floods hit. On January 11 the Senate passed a resolution to adjourn to San Francisco for the remainder of the session.

In August 1862, work on the Capitol started with construction crews hauling wheelbarrows of dirt to raise the building's ground line by 6 feet to protect against future flooding problems.

In 1860, the original builder, Michael Fennell, was relieved of his duties when work did not progress on schedule.

In August 1861, G.W. Blake and P. Edward Conner received the contract and immediately faced difficulties obtaining the cement and granite needed to continue the work.

From 1861 to 1862, the floods brought work to a halt when 1 foot of water surrounded the building's walls and construction materials were destroyed. The builders requested an extension to their contract, but the Board denied it.

From that point onward, work on the Capitol was completed on a "day's labor" system. Supervising Architect Reuben Clark sought to avoid delays and political controversies by acquiring materials by contract and hiring all mechanics and laborers by the day.

In 1874, the Capitol was completed.

In 1973, the Capitol and grounds were listed on the office of the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1974, the Capitol was listed as a California Historical Landmark.

On January 9, 1982, the Capitol was re-dedicated to commemorate the close of the bicentennial restoration project.

The architecture of the Capitol building is based on the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. The west facade ends in projecting bays, and a portico projects from the center of the building. At the base of the portico, seven granite archways brace and support the porch above. Eight fluted Corinthian columns line the portico. A cornice supports the pediment above depicting Minerva surrounded by Education, Justice, Industry and Mining.

Above the flat roof with balustrade are two drums supporting a dome. The first drum consists of a colonnade of Corinthian columns; the second, Corinthian pilasters. Large arched windows line the drum walls. The dome is 210 ft. high and supports a lantern with a smaller dome capped with a gold-leafed orbed finial.

A Statue of Queen Isabella and Columbus commemorating her decision to finance a voyage to the New World.

Thank Holdtheair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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