Arts & Entertainment

Sacramento is home to professional ballet, opera, and theater companies. Numerous small playhouses, theaters, colleges, and universities also stage a variety of performances during the year. Dozens of art galleries in the downtown Sacramento area feature both local and international works of art, and appeal to art experts and novices alike. The California State Capitol Museum features impressive architecture, portraits of governors, murals, an extensive fine art collection, exhibits, historic rooms and working offices, beautiful grounds, and a chance to see the legislature conduct business.

Performing Arts

Sacramento is home to professional ballet, opera, and theater companies. Numerous small playhouses, theaters, colleges, and universities also stage a variety of performances during the year.

The Sacramento Ballet is the professional resident ballet company for the Sacramento Region. Its talented dancers and artistic directors produce quality works that educate, inspire, and engage audiences through the powerful vehicle of dance. The company is highly regarded as a cultural asset to the community and consistently receives outstanding reviews for its artistic quality.

The mission of the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera is to produce outstanding opera, develop and cultivate a wider public interest in opera and its allied arts, and to further music education in the region. The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra is the professional symphonic orchestra for the Sacramento Region. It inspires audiences and enriches Sacramento through excellent performances and great orchestral music. These two groups joined forces in 2013 under the new name of Sacramento Regional Performing Arts Alliance to deliver quality performances.

California Musical Theatre is Northern California’s premier producer and presenter of musical theatre—the largest nonprofit musical theatre in California. Since its inception in 1951 under an open-air, circus-style big top, the theatre has grown to become the most successful performing arts organization in California’s heartland.

The Sacramento Theatre Company (STC) is a nationally recognized professional theatre company. As one of the oldest and largest arts institutions in the region, STC presents only the best classical and modern plays. The theatre presents seven professional productions per season, in addition to three annual productions in its Cabaret Stage.

Recognized as one of Northern California’s top professional theaters, B Street Theatre has been known for its innovative productions of new plays since 1991. The Theatre has produced more than 100 new plays, 60 of which are world, national, West Coast, or regional premieres. Plays are performed on two intimate stages year-round.

Visual Arts

Dozens of art galleries in the downtown Sacramento area feature both local and international works of art, and appeal to art experts and novices alike. On the second Saturday of each month, over 100 galleries and venues in the area remain open late into the evening, many offering free admission, beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and live music.

Featured Attractions

The first art museum established in the Western United States, the Crocker Art Museum, was founded in 1885 in the Victorian mansion donated by Margaret Crocker. Housing E.B. Crocker’s art collection, the Crocker is one of the leading art institutions in California. The museum’s collection includes early Californian, sixteenth to nineteenth century European, Contemporary, Asian, African and Oceanic works, international ceramics, and one of the finest early collections of master drawings in the United States.

On October 10, 2010, the Crocker opened the Teel Family Pavilion, a 125,000-square-foot addition. The expansion complements the 125-year-old museum’s historic structures, which include one of the first purpose-built art museum buildings in the United States. The expansion tripled the size of the museum, and vastly enhances its public programming with extensive new galleries and educational facilities.

Key features of the Crocker Art Museum include:

  • 12,000 square feet of temporary exhibition space
  • 45,000 square feet of gallery space for the permanent collection
  • Education Center and Teacher Resource Center
  • Anne and Malcolm Henry Works on Paper Study Center
  • Two-story atrium and courtyard
  • 260 seat auditorium
  • Collections care and storage facilities
  • Cafe with indoor and outdoor seating

Located in Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is widely regarded as the most popular railroad museum in the country. The large 225,000-square-foot museum features beautifully restored historical railroad cars and locomotives, engaging exhibits, special events such as the popular Polar Express ride, and steam locomotive rides from the museum extending to the Delta region.

Opened in 2002, the 1,800-seat Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts on the University of California, Davis campus is one of the premier performing arts centers on the West Coast. It touts a state-of-the art acoustic design and features world-class international entertainment.

The California State Capitol Museum features impressive architecture, portraits of governors, murals, an extensive fine art collection, exhibits, historic rooms and working offices, beautiful grounds, and a chance to see the legislature conduct business.

Old Sacramento is a unique 28-acre National Historic Landmark District and State Historic Park located along the beautiful Sacramento River. Bustling with activity, the district is alive with shopping, dining, entertainment, historical attractions, and world-renowned museums set within the time of the California Gold Rush and the Transcontinental Railroad.

Annual Events

Every Memorial Day weekend since 1974, Old Sacramento and other downtown venues have drawn hundreds of thousands of jazz fans to the Sacramento Music Festival. Presented by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, the event features a lineup of over 80 bands from all over the world and all over the stylistic map.

For 159 years, the California State Fair has been a source of entertainment for millions. Held at Cal Expo in Sacramento, each year the fair attracts more than 700,000 visitors to enjoy its competitions, vendors, live entertainment, exhibits, and the Magnificent Midway.

Local theaters host numerous film festivals throughout the year, including the Sacramento Jewish Film Festival, Sacramento International Film Festival, French Film Festival, CineSoul, The Sacramento Black Film Festival, and Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

The annual Gold Rush Days transforms Old Sacramento into a scene from the 1850s during this four-day event. Re-enactors roam the old town and cars are banned for this event that features storytelling, period musicians and entertainment, wagon rides, pony rides, and gold panning.

Other local festivals showcase the cultural diversity of the area with events such as the Croatian Extravaganza, Festa Italiana, Festival de la Familia, Greek Food Festival, Hmong Celebration, Pacific Rim Street Fest, and Scottish Games & Festival.

Event and Conference Venues

Hotels and conference centers in the area offer meeting and conference facilities that accommodate small group seminars as well as large-scale conventions and trade shows.

The Sacramento Convention Center underwent an $80 million expansion in 1996 that tripled its size. The 385,000-square-foot facility features 31 meeting rooms, a 24,500 square foot ballroom, $1 million in public art, and boasts elegant pre-function areas and a rooftop garden terrace. The Memorial Auditorium, another premier venue, opened in 1927 and reopened in 1996 after extensive renovation. The auditorium is a 3,800-seat multi-use arena and performing arts venue.