Sacramento’s Hidden Gems

Old Sacramento Underground from
Old Sacramento Underground
My son came home recently with information about a tour of “Old Sacramento Underground” which “will provide visitors with a unique glimpse into the massive and dramatic undertaking that took place when the streets were painstakingly raised in the 1860s through the 1870s to protect the city from devastating flooding.”

How have I not done this yet? Perhaps I haven’t lived here long enough, but it sounds very interesting. Has anyone taken this tour? Your thoughts?

Underground tour visitors will have the opportunity to view disappearing windows and doors, dipping alleyways, exposed retaining walls, walk into underground hollow sidewalks and tour historic buildings all while being entertained and educated by tour guides and docents who portray characters true to the period.

Man, sign me up. I enjoy docents any way I can get them.

In addition to this tour, we were asked to come up with other “hidden Sacramento gems” as part of a local history project. Well, who better to answer this question than our very own Sac Rag readers? Comment with your suggestions and I’ll pass them along.

Author: RonTopofIt

RonTopofIt is a complex personality, as are most of the small breed of modern day renaissance millionaires. He wishes more people were like him and yet believes that it takes all kinds. You've met RonTopofIt many times, you just don't remember him.

8 thoughts on “Sacramento’s Hidden Gems”

  1. The tour is new and i went on it about a month ago and its short but great Our tour guide was in period dress which made it really fun.


  2. Does Crepeville count? mmmm.

    Seriously though, the Stanford Mansion is pretty cool. It’s an old boarding house, and they have the rooms set up and everything.


  3. Not sure how you missed the hype about the Underground Tours–they started this summer and will continue through the end of October, before taking the winter off and restarting next spring. They started with some fanfare, and if they haven’t been ardently advertising the tours it may be because they are still selling out most tours (order tickets in advance to ensure a spot!)

    If you like walking tours, this page has links to a number of self-guided walking tours in Sacramento, and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s guided history tours:

    The Stanford Mansion was an orphanage for girls, not a boarding house–although Sacramento had plenty of boarding houses. I’d consider the Governor’s Mansion something of a hidden treasure–it doesn’t get much attention but is pretty amazing and recently completed a rehab of the building exterior. Another “hidden treasure” of sorts is the history display in the PERS building, underneath Q Street at 4th (it is open to the public, enter via either building and go downstairs.) While you’re there, visit the hidden-treasure coffee shop that is the Chocolate Fish at 3rd and Q Street.


  4. In case you miss the tour, there is a Viewfinder episode from KVIE all about the underground sidewalks. Not sure if it streams at their website, but it used to be On Demand at Comcast…if you have Comcast. But I highly recommend taking the tour and seeing these spaces — before they disappear — for yourself!


  5. The Cemetary out by Riverside does tours on/around Halloween. Very informative, historical, and fun. Includes period actors playing ghosts of the departed from California’s early history!


  6. By all means, GO! It is a great tour. I went the first day and enjoyed it a lot. The docent who led our group, was a lady dressed in period clothes and she was wonderful. She had a good grasp of the times and was very colorful. The tour is about 45 minutes and doesn’t cover a lot of the underground space, but it is still very interesting. In the future, they may open up more of the space to add to the tour. Permission from the above ground store owners is the biggest roadblock.


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