Take a Self-Guided Sacramento Bike Tour

View down a paved path through a well-groomed park with large, leafy trees.
Take a ride through Capitol Park on this bike tour. Photo © Christopher Arns.

Sacramento Bike Tour

This easy ride around Sacramento takes visitors through some of the capital’s historic neighborhoods.

  • Total Distance: 11 miles round-trip
  • Time: 1.5 hours

Blend in with the hipster crowd by renting a cruiser at Practical Cycle (114 J St., 916/706-0077) in Old Sacramento. After cruising the cobblestoned streets, ride east up Capitol Mall before veering right up N Street. Follow this one-way street toward the California State Capitol (10th and L Sts.) to check out the 12 square blocks of leafy urban park, or head inside to view a live session of the California State Legislature. You might need to troll L Street for a bike rack if there are none available here.

From the Capitol, walk your bike one block north up 11th Street for a quick detour to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (1017 11th St.) and gaze up at the 215-foot-high spire that towers over downtown Sacramento. Ride east on K Street to 13th Street and turn into Capitol Park (15th and L Sts.). Walk your bike east through the park to the flagpoles on 15th Street and continue riding on Capitol Avenue. For the next dozen blocks or so, you’ll pedal through Midtown’s Victorian Row, a green tunnel of elm and palm trees, while passing dozens of restored 19th-century homes dating back to the Gilded Age.

Keep heading east and hang a left at 28th Street to reach Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (2701 L St.) and the California State Indian Museum (2618 K St.). Enter the fort’s whitewashed adobe walls and watch costumed docents reenact 19th-century life, or view relics in the Indian Museum.

From Sutter’s Fort, head north on 28th Street, then turn right at G Street to reach McKinley Park (601 Alhambra Blvd.), where you can feed the ducks, watch a softball game, or enjoy a picnic in the rose garden.

Take H Street from the park, turning right on 36th Street to J Street where you’ll walk the bike east to Juno’s Kitchen and Delicatessen (3675 J St., 916/456-4522, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–8:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri, 11:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Sat.) for a sandwich. Or grab a pint of craft brew at Bonn Lair (3651 J St., 916/455-7155, 11:30 a.m.–1 a.m. daily).

Now that you’re feeling refreshed, head across J Street and turn right on 37th Street heading south. Hang a left at M Street to pedal through the Fabulous Forties (38–49th Sts. between H St. and Folsom Blvd.), a stately residential neighborhood filled with palatial mansions. Make sure to check out Ronald Reagan’s old house on 45th Street. Keep heading up M Street to 51st Street at East Portal Park (1120 Rodeo Way) and the end of the tour. Stop here for a breather or a game of bocce ball before heading back to Old Sacramento the way you came.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Sacramento & the Gold Country.