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Your destination - Sacramento

This state capital and county seat is located in the fertile Sacramento valley where the American River joins the Sacramento River. The city takes its name from the river, which was named by early Spanish explorers. East of the city stand the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains.

Sacramento was gateway to the mining regions during the California Gold Rush, and ever since the area has been one of the leading commercial and shipping centers in the West. Though the city's economy is rooted in the rich farmlands that surround Sacramento, other economic factors are such manufacturing and service industries as food processing, chemicals, electronic, aerospace, and transportation equipment. Seagoing vessels reach this important port city through a deepwater channel that links Sacramento to San Francisco Bay. The area is served by an international airport, two railroads, and a major highway system.

Notable points of interest are the Crocker Art Museum, oldest museum in the West; the Indian museum in Sutter's Fort, site of the first white settlement in the region; the Old Sacramento Historic District along the river; the Sacramento Convention Center; and the capitol building with its golden dome. This education and cultural center also offers more than 100 art galleries, two symphonies, an opera, and the Sacramento Theater Company. Popular annual events are the Chinese New Year Celebration, the California Railroad Festival, the Dixieland Jazz Festival, and the Camellia Festival.

For recreation there are more than 120 parks; riverside trails for walking, cycling, and jogging; fishing and rafting; and the ARCO Arena II, home to the NBA team, Sacramento Kings, and to indoor soccer and roller hockey.

Native American peoples occupied the Sacramento area exclusively for thousands of years. When the Swiss immigrant, John A. Sutter, received a land grant from Mexico in 1839 he called the settlement New Helvetia. Gold was discovered nearby in 1848 and within a year the great gold rush sparked the growth and commercial development of Sacramento. The city was incorporated in 1850, and became state capital in 1854. By 1860, Sacramento was the western terminus of the famed Pony Express. Three years later, construction began there on the first transcontinental railroad. The area's climate, economic opportunities, and low cost of living are major contributors to its estimated metropolitan population of 1,605,000.


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