All aboard for downtown during the holidays

When it comes to holiday fun, downtown is right on track.

If you’re heading into Old Sacramento – a must-see destination during the holidays – take in the Sacramento Railroad Museum, especially if you have children along. Living up to its reputation, the museum contains a world-class collection of exhibits. With a price tag of $9 for adults and $4 for children, the Railroad Museum is a bargain. It’s closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

And speaking of trains, don’t forget this one, a popular program in the Sacramento area:
The Sacramento Polar Express is cranked up and running. It’s an annual holiday treat, and one that’s unique in the area. Santa’s on board, and so are hot chocolate and cookies, along with a coterie of elves and musicians. This is always a popular attraction, and there’s a waiting list for tickets. For scheduling details and ticket costs, call 800-866-1690.
Going to downtown and midtown Sacramento at any time of the year can be fun. But going during the holidays is especially enticing.

For one thing, there’s free parking. (We didn’t believe it either at first, but yep, it’s true).

During the holiday season, the city is offering free parking at designated spots on I Street through L Street, in Old Sac and between 3rd Street and 29th Street, which means we’re talking about the core of downtown and midtown. Through Christmas day, parking is free on weekdays after 4:30 p.m. and all day Saturdays and Sundays.

And fyi, for those looking for  a Christmas tree to take home, check out the lot at Cal Expo. The lot is open through Dec. 24, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

As we’ve mentioned before, the State Capitol Museum is putting on a string of noontime live holiday concerts in the Rotunda through Dec. 23. It’s an absolute must-see: The Rotunda, a delight at all times of the year, is particularly impressive during the holidays. The Christmas spirit is everywhere in the Capitol – believe it or not, even politicians like Christmas – when the concerts get going the cavernous Rotunda is filled with music.

The sound reverberates from the top of the dome to the ground floor, even down into the basement offices and cafeteria. For visitors, it’s like being in an ornate concert hall. The Capitol is located on 10th between L and N Streets. The Rotunda is most easily accessed through the West, or 10th Street, entrance.

And outside the Capitol off the West Steps, the Capitol Christmas Tree is ablaze at night until 10 p.m.

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