All around the Golden State's seat of government you'll experience echoes of the gold-rush days, most notably in Old Sacramento, whose wooden sidewalks and horse-drawn carriages on cobblestone streets lend the waterfront district a 19th-century feel. The California State Railroad Museum and other venues hold artifacts of state and national significance, and historic buildings house shops and restaurants. River cruises and train rides are fun family diversions.

Due east of Old Sacramento is Downtown, where landmarks include the Capitol building and the surrounding Capitol Park. Golden 1 Center, a sports and concert venue, is part of DOCO, short for Downtown Commons, which also includes shops, restaurants, hotels, and grassy and concrete gathering spaces.

Farther east, starting at about 15th Street, lies Midtown, a mix of Victorian edifices, ultramodern lofts, and innovative restaurants and cozy wine bars. A few intersections are jumping most evenings when the weather's good; they include the corner of 20th and L streets in what's known as Lavender Heights, the center of the city's gay and lesbian community.

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