Fodor's Expert Review California State Railroad Museum
Sprawling over three floors and taking up the equivalent of 2½ acres of space, this museum celebrates the history of trains from their 19th-century English origins and the building of America's transcontinental railroad (Sacramento was its western terminus) to the pre–jet age glory days of rail travel and the high-speed trains in today's Europe and Asia. A permanent exhibit that debuted in 2019 for the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad's completion details the contributions of Chinese laborers, and another section contains a cast gold "Last Spike," one of several spikes issued to commemorate the joining in Utah of the west-to-east Central Pacific and east-to-west Union Pacific lines. Twenty-two of the museum's railroad cars and engines—among them Pullman-style cars and steam locomotives—are on display at any one time, and there are interactive displays and a play area for kids. The exhibits of toy trains delight youngsters and adults.