California State Railroad Museum

California State Railroad Museum

California State Railroad Museum
5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Write a review
About
Come along for the ride. Stand in the shadow of a 150-year-old, 40-ton monument to innovation, engineering and history. Take a ride along the rails that played a key role in the development of the Golden State. See the history of the California railways come to life in engaging exhibits. A visit to the California State Railroad Museum is a not-to-be-missed experience for persons of all ages.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience California State Railroad Museum and nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
2,803 reviews
Excellent
2,260
Very good
485
Average
55
Poor
3
Terrible
1

kay-cee-1138
Houston, TX442 contributions
Nov 2022
The idea of going to a railroad museum wouldn't normally be this reviewer's idea of a good time. But at the suggestion of a local, we went late one afternoon to the California State Railroad Museum in Saramento's old town.
It was definitely a "wow" experience. The building is smart and modern-looking (there was some construction going on when we visited). Tickets were $12 for adults, which we felt was well worth it. There was actually no line, since we got there at about 4 pm, which was only an hour before closing time. We parked just across the street on the east side at the Old Sacramento Parking Garage.
Besides actual full-sized railroad engines and cars of various periods we found a wealth of information in the displays about the role the railroad played in the history of California and indeed the entire western USA. The locomotives on display range from 19th Century all the way to a huge locomotive built in the 1940s. All looked excellently cared-for, with not a spot of rust to be seen.
The cars include old passenger wagons, as well as a preserved and furnished dining car, sleeping car, and mail car. Some of the exhibits are manned by museum guides, who are a wealth of knowledge about the egines and rolling stock and their histories. There is even a solid gold copy of the famous Golden Spike.
Overall, the CSRM turned out to be an absorbing and fun experience, with exhibits geared toward both adults and children. This reviewer's only regret was that we had only the one hour to explore the place. Even two hours might not have been enough to see everything properly.
The museum also has a gift shop. And note that on the Wednesday afternoon we visited, the nearby parking garage really started to fill up toward evening, presumably with folks coming to downtown restaurants.
Written December 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MGMoss
Rosemount, MN129 contributions
Feb 2023 • Couples
Preserving history and telling interesting stories about people, this museum is one of the best railroad museums I have visited. The big trains and wide variety of artifacts are well preserved and accessible.

The place was full of schoolchildren, which was perfect. Us old folks meandered through the wide passageways reading all of the facts on the signs. They were brought to life with stories of individuals who made the railroads. The people who dug the tunnels, planned the routes, financed it and fed the people. Just about every occupation at that time in history was associated with the railroads.

They emphasized immigrants and minorities in an appropriate manner.

My favorite was the Great Northern Railway Post Office car I liked them all and will come back on my own and spend a few more hours.
Written February 23, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LourdesPilgrim
London, UK15 contributions
Nov 2022 • Solo
Something for kids of all ages and interests - lots of old locomotives and railroad cars as well as model trains. You can even climb inside some of the cabs and walk through e.g. a genuine mailcar and see how letters were sorted as the train trundled across the country.
Very warm and engaging staff (dressed in Railroad uniforms) happy to talk about the exhibits and to answer endless questions.
The entry ticket is valid for the whole day, so you can come in for a bit, leave for lunch or ice cream by the river, and go back in the afternoon ...
Great place to come if you're near Sacramento
Written November 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karen K
Los Angeles, CA53 contributions
Aug 2022
The exhibits and displays were amazing! This was moderately priced $12 Adults and $6 for kids. Plus, the air-conditioned in hot Sacramento made it even better! Amazing to see the elegant detail worked! Many of these older trains were hand painted and ornate details added even to the hinge work on the doors! Stop and talk to the docents, they are a wealth of knowledge. This place also goes into the history and the many lives that were sacrificed and the extremely dangerous and hard work that went into building these railroad lines.

One part of the exhibit allows riders to walk through a couple of train cars - sleeper car and dining car. The sleeper car allows you to experience the simulation of riding in a real train! The dining car has several displays about 30 of the different plate patterns, over 600 in total since each train had their own signature plates.

We enjoyed this walk through history! Makes me want to ride on a train for our next vacation!
Written August 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Frank Sories
San Francisco, CA243 contributions
Nov 2021
It had been many years since I'd visited this museum. In that time, it seems to have expanded in scope. I recommend taking the tour; it's very informative and, depending on the guide, quite entertaining. There'a focus on diversity that did not exist before, with exhibits on the contributions of Chinese immigrants and women to the history of the railroad in CA.

There is really very much to see; I couldn't even finish over the course of what was almost a full day. I did see all of the third floor with its exhibits on model and toy trains, and the second floor, which focused on HSR (high-speed rail). I didn't get much past the 19th century exhibits on the main floor but will definitely try to see everything on my next visit. This museum provides an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages. I recommend it highly.
Written November 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alice D
47 contributions
May 2023
A friend had recommended this museum to us, pointing out that even those not particularly interested in railroads would enjoy it. She was right - the museum beautifully explained the importance of the railroad in connecting the US, the effort to get the railroad to the west coast and the impact on society as a result of bringing in workers and access to the area. Well worth a visit of at least an hour.
Written May 24, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

scott r
Silver Spring, MD633 contributions
Sep 2022
Admission reasonable, but parking will be $7-10 additional, so not an absolut bargain. History is good, large scale dioramas are actually pretty entertaining (so many cheesy, this really isn't). Lots of signage. Many rail coaches but you can't walk through them (one on display you yes (very good) but the companion dinng car was closed when I was there). Seems rather silly to me, and other RR museums are more accessible. And you can't get ANY decent shots through the windows of the rail palace car :( Story of the big 4 is told well enough for someone unfamiliar as is golden spike. Lots of toy trains and paraphenilia with explanations though I was probably flagging by that point. Most annoying aspect: the model RR layouts, while quite good are entirely (!!) glassed in. Never run across this at other RR museums, even those with similar quality (nis is very, very good, but not singular no matter what they say). Makes photograhpy needlessly challenging.
Written October 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel B
Redditch, UK286 contributions
Jul 2022
So my family all gave me funny looks when I suggested we should go to the California State Railroad Museum. Convincing them was made a little easier by the blistering heat and the welcoming air-con within the museum.

As it turned out, my suggestion was celebrated as a complete success as everyone in the family thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we spent over three hours browsing the exhibits and enjoying this fascinating slice of history.

If you're wondering whether to do it because you're "not really interested in trains" then put that thought aside and just go. If you have any interest at all in history or just want to see a really well laid out and interesting museum then this is the place.
Written September 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RandyRoss
Ridgetown, Canada11,719 contributions
Aug 2022
This is by far the best railroad museum that we have been in. Moderately priced ($12 for adults and $6 for kids), it is a great value. There is a lot of railroad history here. The signage is great, providing lots of information and if there is anything else that you wish to know, the docents are amazing!
There are 3 floors. Of course, most of the trains are on the first floor, although there is one on the third floor. The second floor has a theatre, which we did not visit due to time constraints. The third floor has a wonderful display of model trains.
Written August 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tahoe M
Truckee, CA4 contributions
Apr 2023
This is considered one of the top railroad museum's in the Country. Train enthusiast's of all ages will love exploring all the engines, cars, and history. A huge feature of this museum is the role Sacramento's very own Central Pacific Railroad played in the Transcontinental Railroad, and the very first CPRR engine #1, The Stanford, is housed in the museum. A special exhibit on loan from the Nevada State Railroad Museum is the last surviving train car that was present during the famous "Golden Spike" event in Promontory, Utah. They also have a large toy-model train exhibit that is worth seeing. Give your party at least 4 hours to explore this museum and don't forget to check out the engines and care housed outside. And of course, walk-around Old Sacramento for a hour so.
Written April 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 2,652
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

California State Railroad Museum (Sacramento) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about California State Railroad Museum

California State Railroad Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking California State Railroad Museum tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 3 California State Railroad Museum tours on Tripadvisor