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
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.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • Andrew E
    Minneapolis, Minnesota22 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A very important museum in California
    A wonderful afternoon at the California State Railroad Museum. I have more to visit, but am told that this is the best railroad museum in the U.S. I certainly believe it is. Terrific exhibits about the building of the Transcontinental railroad and its economic impact. I appreciated the attention to the contribution of Chinese immigrants. However, the absence of information about the impact on indigenous people was disturbing. Great exhibit on the importance of snow plows in the mountain. Good exhibit on the 1952 stranding of the City of San Francisco train in snow. I enjoyed a tour of the museum by a volunteer, Bob. Very informative. A very important museum in California.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 22, 2023
  • Julie H
    Asheville, North Carolina10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must see!
    Learned so much about early California history and transcontinental completion of Union Pacific and Central Pacific history railway. Treatment of the Chinese workers was shocking but in this greedy world we live in not surprising!!
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 7, 2023
  • Alice D
    63 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    History Through the Lens of the Railroad
    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.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 24, 2023
  • marie
    9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great railway museum for all ages.
    Actual old time railway cars that you can walk through. Many exhibits and informational posters. Informational docents at many locations. Spread out railway cars and exhibits. Excellent museum for all ages. Open 10-5 daily-$12 adults.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 16, 2023
  • adventix
    Boston, Massachusetts1,652 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The history of railroad in the west
    This is a very interesting museum, even if you are not a train fanatic. Plenty of interesting history and on-site explanations by the staff. 3rd floor has a whole section on toy trains. There is also an extensive collection of train tickets from different periods.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 5, 2023
  • TravisGood
    Coronado, California49 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Sense the awe of what was accomplished, spanning a continent against the odds to connect east-ro-west.
    We became “One Nation” coast-to-coast only with the completion of the transcontinental railway, a singular achievement. It’s a story of competition between railroads, it’s a story of immigration of laborers, it’s a story of stunning engineering achievement, it’s an inspired story of a great nation hitting its stride. Touring the museum is an exceptional opportunity to go back in time to experience and appreciate a great accomplishment in our national history. The impact of driving in the Golden Spike was to connect east to west and establish a vast transcontinental nation.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 4, 2023
  • Jola O
    Las Vegas, Nevada542 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic museum!
    Loved it! So many locomotives and stories and wonderful docents. It was so much fun. I loved everything about this museum. There is a kids area for them to play, so this museum is for anyone at any age. It’s located in a historical area of town, so after touring the museum, you can go for a walk, grab dinner and check out the souvenir shops. Fun!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 7, 2023
  • VtaTraveler
    Ventura, California308 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth visiting
    This is a fantastic museum!! It’s well laid out, has tons of information, really too much to comprehend in one day. It’s very large. When we arrived at opening time, my heart sank to see 3 bus loads of elementary students there. But this place is so big it wasn’t crowded at all even with all those kids. It is a very comprehensive collection, from antique engines to toy and model trains. There were some great model layouts and a good junior ranger program to keep the kids interested. My favorite exhibit was the examples of the china place settings from the various trains. I’d love to go back to catch what I missed the first time.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 30, 2023
  • 63impala
    Stoneham, Massachusetts1,254 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A wonderful place to visit.
    This is an excellent museum even if you are not into railroading. There is a lot of history here and the hands on exhibits are worth the price of admission alone. This place is a lot bigger that what you expect by looking at the outside. Well worth a trip to go there!
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 1, 2023
  • Sparrowspetal
    Niwot, Colorado17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Rail Foamer's Delight in Every Aspect - DO NOT MISS THIS MUSEUM
    This museum is amazing even if no one is there to share with you. The exhibits are well marked, interesting to see and very informative. The rail cars and locomotives are in such beautiful shape. You could get a feel for what it was like to be in the sleeper car, or the mail car or even the box car that moves produce. The model train collection is extensive beyond description. The true treasure is in their staff and volunteer staff. The docents are personable and have knowledge way beyond a script. The working personnel also have much knowledge and freely share it. Plan for the large portion of the day to give it justice. We, my husband, grandson and I, spent almost 2 full days there. Even though we live in Colorado we chose to get a membership. These kinds of museums must be supported.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 18, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles2,825 reviews
Excellent
2,279
Very good
487
Average
55
Poor
3
Terrible
1

Karen K
Los Angeles, CA56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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.

LourdesPilgrim
London, UK15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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.

Pat from check
Check, VA159 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
We were surprised at how much there was to see in this museum. The museum is very complete and the history of trains was very interesting. There were so many trains inside this building and you are able to wander around and go into one of the cars which felt as though it was on a train track. The first part of the visit we had a hard time hearing the guide. We did much better reading and exploring on our own. Make sure to read all of the explanations of different events leading to the start of our railroad system. Children really enjoyed going upstairs and seeing the model trains. Well worth the visit and would recommend to families of all ages.
Written January 2, 2020
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.

William T
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
The California State Railroad Museum is a fascinating place to spend the day. There are lots of timely and historical exhibits to see (like a huge rotary snowplow used in the winter over the mountains). There are always knowledgeable museum volunteers available to answer questions or explain how something works both in the exhibits and circulating around the museum. A "not to be missed" attraction in Sacramento. And it's also very inexpensive; not a "budget buster" for a family.
Written February 11, 2020
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.

Chris S
London, UK20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
The Museum is extremely well laid out and the exhibits displayed in an artistic and imaginative way. Particularly the diorama of the trans-continental railway.

A fascinating place for adults and kids alike. Highly recommended.
Written March 11, 2020
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, MN132 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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.

Maryann L
Fair Oaks, CA1,350 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
This is a spectacular museum. Watch the 20 minute video. Take a docent tour. Then, enjoy the great exhibits depicting the building of the transcontinental railroad. The historic locomotives are striking and look like new. Read about the "golden spike" and the Lost Spike. Go inside a Pullman car, a dining car with a collection of china and a car used to carry produce from Sacramento east. Don't miss the toy train collection on the third floor. There are also interactive activities for children of all ages.So much here to see and do for the whole family.
Written February 24, 2020
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.

Honey1316
Kent, OH30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Solo
Five stars aren’t enough to describe this museum. From the model trains and toddler activities on the top floor to the real trains on the first, it’s a fascinating place to go. And I can’t say that I am a particular fan of trains. The docents in costume were so incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. Worth every penny of the admission and worth hours of your time. Go!
Written January 30, 2020
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, Canada11,776 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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.

Daniel B
Redditch, UK297 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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.

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California State Railroad Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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