GOTG Guide to Free Museum Day (Sat 2/7)

Erica Root

By Erica Root


Every year, Sacramento museums comes together to host a free museum day. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Sacramentans to experience museums in their own back yard for free (or half-priced) admission.

This year the 17th annual Sacramento Museum Day will take place on Saturday, February 7, 2015.


If you haven’t taken advantage of this yearly tradition, this year is your chance to start.

With 25 different museum options to choose from, deciding on what museums to go to can be a bit overwhelming. Here are three that may have not popped up on your radar:


California Automobile Museum (2200 Front Street, Sacramento, CA 95818)

Did you know the Sacramento has a car museum? It is one of Sacramento’s best kept secrets.

Settled on Front Street, directly across from the Front Street shelter, this spacious museum is the perfect place to visit on free museum day, because the venue can easily accommodate the people who turn out without feeling cramped and claustrophobic, and they have a free parking lot to boot.

They also have many special features for museum day that make it the perfect destination:

  1. They are serving food, BBQ to be specific – most museums don’t have the means to provide food during free museum day. This is not so of the California Auto Museum. They will be firing up an enormous grill and BBQing out front, making this the perfect lunch-time stop on your Sacramento museum tour.
  2. Kids Activities – this museum is fun for the whole family. Kids will be able to participate in a scavenger hunt that is both entertaining and informational. If that’s not enough, kids can participate in a bean bag toss and create their own license plates out of paper and stickers during your visit.
  3. Model Ts – there will be a slew of Model Ts in the parking lot courtesy of a local Model T club. You’ll have a chance to talk to the owners, while you polish off your pulled pork sandwich.


Sutter’s Fort (2701 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95816)

Remember when your fourth grade class took a field trip to Sutter’s Fort? Wasn’t it amazing? Or maybe you grew up in another state and haven’t had a chance to visit yet!

Either way, think about how much more amazing it will be to visit as an adult when you can actually appreciate the role it played in California’s history! Be sure to ask about John Sutter’s interesting past and some of the deceits he made, which led to him becoming a famous “founder” of California. 

This impressive structure on the grid is where I spent the last free museum day. It’s perfect because – once again – it has the capacity to accommodate the masses of people who come out to partake in free museum day. Touring the Fort will be self-guided, but they will have plenty of docents on hand to answer any questions you might have. (And if you aren’t able to make it on the 7th, then check out the Fort on February 21st for some ‘hands on history,’ where families can get a more hands on museum experience and learn about the Fort’s association with the Donner party.)


Old City Cemetery (1000 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818)

This year, I plan to spend free museum day at the city cemetery. As someone who is ridiculously afraid of hauntings, I feel like museum day, with heavy emphasis on ‘day,’ is the best time for me to visit this iconic Sacramento destination.

I know of several people who visit the cemetery in the fall, prior to Halloween, but I need to do it without any scary pretext.

It will be the perfect opportunity to learn more about California’s history, about the Governors, mayors and entrepreneurs that made Sacramento — and California – remarkable.

I’ll be happy to let you know what happens and what I learn during the cemetery tour.

But in the meanwhile, I hope you start thinking about how you plan to spend free museum day.


After my discussions with docents from various museums, I’ve come to realize that there are some universal suggestions when it comes to navigating free museum day:


  1. Choose one or two museums to visit on free museum day. Anything more than that is too ambitious and won’t give you enough time at each location.
  2. Go early. Museums will get busy, and the best way to avoid the crowd is to get to them as early as possible.
  3. Be deliberate with the museums you choose. If possible, pick the museums that will best be able to accommodate the bustling atmosphere, and swarms of people, that partake in free museum day.


Whether you’ve visited one museum in Sacramento, or several, free museum day is an amazing opportunity to better know the city that we all call home.

I hope to see you all out and about this Saturday for this exciting day!

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