Begin your trip in the centre of the state, home to the capital city of Sacramento. Like many cities, California’s state capital is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this low key city, with micro breweries, gastropubs and trendy boutiques popping up to serve them. Award winning chefs are gaining attention for their focus on hyper local ingredients, and relationships between restaurants and surrounding farms and ranches have become not a novelty, but the norm. Hot summer days create some of the nicest evenings anywhere in the state, where locals sit on porches in elegant Victorian era homes, and children scamper in leafy parks until the sun goes down.
As the state capital, there is plenty going on, and gatherings around the cupola topped Capitol are common. Museums are situated largely around the Capitol Mall area and in historic Old Town Sacramento, the renovated area along the Sacramento River that was a core hub during the Gold Rush. Getting to all these different locations is easy, and traffic jams are fleeting. Granted the gold award for bike friendliness by the League of American Bicyclists, Sacramento is also a great place to explore by bike, with wide designated lanes and paved trails along the American and Sacramento Rivers. There is also a convenient light rail system linking popular sites around town.
After exploring the history and arts of Sacramento, head north through the bountiful Central Valley, then swing west to the college town of Chico and one of the best known craft breweries in the state.