Top Things to Do in Folsom, CA

There’s definitely not a lack of things to do in my hometown of Folsom, CA.

Folsom’s location in Sacramento County and at the base of the foothills halfway between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe makes it a great central location for exploring the outdoors.

This Gold Rush town has a rich history, beautiful and a variety of nature, and plenty of entertainment and attractions.

Get ready to explore the top things to do in this exciting Northern California destination.

Explore the Outdoors -Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Into hiking, swimming, kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, and fishing?

You’re in the right place.

Folsom is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

Folsom Lake State Recreation Area includes both Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma, as well as campgrounds, trails, and picnic spots.

Folsom Lake

Folsom Lake is a popular lake that has something for everyone.

It is 9 miles long and has various entry points. This California State Park has an entry fee of $12 per vehicle.

Explore Lake Natoma

If you’re interested in Folsom Lake’s smaller, calmer, and colder cousin, Lake Natoma it is. I personally enjoy paddleboarding and kayaking in Lake Natoma’s waters. Motor boats are allowed however they have a 5mph speed limit, so they are rare.

Visit Folsom Prison Museum

When I tell people I live in Folsom, I either get someone who has been there, OR the question “where the prison is?”.

Johnny Cash made it famous with their Folsom Prison Blues. Folsom has embraced the Johnny Cash reference and created the Johnny Cash Trail, which surrounds the prison. It’s a fun trail to walk,

But fun fact. Folsom Prison’s address is actually NOT in Folsom, but in Repressa.

Another fun fact. There are actually 3 prismons in Folsom. Folsom State Prison, California aState Prison Sacramento, and Folsom Women’s Facility. Thye’re all on the same property.

Before you think eeeeek, the residents of Folsom drie by the it every day without event nnoticing.

You can’t see the prison from the roads, only the markers.

Having oppened in 1880, It’s the 2nd oldest prison in the use

The museum closed during Covid and didn’t reopen unti very recently due to the death of the person who managed the volunteers (it’s all run by volunteers).

It has recently reopened.

If you want to dig furntyer in thothis, This is a veryn nicely written article about the significance of the prison to the Folsom community

Note that the Museum closed during Covid and has yet to reopen due to a lack of volunteers.

Walk Historic Sutter Street

I absolutely love the charm of the historic district, which is on Sutter Street, between Reading and Scott.

Sutter Street is home to over 80 unique businesses. They often have events on the weekends such as fairs, live music, and holiday events.

Parking can be a real challenge, and has become a hot topic in town due to local homeowners not lvoing the fact that visitors park in their front yards. So, be on the lookout and do not block driveways etc. There is a new free shuttle that will pick you up at a nearby location and take you to Sutter Street. it’s currently only available Friday andSaturdays from 4:30-10:30pm. You can download the app to get more information and get a ride:

Visit the Folsom History Museum

If you’re hungry, here are some places to check out:

Pizza Classico’s pizza is fantastic.

Sam Hornes has mouthwatering burgers, and a nice beer selection. They typically have a tot specaiil.

The Fat Rabbit has British tavern type of food like bangers and mash.

Pizza at Pizza Classico

Karen’s Bakery and Cafe

If you’re looking for breakfast or lunch, Karen’s is a local favorite. Their sandwiches and salads are made with fresh ingredients, and their pastries are to die for. They’re not open for dinner.

Looking for seafood such as oysters or crab cakes? Hit Scott’s Seafood. If it’s a nice day sit on the pation and do some people watching. (Williamette Winery is right upstairs, go up afterwards for another glass of wine.

Sutter Street Steakhouse

This steakhouse serves variety of steaks, including filet mignon, ribeye, and New York strip, as well as other meat dishes like lamb and pork chops. They locally source their produce and all of their steaks are USDA prime.

The Vine is a great spot to have a glass of wine and delicious food. They have a large wine list, and they offer a variety of small plates that are perfect for pairing with your favorite wine.

If you’re looking for craft cocktails, hit up my favorite place for one, the Gaslight Co on Sutter Street.

They use fresh herbs and really do a fantastic job of creating high-quality, creative drinks that marry flavors so well.

They change out their craft cocktail menu every season and do such a great job -I always look forward to what creative options they’ll come up iwth.

Fall/Halloween Cocktail Menu @ Gaslight

Now, time for chocolate at Snooks Chocolate Factory. This shop has been family owned since 1963 by, you guessed it, the Snook family. It’s in a central location on Sutter street and offers ice cream as well as the high. quality chocolates that they make in-house.

A trip to Sutter Street wouldn’t be complete with a visit to Ruby’s Books. If you’re lucky, you may see Ruby the golden retriever hanging out.

Bike or Hike the American River Bike Trail

  • Highlight this trail’s scenic views along the river.
  • Mention rental options for bikes.
  • See wildlife and river views on a well-maintained path.
    Stats: The trail is 32 miles long, connecting Folsom to Sacramento.
    Tips: Rent bikes near the trail if you didn’t bring one. Carry water.

See a Show at Harris Center

The Harris Center at Folsom Lake College is a performing arts center with a wide variety of high-quality performances in a modern venue. The Harris Center hosts over 400 public events each year

Check out their schedule online.



Tips: Book tickets in advance, as they do often sell out.

Shop at the Palladio

Located in the Palladio shopping center, Back Wine Bar is a popular spot in Folsom. It offers a modern atmosphere that’s perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic date night. Their wine list features a variety of wines from around the world, as well as a selection of craft beers and cocktails. They also offer a variety of small plates and appetizers that are perfect for sharing. The staff is very friendly.

With Kids or Family – Visit the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

The Folsom Zoo is a sanctuary, with all animals being rescued. They provide forever homes for animals that are unable to be released back into the wild,

The zoo is small and simple, but it’s meandering pathways makes it a cute option for younger kids and big kids alike.

Tips: Check the feeding times posted at the front gate for a more interactive experience.

Eat

Looking for more places to eat and drink?

Drink

Encourage planning a trip to experience its unique attractions.

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