The state capital of California, Sacramento, is a bustling city of 500,000 people with a metro area population of 2 million. The city was founded in 1839 by John Sutter and grew in prominence due to the gold rush. Many of the older buildings are preserved at the Old Sacramento Historic Area along the Sacramento River. Sacramento sits in the middle of the Central Valley of California about 30 miles west of the Sierra Nevada foothills and about 90 miles from San Francisco. The winters are wet and the summers are very dry and very hot, with high temperatures often at or near 100 degrees. Sacramento has a lot of dog-friendly attractions and things to do both in the city and within a few hours drive where you can take a day trip and return to your accommodation in town.
There are many dog-friendly hotels in Sacramento. Downtown there is the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel next to the State Capitol and near all of the government buildings and the dog-friendly Downtown Plaza Shopping Center. There is the Hilton Sacramento Arden West next to Arden Fair Mall (which is not dog-friendly). If you want to stay in historic downtown Folsom the Lake Natoma Inn would be a great choice. This hotel overlooks Lake Natoma and is on the 20 mile American River Trail. There are also many other pet-friendly hotels in various parts of Sacramento, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Roseville. If you are planning to camp while in the Sacramento area there is the Sacramento Metropolitan KOA just west of the city and a KOA about 30 miles east of town on Highway 50 near Placerville. Cal Expo, the State Fairgrounds, also has an RV Park if you are attended an event at the fairgrounds. Small dogs that can be carried in a carrier are allowed on the RT buses and light rail.
While in Sacramento any dog should be taken to Old Sacramento Historic Area along the river in downtown. This dog-friendly area has shops, patio dining and historic buildings from the 1860s. The Top Hand Ranch Carriage Rides that leave from here will take your dog on their shorter tours of Old Sacramento or there longer tours that go past the State Capitol and government center. You can also take a self-guided walking tour of Capitol Park which surrounds the California State Capitol. If you would like to wine taste in Sacramento the Scibner Bend Vineyards are located at 9051 River Road. There is lots more wine tasting about 1 hour out of town in El Dorado and Amador Counties. This area has developed into a second Napa Valley. Shopping in Sacramento with your pet is excellent, with the Downtown Plaza Shopping Center for downtown shopping and in Folsom the new Palladio offers a European style outdoor shopping environment with upscale stores and patio dining. Day trips from Sacramento include a trip to Napa Valley about 2 hours away and, in the fall, a trip to Apple Hill just past Placerville to visit the apple farms in season.
Sacramento has a lot of dog-friendly dining in most parts of town. It should be easy to find an outdoor patio which will welcome your dog. Downtown Plaza has the River City Brewing Company and Johnny Rockets. Folsom's Palladio has a number of excellent patio restaurants as well. Try Panera Bread, San Francisco Sourdough, or Freebirds World Burrito.
For exercise for you and your dog, there is the American River Parkway which weaves its way for 32 miles from downtown to Folsom Lake. This is a bike and hiking trail. Please keep your dog on leash on the trail. Folsom Lake State Rec Area surrounds Folsom Lake and the Folsom Dam. Gibson Ranch Park is predominantly an equestrian park but leashed dogs can share the trails with the horses. William Land Park, south of downtown, houses the Sacramento Zoo (dogs not allowed in the zoo) and lots of room to walk. A good place to walk is also Old Sacramento as well as Old Town Folsom. Sacramento has quite a few off-leash dog parks located in each part of town and there seem to be more each year. Most have fencing, water, benches and clean up stations and many have separate areas for small dogs.
Nearby trips to Sacramento include the San Francisco Bay Area, Gold Country, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe and Reno.