Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Rancho Cordova, CA

  • Published 2023/05/14

Rancho Cordova, located in the heart of Northern California’s Sacramento County, offers a plethora of opportunities for exploration in every direction.

Incorporated in 2003, Rancho Cordova has a rich and long history connected to the American westward migration during the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s.

Rancho Cordova is the perfect base for history buffs, as it offers easy access to the treasures of Gold Country, allowing visitors to explore the rich history and charm of the region.

For outdoor enthusiasts, look no further than the American River, offering an abundance of water activities and a scenic bike trail that follows the river!

But Rancho Cordova has much more to offer beyond its rich history and thrilling adventures.

Here are the best things to do in Rancho Cordova, California that you don’t want to miss!

Enjoy River Views at Hagan Community Park

A pond at Hagan Community Park

UncleVinny, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hagan Community Park, spanning approximately 80 acres, stands as the largest park in the Cordova Recreation & Park District.

Situated adjacent to the stunning American River Parkway, it offers easy access to scenic walking and biking trails, as well as eco-friendly transportation paths to downtown Sacramento.

Visitors may enjoy the many family-friendly amenities available at this amazing park.

From tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, and aquatic center, to a community center, playground, picnic areas, dog park, and a fishing lagoon, Hagan Community Park has something for everyone.

Restrooms are also available for added convenience.

Raft the American River with the American River Raft Rentals

The American River Raft Rentals is a premier and experienced rafting company that has been offering self-guided and clear water floats on beginner parts of the American River since 1974.

Located on the stunning American River Parkway, the American River Raft Rentals allows you to immerse yourself in nature on the wild and picturesque Lower American River.

With over 5 million visitors annually, the American River Parkway is a popular destination for recreational activities.

Their 6-mile self-guided float lasting three to four hours is perfect for the whole family, with no guide needed and suitable for ages 5 and above.

Whether you prefer to float alone or with a group of up to 12 people, American River Raft Rentals has the perfect kayak or raft to suit your needs.

American River Raft Rentals is open from April through October, depending on weather conditions (closed during the winter season).

Take the Kids to the Sacramento Children’s Museum

The Sacramento Children’s Museum (SCM) is a place where children are inspired, encouraged to create, and empowered to explore.

SCM is a non-profit organization that was incorporated in 2005 with the goal of meeting the unique needs of children in the community.

After years of planning and dedication, the 7,000-square foot Sacramento Children’s Museum opened its doors to the public in 2011.

The museum is thoughtfully designed for children up to eight years old, offering a wide range of hands-on activities such as experimenting with pressurized tubes and artificial currents, learning about gravity through ball chutes, unleashing their creativity with painting and craft art activities, and even stepping into a pint-sized city where they can role play, and much more!

Be sure to check out the exhibits currently installed which offer a fantastic opportunity for kids as well as the adults to learn while having loads of fun!

Explore Art at the MACC (Mills Station Arts and Culture Center)

Welcome to The MACC, Rancho Cordova’s premiere cultural center and gallery!

The MACC, also known as the Mills Station Arts & Culture Center, opened to the public in 2018 and has been a hub for local artists, history displays, workshops, cultural demonstrations, and more.

The Mills Station Building, constructed in 1911 as a gathering place for farmers and travelers, has always been a focal point of community energy in Rancho Cordova.

Thanks to the creative partnership between the City of Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County, Regional Transit, and the Cordova Community Council, this historic building has been brought back to life.

With 9 to 10 exhibits every year, there’s always something exciting happening here.

Visit The MACC and be a part of the vibrant arts scene in Rancho Cordova!

Go Off-Roading at the Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area

ThePrairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area, operated by the California State Parks, is located at the base of the majestic Sierra Nevada foothills just 20 miles east of downtown Sacramento.

This sprawling recreational haven boasts natural terrain and trails specially designated for motorcycles, 4-wheelers, and ATVs, offering an exhilarating off-road experience for all types of off-highway vehicle enthusiasts.

Explore the diverse landscape of Prairie City, featuring flat open grasslands, undulating hills adorned with native blue oak trees.

It also features expansive areas of cobbled mine tailings – remnants from the gold dredging era of the late 1800s when ancient river beds were scoured in search of precious gold.

The Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area is also home to the Prairie City Race Series, an awesome cross-country MTB racing for all levels.

Regardless of your abilities, the Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area has something to offer for everyone, from those seeking an introduction to off-roading to experts looking for a thrilling challenge.

Traverse the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail

The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, also known as the American River Parkway Bike Trail, is the best trail system in the Sacramento area, offering unparalleled access for outdoor enthusiasts.

Spanning 32 miles, this paved trail is suitable for all ages and meanders along the picturesque American River Parkway.

Designated as a national trail in 1974 and voted the #1 bike path in 2006, this world-renowned trail stretches from Folsom to old Sacramento, with multiple points of interest along the way.

Situated in the heart of it all, Rancho Cordova serves as a perfect starting point to access this impressive trail.

The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail provides a multitude of activities for visitors, including hiking, leisure strolling, jogging, cycling, horseback riding, and inline skating.

Plan Your Escape at Red Door Escape Room

Red Door Escape Room offers fully-immersive experiences that combine artistry, creativity, and technology to bring human connection back into the world of entertainment.

Whether you’re with your family, friends, or corporate team, their escape rooms provide thrilling challenges where groups must crack cryptic puzzles and solve hidden clues to escape from multiple rooms in under 60 minutes!

With a variety of episodes available, ranging from fairytale to thriller to mystery, each experience transports you to a new reality that fosters teamwork.

Red Door Escape Room continually innovates by creating new and improved games, with exciting plans to expand to numerous locations.

Conveniently located on the border of Rancho Cordova and Folsom, Red Door Escape Room is the perfect destination for an exciting and memorable outing.

Play Virtual Reality at Zion Virtual Reality Arena

Zion Virtual Reality Arena, or simply Zion VR, is an innovative and cutting-edge virtual reality arcade that takes immersive gaming to new heights.

At Zion VR, players can experience a fully-immersive VR environment that allows for free movement without any limitations or obstacles.

Zion VR takes pride in being at the forefront of the latest VR hardware technology, thus, they’re the only VR arcade that uses the premium Valve Index controllers and wireless VIVE Pro headset, setting them apart from the competition.

Experience the thrill of their Premium Arcade VR, where players can indulge in hours of gaming in one of their 10 stations that feature a whopping 40 different games to choose from.

Other offerings include their 400-square foot Free Roam Arena VR where up to four players can play, Free Roam Laser Tag VR where players engage in exciting battles, and Escape Room VR where players transcend the limitations of physical space and embark on a mind-bending challenge.

Climb or Boulder at Granite Arch Climbing Center

Since 1996, Granite Arch Climbing Center has been offering some of the most realistic and awe-inspiring indoor climbing walls, and remains aspecial hub for the climbing community in the Sacramento region.

Every detail, down to the pin scars, has been carefully crafted to create a captivating climbing experience.

At Granite Arch, there is ample space to challenge yourself vertically, whether you’re an experienced climber or a beginner to the sport.

You can try your hand at top roping, lead climbing, or bouldering, all while receiving expert guidance from their knowledgeable staff.

For those who prefer to climb outside, Granite Arch also provides an outdoor boulder park.

With a wall surface of more than 20,000 square feet, Granite Arch Climbing Center has something for everyone to put their skills to the test_._

Learn About Food and Agriculture at Soil Born Farms

Soil Born Farms, spanning across 55 acres, is a remarkable organic urban farm located at the historic American River Ranch within the scenic American River Parkway.

Founded by Shawn Harrison and Marco Franciosa in 2000, Soil Born Farms has evolved into a vibrant hub for agricultural education, community engagement, and sustainable farming practices.

It serves as a living laboratory where people of all ages can come to learn about the power of nutritious food in shaping their lifelong health.

From cooking and gardening classes to creating urban farms and preserving wildlife, Soil Born Farms provides a wealth of educational opportunities for individuals to explore and expand their knowledge.

Join a class and discover the joys of sustainable agriculture, healthy eating, and environmental stewardship at Soil Born Farms.

Reserve Your Target at the Smart Axe

Get ready for an unforgettable axe throwing experience at The Smart Axe, the premier destination for axe throwing in Rancho Cordova!

The Smart Axe is the first world-class axe throwing pub in Sacramento, and is renowned as the top-rated venue for axe throwing leagues and team building activities in Northern California.

With a 75-minute axe throwing session, you can hone your skills with the help of their “axe-perts” who will guide you to throw like a champion in no time.

If you’re looking to make new friends, meet other axe throwers, and win fabulous prizes, join their exciting 8-week Axe Throwing League!

In addition to the thrilling axe throwing experience, The Smart Axe also offers a delectable menu and tasty drinks on-site, ensuring a complete and enjoyable outing for everyone.

Experience Luxury Gaming at Parkwest Casino Cordova

Experience the epitome of luxury gaming at Parkwest Casino Cordova, where you can revel in the stylish ambience and indulge in premium games in a state-of-the-art facility.

At Parkwest Casino Cordova, you can enjoy no-fee gaming with popular California games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, and 3 Card Poker.

Say goodbye to the crowd and noise of slot machines and immerse yourself in the comfort of this smoke-free facility while playing your favorite table games.

With plenty of activity and the sophistication of VIP service, Parkwest Casino Cordova sets a new standard for upscale gaming.

You may also indulge in a wide range of culinary delights at The Lodge, where you can savor beer, wine, cocktails, and classic American cuisine.

Try a Unique Beverage at the Root of Happiness Kava Bar

Immerse yourself in a new social scene that offers a serene and relaxing experience, complete with carefully picked and tested kava at the Root of Happiness Kava Bar!

Kava Kava is a traditional beverage spanning over 3,000 years in the South Pacific Islands, known for its calming effects, promoting positive mood, and helping to alleviate the stresses of daily life.

As Northern California’s first Kava Bar, The Root of Happiness opened its doors in March 2013 and has since expanded to multiple locations in Sacramento, Davis, and Roseville.

Through The Root of Happiness, thousands of residents and visitors have discovered and embraced the unique Kava culture in the region.

Drawing inspiration from Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian cultures, the ambiance and decor of The Root of Happiness is truly captivating.

If you ever find yourself in the Sacramento area, treat yourself to a shell of kava and a one-of-a-kind experience at The Root of Happiness Kava Bar.

Enjoy the Outdoors at the Sunrise Recreation Area

The Sunrise Recreation Area is a popular destination for recreational and educational activities, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

The park is divided into two sections–Upper Sunrise and Lower Sunrise–each offering unique features and opportunities for outdoor exploration.

Upper Sunrise offers a boat launch that provides ample space for safely launching small recreational boats or rafts into the river.

Visitors can enjoy walks and bike rides along the river, as well as marvel at the historic Fair Oaks Bridge, known for being featured in movies.

On the other hand, Lower Sunrise connects to Sacramento Bar through the Jim Jones Bridge, which is accessible only to pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians.

Anglers can enjoy fishing from the bridge, while horse lovers can take their horses to the designated equestrian staging area.

The Jedediah Smith Memorial Bike Trail, a popular biking route, can be accessed from both Upper and Lower Sunrise, making it a favorite starting point for many cyclists.

Whether you’re interested in boating, fishing, horseback riding, biking, or simply enjoying nature walks and picnicking, both Upper and Lower sections of the Sunrise Recreation Area offer a plethora of options to cater to different interests and provide a memorable experience for visitors.

Get Your Hard Kombucha Fix at the Shorebirds Brewing Company

The Shorebirds Brewing Company is a special hard kombucha brewery that captures the spirit of NorCal.

A member of the Rancho Cordova Barrel District, Shorebirds is known as the only hard kombucha brewery in the city, offering hard kombucha, hard tea, and hard seltzers.

Since it first opened, it has gained a reputation for its flavorful beverages, coastal ambiance, and artistic events.

Using premium organic tea and real fruits, their master brewers skillfully craft a variety of enticing flavors that are sure to please the palate.

From blueberry mojito to citrus green tea to seasonal acai seltzer, the taproom at Shorebirds is filled with distinct and delicious flavors.

The visual presentation of their beverages is just as enticing as the flavors themselves, making for an unforgettable experience.

If you’re a kombucha lover or you’re simply looking for a one-of-a-kind brewery that offers a fusion of flavors and ambiance, look no further than Shorebirds Brewing Company!

Final Thoughts

Rancho Cordova is a gem boasting breathtaking scenery and a plethora of exciting indoor and outdoor activities, making it a wonderful year-round destination.

But beyond that, Rancho Cordova also draws tourists for its fantastic lodging options and remarkable dining scene, not to mention, the renowned Barrel District which is a haven for craft beer and distillery enthusiasts!

With the best things to do and see in Rancho Cordova, adventure seekers and curious travelers alike will find this place unforgettable and worth-exploring!

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