Growing up in San Francisco, I loved learning about the Gold Rush in school. I was fascinated by how Northern California was born out of rowdy boomtowns and the lawless Wild West. So I was excited to move to Sacramento recently and visit nearby Gold Rush towns like Sutter Creek, California.
Sutter Creek is located in the heart of Amador County and is known for its history and wine. We stayed two nights, which felt like the ideal length for a stay. The town itself is very small, and it was nice to wander around without a lot of pressure to see a long list of sights that is usually the case when we are in a larger destination.
Where Is Sutter Creek?
An easy hour drive from Sacramento, Sutter Creek is located on the historic Old Route 49 Highway, which was the road the miners embarked on to seek their fortune in 1849. Within Amador County (aka deep into California’s Gold Country), the other towns nearby include Jackson (county seat), Amador City, Ione, Fiddletown, Volcano, and Pine Grove where you can explore quant gold mining towns. Sutter Creek is a small town, but within a quick 10 minute drive over the hill to Jackson, there’s a Walgreens, Safeway, and other restaurants.
When To Go To Gold Country
Summer is not the best time to go since it can be in the 90s or above. I’m already planning to go back when it gets a little cooler in the autumn and see the fall foliage. I’m also daydreaming about visiting during the holidays when the town is decked out in lights and seasonal decorations.
Sutter Creek Sights
Walk around Main Street and easily be transported to what life was like at the height of the Gold Rush with historical building facades.
Sutter Creek Theater-catch a movie, theater production or concert in this building that dates back to the 1920s.
Monteverde General Store Museum-a preserved general store from the 1800s, it’s run by volunteers and open on weekends (though it’s recommended that you call for a tour in advance).
Sutter Creek United Methodist Church-a classical example of a small gold mining church with its sky-high white steeple.
Hotel Sutter-hard to miss this beautiful old building in the middle of the street that serves as a hotel, bar and restaurant.
Miners’ Bend Park-an impressive display of gold mining tools from nearby Argonaut, Sutter and other gold mines. If you’re curious about learning how gold mining worked, this spot has a lot of informative plaques about the often dangerous work a gold miner faced.
Victorian Homes on Spanish and Church Street-located right off of the main thoroughfare, these streets have some great examples of Victorian architecture.
A bit further afield…
Minnie Provis Park-a scenic place to visit, sit on one of the picnic beaches or follow the locals and wade around in Sutter Creek to cool off.
Chaos Glassworks-watch glass being masterfully blown and admire beautiful glasswork of all shapes and sizes in the gallery where chickens roam freely.
Historic Sutter Creek Grammar School-founded in 1870, it was one of the largest schools in the area for its time.
Sutter Creek Restaurants
Gold Dust Pizza-a local favorite that has outdoor seating and has some of the best pizza I’ve had in a long time, no joke. Also love a restaurant that is on theme. The Gold Digger is popular for meat lovers, and the Vegetarian is piled high with fresh veggies.
Buffalo Chips-for a hearty homemade breakfast this is the place to go in town, there are also delicious sandwiches. Make sure you save room for the homemade pie.
Sinas Backroads Café-a small neighborhood spot that is known for their delicious biscuits and gravy, and chicken salad sandwiches.
Sutter Creek-for a classy meal with ambiance that’s hard to beat you can either dine in the formal dining room or al fresco on the second floor balcony. Try the blacken shrimp or a steak sandwich.
Where To Drink In Sutter Creek
Choc-O-Latte-a great spot to grab coffee or a cup of cocoa with a side of truffles to snack on.
Sutter Creek Provisions-part market, part tap room, this place is good to try some craft beers or stock up for a picnic.
Scott Harvey Wines Tasting Room
A tasting room that has delicious wine and friendly, informative staff that do a great job explaining the history of the wines. Wine tasting is seven dollars per person, but is waived if you buy a bottle.
Where To Stay In Sutter Creek
Hanford House Inn-luxury digs downtown that come with all the stops (complementary wine and warm scones delivered to your door in the morning). Full breakfast included as well.
Days Inn-great no frills place to stay that is walking distance from the downtown area, breakfast included, microwave and mini-fridge is provided allowing you to easily prep meals within your room.
Hotel Sutter-a classic spot to stay right in the middle of the town.
Places To Visit Nearby Sutter Creek
If you have extra time, these other Gold Rush towns in Amador County are worth visiting, especially neighboring Jackson.
Downtown Jackson-another cute old mining town to walk around in and explore sights like The National Hotel, and The Serbian Bakery for its insanely addictive morning buns and the sweetest owner.
Amador County Museum (Jackson)-definitely worth a stop to learn more about the local history of the area and view artifacts that were donated by local residents over the past 70 years. The museum is housed in the historical Brown family mansion, one of the town earliest residents. There is also a Kennedy mine replica tour that’s worth checking out as well.
Chew Kee Store Museum (Fiddletown)-A great place to learn about the Chinese history during the gold rush and the influence they had in places like Fiddletown. This store used to be owned by an herb doctor that treated Chinese miners, as well as Chinese railroad workers later. Open on weekends.