What to Pack for a Trip to Sacramento

Sacramento has it all — natural beauty to explore, art and theater to enjoy and delicious food on virtually every corner. You’ll want to spend some time outdoors, so grab these essentials for your trip.

Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento.CreditDrew Kelly for The New York Times

From craft beer and taco stands to art, theater and enough coffee shops to keep you fueled up while you bike around town, Sacramento has tons to offer. We walk you through all of it in our local guide, but before you go, grab these essentials for your visit.

We’ve shared packing essentials for any 36-hour trip in previous lists, so we asked Freda Moon, who wrote our guide to Sacramento, to name a few items she was glad to have on her last visit — or wished she had packed.

Then we turned to Ria Misra, an editor at Wirecutter, for the best products to fill those needs as well as her expert suggestions for other things to pack to make the most of your trip. Here are their picks.

Don’t Forget Your:

  • Picnic supplies. “Sacramento has a lot of really lovely parks and outdoor spaces, so I recommend picnicking whenever possible,” Ms. Moon said. “For that, I like to carry one of those insulated lunchboxes/bags.” If you’re in the market for one, Ms. Misra suggests the Coleman 9 can soft cooler with hard liner, which will hold a couple of drinks, plus a nice snack selection or light lunch for two. A comfortable blanket with a waterproof lining, like this Nemo Victory Blanket, works for picnics as well as lounging by the lake at Capitol Park. Go ahead and toss a flying disc in your bag (Wirecutter suggests the Discraft UltraStar) too, for an impromptu game.

  • Sun protection. “Prepare for heat in summer,” cautions Ms. Moon. Ms. Misra suggests a pair of polarized sunglasses (like the Gamma Ray Polarized UV 400 Classic) to protect your eyes, sunscreen for your skin and a sun hat for the trail, like the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat, which shields both your face and neck from rays. Also, Hydro Flask’s 24 ounce insulated water bottle kept Wirecutter testers’ drinks frosty all day long, even when temperatures rose.

  • Bike helmet. Ms. Moon noted that Sacramento is a super bike-friendly city, and one with a newly launched bike-share program that’s convenient enough for locals and tourists. If you plan to use it, it’s worth toting your own helmet along. This Schwinn Thrasher is light, comfortable, and affordable.

  • Swimming gear. Although Asha Urban Baths offers towels for rent, you can bring your own too — the Packtowl Personal comes with a pouch and dries quickly between uses. Bring a pair of flip-flops as well, both for the shower and for walking around. Ms. Misra said that Wirecutter tests found the Havaianas Top (available in men’s and women’s sizes) to be both comfortable and grippy against wet surfaces.

  • Go-anywhere carryall. Finally, perfect for carrying all of these essentials around town, the Baggu Duck Bag comes in a variety of colors and prints, and is a great, stylish tote. It also has an adjustable strap that lets you use it as a messenger bag while you’re riding a bike.