If you're driving from San Francisco, Sacramento is about 90 miles east on I-80. From Los Angeles, take I-5 through the Central Valley directly into Sacramento. From North Lake Tahoe, get on I-80 west; from South Lake Tahoe, take U.S. 50.
Sacramento International Airport (tel. 916/929-5411), 12 miles northwest of downtown Sacramento, is served by about a dozen airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American, America West, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, and United. SuperShuttle (tel. 800/258-3826) runs from the airport to downtown for a flat rate of $13 to the capital, a bargain compared to the $25 a conventional taxi would cost.
Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) trains serve Sacramento daily. The Greyhound terminal is at Seventh and L streets.
The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1608 I St., Sacramento, CA 95814 (tel. 916/808-7777; www.discovergold.org), provides plenty of information for travelers. It's open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. Once in the city, you can also stop by the Old Sacramento Visitor Center, 1002 Second St. (tel. 916/442-7644), in Old Sacramento; it's usually open daily from 10am to 5pm. The city's major daily paper is the Sacramento Bee (www.sacbee.com).
Suburbia sprawls around Sacramento, but its downtown area is relatively compact. Getting around the city is made easy by a gridlike pattern of streets designated by numbers or letters. The capitol, on 10th Street between N and L streets, is the key landmark. From the front of the capitol, M Street -- at this point called Capitol Mall -- runs 10 straight blocks to Old Sacramento, the oldest section of the city.