The rich history of California’s state capital, Sacramento, as well as the Central Valley cities to the south and national parks of the High Sierra, is not gone nor forgotten. Groups can warmly embrace the region’s past in off-site venues that tell stories of grand, earlier times.
These landmark venues throughout the region can provide a backdrop for meetings and events that showcase the state’s history with restored spaces and modern offerings.
The Crocker Art Museum is located blocks from the California State Capitol building and contains works from California art to European master drawings and international ceramics. The museum is comprised of the Historic Building and the modern Tee Family Pavilion.
In 1868 Judge Edwin B. Crocker purchased the property and renovated the home into a grand Italianate mansion and adjacent gallery building to display the family’s art collection. The project was completed in 1872 and the mansion went through multiple reconstructions and uses until 1989 when the historic facade was restored and a modern gallery interior was created. The gallery building is a California Historical Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
“The Crocker Art Museum is the oldest continuously operating public art museum west of the Mississippi,” said Lucy Steffens, director of travel media for Visit Sacramento. “The stately Victorian mansion and its $100 million expansion have hosted a number of events accommodating up to 1,200 guests.”
From the beginning stages in 2000 until the opening in 2010, the Crocker underwent an expansion that includes a new building and the internal reconfiguration of the existing structures. The 125,000-square-foot Tee Family Pavilion more than tripled the museum’s size and also enabled the dedication of the historic building’s entire first floor as the Museum’s Education Center, including four studios, space for student and community exhibitions, an expanded Gerald Hansen Library and the Art Education Resource Room.
The Crocker Art Museum has several spaces for private functions, including an indoor ballroom with the capacity for 300 guests; two outdoor courtyards; a meeting center that can be divided into two separate rooms; 4,000-square-foot Friedman Court; and Setzer Foundation Auditorium, which has built-in seating for 262 people.
Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium is part of the Sacramento Convention Center Complex. According to Visit Sacramento, the building is currently undergoing a renovation and will reopen in May 2020, along with the reopening of the expanded Sacramento Convention Center.
Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
First opened in 1927, the auditorium is dedicated as a memorial and tribute to Sacramento-area residents who served the country. The 3,850-seat multipurpose venue can be used for conferences, banquets, receptions and speaking engagements. The two-story, gilded auditorium is on the National Register of Historic Places along with the 272-seat Jean Runyon Little Theater, which is housed inside the grand venue.
The Bob Hope Theatre, originally named the Fox California, opened in 1930 in downtown Stockton. At the time of its grand opening it was the largest vaudeville house in California, with 2,170 seats, and was one of the safest buildings of the time, built entirely with cement and steel.
Bob Hope Theatre, Stockton
The building had a few different owners and in 1979 was saved from destruction and placed on the National Register of Historical Places. It is now one of only two movie palaces left in California’s Central Valley.
Today, the Bob Hope Theatre can accommodate year-round live theater, musicals, concerts, private events, classic cinema and comedy, offering more than 2,000 seats. The building, now owned by the city of Stockton, features a marble mosaic floor that includes a 1,200-square-foot space in the center of the lobby. This marble was imported from Italy and the mosaic was designed by a Canadian artist.
The theater also features a restored 1928 Robert Morton organ, originally housed in Seattle’s Fox Theatre.
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, a landmark of Yosemite National Park, is a grand hotel located in the park’s valley floor. Opening its doors in 1927 as the Ahwahnee Hotel, its architectural and design influences blend Art Deco, Native American, Middle Eastern, and the Arts and Crafts Movement.
The main building features multistory ceilings, massive stone fireplaces, hand-stenciled beams and hand-made stained-glass windows. Construction included the use of more than 5,000 tons of stone, 1,000 tons of steel and 30,000 feet of lumber transported through the mountains to create the hotel.
The Ahwahnee was renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel in 2016 after the property was acquired by the U.S. government from Delaware North, which claims rights to the trademarked name. There are six meeting and event rooms for up to 150 guests and many boast views of the park’s Half Dome and Glacier Point.
Another Central Valley movie palace, Warnors Theatre was built in 1927 by Alexander Pantages, a prominent vaudeville theater magnate. First opened as the Pantages Theatre to showcase vaudeville acts, the venue included a room backstage to accommodate live animals. The building was sold to Warner Brothers in 1929, which changed its name and used it predominantly to show silent movies.
The theater was again sold in 1973 and was again renamed, this time to Warnors, for copyright purposes.
The 2,100-seat theater is part of the larger Warnors Center performing arts complex and can be rented for private events, showings or lectures.
Also part of the complex is the nearly 6,300-square-foot Star Palace Ballroom on the second floor and Frank’s Place, a 5,500-square-foot venue that can be used for meetings or as performance space.
Sacramento/Central Valley/High Sierra CVB Contact Information
Mammoth Lakes Tourism
Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau
Yosemite National Park