Downtown Benicia is the cutest little place with some big history. My family stumbled upon the old capitol building by mistake while looking for a place to picnic. With a little help from Google, we discovered it's the home of California's third capitol building. Who knew?
The Benicia capitol building is open Thursdays from 10am – 4pm, and Friday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. It has been restored with reconstructed period furnishings and serves as a nice little history lesson. In about ten minutes, we tested out an old key, walked up the steep staircase, viewed the Assembly room, and got a cool train stamp on our way out. The kids thought it was neat. We entered and did those things for free, however, you can take a more detailed tour for a fee ($3/Adults, $2/Children, 5 and under free). There's also an outdoor garden to explore along with a historic house.
The front lawn of the capitol building is the perfect place to eat a picnic lunch and watch the crowds walk by 1st Street. It's also mostly gated, so we didn't worry much about anyone running into the busy street.
Other Things to See/Do while in Benicia:
Stop for a Sweet Treat – Enjoy a scoop of Double Rainbow ice cream, have a slice of cake at Rosanna's European Delights, or opt for cookies and coffee (just across the street from the capitol building) at Dianna's Bakery Cafe & Deli.
Visit the Beach and Walk the Pier – If you walk all the way down 1st Street you'll run into the water. Walk the pier, dig your toes in the sand, bring a jacket for windy weather.
Have Tea – Camellia Tea Room offers afternoon tea, lunch and desserts. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 4pm. Reservations, especially on weekends, are recommended.
Shoot some Arrows – Fat Shafts Archery is a good place to spend an hour. Rent equipment and shoot at targets at this indoor range.
Play at a Playground – Park of Dreams in Downtown Benicia is a beautiful park with big trees, lots of grass and a completely wooden structure. Run over bridges, climb ladders and swing to your hearts content.
Build Something with Legos – Drop-in (or drop-off!) to Brickspace where you can imagine, build and learn with legos. Tuesdays/Thursdays from 12pm – 5pm, Fridays 11am – 1pm. $10/Hour.
[Photo Credits: Anna Azimi]