Auburn Events feature Wild West Stampede Rodeo, American River Confluence Festival, Auburn Food & Wine Festival and the Mandarin Festival. Many of the events are held at Auburn's beautiful parks and recreation areas.
From the authentic shops and restaurant storefronts, to the statues commemorating miners and the state's gold history and lore, you owe it to yourself to visit this rich city with a heritage that lives today in the hearts & minds of the town's residents.
Not far from Sacramento, your best bet for visiting when coming from a distance is to fly into the Sacramento Airport, rent a car, and begin your road trip exploring the Gold Country region that begins less than an hour outside the Capitol city. Auburn is one of the most important pieces of the California gold history and you won't want to miss seeing this nugget.
What to see and do:
Auburn was chosen as the seat of Placer County in 1851 and the historic courthouse was built between 1894 and 1898.
Old Town is a step into the Old West gold rush era with houses and shops from the middle of the 19th century, including the old fire station and post office, both must-see attractions.
Placer County Museum includes many displays and actual collector items from the Gold Rush. Be sure to visit!
Placer High School is one of the oldest high schools in California.
Town statues you can't miss when you drive on Auburn roads include panning for gold in the American River, and a Chinese "Celestial" worker building the Transcontinental Railroad, and Native American Indian tributes. All statues were created by a local dentist.
Auburn is approx. 130 miles from San Francisco and 30 miles northeast of Sacramento along Highway 80 in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
As the seat of Placer County, the city has an incredibly rich history. It was named in 1849 to commemorate a place so many settlers came from, Auburn, NY, the word "auburn" aptly describes the reddish-burnt color of the hills and gullies near the Auburn Ravine where gold was discovered in 1848.
A huge forty-five ton statue of a gold miner Claude Chana, pays tribute to the man responsible for Auburn's beginnings on Washington Street where the massive sculpture stands near a spot that some say was where Chana may have panned for gold.
Local dentist Kenneth Fox made the statue in 1975 and sold it for $8,000. Fox used Paul Avery, a local resident who often panned for gold, as a model for his popular sculpture since no photos or drawings of the famed Frenchman, Chana, were available. The dentist moved most the stones for the sculpture himself but also got help from his kids.
Fox, who moved to Auburn at the age of three and opened a dental office in 1947, also created other statues tourists can see and photograph. They include the 420-foot Amazon Archer and Chains of Freedom.
When gold was discovered, tent cities near the ravines sprang up making the prospecting work a constant reminder. Their rickety homes were made of highly-flammable brush, wood, cloth and canvas. Fire ravaged the campsites and caused miners to move uphill to more secure accommodations away from the ravines. New homes were built of stone and brick and fitted with iron doors for fire protection.
This historic portion of town still
stands, following the contours of the
hills and gullies that twist and turn.
Known as Old Town, most the buildings
from the 1860's are still in use today.
Visitors can shop, dine, and tour
businesses and museums open to the
public in these buildings that include
Placer County Courthouse, Oldest
Operating US Post Office and Historic
The Placer County Courthouse listed on The National Register of Historic Places is a three-story Classic Revival structure with a bracketed cornice and Renaissance Revival dome. Completed in 1898, there's a museum containing the Pate Collection of Native American Art. A Sheriff's Office, Placer County Museum Gift Shop, Placer County Research Center and Museum Gallery with a holographic image of a miner and historical exhibits are located in the Courthouse, which is open to the public, free of charge. Address: Placer County Museum, 101 Maple Street, Auburn A friendly chamber of commerce welcomes tourists with a healthy list of activities and things to do throughout the year.
Weekend guided walking tours of Old Town, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, antique shops, art galleries, museums, and many activities and events nearby such as fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, golfing, horseback riding, backpacking, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, sailing, and water skiing provide lots to see and do in Auburn, Calif.
The first known inhabitants approx. 4,000 years ago were native Americans, an offshoot of the Maidu Tribe.
They enjoyed a bounty of fruits and meats in the mountains and lakes of the Sierra Mountain foothills. Before European contact there were approximately 200,000 Indians in the Sacramento Valley, with the largest population near the major rivers. In 1832 - 1833, the Hudson Bay Co. sponsored a fur trapping and scouting expedition to California. The expedition introduced small pox, influenza, and measles to the Indian population. Resulting in a 50 percent reduction in the entire California Indian population, entire villages and tribes were destroyed. In the 1850s, the Gold Rush further devastated the Indian population. By 1860, less than 20 percent of the original Indian population remained. Continued pressures on Indian populations have resulted in less than 5 percent of the original population in the Sacramento area remaining today. For more information, visit Auburn Rancheria. auburnrancheria.com
The discovery of gold by Frenchman
Claude Chana on May 16, 1848, put Auburn
on the modern-day map. In 1850 the
population was 1200. Known as one of the
milder, friendlier gold mining camps,
there was less crime and murders in
Auburn. Still, nearly every historical
account mentions the town's first
lynching which took place on Christmas
Day, December 25, 1850. An English miner
named Sharp shot and killed another
miner. He turned himself over to the
sheriff but the crowd wasn't appeased.
They reportedly seized the prisoner,
held a miners' court, quickly handed
down a guilty verdict and hanged him
from an oak tree in the middle of town.
Interestingly, the hangings in the
surrounding gold towns are remembered
and fairly well documented.
The Placer County Department of Museums system is composed of six museums that focus on the rich heritage of Placer County. Tel: (530) 889-6500
BERNHARD MUSEUM COMPLEX
291 Auburn-Folsom Road, Auburn
GOLD COUNTRY MUSEUM
1273 High Street, Auburn
NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN ANNEX
1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn
GRIFFITH QUARRY MUSEUM
Taylor Road, Penryn
GOLDEN DRIFT MUSEUM
32820 Main Street, Dutch Flat
FOREST HILL DIVIDE MUSEUM
24601 Harrison Street, ForesthillCalifornia Welcome Center, Auburn
13411 Lincoln Way
Auburn, Ca 95603