15 Best Things to Do in Redding (CA)

Redding is a city of about 95,000 residents located in northern California’s Shasta County.

The city is set amid some of the state’s most impressive natural scenery and is a particularly big draw for fit and outdoorsy types like campers, mountain bikers, hikers, hunters, and fishermen.

Conveniently situated just off Interstate 5, it’s relatively equidistant between Sacramento to the south and the Oregon border to the north.

Though there are a number of worthwhile historical and cultural attractions within city limits, most visitors choose to spend significant portions of their visits at the large lakes and state and national parks in the vicinity.

1. Old City Hall Arts Center

Old City Hall Arts Center

For lovers of art, history, and architecture, the Old City Hall Arts Center is a Redding attraction in a league of its own.

It’s the perfect attraction for first-time visitors interested in learning what makes the city so unique without wasting time traveling between multiple locations.

The Hall was originally built more than a century ago and has been recognized as a state historic location since the late ‘70s.

It’s brimming with fascinating historical exhibits, local and regionally produced artwork, and other tidbits of local interest, making it a big hit with travelers of most ages and interests.

2. Cascade Theater

Cascade Theater

Housed in a historic building that sports an impressive art deco façade from the mid-‘30s, the Cascade Theater on Market Street in Redding is one of the city’s premier entertainment venues.

Though the theater fell on hard times for much of its existence, it has undergone some renovations in recent years and now looks much the way it did when it was built more than eight decades ago.

The theater features a full year-round schedule that includes classic and vintage movies as well as live entertainment productions like dramatic theater, traditional and contemporary music, and children’s performances.

3. Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Turtle Bay Exploration Park

At nearly 300 acres, Turtle Bay Exploration Park is another of Redding’s iconic recreation attractions.

Featuring visitor and wildlife centers, a museum, arboretum, and botanical gardens, it’s one of those places that occupies large chunks of many visitors’ itineraries.

The museum’s exhibits touch on science, forestry, ecology, art, and the Native American cultures that called the area home long before those of European descent settled it.

Many of the park’s exhibits and activities promote interaction and engagement, which means more learning opportunities and mental stimulation for those traveling with kids with short attention spans.

The park is located on Sundial Bridge Drive.

4. Sacramento River Trail

Sacramento River Trail

Source: Carrie Epley / shutterstock

Sacramento River Trail

The Sacramento River winds its way for kilometers through downtown Redding; it’s one of the area’s biggest draws.

The paved Sacramento River Trail follows the river’s bank through town and into the country; it’s open to walkers, runners, roller-bladers, and bikers.

It’s the perfect attraction for those looking to distance themselves from the crowds without leaving city limits. Conveniently, it links many of the city’s most prominent attractions, making it a cost-effective means of getting around for those who don’t mind burning excess calories.

Attractions near the trail include Sundial Bridge, Caldwell Park, and Keswick Dam.

5. Win-River Resort and Casino

Casino

Source: charles taylor / shutterstock

Casino

Whether you’ll be exploring Redding for multiple days or just passing through on your way to other parts of the state, the Win-River Resort and Casino are definitely worth a look.

They’re located on Redding Rancheria Road just off I-5 and offer premium accommodations, several dining options, and tons of entertainment, much of which is family-friendly.

Of course, gaming is a big draw, but the facility’s amenities also include lounges, coffee shops, a golf course, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Live entertainment is offered year-round, too, so check their website’s calendar of events to see what’s on the horizon for when you’ll be visiting.

6. Woody’s Brewing Company

Grains For Brewing Beer

Source: Cris_mh / shutterstock

Grains For Brewing Beer

Founded on the simple principles that brewing and consuming a wide variety of high-quality beers is just downright fun, Woody’s Brewing Company is one of the city’s go-to spots for those who’d rather not imbibe beers made in mega factories hundreds of miles away.

Woody’s is located on Oregon Street in Redding. It features an impressive food menu, as well as an ever-changing array of beers brewed onsite, running the gamut from porters and wheats to ales and IPAs.

For those who’d rather get their beer to-go, Woody’s brews are available in cans at a number of local grocers, and in convenient growlers at the bar.

7. The Eaton House Museum

Judge Eaton's office

Posted by The Eaton Gift on Thursday, 18 February 2016

Located on West Street in Redding, the Eaton House Museum is a popular historic attraction housed inside a Victorian-era home built in the last few years of the 19th century.

Eaton House was once the private residence of the city’s sheriff and judge. Though it’s always been historically significant, it wasn’t until 2003 that it was turned into a public museum.

The home includes authentic furniture, art, and housewares that were common at the time. Its historical exhibits feature letters, photographs, books, and documents from more than a century ago.

The museum isn’t open every day, so check online or call before heading out.

8. McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Though they were once independent attractions, the McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens are now two of Turtle Bay Exploration Park’s most popular draws.

The arboretum and gardens feature several distinct cultivated areas that feature native and exotic species of plants, flowers, and trees from distant corners of the globe, including South America, Australia, and the Mediterranean.

During the peak season, the grounds are often reserved for weddings and other private events, so make sure there aren’t any restrictions before making a special trip.

The gardens are most stunning during the spring and early summer months when the weather begins to warm.

9. Lake Shasta Caverns

Lake Shasta Caverns

Source: Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz / shutterstock

Lake Shasta Caverns

Located just north of Redding, Lake Shasta spreads its fingers like a massive hand over the northern California landscape.

In addition to the lake’s abundant attractions and activity options, the area is home to an extensive network of caves and caverns; according to geologists, these were formed more than a quarter of a billion years ago.

The caverns were carved into limestone over eons of water erosion. From the elevated entrance, it’s possible to take in unobstructed views of the glimmering lake below.

The Lake Shasta Caverns National Monument is located on Shasta Caverns Road in Lakehead, just a few kilometers north of Redding.

10. Lake Redding Golf Course

Golf

Source: Mikael Damkier / shutterstock

Golf

It’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t run into golf superstars like Bubba Watson or Sergio Garcia while having around at Lake Redding Golf Course, but for value-conscious travelers with minimal free time, it’s a great place to squeeze in a few holes.

The course features just nine holes and plays less than half the distance of most 18-hole courses in the area. Previous players have noted that it was well-maintained, had just the right number of hazards to keep things interesting, and that the scenery was just as remarkable as many of its more expensive counterparts.

Lake Redding has special rates for seniors and military personnel and features a pro shop with rental clubs for those without a set of their own.

11. Sundial Bridge

Sundial Bridge

Source: Jon Bilous / shutterstock

Sundial Bridge

Redding’s Sundial Bridge is one of the area’s most noteworthy humanmade attractions.

Widely regarded as one of the West Coast’s architectural and engineering masterpieces, it effortlessly spans the 240-meter gap between the Sacramento River’s eastern and western shores, not far from the downtown area.

The bridge is made of rock, glass, and steel and offers impressive views of the city and surrounding countryside.

During the spawning and migration season, the river under the bridge is often choked with salmon, making for an impressive spectacle worth checking out if you’ll be in the area at the right time.

12. Redding Jet Boat Tours

Sacramento River In Redding

Source: Carrie Epley / shutterstock

Sacramento River In Redding

As the Golden State’s longest river, the Sacramento River offers visitors a variety of activity options.

Though they may not be a good fit for the elderly and those with aversions to high speeds, jet boat tours are a great way to experience the area’s beauty from a unique perspective.

Many jet boat tours depart from the aforementioned Sundial Bridge, and some cover as many as 30 kilometers.

Most riverboats are relatively small and powerful, making for truly exhilarating excursions that generally last between two and four hours.

Options include general sightseeing, wildlife viewing, and photography tours.

13. Kaleidoscope Coffee Company

It's a Carmel frappé kinda day!

Posted by Kaleidoscope Coffee Co. Athens on Thursday, 27 February 2020

Like tasty, organic, fair-trade coffee, comfy seats, and friendly service?

If so, you’ll probably want to swing by Kaleidoscope Coffee Company on Athens Avenue in Redding during your visit.

Kaleidoscope’s beans are sourced from some of the world’s most renowned growing regions, but they’re roasted in-state, which gives them a freshness and potency you won’t likely find elsewhere.

The coffee shop has also become popular for their recently added breakfast and lunch menus that include perennial favorites like wraps, salads, and gourmet sandwiches.

Kaleidoscope has been around for more than a decade and offers plenty of non-coffee drinks, including tea, juice, and smoothies.

14. The Shasta Dam

Shasta Dam

Source: Andrew Zarivny / shutterstock

Shasta Dam

Spanning the Sacramento River and towering more than 600 feet, the Shasta Dam is another of the region’s most iconic humanmade structures.

The dam’s concrete façade is arched to add stability and strength against the massive weight of water contained on the upriver side. It was built to provide electricity and flood control to benefit the area’s residents, farmers, and businesses.

Shasta Dam is one of the ten largest dams in the country. Touring the facility with a knowledgeable docent is a great way to learn about local history and hydroelectric power generation.

The dam is located on Shasta Lake, about 20 minutes north of Redding.

15. Cattlemens Steakhouse

Cattlemens Steakhouse

Source: Joshua Resnick / shutterstock

Cattlemens Steakhouse

Founded more than five decades ago, Cattlemens Steakhouse on Hilltop Drive in Redding is often ranked as one of the American west’s best steakhouses.

Though their prime rib, ribeyes, and porterhouses tend to steal the spotlight, their menu includes other non-beef options, like seafood, chicken, pasta, salads, and mouthwatering desserts.

Cattlemens is a family-owned and operated business that operates five similar restaurants across the state. Though it’s not the cheapest option for those looking to feed a family on the cheap, most guests agree that it’s great value considering the atmosphere, quality, and generous portion sizes.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Redding, California (CA)
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List of Image Sources

15 Best Things to Do in Redding (CA):

Sundial Bridge

  • Old City Hall Arts Center: NoeHill / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Cascade Theater: Publichall / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Turtle Bay Exploration Park: Peter Alfred Hess / Flickr | CC BY
  • Sacramento River Trail: Carrie Epley / shutterstock
  • Casino: charles taylor / shutterstock
  • Grains For Brewing Beer: Cris_mh / shutterstock
  • McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens: Daderot / Wikimedia | CC0
  • Lake Shasta Caverns: Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz / shutterstock
  • Golf: Mikael Damkier / shutterstock
  • Sundial Bridge: Jon Bilous / shutterstock
  • Sacramento River In Redding: Carrie Epley / shutterstock
  • Shasta Dam: Andrew Zarivny / shutterstock
  • Cattlemens Steakhouse: Joshua Resnick / shutterstock