Placerville Hardware Store, El Dorado County Photo: Paul Cockrell

4 Incredible Things to Do in Placerville for the History Buff

California is home to numerous small towns that are historically and culturally significant, making them some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Placerville in El Dorado County is one of them. A charming town established in the 1840s, Placerville was named after the placer gold deposits found in its hills and riverbeds during the legendary Gold Rush.

You can see the period’s influence on the town’s architecture, with most of the preserved buildings designed in the classic style of the 19th century. If you are a history buff, Placerville should be on your travel bucket list!

If you plan to visit this former gold-rush town, here are some of the things you MUST do:

Take a stroll along historic Main Street

Downtown Placerville, home to the historic Main Street, is the perfect place to begin your Gold Country adventure. The street is lined with beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings and has plenty of boutiques and restaurants where you can enjoy the local food, music, and culture. As you walk down the street, admire the Bell Tower, built in 1898 for citizens to quickly call firefighters in case of fire. Today, it serves as a gathering place for the locals during festivals and parades.

Visit the El Dorado County Historical Museum

A five-minute drive from downtown will take you to the El Dorado County Historical Museum, featuring incredible displays. For instance, the gold mining equipment gives you a peek into life as it was during the Gold Rush. The museum also has handwoven artifacts of numerous native American tribes like the Maidu, the Miwok, and the Washoe.

Discover gold rush secrets at the Gold Bug Park and Mine

If you want to dig deeper into the fascinating gold rush history of the region, there is no better place to do it than the Gold Bug Park and Mine. It’s the only gold mine in the state that welcomes visitors, offering a self-guided tour narrated by a Gold Rush miner. After you finish your tour, you can enjoy a nice little picnic on the grounds of the park.

Visit the Fountain & Tallman Soda Works

Built in 1852, the Fountain & Tallman Soda Works is the oldest building in town. Now the home of the Placerville Historical Museum, it belongs to the National Register of Historic Places. Located at 524 Main Street, east of Bedford Avenue, this building was one of Placerville’s first permanent buildings and signified the town’s transition from a mining camp to a proper city.

Want to know more about historic Placerville and its many attractions? Visit El Dorado is your go-to destination for a wealth of information about the best things to do and places to visit in Placerville and surrounding towns. Learn about Gold Rush history, arts and culture, wine trails, dog-friendly activities, hiking, and so much more.

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Upcoming El Dorado County Events

spring vines at Lava Cap Winery
4 Incredible Things to Do in Placerville for the History Buff

Community Events Calendar

February 9, 2024
Imagination Theater Presents - Rapunzel
March 3, 2024
11:00 am Mimosa Sunday
12:00 pm Live Music, Arts, & Quality Entertainment at The Green Room Social Club
1:00 pm Placerville Elks Lodge Bingo
March 6, 2024
6:30 am Snowshoe Thompson Expedition
March 7, 2024
7:00 pm Oak Ridge High School Theatre presents Murder on the Orient Express