Sacramento is the oldest incorporated city in California, settled between the confluences of the Sacramento and American rivers. It was founded in 1849 and there are many reminders of the history of the city including Sutter's Fort, Old Sacramento, and remnants of the original ground level of Sacramento. It experienced explosive growth when gold was discovered in 1848 in nearby Coloma, and the gold rush that followed was the largest human migration in history. Currently it has a population of 490,000 in the city and over two million in the metropolitan area.
The pace of life is somewhat slower than in other large Californian cities, and the people are generally warm and friendly. According to Time magazine Sacramento is the most diverse city in the USA. The city used to be an affordable place, but it suffered from the San Francisco Bay Area's dot com rise and fall, and real estate went from undervalued to overvalued. The market is correcting itself so property values in most neighborhoods have leveled off while others are dropping to more reasonable valuations.
|Daily highs (°F)||53||60||65||71||81||88||93||92||88||78||63||53|
|Nightly lows (°F)||38||40||43||45||51||56||59||58||55||48||41||37|
Data from NOAA (1981-2010)
Sacramento has a Mediterranean-type climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Being further inland than most of the other major California cities, Sacramento is subject to more temperature variation. Winter high temperatures are commonly in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (10-20*C), and at night the temperature drops below freezing every so often. The summer heat can be intense, with temperatures exceeding 100*F (37.7*) not unusual. Generally speaking, the warmer it gets, the drier it gets, so even the most intense Sacramento heat is easily alleviated by a quick dip in the swimming pool.
Sacramento's hot, dry summers are mitigated by a phenomenon locals call "the delta breeze." Heat waves rarely last more than three to five days, because as hot air builds over California's interior valleys, cold ocean air is sucked inland through the Sacramento river delta, acting as natural air conditioning and dropping the temperature sharply. The delta breeze tends to hit the westernmost areas of Sacramento late in the afternoon and travel east/northeast at ten to fifteen miles per hour, so the hour at which your neighborhood cools depends on your proximity to the river delta or how far west/south you reside.
Most rain falls in the from around fall to mid spring and occasionally early summer. Generally speaking, however, you can count on sunny days from the middle of April until at least the middle of October. Winter is known not only for its rain but also its dense fog, which can hamper driving conditions and reduce visibility to 100 feet (30 m) at times. Snow is rare, but once every 5-10 years a light dusting occurs, and even some light accumulation away from the city. In the foothills not far east of the city, snow is much more common, and the Tahoe-area ski resorts are within easy reach of the Sacramento metropolitan area. Sacramento's location in the heart of California's agricultural interior gives it a blossom-laden spring as a profusion of fruit trees bloom and flower filled grassland. It also experiences a "foliage fall"—autumn color without the severe weather that accompanies brilliant color in other parts of the nation.
Severe weather is rare in Sacramento, with the primary concern being heat in summer and local flooding in winter. Occasional summer thunderstorms and even tornadoes can occur, but they are extremely rare. Sacramento is not in a known earthquake zone.
Smoking is prohibited by state law at all restaurants and bars, most workplaces (workplaces with five or fewer employees are exempt from the ban as long as all workers consent), and all public buildings. It's also banned within twenty feet of any entrance, window, or exit to a public place.
The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau offer maps, brochures and other information.
- Visitor Center, 1002 2nd St., ☎ . Daily 10AM-5PM.
- Main Office, 1608 I St., toll-free: . M-F 8AM-5PM.
Sacramento International Airport (IATA: SMF) is the main airport for Sacramento, located 15 minutes north of downtown along Interstate 5 at the Airport Boulevard exit. Air service is available to Hawaii, Mexico, and all regions of the United States. Nonstop flights are available to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Guadalajara, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Washington D.C., and all major California cities. Taxis from the airport to downtown are estimated at $27 one-way. Bus service to downtown (from Yolobus) runs hourly from 5:30AM to 10:20PM weekdays and 8:20AM to 10:20PM weekends. The fare is $2; be sure to get on the correct bus—42A goes to Sacramento, 42B goes to Davis via Woodland.
Amtrak runs two long distance trains and two regional trains through Sacramento. The Amtrak station is within walking distance of Old Sacramento and a train museum. There are RT light rail connections to other areas of Sacramento.
- The Coast Starlight runs from Seattle and Portland through Sacramento to San Francisco (via Emeryville), Oakland, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.
- The California Zephyr runs from San Francisco (via Emeryville) through Sacramento to Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, and Chicago.
- The Capitol Corridor is a regional train that runs from the Bay Area to Sacramento making major stops in Martinez, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, and San Jose. Carefully consult the schedule when buying tickets for this since some of the daily runs are by bus instead of train.
- The San Joaquins is a regional train that runs from Sacramento south into the San Joaquin Valley making major stops in Stockton, Fresno, and Bakersfield.
Sacramento is conveniently located at the intersection of Interstate 5 (a north-south route) and Interstate 80 (an east-west route). It is also located at the western terminus of US Route 50.
- From the San Francisco Bay Area, take Interstate 80 east.
- From Reno and North Lake Tahoe, take Interstate 80 west.
- From South Lake Tahoe, take US Route 50 west.
- From Redding and the Pacific Northwest, take Interstate 5 south.
- From the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, take Interstate 5 north or State Route 99 north.
- Hoang Express, (bus stop) Huoang Lan Sandwich @ 6930 65th St, Suite #109 (East side of Shun Fat (SF) Supermarket, northwest of the intersection of 65th St & Stockton Blvd), ☎ , toll-free: . Travels between SoCal (San Diego, El Monte, Los Angeles, Westminster); northern California (San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento). $60-65 to Bay Area; $80 to Sacramento.
- Greyhound Lines, (bus depot) 420 Richards Blvd (SE of the intersection of Richards Blvd & Sequoia in an industrial area NW of downtown Sacramento.), ☎ , toll-free: . Greyhound travels primarily on Interstate 5 (Portland-Sacramento & Los Angeles-Sacramento on two separate routes. Some buses run contiguously to Seattle); 80 (San Francisco-Reno); & CA-99 (Sacramento-Fresno-Bakersfield-Los Angeles) Passengers transfer to other buses in San Francisco, Reno, Bakersfield, Oakland, Merced, Fresno and/or Los Angeles to get to other cities & towns.
- Megabus, (bus stop) University/65th St Light Rail Station @ 6740 'Q' St (Stop is in the far eastern end of the station platform of the (local) bus transit center. Take the 'Gold' Line train into town.). Offers service between San Francisco and Reno-Sparks.
Sacramento is fairly easy to navigate due to the numbered and lettered streets, especially in the central district which is laid out in a grid. Numbered streets run north and south while lettered streets run east and west. South of the city center (bounded by Broadway, Front Street, and Alhambra Boulevard), the streets are named "Avenue" when the lettered streets run out.
Historic Old Sacramento, the Riverfront, and the California State Railroad Museum are all within an easy five minute walk of the train station. The Capitol is a 15-minute walk from Old Sacramento.
The wide, flat, tree-lined streets make cycling a relaxing way to get around Downtown and Midtown Sacramento. Most streets in the grid have bike lanes, and bike routes through the city are clearly marked. Travelling by bike also means avoiding expensive and hard-to-find parking.
For nearly all other getting around, you will want a car.
Regional Transit is the major provider of bus and light-rail service in Sacramento with connections to other inter-urban buses and the surrounding area.
Sacramento has about 500 taxis and a taxi meter fare system regulated by the City of Sacramento. The standard taxi fare in Sacramento is $4.00 flag drop $3.00 each additional mile $28.00 per hour waiting time. Sacramento has 8 major taxi companies Kmm Cab Co, Smart Cab Association, Sitoa, Yellow Cab Of Sacramento, AAA Taxi Association, BC Cab, National Taxi, STA.
- California State Capitol, 10th and L Streets, ☎ . M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM. The California State Capitol Museum includes the historical state capitol building and the surrounding 16 square city blocks, known as Capitol Park. Inside, tours of the capitol, its legislative chambers, and its restored historic offices are available daily. Outside, the public is free to visit the many gardens, memorials, and monuments located throughout the 40-acre park's grounds. You can get a view up to the Capitol from the Tower Bridge at the southern end of Old Sacramento. Free.
- Sutter's Fort, 2701 L St, ☎ . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Sutter's Fort State Historic Park is the oldest restored fort in the United States. Built by John Sutter in 1840s, the fort now hosts a collection of pioneer and early California artifacts. Self-guided audio tours are available. Adults: $5. Youth: $3. Children 5 & under: free.
- State Indian Museum, 2618 K St (next to Sutter's Fort), ☎ . 10AM-5PM. Contains displays of Native Californian basketry, beadwork, clothing and exhibits about the ongoing traditions of various California Indian tribes. Adults: $3. Youth: $2. Children 5 & under: free.
- Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St.. The oldest continuously operating museum in the West, home to a premier collection of California art. Free on Sundays $6.
- Cesar Chavez Park. Formerly known as Plaza Park, Cesar Chavez Park is a scenic park in the middle of downtown Sacramento that adjoins historic City Hall, the Public Library and Sacramento's Citizen Hotel. Great place to take photos of the Sacramento skyline. During the summer on Fridays, it is used as an outdoor concert venue known as Concerts in the Park.
- Sacramento Zoo. A mid-size zoo located in William Land Park. A combination ticket with Fairy Tale Town makes for a fun day for families with young children.
Once the original, thriving riverfront pioneer town, Old Sacramento is now primarily a living historic district and tourist destination. The boardwalk style sidewalks and horse-drawn stagecoaches give this small section of town a unique flavor. Old Sacramento contains several museums, restaurants, and the usual assortment of souvenir shops all within walking distance of each other. Attractions in the Old Town area also include the Delta King Riverboat, a working hotel with restaurant. The California State Railroad Museum’s Sacramento Southern Railroad is a private line extension providing riverside rides on a steam locomotive that departs from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot, carriage rides as well as annual city event and functions. Best of all, it's a five-minute walk from the Amtrak station. It's best visited in the morning and early evenings. Parking can be scarce, so be sure to utilize the reasonably priced parking structures in the K Street Mall. There's a nice, short, safe walkway between K Street Mall and Old Sacramento.
For fine dining, the Firehouse Restaurant is an old and well established city favorite known for its food and ambiance. Also of note is the Pilothouse Restaurant aboard the Delta King Riverboat with its grand staircase, river views and fine food. A newer selection for fine dining is Ten22. Local restaurant owner Frank Fat's Fat City Bar & Cafe is one several eateries in the mid to high end pricing but, a family can also find the Round Table Pizza buffet with salad bar for an affordable price while visiting. Locals and tourist enjoy Fanny Ann’s Saloon and restaurant for the rustic interior with mid range pricing.
- California State Railroad Museum, 111 I St., ☎ . A huge museum of railroad history with a large collection of old yet well-preserved trains and equipment. If possible, take Amtrak to the Sacramento station to get into a trainy mood for it. $8 adults, $3 ages 6-17, 5 and under free.
- Steam train rides, Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot ('just south of the Railroad Museum). Hourly, on weekends April through September. Operated by the Railroad Museum, these forty minute excursions are pulled by an historic steam locomotive along the nearby levees. $8 adults, $3 ages 6-17, 5 and under free..
- Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St., ☎ . Open daily from 10AM-5PM. The Sacramento History Museum explores the region’s history from the days before the Gold Rush to the present throughout the museum's two stories of interactive galleries. The museum also offers the perfect starting point for exploring the Old Sacramento State Historic Park! $5 adults, $4 ages 6-17, 5 and under free.
- Certified Farmers' Market, ☎ . The bounty of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley can be found at various certified farmers' markets throughout the metropolitan region. Each venue is unique, with some selling dairy, meat, and seafood in addition to produce, crafts, and artisan items.
- Second Saturdays Art Walk (monthly). Art galleries in midtown Sacramento open on the second Saturday of each month from 6PM to 9PM Garage parking is available for $2 on 17th Street between Capitol and L Street, and local restaurants stay open a little late for the art walk crowd.
- Concerts in the Park (weekly, May through August). Each summer, a free outdoor concert is held on Friday nights from 5PM to 9PM at Cesar Chavez Park, located at 10th and J Streets.
- Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee (late May). An annual affair over the Memorial Day weekend. Bands come from all over the world to play this gig. You can hear everything from Billie Holiday to Scott Joplin to Paco Gatsby in venues set up throughout Sacramento. Venues are concentrated in Old Sacramento and in hotels near the Convention Center.
- River rafting. late May through September. In the heat of the summer, self-guided raft trips along the Lower American River are popular (this is leisurely floating, not whitewater rapids). Inflatable rafts can be rented from companies along Sunrise Boulevard and floated down to River Bend Park, a 6-mile trip that takes 3 to 4 hours depending on river flows. Shuttle service is available to return rafters to the start point. Rafts sizes vary from 4 to 12 person, and rental fees range from $50 to $150. Note: state law prohibits alcoholic drinks on the river during the holiday weekends of Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.
- Sacramento Pride Festival and Parade (June). First celebrated in 1984 as the Sacramento Freedom Fair, Sacramento Pride Festival and Parade has become an annual LGBT Pride Month tradition, attracting nearly 10,000 visitors from throughout Northern and Central California.
- California State Fair (mid-July through early August). The Cal Expo fairgrounds come alive every summer as the State Fair becomes a "city within a city" that hosts nearly one million visitors. Folks come from near and far for the memorable delights of this 150+ year old extravaganza that includes exciting exhibits, amazing attractions, live entertainment, and the Magnificent Midway.
- Sacramento Gold Rush Days (early September). Every Labor Day weekend, Sacramento trucks dirt into its historic Old Sacramento area in downtown, where the stuff is unloaded onto the streets, the first step in setting the scene for this annual event. Music, food, and stories accompany shows and reenactments of life in the Old West for days of fun.
- Sacramento Kings NBA basketball (October through April). The Kings are the local basketball team, and they have been growing steadily in popularity in recent years. If you're able to obtain tickets to a Kings game, the experience will be a memorable one, as Sleep Train Arena, where the Kings play, is widely known to be one of the loudest NBA venues in the country.
- American River Bike Trail. Officially known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, the American River Bike Trail is a world-class bike path between Sacramento and Folsom, California. Beginning at Discovery Park in Sacramento, the trail is a 32-mile (51 km) stretch of automobile-free pavement running along lush parkland beside the Sacramento River, past Lake Natoma and ending at Folsom Lake. Plenty of picnic-spotted parks offer water and shade, convenient parking, and you may spot the occasional deer or wild turkey. The trip from Folsom to Sacramento is slightly downhill, making the return trip fairly easy. If riding after dusk, be alert in the area of the bridges near downtown. There are walkers and joggers all along the trail so it's bad manners to ride too fast.
- Raging Waters, 1600 Exposition Blvd. (Northbound Northbound drivers to Sacramento can take either Interstate 5 or Highway 99. From I-5, take the Capital City Freeway East exit from Downtown Sacramento, follow the signs to Reno. The Cal Expo exit is just Northeast of the American River. Highway 99 becomes the Capital City Freeway just North of the 12th Avenue exit. Continue over the river to Cal Expo. Southbound Southbound drivers to Sacramento can arrive via Interstate 5, Highway 99 or Highway 70. Highways 99 and 70 join I-5 just North of Sacramento. From I-5, take the I-80/Reno exit East and continue to the Capital City Freeway exit just past Watt Avenue. Continue toward downtown Sacramento until you reach the Cal Expo exit. Eastbound Eastbound travelers to Sacramento should take Interstate 80 to Sacramento, taking the Capital City Freeway exit in West Sacramento (following the signs to Lake Tahoe). Continue on Capital City Freeway, through downtown Sacramento and make the turnoff to Reno. The Cal Expo exit is just Northeast of the American River. Westbound Westbound travelers can take Interstate 80 or Highway 50 to Sacramento. From I-80, take the Capital City Freeway exit to Downtown Sacramento just beyond Madison Avenue. Continue to the Cal Expo exit. From Highway 50, take the Reno turnoff just past Stockton Boulevard to the Cal Expo exit just Northeast of the river.), ☎ . Located in the heart of the city, Raging Waters Sacramento features more than 25 water attractions, slides, pools and activities for children and adults of all ages. $30.
- California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), This is a major, four-year public university in the Sacramento area with 28,000 students.
- University of California, Davis (UCD), The nearest University of California campus to Sacramento. It is located 16 miles (23 kilometres) west from Sacramento with a satellite campus (UC Davis Extension)in midtown Sacramento.
- Los Rios Community College District is the regions major two-year public college system enrolling 73,000 students with four campuses in the surrounding area. Its campuses include Sacramento City College, American River College, Cosumnes River College, and Folsom Lake College along with five satellite centers.
- Drexel University is a private graduate university with its campus in downtown Sacramento.
As the capital of California, many state agencies are located in Sacramento. The State of California continues to be the largest employer in the Sacramento region.
- Sacramento Downtown Plaza, 547 L St. It contains a Macy's department store, and numerous smaller shops.
- Shop the Grid, Midtown Sacramento (area surrounding 24th and J Streets). More than 50 boutique shops in Sacramento's original street "grid" cater to a variety of interests, including fashion, beauty, gifts, specialty items, home furnishings, antiques, sporting goods, health and wellness. Shops are located throughout the Downtown and Midtown areas, but the largest cluster of shops are located within a few blocks of the intersection of 24th and J Streets.
- Arden Fair Mall, 1689 Arden Way (Arden Way & Alta Arden Expressway). M-Sat: 10AM-9PM, Sun: 10AM-7PM; restaurant hours vary. Anchored by Nordstrom, Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears, Arden Fair Mall is home to more than 165 national retail shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The adjacent Market Square at Arden Fair is home to additional shopping and restaurants, including a movie theater and a Cheesecake Factory.
- Country Club Plaza Mall, 2310 Watt Ave., ☎ . Country Club Plaza is ideally located between I-80 and Hwy 50 at Watt Avenue and El Camino, the dominant retail intersection of metropolitan Sacramento with established tenants Macy’s, Ross, Sport Chalet, and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse.
- Sunrise Mall, 6041 Sunrise Blvd.. Mall located in the Citrus Heights and Orangevale suburbs of Sacramento. Surrounded by numerous chain stores and restaurants.
- Westfield Galleria at Roseville, 1151 Galleria Blvd. Largest mall in the metropolitan area after recent expansion, located 20 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento. Westfield Galleria at Roseville has several retailers including Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Juicy Couture, True Religion, Lacoste, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Apple.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
The diversity of Sacramento is not only reflected in its various neighborhoods but also in the food choices you can find here. The places in the central district tend to be more trendy and hip while food establishments in their respective neighborhoods reflect the tastes of their residents. Finding unique fare in suburban Sacramento, northeast of the city limits, can be difficult as many of the establishments are dominated by national or large regional chains.
- Jack's Urban Eats, 1230 20th St (Midtown at 20th Street and Capitol Avenue), ☎ . A modern-day diner with a retro feel, Jack's grills and roasts meats for sandwiches and salads and offers comfort food side dishes like mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and garlic fries. Additional locations in the greater metropolitan area.
- Shoki Ramen House, 1201 R St, ☎ . A very popular and excellent ramen house serving up delicious Japanese ramen as well as sets and other entrees. $5-10.
- Luigi's Pizza Parlor, 3800 Stockton Blvd, Oak Park, ☎ . A long-time Sac institution, still churning out tasty pizzas. Pizzas $12-20.
- Crepeville, 1730 L St, ☎ . Serves a unique menu of fresh, delicious, and healthy alternatives to fast-food. Other locations also exists in the Curtis Park neighborhood and outlaying Davis.
- Pieces Pizza by the Slice, 1309 21st St (near the corner of 21st and Capitol), ☎ . A tiny little place with extraordinary stuffed-crust pizza. Open until 2:30AM on weekends, Pieces is a very popular spot to load up on carbs after a late-night weekend pub crawl. Several different combinations are offered, and the staff is also happy to build your pizza to order. The vegetarian pesto pizza, with sundried tomato and feta cheese, is especially good. They also offer several excellent beers on tap, including (usually) Arrogant Bastard. The decor isn't much, but the people are friendly and the food is delicious. $5-10.
- Rick's Dessert Diner, 2401 J St, ☎ . Tue-Thu: 10AM–12AM; Fri & Sat: 10AM-1AM; Sun: 12PM-11PM; Mon: 10AM-11PM. Designed as a retro 1950's style diner, Rick's is a popular and award-winning Midtown destination for dessert lovers. Open late for post-dinner date sugar cravings.
- Andy Nguyen's, 2007 Broadway, ☎ . Quality vegan and vegetarian Southeast Asian dishes.
- Cafe Marika, 2011 J St. M-W Lunch, Th-Sat Lunch/Dinner. A great Hungarian restaurant in the heart of Midtown. The husband and wife offer great meals like cabbage rolls and schnitzel. Be aware they accept only cash. $10-$15 per person.
- Centro Cocina Mexicana, 2730 J St, ☎ . M-F Lunch, Dinner Sat-Sun Dinner. A staple in the Sacramento dining scene for over 15 years, Centro Cocina Mexicana offers the finest regional Mexican cuisine in a festive and colorful atmosphere.
- Kathmandu Kitchen, 1728 Broadway, ☎ . Serves excellent Indian and Nepalese food—the Mismas Tarkari thali is delicious. Most dishes hover around $10-12.
- Tapa the World, 2115 J St, ☎ . 11:30AM-midnite daily. An old favorite serving up tasty Spanish tapas and delicious sangria. Live music on most nights, and open late.
- Tower Cafe, 1518 Broadway, ☎ . Su-Th 8AM-11PM, F-Sa 8AM-midnite. A great breakfast spot, busy at any time of day. There's sometimes a line, but absolutely worth it. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Breakfast served 8-11AM, Monday through Friday. Brunch served 8AM-2PM, Satuday and Sunday. Voted Best Breakfast and Best Sunday Brunch in the 2009 Sacramento magazine readers poll. Voted Best Outdoor Dining and Best Breakfast in the 2008 Sacramento News & Review readers poll. Located in a historic and very interesting building, with lots of art from around the world. International, eclectic menu.
- Zócalo, 1801 Capitol Ave, ☎ . M-W 11AM-10PM, Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnite, Sa 9AM-midnite, Su 9AM-10PM. A newer Mexican restaurant affiliated with the legendary Ernesto's, the food is great and the place is usually busy.
- Asian Pearl 2009, 6821 Stockton Blvd, Ste 165, ☎ . S-Su 10AM-10PM, M-F 11AM-10PM. Fast becoming the place to go for dim sum bypassing stalwarts New Canton and Rice Bowl. They also serve authentic Hong Kong and new style Cantonese food.
- Courtyard D'Oro, 1107 Front St., ☎ .
- Biba Ristorante Italiano, 2801 Capitol Ave, ☎ . Started by Biba Caggiano, the famous chef, author, and television host. It has been selected as the best restaurant in Sacramento on multiple occasions. Reservations are strongly recommended.
- Morton's Steakhouse, 521 L St., ☎ . High-scale restaurant that is perfect for taking that special someone or take the whole family to celebrate any occasion. They pride themselves on cooking the most tender steak, but don't count out their seafood portion of the menu as this place has delicious food with excellent dessert! Fun fact: instead of menus, the waiter brings out a tray of all the raw meat and fish (even crab that is still alive) and explains in detail what the meat or fish is and what the dish comes with.
- Ella Dining Room & Bar, 1131 K St., ☎ . Ella serves its fabulous food, family-style and encourages diners to share. Their great bar serves fantastic concoctions like home made gin and tonics and "limeade," making for a perfect place for friends and family alike. The fabulous interior was created by award winning design firm, UXUS.
Nightlife in Sacramento is vibrant if you know where to look. Stay in Downtown or Midtown. This is where most tourists are anyway. The upscale clubs and lounges tend to be on or near J Street. Directly across from the Capitol grounds is the Park which is the premiere Sacramento nightclub. The dress code and cover charges tend to be stiff.
Just around the corner is the Capitol Garage which typically has guest DJ's on Saturday and a $5 cover in a laid back atmosphere. On K Street, you'll find Marilyn's, a really cool underground bar in the heart of downtown which showcases local live music talent.
Nearby is the Crest Theater, an independent historic movie theater that boasts art deco design. In the summer you can catch the French Film Festival here as well as the Trash Film Orgy, an all-night spectacle of old B movie flicks where locals gather in their cheesiest costumes.
On most days of the year, however, the Crest is the place to catch foreign and independent films as well as traveling stand-up comedy and music acts. On 16th and R Street. you'll find the popular bar R15. This is a trendy bar/restaurant (Cafe Bernardo is attached) that has an urban industrial feel. Despite being trendy the prices are very affordable with $2 Pabst on tap and $1 pool tables. They also boast couches and big screens where you can play Xbox for free with a couple of friends.
R Street corridor offers Shady Lady Saloon, R15 Bar, and restaurants.
Another popular club is Mix Downtown with stiff cover charges and dress code as well, but Mix attracts an older crowd than District 30 and less pretentious crowd than the Park. On 10th and S Street, you'll find the popular indie-rock venue Old Ironsides. Local and traveling indie-rock talent showcase their music here. Every Tuesday you can catch Lipstick, a popular indie-rock dance party where you'll find mostly hip Midtown locals. Every first Saturday of the month you can catch After Dark which is like Lipstick only on a Saturday so it attracts a more varied metropolitan crowd.
The Press Club on 21st and P Street is popular with the college crowd with its $5 cover charges and cheap $3 24oz. of Pabst. It's known for playing 80's dance music and the best nights to go are Wednesdays or Thursdays as it is a small club and, on weekends, gets unbearably overcrowded.
- The Depot (corner of K and 20th downtown.). Gay-friendly video bar, two coin-op pool tables, covered smoking area.
- Faces, Corner of K and 20th. Faces is a popular gay-friendly club. Pricey cover, but the good strong drinks can quickly make up the difference. Recently renovated, Faces has now doubled in size with an upstairs and a pool in the back! Plays R&B on video floor and House on other dance floor.
- The Merc, 20th & L St. This is a gay-friendly bar to go to get your night started—cheap, big, strong drinks!
- Club 21, On 21st, between K and L streets. A gay-friendly establishment. It is 18+ Wednesday nights, which happens to be the only gay male night. Same owner as Faces, however generally plays upbeat, dance tunes. Other nights are predominantly lesbian nights.
- Sac Badlands (corner of K and 20th downtown.). This a gay-friendly club and is an offshoot of Badlands in San Francisco. It has three stories and an outdoor patio.
- Benny's (Q Street Bar), 21st and Q (across from the Sacramento Bee.). Casual and often-crowded dive not far from midtown. Large back area provides extra room. On busy nights, a bartender will operate in back as well. Great place for drinks, and the Mexican food next door is a popular after-the-bar stopoff.
- Streets of London, 18th and J. Trendy "upscale dive" right in the heart of Sac's midtown nightlife. Not really big enough to compensate for its popularity anymore. Drinks are average range. Quieter with a more laid-back vibe on weeknights. Worth a stop, but not exactly an institution.
- Pine Cove, 29th and E. Classic dive, possibly the best in Sacramento. Has gotten massively popular on weekends, but manages not to become unpleasant or lose its "divey" feel. Decently priced. Darts and pitchers make for a laid-back time. Avoid the popcorn machine; rumors abound about its level of sanitation. Karaoke two nights a week draws quite a crowd.
- Blue Cue, 27th and J. Terrific bar with an upscale sports-bar feel mismatched with its unbeatable prices on food and drinks; nightly specials keep savvy locals coming back. Billiard tables rented hourly. Most major sporting events will be played (or, the staff is laid-back enough that they will change the channel upon request). The food, made in the kitchen of the delicious downstairs restaurant, is leagues away from typical "bar food". Drink prices are average, but the specials can and will yield incredible deals.
Visitors to Sacramento should be aware that hotels in the downtown area charge more on weekday and major event stays than weekends as a lot of business travelers come during the weekdays close to the central business district.
- Greens Hotel, 1700 Del Paso Blvd. Eco-conscious and environmentally-friendly green products and housekeeping practices, and event meeting space.
- Sacramento Hostel (HI), 925 H St (at 10th St), ☎ . Dormitory beds start at $28 for adults, $10 for children under 18. Private rooms start at $57.
- Holiday Inn Express, 728 16th St, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. $125 - $175 (rates from HI.com site 5/15/11).
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, 3001 Advantage Way, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. An all-suite hotel with fully-equipped kitchens. Complimentary hot breakfast daily, dinner with beer and wine Monday-Thursday, and high-speed Internet.
- TownePlace Suites (Sacramento Suites), 1784 Tribute Rd, ☎ .
- Vagabond Inn Executive Sacramento (Old Town), 909 Third St. (Right across I street from the train station.), ☎ , fax: +1 916 448-0364. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. Architecture is a bit institutional, but rooms are comfortable with microwaves and refrigerators throughout. Complimentary Continental breakfast is quite extensive (self-service waffle irons), and the people are nice. Ideal location for rail travelers and those interested in Old Sac. Complimentary WiFi and lobby business center (limited hours) with two Internet-connected computers. Prices somewhat higher (and availability very limited) during annual jazz festival. $79 and up.
- Larkspur Landing Sacramento, 555 Howe Avenue, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 916 646 1216, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Close proximity to the Cal Expo and the Sacramento County Fairgrounds. Includes breakfast, fitness center, outdoor whirlpool spa, complimentary self-laundry facility and 24-hour business center. from $95.
- Citizen Hotel, 926 J St (J & 10th Sts), ☎ .
- Sheraton Grand, 1230 J St (J & 13th Sts), ☎ .
- Le Rivage Hotel, 4350 Riverside Blvd, toll-free: .
All branches of the Sacramento Public Library system offer free internet access, via public terminals and wireless. The most centrally located branch is the large Central Library located at 9th and I Streets but there are branch libraries in every part of the Sacramento metropolitan area. Only the Central Library and the regional Carmichael Library are open on Sundays.
916 is the area code for most of the Sacramento metropolitan area with 530 used in outlaying areas.
Downtown has a lot of one-way streets which can be confusing and are not always well marked so look at the direction in which cars are parked.
Sacramento is generally a safe place to visit. As with any other urban area, no matter where you are, stay safe. Be aware of your surroundings, lock your car doors, don't carry a large amount of cash, and don't wear flashy clothing or jewelry.
As with other large metropolitan areas, there are neighborhoods that deserve more caution than others at night. Be cautious while in the following areas:
Central District—especially at night. Most of the businesses close up early, though the nightclubs there can draw crowds and those looking for trouble especially after too much to drink.
South Sacramento Area—especially at night. It has been cleaned up in recent years but there are still rough patches especially around Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Fruitridge Road, Franklin Boulevard, Mack Road, and Meadowview Road.
North Highlands—at night, prostitutes are usually strolling Watt Avenue between Roseville Road and I-80. The motels at Longview Drive and I-80 are some of the worst in the north Sacramento area. Avoid them if at all possible.
Del Paso Heights used to be of the worst crime infested areas in the Sacramento Region, but has recently attracted numerous galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Stay safe, but there's no reason to avoid it.
- Mexico, 1010 8th St, ☎ , fax: +1 916 441-3147.
- New Zealand (Honorary), 44733 N El Macero Dr, El Macero, ☎ , fax: +1 530 756-7032.
Part of the beauty of Sacramento is its central location. It's sometimes possible to go skiing in the morning, and surfing in the afternoon. All within a couple hours by car:
- Truckee and Donner Pass, about 100 miles east of Sacramento on I-80. Be prepared in wintertime, as the elevation is over 7,000 ft. This also includes Reno/Tahoe (below), which are further east via I-80.
- Lake Tahoe, a gorgeous lake on the Nevada border, with gambling on the Nevada side
- Reno, a little bit o' gambling just over the border in Nevada
- Gold Country, The gold country encompasses several small towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills
- San Francisco, approximately 85 miles to the west
- Napa Valley and the California Wine Country, gorgeous landscape and the most famous wine-tasting in the States
- Folsom Lake. One of Northern California's largest lakes, Folsom Lake is where many local Sacramentans go fishing, biking, sailing, kayaking or jet-skiing during the summer. It is located 30 minutes east of downtown Sacramento off Highway 50.
|Routes through Sacramento|
|Redding ← Woodland ←||N S||→ Elk Grove → Los Angeles|
|San Francisco ← West Sacramento ←||W E||→ North Highlands → Reno|
|Red Bluff ← Yuba City ←||N S||→ Elk Grove → Fresno|
|Antioch ← Isleton ←||S N||→ END|
|END ← West Sacramento ←||W E||→ Rancho Cordova → Carson City|
|Auburn ← Roseville ←||N S||→ Davis → Emeryville|
|END ←||N S||→ Lodi → Bakersfield|