Even though officially it’s the capital city of California for over 140 years, many people still tend to think Sacramento is somewhat more of a mediocre rural town and is far from being a sweet spot compared to many other California cities.
So today, based on the five most common myths and prejudices on this city, we’re going to show you why Sacramento is a growing and developing city worth rediscovering and reconsidering.
Close to both the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific coast, Sacramento is a city with a distinctive past, founded early in the state’s history. It has seen the Gold Rush situated in the center of its abundant economic activities. It boasts a beneficial inland location and has over 2,155,000 metro area population increasing year to year, according to statistics. Still, many peoples’ mental picture of Sacramento is not that impressive at all. So it’s high time we changed those minds and sorted the myths from reality.
1. “Sacramento is only worthy because it’s one step from other great locations.”
It’s half true — if you are a Sacramento resident, that literally means you are not a far cry from California’s famous spots like Lake Tahoe, the Napa Valley, San Francisco, and many more, being mostly at a 1,5-hour ride from the town. But that does not mean Sacramento itself is not a deserving place to live.
First, it’s a great location for outdoor activities and sports, and it is hard to find a nicer place for jogging, biking, or paddling than the popular American River Bike Trail, which is a real city hotspot.
What could be better than riding a bike by the banks of the American River on a sunny morning on its trail stretching 32 miles and savoring the most beautiful city sights on your way?
If you are not keen on such activities, there is a range of locations both for a great afternoon experience and a relaxed and pleasant evening with a craft cocktail and a company of friends. Shopping and dining are best at the Downtown Commons situated by the new Golden 1 Center, which is the residence of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and an amazing all-year-round venue for concerts matching any musical preferences.
Among the evening options are Canon (the well-known and fancy restaurant and bar in the Eastern part of Sacramento) and Revival, a cozy rooftop bar on the third floor of the classy Sawyer Hotel, to mention just a few. For more fun, Sacramento also owns an incredible comedy scene which is best to experience at Sacramento Punch Line, or Sacramento Comedy Spot offering worthy stand-ups with both comedy headliners and newcomers almost every night.
For baseball fans, in Sacramento, you can enjoy an impressive performance of incredible baseball players honing their skills without creating traffic jams in the Bay Area – we’re talking about the Rivercats – the Triple-A team for the San Francisco Giants.
For indoor fitness fans, there are still a variety of places to choose, most being locally-owned and equipped greatly. For cyclers, there is a Team Ride, a popular family-owned studio looking both posh and friendly, while the yogis should definitely pay a visit to the recently-opened Urban Yogi studio.
Everything a bigger city has to offer already exists in Sacramento, maybe in a form a bit smaller yet nicer and friendlier, so it’s surely worth it.
2. “There are still not enough cultural activities in Sacramento.”
Those thinking so would be surprised to hear Sacramento’s cultural scene has recently bloomed with original and exciting events and activities. Have you heard of the Wide Open Walls fest? This mural festival has become a cultural hotspot, recently attracting artists from all over the area. For more conventional and traditional art lovers, the Crocker Art Museum is boasting an impressive permanent collection. Besides, there is a number of party events like ArtMix, a monthly “adults-only gathering” with good music, art performances, gallery tours, and so on, thus matching both tastes. To get you acquainted with the emerging local artists, there is the Second Saturday Art Walk.
Outdoor events have much to offer, too – from fun happenings like Midtown Made to food- and cross-activities fests like the Chalk It Up festival active since 1991 and combining interesting chalk art with local live music and various food trucks, the Grilled Cheese Festival offering many sorts of grilled cheese sandwiches to satiate any foodie, or thematical event weeks and pop-up activities like Sacramento Cocktail Week demonstrating local bartenders’ skills in preparing the dizzy artisanal cocktails. Besides, there are posh and much-anticipated events from the outside, like Sacramento’s Diner en Blanc, which originated in Paris and gained its popularity in Sacramento.
For culture and political history enthusiasts, there are ways to know Sacramento as a political spot of interest, such as tours of the state capitol. To celebrate the city’s long and bright history and at the same deepen a notion of how the city would look in the 1800s, there is an Old Sacramento historical area by the Sacramento River and Sutter’s Fort, a gold rush times village masterfully restored to represent that tense epoch in American history.
3. “Sacramento is still more of a rural cowtown.”
To dispel any doubts right here and right now, we’ll say it clear: there are no cows rambling the city streets, however sad or funny it may sound. Two last decades have clearly shown that Sacramento has strengthened its position as a metropolitan city. Yes, it is surrounded by rich agricultural terrains and ranchos, probably contributing to that outdated opinion, while the city itself is not rural at all anymore. Statistics will reconvince you: now Sacramento is one of the most vibrant cities with a growing population, along with (or even outpacing at certain points) the common hotspots like Los Angeles or Chicago. With over 500,000 residents and well over 2 million in the larger metropolitan area, it is claimed California’s sixth-largest city and the ninth country’s biggest capital city. Besides, as a California capital, Sacramento owns its own vital political hub to manifold legislators, lobbyists, and political activists, defining the path of one of the most prominent states in the whole United States.
4. “Sacramento does not have cool restaurant options to offer except for the chain restaurants.”
Though the city located in the agricultural heart of California bears the title of the “Farm To Fork” capital (and wears it proudly), it is more of an asset for gourmet lovers from all over. Food and meals that are delicious, local-grown, and top-quality are present in Sacramento in a great range of restaurants and cafes, not limiting the diverse, cosmopolitan cuisine. The city’s only Michelin star restaurant, yet with the reputation of a local legend, The Kitchen offers amazing dining options for the luxurious downtown evening. Other swanky dinner locations comprise Ella, a restaurant famous for its elegance and truly delicious dishes, and the renowned Sacramento classics like The Firehouse, The Waterboy, or Mulvaney’s B&L, all of them taking the best of local fresh and seasonal ingredients to offer the tastiest menu positions.
For Asian cuisine fans, Kru is much likely the best place to savor the freshest sushi in tiny plate offerings. For veggies and vegans, it’s worth checking out Midtown Sushi’s wide vegan rolls and appetizers menu. Masullo is a magnet for Italian cuisine fans (and especially for pizza lovers), offering the hottest wood-fired pizza and long wine list. Besides, there is always the popular Sacramento’s deep dish location called Zelda’s, a restaurant with probably the tastiest pizza in town, a small location with its unique Lofi ambiance that has not almost changed since the very start making you think of dark, intimate lights, cozy companies, unbelievably cheap beers, and bright Christmas lights.
Sacramento’s brunch and breakfast spots are worth trying, too (attention to getting addicted!) – for instance, take the famous Nopalitos, a family-owned restaurant serving up big and tasty breakfast burritos (only by cash and only during the week) and the Bacon and Butter which has won an award for its prominent cuisine.
Coffee is our all, and Sacramento’s coffee spots also have much to offer recently captured by Livability’s list of Unexpectedly Awesome Coffee Cities. Sometimes the smaller the cornerstone spot is – the better coffee it offers, so do not underrate the small places like Identity and Milka (the newbies on Sacramento’s coffee spot list) or locations like Temple, Old Soul, and Insight. However, do not disregard the more popular standbys like Coffee Works, either. The bottom line here is, there are a lot of amazing, though seemingly unnoticeable at first, hand-crafted coffee locations in the city offering delicious well-roasted beans and making Sacramento hit the coffee ratings in the country.
5. “Instead of living close to other big cities — why not live right there?”
Do you know that Sacramento is commonly called the City Of Trees? During the summer heat, it is the source for the many blissful canopies that shelter you from the aggressive sun. Isn’t it just enchanting?
Apart from being cozy, green, and vibrant, Sacramento is relatively cheap to live in. In fact, the cost of living in Sacramento is much less than in California’s bigger cities — average home prices peak around $ 400,000 in the suburbs, which is perfect for those seeking a quiet location in a more rural area yet close to the city’s intense life. In plus, the house and apartment rents are reasonably-priced within the city, so the majority of those moving from more costly and bigger cities will find them more than just attractive and finally sigh with relief.
Summing it up, the city is big enough to give a lively feeling of the city rhythm and “city flow,” and those coming from more prominent spots will not be bored. Yet it is not dizzy and overcrowded like the many famous cities in the US. The climate is balanced, and summers feel less hot in the city’s shades of green, while winters are mild and fair. In other words, compared to many other California cities, Sacramento boasts distinctive season changing. Those yearning for snow will only have to drive 1,5 hours away from the city center to have it all, while in summer, the pleasing Delta Breeze will cool hot California summer nights.
Here is our ultimate recipe: combine a spoonful of culture with a pinch of diversity, stir it in a friendly environment – and what you get is a great, tasty, yet affordably priced cocktail called Sacramento!
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