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- Sacramento at-a-glance
- What it’s like to live in Sacramento
- Economy and job outlook in Sacramento
- Real estate, cost of living in Sacramento
- The top neighborhoods in Sacramento
- How to get around in Sacramento
- School and education snapshot
- Weather and climate in Sacramento
- 10 can’t-miss things to do in Sacramento
Sacramento, the City of Trees, is California’s capital and one of its most desirable cities. Not only is it affordable, it’s also beautiful, with the Sacramento and American rivers flowing through the city.
This is probably why, as remote and hybrid work became the norm in recent years, the city saw some of the state’s fastest population growth, hitting over half a million residents for the first time. While that growth has slowed down, it’s become clear to many that this often-overlooked little city has a lot going for it.
If you’re thinking of living in Sacramento, you’ll find eccentricity, art, culture, a vibrant nightlife and great eats. You’ll also have your pick of diverse neighborhoods, whether you’re seeking an energetic city life or a relaxed, small community feel. Maybe that’s why it’s considered one of the best places to live in California.
Keep reading for a few more things to know before moving to Sacramento.
Sacramento is the “Farm-to-Fork Capital”
Sacramento is known for a few things, including its place in the California gold rush, but more recently it’s been given the nickname “Farm-to-Fork Capital.” This is due to its heavy use of fresh goods from the surrounding 1.5 million acres of farmland. Even before Visit Sacramento thought of the moniker, the area’s hotels and restaurants were proudly sourcing from local farms to produce fresh, delicious cuisine, banking on the city’s major agriculture industry.
Drooling yet? Then you’ll want to check out Hook & Ladder, Localis or Mulvaney’s B&L for a bite to eat, or maybe grab something from the Bambi Vegan Tacos and Street Cravings food trucks.
While we think the food is a highlight, there’s more to Sacramento than its fresh produce. The city is steeped in history, with Old Sacramento being great for a stroll and some shopping. You’ll also enjoy plenty of art and culture thanks to the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, the Sacramento Theatre Company and a brilliant public art scene, including Wide Open Walls, a mural festival that takes over the city each August. Oh, and for all the quaint atmosphere, Sacramento is also home to the largest rock festival in California, Aftershock!
Sports fans can catch the Sacramento Kings (NBA) play at the Golden 1 Center downtown, and soccer fans can make it to Heart Health Park for the Sacramento Republic FC.
Sacramento Has a Diverse Job Market
Sacramento is the California capital, so state jobs are in abundance here, but the city also is known for its diverse opportunities in established and startup business.
Other key industries include agriculture, clean tech and energy, life sciences, health care and education. However, those seeking a position in fitness, nursing, interpretation, information security and logistics are likely to see the most opportunities in the coming years, as the state believes these positions will see the fastest growth through 2030.
If you’re looking for big names when it comes to employers, Intel, Kaiser Permanente, Apple and California State University all have a strong presence in and around Sacramento.
The Greater Sacramento area’s unemployment rate has remained slightly under the state’s unemployment rate throughout 2023 and was recorded at 4.2 percent in July.
One of the Most Affordable Places to Live (in California)
On the national stage, the cost of living in Sacramento is higher than the U.S. average, with housing being a major player. That’s no surprise as California is known to be an expensive state to live in.
But here’s the good news: the cost of living in Sacramento is actually 15 percent lower than the California state average, with housing in the city 29 percent lower, meaning that if you want to live in California, its capital is where you want to be.
You can expect income here to be a little higher to accommodate the higher cost of living. The median household income was $71,074 as of the 2021 Census, although more recent county data suggests that number may be closer to $79,000.
In July 2023, the median home sale price in Sacramento was $495,500, which may sound high but that’s nearly two-thirds less than nearby San Francisco. Although the sale prices have seen a decrease since 2022, the market is still considered very competitive due to fewer homes available, so if you see something you love, make sure to get an offer in.
For those who would prefer to rent, median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in September 2023 was $1,268, with the median cost of a two-bedroom just slightly higher at $1,656.
Safe, Artistic Neighborhoods for Everyone
Sacramento is a diverse capital, with some of the safest and most desirable neighborhoods in the state. Whether you prioritize quiet, close community or electric nightlife, there’s a great spot for you here. Check out these highly recommended neighborhoods for those moving to Sacramento:
Hip, urban Midtown is the center of the city’s art and cultural scene. It’s great for those seeking a solid nightlife, art, culture and award-winning food, making it popular among young professionals and singles, as well as retirees.
Full of greenery and trails, this is one of the safest and most walkable areas of the city, so families love it. The laid-back atmosphere and proximity to California State also makes it a favorite of students.
Looking for top schools? This is where you’ll find them. Affordable Meadowview is one of the top residential neighborhoods for families. Although it’s located far from the downtown area, there is still plenty of shopping, good restaurants and more.
Young professionals and first-time homeowners may want to check out this up-and-coming historic neighborhood. It’s an easy commute to central Sacramento, with plenty of attractions to keep you busy.
One of the more upscale neighborhoods, Land Park is known for its tight knit community of families and retirees. If you’re looking for golf courses, gorgeous parks and cute cafes, Land Park has it all.
Other neighborhoods to include in your Sacramento home search:
- Central Oak Park
- Old Sacramento
- Downtown Sacramento
- River Park
Consider a Car or Ride Sharing
The Sacramento Regional Transit District operates 69 bus routes, 38 of which are all-day routes. They also operate the Sacramento Light Rail service along 43 miles of track in and around Sacramento. While both are busy, many lines run only Monday through Friday, and only a few run late at night, usually on the weekend.
Because of the limitations, Sacramento is considered a car-dependent city. If you like to be out and about on your own schedule, or you will be living outside of the busier areas of the city, you may want to consider investing in a car or utilizing rideshare apps to get around.
For those who like to bike, the city is considered bikeable and has a privately-operated bike (and scooter!) share system.
A Highly Educated City with Good Public Schools
Out of the most educated cities in the U.S., Sacramento came in the top third, with its high quality of education being a big factor. This could be why 93 percent of its K-12 students are educated in a public school instead of a private one. Of course, scores can vary between the city’s nearly 400 public schools, but the Sacramento City Unified School District is one of the best in the area. Parents who still prefer private school will have over 125 to choose from.
The city is also home to highly ranked California State University, Sacramento, with the University of California, Davis, nearby.
The Heat May Become Blistering Hot, But There’s No Snow!
Sacramento is considered a Mediterranean climate with nearly 270 days of sunshine each year. This means that Sacramentans enjoy mild weather all year round, with little rain and almost no chance of snow. The summers are hot (very hot), but dry, while winters are damp but overall mild.
July brings the hottest temperatures, with the daily average high being 92.4 degrees Fahrenheit. December, by contrast, is the coldest month with an average overnight temperature of 37.7 degrees.
10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Sacramento
In Sacramento, there’s a saying that “California begins here,” and you’ll find out why through the city’s many historical sites and museums. The city is also home to plenty of craft brewing places, restaurants, sports teams and more. Here’s a list of 10 must-dos in California’s capital city:
- Visit the oldest art museum in the United States, the Crocker Art Museum.
- Get a (gold) rush at the Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, a reconstructed fort that provides hands-on experience of what life was like for the earliest California settlers.
- If you’d rather get a cappuccino or peruse a mom-and-pop store, check out the restored, Wild West storefronts of the Old Sacramento Historic Park.
- Plan a family day with a visit to the Sacramento Zoo and a trip to Fairytale Town, just next door.
- Gain a greater understanding of the history of California’s railroads at the California State Railroad Museum, featuring restored locomotives and interactive exhibits.
- Take in a show at the classic Crest Theatre, or one of the city’s other historic live entertainment spots.
- See a Sacramento Kings game at the Golden 1 Center, the most technologically advanced arena in the NBA.
- Enjoy the outdoors with a hike along the Sacramento River or a bike ride along the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail.
- Get out of the city with a day tour to nearby Napa Valley, the most famous wine region in California.
- Grab the kiddos and cool off at Raging Waters waterpark, featuring wave pools, waterslides and a lazy river.