We'll cut to the chase: there's a lot to like about living in Sacramento. If you're considering a move but are still weighing the pros and cons of becoming an official Sacramentan, you've come to the right article. We know quite a bit about California's capital as we operate several self-storage facilities in Sacramento, so please keep reading for our top 12 reasons to move to the "City of Trees" – and definitely let us know if we missed anything in the comments!
1. Living in the state capital has its perks.
One, the governor and other state politicians live in the city too, so more attention is probably paid to everyday issues like traffic, housing, beautification, and homelessness. The other big benefit is employment. Government jobs often offer better benefits than other sectors and offer a number of diverse options for job seekers of all backgrounds living in Sacramento. There are an estimated 80,000 state workers in Sacramento, which is a number only made more enormous by the fact there is a total of just 500,000 people in the city itself.
2. Speaking of perks, the California economy is doing great too.
As of this writing, the California economy is crushing it. The state's economic expansion began in February of 2010 and has not slowed down yet. Well over three million jobs have been added and the state's unemployment rate is just over 4% — move to Sacramento and you'll enjoy an even lower unemployment rate than that. The counties of Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo (the greater Sacramento area) are hovering around 3% unemployment. And everyone knows, when there are a lot of jobs and not enough people to fill them, employers start getting really generous – really quickly.
3. Rent isn't through the roof – yet.
Sacramento was hit hard by the recession of the mid-2000s. Housing prices plummeted and are only now coming back close to where they were before the crash. Rental prices are on the rise too, though the State Senate has recently taken measures to limit rent increases to 5% a year. Even though Sacramento still has a lot of reasonable rental and housing options – especially when compared to its neighbors San Francisco and Palo Alto – California in general still has the most expensive housing prices in the country. Anyone considering a move to Sacramento, or anywhere else in the state, should definitely brace for some measure of sticker shock.
4. There are lots of cool areas in and around Sacramento.
Sacramento is a great town, with distinct neighborhoods and many attractive, safe and pleasant surrounding suburbs. Within the city, West Sacramento is an area that's definitely on the rise and has a little bit of Brooklyn in the early 1990s feel – across the river from the big city, lower price, cool restaurants, etc. It's our pick for the next hot Sacramento neighborhood, though Midtown, East Sacramento, South Land Park, and College Greens are all fabulous as well. If you're more into the suburban vibe, definitely check out Folsom (or "Awesome Folsom," as it's known) Rocklin, Davis, and Roseville.
5. Access to the outdoors.
One of the greatest parts of living in Sacramento is definitely the easy access to the outdoors. That area of California has loads of fresh-water activities to enjoy, including swimming and floating in lakes, rivers and water holes. Sacramento itself has two rivers and a lake, including the American River Parkway, which has spots to swim, kayak, fish, run, bike, stroll and relax. Boaters and water skiers enjoy nearby Folsom Lake, located just east of the capital city. Sacramento is also only about two hours from Lake Tahoe, which is just as majestic as you've heard, offering up some of the world's best skiing, camping, hiking, boating and clear bottom kayaking on Tahoe's pristine waters.
6. Sacramento has wonderful parks.
There is nothing like living in a city that values its parks, and Sacramento is just that type of city. Depending on your preferences, you can hit up anything from the rose garden at McKinley Park to the zoo at William Land Regional Park to historical structures and artifacts at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park. (John Sutter was a Swiss immigrant who founded Sacramento in 1839.) Of course, there are many, many beautifully designed and kept parks that offer run of the mill relaxing, jogging, picnicking and dog-walking, too. And since Sacramento is known for its trees, expect plenty of shade cover wherever you go.
7. Basketball. Oh my goodness, the basketball.
Sacramento only has one national franchise: the NBA's Sacramento Kings. Keeping California crowds on their seat edges since 1985, the Kings have yet to win a championship – and haven't been to the playoffs since 2006. But that doesn't stop Kings' fans or in any way dampen their enthusiasm and support. Don't believe us? Kings fans beat a Guinness World Record for loudest crowd noise in 2013. As one might expect, tickets sell out to most home games at the Golden 1 Center and can be pretty pricey.
8. Low-stress, high-enjoyment baseball.
Although Sacramento doesn't have an MBA franchise, what it does have is a beloved AAA team, the River Cats. The River Cats play across the river in West Sacramento at the equally beloved Raley Field, which serves up both $1 hot dogs and fireworks in good measure. Mark your calendar for ‘Wet Nose Wednesdays' when you can bring your dog in for free, ‘Thirsty Thursdays,' when 12-ounce beers are just $2, and ‘Orange Friday's' with live music and drink specials.
9. Day and weekend trips aplenty.
Living in Sacramento means you're in the enviable position of being in the middle of a lot of nearby areas that are worth the trip – and all of them have different, incredible things to offer. If you're in the mood for some of the best wine in the world, for example, Napa Valley is right up the road. The magnificent Mount Shasta, along with its hiking, bouldering, and camping, is only about four hours away. The seaside town of Monterey has an award-winning aquarium (yes, the same award-winning aquarium featured in Finding Dory!), along with whale watches and wharfs. And if gambling is your recreation of choice, Reno, Nevada is only two hours away. We haven't even mentioned Lake Tahoe, Mendocino National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, San Francisco, the Sierra Nevada or Mendocino!
10. Sacramento is a food-lovers town.
Living in Sacramento means you'll never have to worry about finding something fresh and delicious to eat. Nicknamed the ‘Farm-to-Fork Capital,' the city hosts the massive ‘Farm-to-Fork Festival' (try saying that five times fast) every summer. With concerts, demos, street festivals, wine tastings, and even a dinner on the Tower Bridge connecting Sacramento to West Sacramento, the Festival is a much-loved highlight of the season. In non-festival times, Sacramentans enjoy a hugely diverse array of dining options, with everything from Guy Fieri favorite ‘Dad's Burger' at Dad's Kitchen to the banana cream pie at Frank Fat's – with plenty of Mexican, Vietnamese, Italian and Japanese options in between. The only problem you'll run into with the Sacramento food scene is how to fit into your trousers after you're done.
11. Weather. Weather. Weather.
As you might not expect from its proximity to San Francisco, Sacramento is a warm town with very little cloudiness or rain. Indeed, it's known for having a ‘typical Mediterranean climate.' Summers are very hot and sunny (typically 100° or more for several days in July and August) though the Delta Breeze can dramatically cool off evenings. Winters are definitely mild and can be downright chilly at times, but snow is very rare (it only snows in Sacramento about once a decade). For those looking for a more dramatic winter, the Sierra Nevada range of more than 500 distinct peaks receives enormous snowfalls throughout the season and is just a few hours east of Sacramento. Not to get grim, but this is the same mountain range that stranded the Donner Party in 15 to 20 feet of snow in the winter of 1846.
12. The wine, beer and coffee scenes.
We touched a little bit on Napa Valley above, but just to be clear: Sacramento is to Northern California wine country like a hole is to a doughnut – right in the danged middle. In fact, there are more than 200 wineries surrounding the capital city. But don't fret if wine isn't your thing, and beer is more your style – along with the ‘farm-to-fork' movement, there has also been a major resurgence of craft breweries in the area. Choose between 50 Sacramento-area breweries for a sit-down or – if you're feeling more adventurous – hop aboard the Sacramento Beer Train or hitch a ride on the Sac Brew Bike. And if coffee's your drink of choice, Sacramento will be a city after your heart. Sure the multiple award-winning Temple Coffee Roasters and the hip Old Soul Co. suck up a lot of the accolades, but there are more than enough top-notch, locally sourced and sustainable options around town to suit every palate in your party. Most of them offer free WiFi to boot.
The city of Sacramento has so much to offer, from its beautiful outdoor areas to its ever-expanding dining scene to its access to California's treasures, that it seems to be a rather easy choice to move there and try it out. Let us know your thoughts about moving to or living in Sacramento in the comments, unless you're too busy glass-bottom kayaking or hopping on the beer train to be bothered. In which case, we don't blame you. Save us a spot.