When it comes to places to live in California, Sacramento is often overlooked in favor of cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Even Arnold Schewarzeneger preferred to commute there from Brentwood via private jet when he was governor. But like many things that are overshadowed by their more sparkly counterparts, Sacramento is a hidden gem. If you’re considering a move to Sactown or to one of its nearby communities, we commend you for being ahead of the curve. Now read these enticing facts about the area and get there before everyone else does.
You Can Actually Afford to Live in Sacramento
Tell your friends you’re moving to California and it’s likely that the first thing they’ll say—after referencing beaches, celebrities and bikinis, of course—is that the state is notoriously expensive. In that sense, Sacramento is a breath of fresh air. According to a study by Move.org that ranked 75 cities from most expensive to least expensive, your average monthly expenses in Sacramento (this includes rent, utilities, gas, food and internet) will probably be about $2,276.39. That’s nearly half the cost of San Francisco, where you can expect to spend $4,210.60 on these same bills. According to that same study, Sacramento is more affordable than San Francisco (duh), Los Angeles, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Long Beach, San Diego, Irvine, Oakland and San Jose.
Between the Pacific Ocean and Lake Tahoe
You know that “Stuck in the Middle with You” song? If it was about Sacramento, it would be called “Stuck in the Middle of the Ocean and Lake Tahoe.” Move to Sacramento and you’ll have easy access to the unbelievably turquoise waters of Lake Tahoe. The lake is just 117 miles away, making for the perfect weekend trip or even a day trip. Soak up the sun at Kings Beach, hike to Cascade Falls, ski at Heavenly Ski Resort, park your RV at Camp Richardson or curl up by the fire at The Landing Tahoe Resort and Spa.
If you prefer the ocean, it’s just 96 miles away. Nearby beaches include Stinson Beach, Bodega Bay or even Baker Beach in San Francisco, which offers some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge you’ll ever see.
It’s Going Down in Old Town
Old Town—or the Old Sacramento Waterfront—is a historic destination with over 125 shops, restaurants and other attractions. Yes, it’s a bit touristy, but it’s also totally charming. If you’re a history lover, you can see over 53 historic buildings, plus sites like the Pony Express Monument and museums like the California Automobile Museum and the Old Sacramento School Museum. Love the river? Take a tour of it with Hornblower Cruises or go see the permanently-moored Delta King Steamboat. Shop for vintage records at Brook’s Novelty Antiques and Records, build your own milkshake at Milk House Shakes or dine by the water at Rio City Cafe.
It’s (Still) The City of Trees
Sacramento’s famous “City of Trees” nickname may have been removed from a popular water tower, but that doesn’t change the fact that the area’s tree canopy is epic. Trees—including sycamores, oaks and elms—cover nearly 20 percent of the city’s 100 square miles, putting a new meaning to the term “throwing shade.”
Sacramento Takes Farm to Fork Seriously
Sacramento is surrounded by 1.5 million acres of farms and hosts over 40 farmers markets. The city’s restaurant scene celebrates this by offering an impressive number of menu items made with local ingredients. Whether you’re a foodie or just someone who enjoys buying fresh produce at the grocery store, living in the middle of a year-round agricultural hotspot has its perks. You can even celebrate Sacramento’s farm to fork ethos at the annual Farm to Fork Festival which offers a chance to try local food, wine and beer, enjoy live music or score a seat at a special open-air dinner held on Tower Bridge.
Sacramento is a Great Place to be a College Student
In 2019, over 9,100 students graduated from Sacramento State—a record-breaking number. The college attributes this to the growing number of classes and staff that the school boasts. If you’re looking to get a degree or raise kids who might want to go to college someday, Sacramento State is an excellent option. Other Sacramento area colleges include two-year schools like American River College, Sacramento City College and Cosumnes River College.
Planning on sticking around Sacramento after you graduate? You’ll be rewarded with a robust job market where your salary goes further. According to a 2018 study by job listing site Indeed, your wages in Sacramento are worth 15.7 percent more than they would be in Los Angeles.
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