Sacramento is California's state capital, and the closest major city to Davis, located just 15 miles (24 km) to the east, and a stone's throw across the Sacramento River from West Sacramento. It's in Sacramento County. The city was named by Spanish explorers for the Roman Catholic Sacrament of Holy Communion. Sacramento began in 1839 as New Helvetia, a colony founded by Swiss immigrant John Sutter. In 1848, gold was discovered in nearby Coloma, precipitating the California Gold Rush; wealth generated from mined gold helped Sacramento to prosper and grow in its early days. In 1850, Sacramento became the first incorporated city in California; and four years later it was made the permanent capital of the state.
Sacramento suffers many nicknames, including Sac-Town, Sac-a-cement-o, Sack-a-tomatoes, Sack Toe, Excremento, Sock Town, Suckramento, Suck Pimento, Nut-Sacramento, The Big Tomato, and The River City. Despite lying in the shadow of more populous, more elegant San Francisco, Sacramento is an interesting metropolis in and of itself, and offers many of its own attractions.
A 2016 study ranked Sacramento as the tenth most diverse city in the United States; as of 2015, the racial breakdown of the city was estimated at 19% Asian, 14% black, 28% Hispanic, and 34% non-Hispanic white. Many ethnically diverse products and services can be found in Sacramento that are either far more expensive in Davis or simply unavailable.
Geographically, the city anchors the greater Sacramento region, which includes the counties of Sacramento , Placer, El Dorado, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba. The city also provides a meeting point for the Sacramento and American Rivers, with the former defining the city's western periphery; these and other major rivers drain into the Sacramento Valley. Sacramento is located at the nexus of two major Interstate highways: I-5 and I-80, and is served by several other important freeways, such as Highway 50 and Business 80. Most of the city's suburbs lie to the east, along the corridors of I-80 and Highway 50, while Elk Grove, the biggest suburb, abuts the city to the south. UC Davis, in Davis, is a state land grant college and the UC campus in closest proximity to our state capital; because of Davis' closeness it is sometimes considered a suburb of Sacramento, but as a university town it is really separate from the Sacramento metropolitan area. A significant percentage of its student body hails from the Sacramento region, with 10% claiming Sacramento and 4% claiming Yolo as their home counties (source). UC Davis has a Sacramento campus a short distance south-east of downtown which is home to the UC Davis Medical Center.
Sacramento is a large, sprawling city, although the Downtown is compact, clean and handsome, and is easy to reach and navigate; it is punctuated by the beautiful State Capitol Building, which was built in 1874 in the Classical Revival style.
Flooding is the area's most significant natural hazard (see Yolo Bypass) and simultaneously gives Sacramento great control over state water issues. Air Pollution is another result of the city's low-lying orientation.
For entertainment-starved college students, Sacramento is seen as a nearby watering hole, with many excellent restaurants and bars and nightclubs in abundance. It also provides a wealth of diversity not found within either the City of Davis or UCD campus.
Sacramento also provides places of worship for those who do not adhere to major European religions.
Once there, these bike maps might make getting around a little easier.
- By Car: From Davis, just hop on Interstate 80 eastbound or head into Woodland and take Interstate 5 south.
- By Public Transit: Yolobus and Amtrak are the only public transit options connecting Davis to Sacramento.
- By Bicycle: Our Bicycling page provides excellent maps and descriptions of bike routes from this side of the river to that.
Like most cities, Sacramento has residential and business areas commonly referred to by locals and which share features such as architectural style, business styles, etc. Especially for those visiting from Davis, it can be helpful to have a sense of geographical boundaries for those typically referenced within this wiki.
- Old Sacramento
- Midtown Sacramento aka Lavender Heights
- The Fabulous Forties (located between 38th and 48th Streets and bordered by J Street and Folsom Blvd.)
- Natomas - North & South
- Del Paso Heights
- North Sacramento
- Land Park
- The Pocket
Founded in 1871, the Crocker Art Museum (Website: https://www.crockerart.org) is the oldest art museum in the Western U.S. It features art works from all over the world, but its specialty is Californian art; noted here are the works of Ansel Adams, Roy Arneson, and Wayne Thiebaud.
- 216 O Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
- Phone number: (916) 808-7000
- Closed Monday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day
- Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Every 3rd Sunday is 'Pay What You Wish' Day, sponsored by Western Health Advantage
- General: $10
- Seniors (65+) and College Students: $8
- Youth (7-17): $5
- Museum members and children 6 and under: Free
Situated in Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum (Website: https://www.californiarailroad.museum) is home to twenty-one historic railroad vehicles, and tells the story of how the railroad influenced California's history.
- 125 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
- Phone number: (916) 323-9280
- Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day)
- Adults: $12
- Youth (6-17): $6
- Children 5 and under: Free
Stage & Theatre
Sacramento is a growing area for both professional and amateur theatre; some of the better known theaters are listed here.
- The Community Center Theater, at 1301 L Street, is the home venue of Sacramento's ballet, opera, and philharmonic companies.
California Musical Theatre sponsors both the Touring Broadway series, presenting the best of Broadway shows at the Sacramento Community Center, 1301 L Street, and the Music Circus, which presents 7-8 musicals during the summertime at the Wells Fargo Pavillion, 1419 H Street.
The Sacramento Theatre Company presents classical and modern plays in their 300 seat Mainstage Theatre or the 85 seat Stage Two, 1419 H Street, part of the Wells Fargo Pavillion.
The Delta King Theatre is located on the bottom deck of the riverboat Delta King.
Garbeau's Dinner Theatre, presents plays from the Broadway stage at 12401 Folsom Blvd, Rancho Cordova.
Lambda Players is a non-profit company presenting plays featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered characters.
Golden 1 Center (Website: https://www.golden1center.com), a state-of-the-art arena, opened in Downtown Sacramento in 2016, replacing Sleep Train Arena. It is used for concerts and home games of the city's professional basketball team, the Sacramento Kings. (Regular season runs from October through mid-April; playoffs run up through June). For tickets, visit https://www.stubhub.com, http://ticketmaster.com, or (for Kings games) http://www.nba.com/kings/?hp=1&ls=iref:kings:gameexp:returnbutton.
- Address: 500 David J Stern Walk, Sacramento, CA 95814
Raley Field (Website: http://www.raleyfield.com), situated in West Sacramento, is the home field of the Sacramento River Cats, the city's minor-league baseball club (affiliated with the San Francisco Giants); it is one of the most picturesque places to watch a ballgame. Regular season runs Apr.-early Sept.; playoffs through mid-September. Tickets: http://www.milb.com/tickets/singlegame.jsp?sid=t105
- Address: 400 Ballpark Dr, West Sacramento, CA 95691
California State Fair always a fun thing to do in the summer
Small but pleasant zoo, located in William Land Park, south of Downtown. Open Feb.-Oct. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Nov.-Jan. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; guests may remain in zoo until 5. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission: General $14.95, Senior (65+) $13.95, Children 2-11 $9.95, Children 0-1 free. Membership available.
Bars and Nightclubs
815 L Street Rock & Pop, Disco, Electronica
BADLANDS 2003 k st.
- Alternative Rock, Blues, Funk, Soul & R&B, Hip-Hop & Rap, Rock & Pop, Techno & Industrial, Disco, Electronica
- 18+ on Wednesday
- Funk, Soul & R&B, Techno & Industrial, Disco, Electronica
- Best gay bar
Harlow's Funk, Soul & R&B, Jazz, Latin
Joshua Pup's - 617 Munroe Street (note: don't leave your credit card at the bar!)
Joe Marty's - 1500 Broadway
The Mercantile Saloon (or just The Merc)- 1928 L Street (20th&L)
- Upstairs at Harlow's, this lounge space has its own full bar, dance floor, and DJ music spinning funk, soul, R&B, jazz and Latin
- Alternative Rock, Blues, Funk, Soul & R&B, Punk, Reggae, Rock & Pop, Ska
- home to Lipstick every Tuesday
- home to Vicious every first Saturday of the month
The Rage Rock & Pop, Techno & Industrial, Electronica
Tropicana Club 18+, mostly Latin music.
Zelda's As far as bars go, you can really only sit and drink, but it's a full bar
|Tuesday||The Grad, (in Davis) lessons at 9:30 PM|
|Wednesday||Sky Bar, lessons at 8pm|
|Friday||Club 21, live music (check calendar) no lessons|
|Saturday||Avalon, lessons at 9:30pm|
Sacramento has a very exciting music scene that is still underrated. Many bands left the Bay Area during the 90's as rent went through the roof, and cheap recording studios closed down to make way for more apartments. In Sacramento up-and-coming bands can find plenty of venues, cheap recordings studios, and plenty of artists.
The Boardwalk - Actually located in Orangevale, but close enough to Sacramento, this venue is popular among high school aged students. However, they do have a bar, and occasionally someone really great will play a show there.
The Capitol Garage - Lots of indie shows and local music. They recently relocated, however, and may have changed a bit. Known changes: they are now 21+ and have some sort of deal with Clear Channel. Drinks are expensive (wells=$5.50!), but happy hour after ?4pm?. Excellent sandwiches but pricey ($6-7).
The Crest Theatre - In addition to being a place to see some great movies, this place also hosts live music. Because it is filled with theater seats, it makes a great venue for seeing those kinds of bands where you just want to sit back, relax, and take in the music. (see also Crest Theater)
Empire Events Center - Pretty fancy club for mostly indie acts. It is quite spacious with 5 bars. Shows are 18+, but are pretty strict about drinking—they stamp you with blacklight ink and you must be 21+ to enter the fenced off drinking area. There are no drinking allowed outside this area.
Old Ironsides - Good local music and smaller touring acts.
Weston House Recording - A recording studio that is actually in Orangevale just down the street from The Boardwalk.
- Arden Fair Mall - East Sacramento. Clean design and indoors. Very popular among Davis students. Has a large sculpture at the main parking lot entrance which at a glance you might suppose to be an idol marking the mall as a Temple of Mammon.
- Downtown Plaza Mall - Downtown Sacramento. Outdoor mall that connects to Old Sacramento.
- Florin Mall - South Sacramento. Lots of small shops but no department stores besides Sears.
- Fry's Electronics. External site: Fry's Electronics
- Grand Illusions - North side of Sacramento. Full service dealer of magic, puppets, juggling and other fine theatrical equipment (including an extensive collection of costumes for sale and rent).
- Old Sacramento - (aka Old Sac) An area of town, on the banks of the Sacramento River, that has been restored to look like Sacramento during the Gold Rush era. The cobblestones and parts of many of the buildings are over 150 years old. Most notable attractions are the California State Train Museum and the Laughs Unlimited comedy club.
- Many ethnic markets
Sacramento has a diverse gay community anchored by the Lambda Center.
- Lambda Center Great resource for LGBTetc community, counseling, coming out advice, community activism.
- Lavendar Library The Lavender Library has a lot of books, recordings and history about gay Sacramento. Thanks Gail.
- OutSacramento OutSacramento.com has Internet links, Sac pride, places, message board, news and information for gay Sacramento
- Faces nightclub
- Hot Rod's Burgers & Hamburger Mary's are two casual eateries
Places to Stay
If you want to attend any late-night events, you'll have to stay overnight since there aren't any buses which run late. :(
- HI-Sacramento Hostel Located at 925 H Street (by 10th & H Street). Have access to downtown including the State Capitol. The hostel is an old Victorian Mansion that has been moved a couple of times.
- Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Cal Expo Located at 1782 Tribute Road (northeast of Downtown, near Cal Expo and the Arden Fair Mall).
- Hyatt Regency Sacramento. Located at 1209 L Street (across the street from the Capitol Building).
- TIME Magazine claims Sacramento is America's most diverse city
- City-data.com states that the population of the city of Sacramento is 435,245, making it the 37th largest city in the U.S.
- The Census states that the population of Sacramento County is 1,330,711, making it the 28th largest county in the U.S.
- Sacramento Wiki - A wiki documenting all things related to Sacramento, CA.