Sacramento skyline from the Sacramento River

Sacramento is the state capital of California in the United States.


Sacramento is the oldest incorporated city in California, settled between the confluences of the Sacramento and American rivers. It was founded in 1849 and there are many reminders of the history of the city including Sutter's Fort, Old Sacramento, and remnants of the original ground level of Sacramento. It experienced explosive growth when gold was discovered in 1848 in nearby Coloma, and the gold rush that followed was the largest human migration in history. Currently it has a population of 490,000 in the city and over two million in the metropolitan area.

The pace of life is somewhat slower than in other large Californian cities, and the people are generally warm and friendly. According to Time magazine Sacramento is the most diverse city in the USA. The city used to be an affordable place, but it suffered from the San Francisco Bay Area's dot com rise and fall, and real estate went from undervalued to overvalued. The market is correcting itself so property values in most neighborhoods have leveled off while others are dropping to more reasonable valuations.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 53 60 65 71 81 88 93 92 88 78 63 53
Nightly lows (°F) 38 40 43 45 51 56 59 58 55 48 41 37
Precipitation (in) 3.9 4.3 3.1 1.4 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.3 1.0 2.6 3.5

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Sacramento has a Mediterranean-type climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Being further inland than most of the other major California cities, Sacramento is subject to more temperature variation. Winter high temperatures are commonly in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (10-20*C), and at night the temperature drops below freezing every so often. The summer heat can be intense, with temperatures exceeding 100*F (37.7*) not unusual. Generally speaking, the warmer it gets, the drier it gets, so even the most intense Sacramento heat is easily alleviated by a quick dip in the swimming pool.

Sacramento's hot, dry summers are mitigated by a phenomenon locals call "the delta breeze." Heat waves rarely last more than three to five days, because as hot air builds over California's interior valleys, cold ocean air is sucked inland through the Sacramento river delta, acting as natural air conditioning and dropping the temperature sharply. The delta breeze tends to hit the westernmost areas of Sacramento late in the afternoon and travel east/northeast at ten to fifteen miles per hour, so the hour at which your neighborhood cools depends on your proximity to the river delta or how far west/south you reside.

Most rain falls in the from around fall to mid spring and occasionally early summer. Generally speaking, however, you can count on sunny days from the middle of April until at least the middle of October. Winter is known not only for its rain but also its dense fog, which can hamper driving conditions and reduce visibility to 100 feet (30 m) at times. Snow is rare, but once every 5-10 years a light dusting occurs, and even some light accumulation away from the city. In the foothills not far east of the city, snow is much more common, and the Tahoe-area ski resorts are within easy reach of the Sacramento metropolitan area. Sacramento's location in the heart of California's agricultural interior gives it a blossom-laden spring as a profusion of fruit trees bloom and flower filled grassland. It also experiences a "foliage fall"—autumn color without the severe weather that accompanies brilliant color in other parts of the nation.

Severe weather is rare in Sacramento, with the primary concern being heat in summer and local flooding in winter. Occasional summer thunderstorms and even tornadoes can occur, but they are extremely rare. Sacramento is not in a known earthquake zone.


Smoking is prohibited by state law at all restaurants and bars, most workplaces (workplaces with five or fewer employees are exempt from the ban as long as all workers consent), and all public buildings. It's also banned within twenty feet of any entrance, window, or exit to a public place.

Tourist Information

The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau offer maps, brochures and other information.

Get in

By plane

Sacramento International Airport (IATA: SMF) is the main airport for Sacramento, located 15 minutes north of downtown along Interstate 5 at the Airport Boulevard exit. Air service is available to Hawaii, Mexico, and all regions of the United States. Nonstop flights are available to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Guadalajara, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Washington D.C., and all major California cities. Taxis from the airport to downtown are estimated at $27 one-way. Bus service to downtown (from Yolobus) runs hourly from 5:30AM to 10:20PM weekdays and 8:20AM to 10:20PM weekends. The fare is $2; be sure to get on the correct bus—42A goes to Sacramento, 42B goes to Davis via Woodland.

By train

Amtrak runs two long distance trains and two regional trains through Sacramento. The Amtrak station is within walking distance of Old Sacramento and a train museum. There are RT light rail connections to other areas of Sacramento.

By car

Sacramento is conveniently located at the intersection of Interstate 5 (a north-south route) and Interstate 80 (an east-west route). It is also located at the western terminus of US Route 50.

By bus

Get around

Sacramento is fairly easy to navigate due to the numbered and lettered streets, especially in the central district which is laid out in a grid. Numbered streets run north and south while lettered streets run east and west. South of the city center (bounded by Broadway, Front Street, and Alhambra Boulevard), the streets are named "Avenue" when the lettered streets run out.

By foot

Historic Old Sacramento, the Riverfront, and the California State Railroad Museum are all within an easy five minute walk of the train station. The Capitol is a 15-minute walk from Old Sacramento.

By bicycle

The wide, flat, tree-lined streets make cycling a relaxing way to get around Downtown and Midtown Sacramento. Most streets in the grid have bike lanes, and bike routes through the city are clearly marked. Travelling by bike also means avoiding expensive and hard-to-find parking.

By car

For nearly all other getting around, you will want a car.

Public transportation

Regional Transit is the major provider of bus and light-rail service in Sacramento with connections to other inter-urban buses and the surrounding area.

By taxi

Sacramento has about 500 taxis and a taxi meter fare system regulated by the City of Sacramento. The standard taxi fare in Sacramento is $4.00 flag drop $3.00 each additional mile $28.00 per hour waiting time. Sacramento has 8 major taxi companies Kmm Cab Co, Smart Cab Association, Sitoa, Yellow Cab Of Sacramento, AAA Taxi Association, BC Cab, National Taxi, STA.


The California State Capitol building

Old Sacramento

Once the original, thriving riverfront pioneer town, Old Sacramento is now primarily a living historic district and tourist destination. The boardwalk style sidewalks and horse-drawn stagecoaches give this small section of town a unique flavor. Old Sacramento contains several museums, restaurants, and the usual assortment of souvenir shops all within walking distance of each other. Attractions in the Old Town area also include the Delta King Riverboat, a working hotel with restaurant. The California State Railroad Museum’s Sacramento Southern Railroad is a private line extension providing riverside rides on a steam locomotive that departs from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot, carriage rides as well as annual city event and functions. Best of all, it's a five-minute walk from the Amtrak station. It's best visited in the morning and early evenings. Parking can be scarce, so be sure to utilize the reasonably priced parking structures in the K Street Mall. There's a nice, short, safe walkway between K Street Mall and Old Sacramento.

For fine dining, the Firehouse Restaurant is an old and well established city favorite known for its food and ambiance. Also of note is the Pilothouse Restaurant aboard the Delta King Riverboat with its grand staircase, river views and fine food. A newer selection for fine dining is Ten22. Local restaurant owner Frank Fat's Fat City Bar & Cafe is one several eateries in the mid to high end pricing but, a family can also find the Round Table Pizza buffet with salad bar for an affordable price while visiting. Locals and tourist enjoy Fanny Ann’s Saloon and restaurant for the rustic interior with mid range pricing.




As the capital of California, many state agencies are located in Sacramento. The State of California continues to be the largest employer in the Sacramento region.



This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget <$10
Mid-range $10-20
Splurge $20+

The diversity of Sacramento is not only reflected in its various neighborhoods but also in the food choices you can find here. The places in the central district tend to be more trendy and hip while food establishments in their respective neighborhoods reflect the tastes of their residents. Finding unique fare in suburban Sacramento, northeast of the city limits, can be difficult as many of the establishments are dominated by national or large regional chains.





Nightlife in Sacramento is vibrant if you know where to look. Stay in Downtown or Midtown. This is where most tourists are anyway. The upscale clubs and lounges tend to be on or near J Street. Directly across from the Capitol grounds is the Park which is the premiere Sacramento nightclub. The dress code and cover charges tend to be stiff.

Just around the corner is the Capitol Garage which typically has guest DJ's on Saturday and a $5 cover in a laid back atmosphere. On K Street, you'll find Marilyn's, a really cool underground bar in the heart of downtown which showcases local live music talent.

Nearby is the Crest Theater, an independent historic movie theater that boasts art deco design. In the summer you can catch the French Film Festival here as well as the Trash Film Orgy, an all-night spectacle of old B movie flicks where locals gather in their cheesiest costumes.

On most days of the year, however, the Crest is the place to catch foreign and independent films as well as traveling stand-up comedy and music acts. On 16th and R Street. you'll find the popular bar R15. This is a trendy bar/restaurant (Cafe Bernardo is attached) that has an urban industrial feel. Despite being trendy the prices are very affordable with $2 Pabst on tap and $1 pool tables. They also boast couches and big screens where you can play Xbox for free with a couple of friends.

R Street corridor offers Shady Lady Saloon, R15 Bar, and restaurants.

Another popular club is Mix Downtown with stiff cover charges and dress code as well, but Mix attracts an older crowd than District 30 and less pretentious crowd than the Park. On 10th and S Street, you'll find the popular indie-rock venue Old Ironsides. Local and traveling indie-rock talent showcase their music here. Every Tuesday you can catch Lipstick, a popular indie-rock dance party where you'll find mostly hip Midtown locals. Every first Saturday of the month you can catch After Dark which is like Lipstick only on a Saturday so it attracts a more varied metropolitan crowd.

The Press Club on 21st and P Street is popular with the college crowd with its $5 cover charges and cheap $3 24oz. of Pabst. It's known for playing 80's dance music and the best nights to go are Wednesdays or Thursdays as it is a small club and, on weekends, gets unbearably overcrowded.


Visitors to Sacramento should be aware that hotels in the downtown area charge more on weekday and major event stays than weekends as a lot of business travelers come during the weekdays close to the central business district.






All branches of the Sacramento Public Library system offer free internet access, via public terminals and wireless. The most centrally located branch is the large Central Library located at 9th and I Streets but there are branch libraries in every part of the Sacramento metropolitan area. Only the Central Library and the regional Carmichael Library are open on Sundays.


916 is the area code for most of the Sacramento metropolitan area with 530 used in outlaying areas.

Stay safe

Downtown has a lot of one-way streets which can be confusing and are not always well marked so look at the direction in which cars are parked.

Sacramento is generally a safe place to visit. As with any other urban area, no matter where you are, stay safe. Be aware of your surroundings, lock your car doors, don't carry a large amount of cash, and don't wear flashy clothing or jewelry.

As with other large metropolitan areas, there are neighborhoods that deserve more caution than others at night. Be cautious while in the following areas:

Central District—especially at night. Most of the businesses close up early, though the nightclubs there can draw crowds and those looking for trouble especially after too much to drink.

South Sacramento Area—especially at night. It has been cleaned up in recent years but there are still rough patches especially around Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Fruitridge Road, Franklin Boulevard, Mack Road, and Meadowview Road.

North Highlands—at night, prostitutes are usually strolling Watt Avenue between Roseville Road and I-80. The motels at Longview Drive and I-80 are some of the worst in the north Sacramento area. Avoid them if at all possible.

Del Paso Heights used to be of the worst crime infested areas in the Sacramento Region, but has recently attracted numerous galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Stay safe, but there's no reason to avoid it.



Go next

Part of the beauty of Sacramento is its central location. It's sometimes possible to go skiing in the morning, and surfing in the afternoon. All within a couple hours by car:

Routes through Sacramento

Emeryville Davis  W  E  Roseville Salt Lake City
Auburn Roseville  N  S  Davis Emeryville
END  N  S  Lodi Bakersfield
Redding Woodland  N  S  Elk Grove Los Angeles
San Francisco West Sacramento  W  E  North Highlands Reno
Red Bluff Yuba City  N  S  Elk Grove Fresno
Antioch Isleton  S  N  END
END West Sacramento  W  E  Rancho Cordova Carson City

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.