Sunday, 22 April 2018

USA: Sacramento, America's Most Diverse, Coffee, And Nightlife City

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. The city is generally viewed as being affordable for being a large California city.

Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of Sacramento County.

It is at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley, known as the Sacramento Valley.

Its estimated 2016 population of 493,025 makes it the sixth-largest city in California, the fastest-growing big city in the state, and the 35th largest city in the United States.

Sacramento is the cultural and economic core of the Sacramento metropolitan area, which includes seven counties with a 2010 population of 2,414,783.

Its metropolitan area is the fourth largest in California after the Greater Los Angeles area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego metropolitan area, and is the 27th largest in the United States.

In 2002, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University conducted for Time magazine named Sacramento America's Most Diverse City.

Sacramento became a city through the efforts of the Swiss immigrant John Sutter, Sr., his son John Augustus Sutter, Jr., and James W. Marshall.

Sacramento grew quickly thanks to the protection of Sutter's Fort, which was established by Sutter.

During the California Gold Rush, Sacramento was a major distribution point, a commercial and agricultural center, and a terminus for wagon trains, stagecoaches, riverboats, the telegraph, the Pony Express, and the First Transcontinental Railroad.

The city was named after the Sacramento River, which forms its western border. The river was named by Spanish cavalry officer Gabriel Moraga for the Santisimo Sacramento or Blessed Sacrament, referring to the Catholic Eucharist.

Today, the city is known for its diversity, tree canopy the largest in the U.S, historic Old Sacramento, evolving contemporary culture as the most hipster city in California, sunny climate, state administration, and farm-to-fork dining.

California State University, Sacramento, is the largest university in the city and a designated - Tree City USA - campus.

The University of the Pacific is a private university with one of its three campuses, the McGeorge School of Law, in Sacramento.

In addition, the University of California, Davis, 16 miles west of Sacramento, operates UC Davis Medical Center, a world-renowned research hospital, in the city of Sacramento.

Nisenan or Southern Maidu and Plains Miwok Native Americans had lived in the area for perhaps thousands of years. Unlike the settlers who would eventually make Sacramento their home, these Native Americans left little evidence of their existence.

Traditionally, their diet was dominated by acorns taken from the plentiful oak trees in the region, and by fruits, bulbs, seeds, and roots gathered throughout the year.

In 1808, the Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga discovered and named the Sacramento Valley and the Sacramento River.

A Spanish writer with the Moraga expedition said: Canopies of oaks and cottonwoods, many festooned with grapevines, overhung both sides of the blue current. Birds chattered in the trees and big fish darted through the pellucid depths.

The air was like champagne, and the Spaniards drank deep of it, drank in the beauty around them. The valley and the river were then christened after the - Most Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ - referring to the Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city covers an area of 100.1 square miles (259 km2), 97.81% of it land, and 2.19% of it water.

Depth to groundwater is typically about 30 feet (9 m). Much of the land to the west of the city in Yolo County, is permanently reserved for a vast flood control basin the Yolo Bypass, due to the city's historical vulnerability to floods.

As a result, the greater metropolitan area sprawls only four miles (6 km) west of downtown as West Sacramento, California but 30 miles (48 km) northeast and east, into the Sierra Nevada foothills, and 10 miles (16 km) to the south into valley farmland.

The city is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River, and has a deep-water port connected to the San Francisco Bay by a channel through the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta.

It is the shipping and rail center for the Sacramento Valley. Food processing is among the major industries in the area.

The city groups most of its neighborhoods into four areas:

Area one which is central/eastern

Alkali Flat, Boulevard Park, Campus Commons, Sacramento State, Dos Rios Triangle, Downtown, East Sacramento, Fab Forties, Mansion Flats, Marshall School, Midtown, New Era Park, McKinley Village, Newton Booth, Old Sacramento, Poverty Ridge, Richards, Richmond Grove, River Park, Elmhurst, Sierra Oaks, Southside Park.

Area two which is southwestern

Airport, Carleton Tract, Freeport Manor, Golf Course Terrace, Greenhaven, Curtis Park, Hollywood Park, Land Park, Little Pocket, Mangan Park, Meadowview, Parkway, Pocket, Sacramento City College, South Land Park, Valley Hi / North Laguna, Z'Berg Park.

Area three which is southeastern

Alhambra Triangle, Avondale, Brentwood, Carleton Tract, Colonial Heights, Colonial Village, Colonial Village North, Curtis Park, Elmhurst, Fairgrounds, Florin, Industrial Park, Fruitridge Manor, Glen Elder, Glenbrook.

Granite Regional Park, Lawrence Park, Med Center, North City Farms, Oak Park, Packard Bell, South City Farms, Southeast Village, Tahoe Park, Tahoe Park East, Tahoe Park South, Tallac Village, Vintage Park, Churchill Downs, and Woodbine.

Area four which is north of the American River

Ben Ali, Del Paso Heights, Gardenland, Hagginwood, McClellan Heights West, Natomas (north, south, west), North Sacramento, Northgate, Robla, Swanston Estates, Terrace Manor, Valley View Acres, and Woodlake.

Additional prominent regions and neighborhoods in the city include American River Parkway, Arden-Arcade, Arden Fair, Cal Expo, Capital Avenue, Coffing, College Glen, College Greens, Colonial Manor, Cordova, Creekside, East Fruitridge, Elder Creek, Elkhorn, Elvas, Erikson Industrial Park.

Excelsior Sunrise, Foothill Farms, Franklin, Frates Ranch, Gateway Center, Gateway West, Glenwood Meadows, Hansen Park, Heritage Park, Johnson Business Park, Johnson Heights, Mayhew, Metro Center, Mills, Natomas Corporate Center, Natomas Creek, Natomas Crossing, Natomas Park, Newton Booth, Noralto.

Northpointe, Norwood, Oak Knoll, Old North Sacramento, Parker Homes, Point West, Raley Industrial Park, Regency Park, Richardson Village, Richmond Grove, Rosemont, Sierra Oaks, Sports Complex, Strawberry Manor, Sundance Lake.

Swanston Palms, Town and Country Village, Upper Land Park, Village 5, Village 7, Village 12, Village 14, Village Green, Walerga, Walsh Station, West Del Paso Heights, Westlake, Willowcreek, Wills Acres, Winn Park, Woodside and Youngs Heights.

Sacramento has several major museums. The Crocker Art Museum is the oldest public art museum west of the Mississippi River.

On July 26, 2007, the museum broke ground for an expansion that more than tripled the museum's floor space. The modern architecture is very different from the museum's original Victorian style building. Construction was completed in 2010.

Also of interest is the Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, a large Victorian Mansion which was home to 13 of California's Governors, as well as the official residence for current governor Jerry Brown following renovations in 2015.

The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park, which was completely restored in 2006, serves as the State's official address for diplomatic and business receptions. Guided public tours are available.

The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts, home of the California Hall of Fame, is a cultural destination dedicated to telling the rich history of California and its unique influence on the world of ideas, innovation, art and culture.

The museum educates tens of thousands of school children through inspiring programs, sharing with world visitors California's rich art, history and cultural legacy through dynamic exhibits, and serving as a public forum and international meeting place.

The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento has historical exhibits and live steam locomotives that patrons may ride.

The California Automobile Museum, located just south of Old Sacramento, is filled with automotive history and vehicles from 1880 to 2006 and is the oldest non-profit automotive museum in the West.

The mission of it is to preserve, promote, and teach automotive culture and its influence on our lives—past, present and future.

In addition, the Sacramento History Museum, in the heart of Old Sacramento, focuses on the history of Sacramento from the region's pre-Gold Rush history through the present day.

There is a Museum Day held in Sacramento every year, when 26 museums in the greater Sacramento area offer free admission.

The 2009 Sacramento Museum Day brought out more than 80,000 people, the largest number the event has gathered. Sacramento Museum Day is held every year on the first Saturday of February.

In 2012, Sacramento started the marketing campaign as - America's Farm-to-Fork Capital - due to Sacramento's many restaurants that source their food locally from the numerous surrounding farms.

The city has an annual Farm-to-Fork festival that showcases various grocers and growers in the industry. In 2012, The Kitchen was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation.

It continues to excel, earning the AAA's Five Diamond dining award since 2011. Sacramento is home to well-known cookbook authors, Biba Caggiano of Biba's Restaurant and Mai Pham of Lemongrass and Star Ginger.

Sacramento is also known for its beverage culture, with keystone events that include Cal Expo's Grape and Gourmet, Sacramento Beer Week, and Sacramento Cocktail Week.

Its growing beer scene is evident, with over 60 microbreweries in the region as of 2017. Some local brews include Track 7 Brewing Company, Big Stump Brew Co, Oak Park Brewing Co., and Sactown Union Brewery.

Numerous beer festivals around the region highlight both local and visitor beers. In addition to festivals in Elk Grove, Davis, Roseville, Placerville, and Woodland, Sacramento hosts the annual California Beer Craft Summit, an exposition dedicated to the art of brewing.

The summit also hosts the largest beer festival on the West Coast, featuring over 160 breweries in downtown Sacramento.

Sacramento's contemporary culture is reflected in its coffee. An underrated coffee city, Sacramento has above-average marks for local coffee. The city has numerous community roasters and coffee shops.

Examples are Temple Coffee, Insight Coffee Roasters, Old Soul Co., Chocolate Fish Roasters, Naked Lounge, Pachamama Roasting Co., and Identity Coffees. In addition to local brands, the region offers other chains like Starbucks, Peet's Coffee & Tea, and Philz Coffee.

Tower Records was started and based in Sacramento until its closing. Rappers C-Bo, Marvaless, and Lunasicc are among those native to the area. Classical music is widely available.

The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sacramento Baroque Soloists, the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra, the Sacramento Youth Symphony, the Sacramento Master Singers, the Sacramento Children's Chorus, and the Camellia Symphony each present a full season of concerts.

Each year, the city hosts the Sammies, the Sacramento Music Awards. Sacramento also has a reputation as a center for Dixieland jazz, because of the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee which is held every Memorial Day weekend.

Events and performances are held in multiple locations throughout the city. Each year thousands of jazz fans from all over the world visit for this one weekend.

A growing number of rock, hardcore and metal bands hail from the Sacramento area, including Tesla, Deftones, Papa Roach, Will Haven, Trash Talk, Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, Far, CAKE, Oleander and Steel Breeze.

Including some other famous musicians like record producer and recording artist Charlie Peacock, Bob Stubbs of Social Distortion and Craig Chaquico of Jefferson Starship.

Scottish pop band Middle of the Road sang kindly of Sacramento in their 1972 European hit song, Sacramento. Experimental groups such as Hella, Death Grips, and Tera Melos also came from Sacramento.

Sacramento is home to the Sacramento French Film Festival, a cultural event held every year in July that features U.S. premieres of French films and classic masterpieces of French cinema and the Sacramento Japanese Film Festival, also held in July.

In addition, Sacramento is home to the Trash Film Orgy, a summer film festival celebrating the absurd, B-movies, horror, monster, exploitation.

Founded in 2007, the Sacramento Horror Film Festival showcases feature-length and short films as well as live musical and theatrical performances in the horror and macabre genres.

Sacramento has been home to various actors, including Eddie Murphy, who resided in the Riverlake community of Pocket-Greenhaven with his then wife Nicole Mitchell Murphy, a fashion model and Sacramento native.

It is also the home of director Greta Gerwig, whose solo directorial debut Lady Bird is set in Sacramento.

The Sacramento LGBT Community Center formerly the Lambda Center, located in the Lavender Heights district.
Sacramento has one of the highest LGBT populations per capita, ranking seventh among major American cities.

It is third in California behind San Francisco and slightly behind Oakland, with roughly 10% of the city's total population identifying themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Lavender Heights, Sacramento, California is the hub for LGBTQ activities in the city and is a centrally located district in Midtown Sacramento centered within and around K & 20th streets.

The area owes its name to the high number of gay-owned homes and businesses residing there.

The area is also home to many of the city's LGBTQ inclusive music and arts festivals, including the Second Saturday Block Party from May to September.

Sacramento boasts an extensive park system consisting of over 5,000 acres (2,023 ha) of parkland and recreation centers.

The city features a collection of smaller parks in the Downtown districts, including Crocker Park, Pioneer Landing and Southside Park.

Popular parks outside the central core include American River Parkway which spans 23 miles along the American River, and William Land Park.

In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land reported that Sacramento was tied with San Francisco and Boston for having the third best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities.

ParkScore ranks city park systems by a formula that analyzes the city's median park size, park acres as percent of city area, the percent of residents within a half-mile of a park, spending of park services per resident, and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents.

Sacramento is a hotbed for high school rugby. Jesuit High is the recent defending national champion winning five times in total. Their arch-rival school Christian Brothers came in second nationwide.

Burbank, Del Campo and Vacaville have also placed well in the national competition over the years. The Sacramento Valley High School Rugby Conference hosts the largest and arguably deepest preseason youth and high school rugby tournament in America.

Sacramento hosts some recreational facilities and events. The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail that runs between Old Sacramento and Folsom Lake grants access to the American River Parkway.

This is a natural area that includes more than 5,000 acres (20 km2) of undeveloped land. It attracts cyclists and equestrians from across the state.

The California State Fair is held in Sacramento each year at the end of the summer, ending on Labor Day. In 2010, the State Fair moved to July. More than one million people attended this fair in 2001.

Among other recreational options in Sacramento is Discovery Park, a 275-acre (1.1 km2) park studded with stands of mature trees and grasslands. This park is situated where the American River flows into the Sacramento River.

In amateur sports, Sacramento claims many prominent Olympians such as Mark Spitz, Debbie Meyer the six-time gold medalist in for US swimming, Mike Burton, Summer Sanders the gold medalist in swimming, and trained in childhood by Debbie Meyer at Rio Del Oro Racquet Club.

Jeff Float the all swimming, and Billy Mills. Coach Sherm Chavoor founded his world-famous Arden Hills Swim Club just east of the city and trained Burton, Spitz and others.

Sacramento's climate consists of very hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Being somewhat inland, the city is subject to temperature variations.

In winter, daytime highs are generally in the 50sF and nighttime lows are about 40*F. Nighttime temperatures may drop below freezing every so often.

In summer, the heat can be intense with daytime temperatures hovering around 90*F; some days will see hotter temperatures. Nighttime lows are more manageable with temperatures generally in the high 50sF.

Sacramento is subject to heat waves that can last for several days. There is also a phenomenon that may occur called the - delta breeze - when ocean air is pulled inland through the Sacramento river delta, dropping the temperature.

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 fall to spring. Generally speaking, you can expect sunny days from May through 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 in the city, 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 more common.

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.

The primary weather concern in Sacramento is heat in the summer and flooding in the winter. Occasional summer thunderstorms can occur; and tornadoes, although rare, can occur.

Smoking is prohibited by state law at all restaurants and bars, most 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.

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

Visitor Center, 1002 2nd St., ☎ 916-442-7644. Daily 10AM-5PM.

Main Office, 1608 I St., ☎ 1-800-292-2334. M-F 8AM-5PM.

Sacramento International Airport 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 Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, and all regions of the United States.

Nonstop flights are available to Chicago, New York City, Newark, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Guadalajara.

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.

Amtrak runs two long distance trains and two regional trains through Sacramento.

The Coast Starlight runs from Seattle and Portland through Sacramento to San Francisco via Emeryville, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.

The California Zephyr runs from San Francisco via Emeryville through Sacramento to Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, and Chicago.

The Capitol Corridor is a regional train that runs from the Bay Area to Sacramento making major stops in Martinez, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, and San Jose.

Carefully consult the schedule when buying tickets for this since some of the daily runs are by bus instead of train.

The San Joaquins is a regional train that runs from Sacramento south into the San Joaquin Valley making major stops in Stockton, Fresno, and Bakersfield.

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.

- From the San Francisco Bay Area, take Interstate 80 east.

- From Reno and North Lake Tahoe, take Interstate 80 west.

- From South Lake Tahoe, take US Route 50 west.

- From Redding and the Pacific Northwest, take Interstate 5 south.

- From the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, take Interstate 5 north or State Route 99 north.

Greyhound has a major hub downtown and numerous satellite stations throughout the Sacramento area., Express bus service to/from San Francisco and Sparks near Reno, NV. Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms, Power Outlets and seats starting at $1.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. Fares are $2.75 for a single adult trip or $7 for a day pass.

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.

However, the 90 taxis of Sacramento Taxi Yellow Cab that serve Sacramento International Airport rates at their website. Sacramento has 6 major Taxi Fleets Smart Cab Association, Sitoa, Yellow Cab Of Sacramento, BC Cab, STA, Capitol City.

Places to visit while in Sacramento:

California State Capitol, 10th and L Streets. M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM. The California State Capitol Museum includes the historical state capitol building and the surrounding 16 square city blocks, known as Capitol Park.

Inside, tours of the capitol, its legislative chambers, and its restored historic offices are available daily. Outside, the public is free to visit the many gardens, memorials, and monuments located throughout the 40-acre park's grounds.

You can get a view up to the Capitol from the Tower Bridge at the southern end of Old Sacramento. Free.

Sutter's Fort, 2701 L St. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Sutter's Fort State Historic Park is the oldest restored fort in the United States. Built by John Sutter in the 1840's, the fort now hosts a collection of pioneer and early California artifacts.

Self-guided audio tours are available. Adults: $5. Youth: $3. Children 5 & under.

State Indian Museum, 2618 K St, next to Sutter's Fort. 10AM-5PM. Contains displays of Native Californian basketry, beadwork, clothing and exhibits about the ongoing traditions of various California Indian tribes.

Adults: $3. Youth: $2. Children 5 & under: free.

Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St. The oldest continuously operating museum in the West, home to a premier collection of California art. Free on Sundays $10.

Cesar Chavez Park. Formerly known as Plaza Park, Cesar Chavez Park is a scenic park in the middle of downtown Sacramento that adjoins historic City Hall, the Public Library and Sacramento's Citizen Hotel.

Great place to take photos of the Sacramento skyline. During the summer on Fridays, it is used as an outdoor concert venue known as Concerts in the Park.

Sacramento Zoo. A mid-size zoo located in William Land Park. A combination ticket with Fairy Tale Town makes for a fun day for families with young children.

Folsom Lake. One of Northern California's largest lakes, Folsom Lake is where many local Sacramentans go fishing, biking, sailing, kayaking or jet-skiing during the summer. It is located 30 minutes east of downtown Sacramento off Highway 50.

The Dinner Detective, 2001 Point West Way. America's Largest Interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Show is in Sacramento at the Doubletree by Hilton.

The California Museum, 1020 O Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

The California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front Street, Sacramento, CA 95818-1106.

Once a thriving riverfront pioneer town, Old Sacramento now primarily exists as living historic district. 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. Best of all, it's a five minute walk from the Amtrak station.

It's best visited in late afternoon and early evening. 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.

California State Railroad Museum, 111 I St. A huge museum of railroad history with a large collection of old yet well-preserved trains and equipment.

If possible, take Amtrak to the Sacramento station to get into a trainy mood for it. $10 adults, $3 ages 6-17, 5 and under free.

Steam train rides, Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot, just south of the Railroad Museum. Hourly, on weekends April through September.

Operated by the Railroad Museum, these forty minute excursions are pulled by an historic steam locomotive along the nearby levees. $8 adults, $3 ages 6-17, 5 and under free..

Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St. Open daily from 10am-5pm. The Sacramento History Museum explores the region’s history from the days before the Gold Rush to the present throughout the museum's two stories of interactive galleries.

The museum also offers the perfect starting point for exploring the Old Sacramento State Historic Park! $5 adults, $4 ages 6-17, 5 and under free.

Certified Farmers' Market. The bounty of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley can be found at various certified farmers' markets throughout the metropolitan region.

Each venue is unique, with some selling dairy, meat, and seafood in addition to produce, crafts, and artisan items.

Second Saturdays Art Walk, monthly. Art galleries in midtown Sacramento open on the second Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Garage parking is available for $2 on 17th Street between Capitol and L Street, and local restaurants stay open a little late for the art walk crowd.

Concerts in the Park, weekly, May through August. Each summer, a free outdoor concert is held on Friday nights from 5 pm to 9 pm at Ceasar Chavez Park, located at 10th and J Streets.

Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee in late May. An annual affair over the Memorial Day weekend . Bands come from all over the world to play this gig. You can hear everything from Billie Holiday to Scott Joplin to Paco Gatsby in venues set up throughout the Sacramento area.

River rafting, late May through September. In the heat of the summer, self-guided raft trips along the Lower American River are popular, this is leisurely floating and not whitewater rapids.

Inflatable rafts can be rented from companies along Sunrise Boulevard and floated down to River Bend Park, a 6-mile trip that takes 3 to 4 hours depending on river flows. Shuttle service is available to return rafters to the start point.

Rafts sizes vary from 4 to 12 person, and rental fees range from $50 to $150. Note: state law prohibits alcoholic drinks on the river during the holiday weekends of Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.
Sacramento Pride Festival and Parade in June. First celebrated in 1984 as the Sacramento Freedom Fair, Sacramento Pride Festival and Parade has become an annual LGBT Pride Month tradition, attracting nearly 10,000 visitors from throughout Northern and Central California.

California State Fair in mid-July through early August. The Cal Expo fairgrounds come alive every summer as the State Fair becomes a city within a city that hosts nearly one million visitors.

Folks come from near and far for the memorable delights of this 150+ year old extravaganza that includes exciting exhibits, amazing attractions, live entertainment, and the Magnificent Midway.

Sacramento Gold Rush Days, in early September. Every Labor Day weekend, Sacramento trucks dirt into its historic Old Sacramento area in downtown, where the stuff is unloaded onto the streets.

The first step in setting the scene for this annual event. Music, food, and stories accompany shows and reenactments of life in the Old West for days of fun.

Sacramento Kings NBA basketball in October through April. The Kings are the local basketball team, and they have been growing steadily in popularity in recent years.

If you're able to obtain tickets to a Kings game, the experience will be a memorable one, as their new home, Golden 1 Arena, is widely known to be one of the loudest NBA venues in the country.

American River Bike Trail. Officially known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, the American River Bike Trail is a world-class bike path between Sacramento and Folsom, California.

Beginning at Discovery Park in Sacramento, the trail is a 32-mile (51 km) stretch of automobile-free pavement running along lush parkland beside the Sacramento River, past Lake Natoma and ending at Folsom Lake.

Plenty of picnic-spotted parks offer water and shade, convenient parking, and you may spot the occasional deer or wild turkey. The trip from Folsom to Sacramento is slightly downhill, making the return trip fairly easy.

If riding after dusk, be alert in the area of the bridges near downtown. There are walkers and joggers all along the trail so it's bad manners to ride too fast.

Raging Waters, 1600 Exposition Blvd. Northbound drivers to Sacramento can take either Interstate 5 or Highway 99. From I-5, take the Capital City Freeway East exit from Downtown Sacramento, follow the signs to Reno.

The Cal Expo exit is just Northeast of the American River. Highway 99 becomes the Capital City Freeway just North of the 12th Avenue exit. Continue over the river to Cal Expo.

Southbound drivers to Sacramento can arrive via Interstate 5, Highway 99 or Highway 70. Highways 99 and 70 join I-5 just North of Sacramento. From I-5, take the I-80/Reno exit East and continue to the Capital City Freeway exit just past Watt Avenue.

Continue toward downtown Sacramento until you reach the Cal Expo exit. Eastbound Eastbound travelers to Sacramento should take Interstate 80 to Sacramento, taking the Capital City Freeway exit in West Sacramento following the signs to Lake Tahoe.

Continue on Capital City Freeway, through downtown Sacramento and make the turnoff to Reno. The Cal Expo exit is just Northeast of the American River. Westbound Westbound travelers can take Interstate 80 or Highway 50 to Sacramento.

From I-80, take the Capital City Freeway exit to Downtown Sacramento just beyond Madison Avenue. Continue to the Cal Expo exit. From Highway 50, take the Reno turnoff just past Stockton Boulevard to the Cal Expo exit just Northeast of the river.

Located in the heart of the city, Raging Waters Sacramento features more than 25 water attractions, slides, pools and activities for children and adults of all ages. $30.

Go Hot air Ballooning - Sky Drifters Hot Air Ballooning, 7000 Stonehouse Rd. Rancho Murieta, Take Highway. 50 East from Sacramento aproximatley one mile to CA-16 E/Jackson Rd. Stay on 16E aprox. 20 miles to Stonehouse Rd.

Make a left and the gate for the launch site is 100ft from the intersection on the left. 8am - 5pm. Sky Drifters is Gold Countries Premier Hot Air Balloon Ride Company. Group rides, Private flights, Weddings & Proposals. $175.00+.

First Festival, 651 2nd st, West Sacramento. 12pm-10pm. First Festival was founded early 2015 with a mission to bring Sacramento together through music, food, art, vendors, craft beer, and community.

Featuring approx 40 bands along with comedy, art installations, a silent disco, local food and beer, vendors and more. First festival is a true showcase of all things local, and all the local flavor Sacramento has to offer. May. 20$.

California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). This is a major four-year public university in the Sacramento area with 28,000 students.

University of California, Davis (UCD). The nearest University of California campus to Sacramento. It is located 16 miles (23 kilometers) west from Sacramento with a satellite campus at the UC Davis Extension in midtown Sacramento.

Los Rios Community College District is the regions major two-year public college system enrolling 73,000 students with four campuses in the surrounding area.

Its campuses include Sacramento City College, American River College, Cosumnes River College, and Folsom Lake College, along with five satellite centers.

Drexel Univerisity is a private graduate university with its campus in downtown Sacramento.

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.

Shop the Grid, Midtown Sacramento, area surrounding 24th and J Streets. More than 50 boutique shops in Sacramento's original street grid cater to a variety of interests, including fashion, beauty, gifts, specialty items, home furnishings, antiques, sporting goods, health and wellness.

Shops are located throughout the Downtown and Midtown areas, the majority on J and K streets from 15th to Alhambra, with the hub at 20th and J Streets.

Arden Fair Mall, 1689 Arden Way, Arden Way & Alta Arden Expressway. M-Sat: 10AM-9PM, Sun: 10AM-7PM; restaurant hours vary. Anchored by Nordstrom, Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears, Arden Fair Mall is home to more than 165 national retail shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

The adjacent Market Square at Arden Fair is home to additional shopping and restaurants, including a movie theater and a Cheesecake Factory.

Westfield Galleria at Roseville, 1151 Galleria Blvd. Largest mall in the metropolitan area after recent expansion, located 20 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento.

Westfield Galleria at Roseville has several retailers including Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Juicy Couture, True Religion, Lacoste, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Apple.

Sunrise Mall, 6041 Sunrise Blvd.. Mall located in the Citrus Heights and Orangevale suburbs of Sacramento. Surrounded by numerous chain stores and restaurants.

Country Club Plaza Mall, 2310 Watt Ave. Country Club Plaza is located between I-80 and Hwy 50 at Watt Avenue and El Camino, the dominant retail intersection of metropolitan Sacramento with established tenants Macy’s, Ross, Sport Chalet, and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse.

Downtown Plaza, 547 L Street. It contains a Macy's department store, several chains like The Gap and numerous smaller shops.

This location is the planned location for the new Sacramento Kings Arena.

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.
Jack's Urban Eats, 1230 20th Street Midtown at 20th Street and Capitol Avenue. A modern-day diner with a retro feel, Jack's grills and roasts meats for sandwiches and salads and offers comfort food side dishes like mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and garlic fries. Other locations in the greater metropolitan area.

Dos Coyotes Border Cafe, 1735 Arden Way, inside Market Square at Arden Fair Mall. A very popular and excellent cafe serving up delicious south-western style cuisine, with inventive specials like garlic & spinach quesadillas and monstrous salads. Started in Davis, it now has several locations in the Sacramento area. $5-10.

Luigi's Pizza Parlor, 3800 Stockton Blvd, Oak Park. A long-time Sac institution, still churning out tasty pizzas. Pizzas $12-20.

Crepeville, 1730 L Street. Serves a unique menu of fresh, delicious, and healthy alternatives to fast-food. Other locations also exists in the Curtis Park neighborhood and outlaying Davis.

Pieces Pizza by the Slice, 1309 21st Street near the corner of 21st and Capitol. A tiny little place with extraordinary stuffed-crust pizza. Open until 2:30 am on weekends, Pieces is a very popular spot to load up on carbs after a late-night weekend pub crawl.

Several different combinations are offered, and the staff is also happy to build your pizza to order. The vegetarian pesto pizza, with sundried tomato and feta cheese, is especially good.

They also offer several excellent beers on tap, including the Arrogant Bastard. The decor isn't much, but the people are friendly and the food is delicious. $5-10.

Rick's Dessert Diner, 2322 K Street. Tue-Thu: 10AM–12AM; Fri & Sat: 10AM-1AM; Sun: 12PM-11PM; Mon: 10AM-11PM. Designed as a retro 1950's style diner, Rick's is a popular and award-winning Midtown destination for dessert lovers. Open late for post-dinner date sugar cravings.

Andy Nguyen's, 2007 Broadway. Quality vegan and vegetarian Southeast Asian dishes.

Cafe Marika, 2011 J Street. M-W Lunch, Th-Sat Lunch/Dinner. A great Hungarian restaurant in the heart of Midtown. The husband and wife offer great meals like cabbage rolls and schnitzel. Be aware they accept only cash. $10-$15 per person.

Centro Cocina Mexicana, 2730 J Street. M-F Lunch, Dinner Sat-Sun Dinner. A staple in the Sacramento dining scene for over 15 years, Centro Cocina Mexicana offers the finest regional Mexican cuisine in a festive and colorful atmosphere.

Kathmandu Kitchen, 1728 Broadway. Serves excellent Indian and Nepalese food - the Mismas Tarkari thali is delicious. Most dishes hover around $10-12.

Tapa the World, 2115 J St. 11:30AM-midnite daily. An old favorite serving up tasty Spanish tapas and delicious sangria. Live music on most nights, and open late.

Tower Cafe, 1518 Broadway. Su-Th 8AM-11PM, F-Sa 8AM-midnite. A great breakfast spot, busy at any time of day. There's sometimes a line, but absolutely worth it. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Breakfast served 8-11am, Monday through Friday. Brunch served 8am-2pm, Satuday and Sunday. Voted Best Breakfast and Best Sunday Brunch in the 2009 Sacramento magazine readers poll.

Voted Best Outdoor Dining and Best Breakfast in the 2008 Sacramento News & Review readers poll. Located in a historic and very interesting building, with lots of art from around the world. International, eclectic menu.

Zocalo, 1801 Capitol Ave. M-W 11AM-10PM, Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnite, Sa 9AM-midnite, Su 9AM-10PM. A newer Mexican restaurant affiliated with the legendary Ernesto's, the food is great and the place is usually busy.

Asian Pearl 2009, 6821 Stockton Blvd, Ste 165. S-Su 10am-10pm, M-F 11am-10pm. Fast becoming the place to go for dim sum bypassing stalwarts New Canton and Rice Bowl. They also serve authentic Hong Kong and new style Cantonese food.

Mulvaney's B&L, 1215 19th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811, Cross Streets 19th between L and Capital. Tu-F Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, Tu-Sat Dinner 5pm-10pm. Classy local restaurant, serving fresh, seasonal American cuisine. Menu changes nightly based on what is in season. $15-30.

Courtyard D'Oro, 1107 Front St.

Biba Ristorante Italiano, 2801 Capitol Avenue. Started by Biba Caggiano, the famous chef, author, and television host. It has been selected as the best restaurant in Sacramento on multiple occasions. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Morton's Steakhouse, 621 Capitol Mall at Corner of Capitol & 7th. High-scale restaurant that is perfect for taking that special someone or take the whole family to celebrate any occasion.

They pride themselves on cooking the most tender steak, but don't count out their seafood portion of the menu as this place has delicious food with excellent dessert.

Ella Dining Room & Bar, 1131 K St. Ella serves its fabulous food, family-style and encourages diners to share. Their great bar serves fantastic concoctions like home made gin and tonics and limeade, making for a perfect place for friends and family alike. The fabulous interior was created by award winning design firm, UXUS.

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 or K 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.

Other popular bars in this area include DeVere's, an Irish pub, Goldfield Trading Post, a country bar which typically has country performers or open mic nights, and Streets of London, a British-styled pub.

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.

On K Street in downtown, you'll find Marilyn's, a really cool underground bar in the heart of downtown which showcases local live music talent.

There are also popular bars / clubs, including Dive Bar, KBar, and District 30. In this same area 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.

R Street corridor, between 10th Street and 15th Street, has several nightlife options as well. Shady Lady Saloon is a popular cocktail bar with an unique saloon-type vibe. R15 is a trendy bar/restaurant, 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 x-box for free with a couple of friends.

In between Shady Lady and R15 is Ace of Spades, a popular music venue. Near the other end of the corridor is Fox and Goose, a British pub, and Shoki Ramen House, a popular stop for a late night meal.

Other popular bars on J and K Street in Midtown, stretching from 20th Street to 28th Street, include Lowbrau, a German themed restaurant/bar, The Golden Bear, the Biergarten, a German outdoor beer garden, Red Rabbit, Blue Cue, and Barwest.

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.

The Depot, corner of K and 20th downtown. Gay-friendly video bar, two coin-op pool tables, covered smoking area.

Faces, Corner of K and 20th. Faces is a popular gay-friendly club. Pricey cover, but the good strong drinks can quickly make up the difference.

Recently renovated, Faces has now doubled in size with an upstairs and a pool in the back. Plays R&B on video floor and House on other dance floor.

The Merc, 20th & L street. This is a gay-friendly bar to go to get your night started - cheap, big, strong drinks.

Club 21, On 21st, between K and L streets. A gay-friendly establishment. It is 18+ Wednesday nights, which happens to be the only gay male night. Same owner as Faces, however generally plays upbeat, dance tunes that you can sing too.

Beware of the trolls fishing for young men on Wednesdays. Other nights are predominantly lesbian nights.

Sac Badlands, corner of K and 20th downtown. This a gay-friendly club and is an offshoot of Badlands in San Francisco. It has three stories and an outdoor patio.

Benny's (Q Street Bar), 21st and Q across from the Sacramento Bee. Casual and often-crowded dive not far from midtown.

Large back area provides extra room. On busy nights, a bartender will operate in back as well. Great place for drinks, and the Mexican food next door is a popular after-the-bar stop off.

Streets of London, 18th and J. Trendy upscale dive right in the heart of Sac's midtown nightlife. Not really big enough to compensate for its popularity anymore.

Drinks are average range. Quieter with a more laid-back vibe on weeknights. It has a night outdoor area too, and a popular trivia night every week.

Pine Cove, 29th and E. Classic dive, possibly the best in Sacramento. Has gotten massively popular on weekends, but manages not to become unpleasant or lose its divey feel.

Decently priced. Darts and pitchers make for a laid-back time. Avoid the popcorn machine; rumors abound about its level of sanitation. Karaoke two nights a week draws quite a crowd.

Blue Cue, 27th and J. Terrific bar with an upscale sports-bar feel mismatched with its unbeatable prices on food and drinks; nightly specials keep savvy locals coming back. Billiard tables rented hourly.

Most major sporting events will be played, the staff is laid-back enough that they will change the channel upon request. The food, made in the kitchen of the delicious downstairs restaurant, is leagues away from typical bar food.

Drink prices are average, but the specials can and will yield incredible deals.

Old Tavern, near 20th and O. Cheapie dive/neighborhood bar with a cool atmosphere. A great stopoff before or after heading to nearby Town House or Benny's. At $1.75 for a pint of beer and $3 for a shot of whiskey, these may be the cheapest drinks in town.

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

Greens Hotel, 1700 Del Paso Blvd. The Greens Hotel in north Sacramento, California offers eco-conscious and environmentally-friendly green products and housekeeping practices, and event meeting space, near local tourist attractions.

Sacramento Hostel (HI), 925 H St at 10th St. Dormitory beds start at $28 for adults, $10 for children under 18. Private rooms start at $57.

Courtyard Sacramento Airport Natomas, 2101 River Plaza Drive, Sacramento, California 95833. The Courtyard Sacramento Airport Natomas hotel is situated off I-5 just 10 minutes from Sacramento International Airport and is also near PowerBalance Pavilion and the Sacramento Convention Center.

Courtyard Sacramento Midtown, 4422 Y St, Sacramento, CA 95817. Offers well-appointed guest rooms and suites, all of which are newly renovated.

Holiday Inn Express, 728 Sixteenth Street. checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 12 pm. $125 - $175.

Homewood Suites by Hilton, 3001 Advantage Way. Checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. An all-suite hotel with fully-equipped kitchens. Complimentary hot breakfast daily, dinner with beer and wine Monday-Thursday, and high-speed Internet.

Residence Inn Sacramento Cal Expo, 1530 Howe Avenue, Sacramento, California 95825. The Residence Inn Cal Expo Hotel is located blocks from the California Exposition State Fairgrounds, beautiful.

23-mile American River Parkway with its fishing, boating and picnicking, shopping at Arden Fair Mall, events at the Convention Center and the Sacramento Airport and Arco Arena are also just 20 minutes away.

TownePlace Suites or Sacramento Suites, 1784 Tribute Rd.

Vagabond Inn Executive Sacramento (Old Town Sacramento Vagabond Inn), 909 Third St, Sacramento, CA 95814. checkin: 3:00pm; checkout: 12:00pm.

Vagabond Inn Sacramento (Old Town) offers business and pet friendly rooms, complimentary hot buffet breakfast, exercise facility, heated swimming pool, shuttle service to airport, business center, free WiFi, and other services.

Citizen Hotel, 926 J St, J & 10th St.

Sheraton Grand, 1230 J St, J & 13th St.

Le Rivage Hotel, 4350 Riverside Blvd.

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.

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.

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:

Truckee and Donner Pass, about 100 miles east of Sacramento on I-80. Be prepared in wintertime, as the elevation is over 7,000 ft.

Highway conditions may require tire chains due to snow. This also includes Reno/Tahoe (below), which are further east via I-80.

Lake Tahoe, a gorgeous lake on the Nevada border. It has the highest concentration of ski resorts in the United States, and is popular in the summer time for hiking, biking, and water activities on the lake.

There are also gambling casinos on the Nevada side of the lake.

Reno, a little bit o' gambling just over the border in Nevada. It is around a 2 hour drive.

Gold Country, The gold country encompasses several small towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills, including hub towns such as Auburn, Placerville, and Sutter Creek.

Coloma is where the gold rush began. Gold Country is also known for white water rafting in the summer, and there is a growing wine region in Amador and El Dorado counties.

San Francisco and surrounding sites including Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, Marin County, which includes Muir Woods and Sausalito, and the Pacific Ocean are all between a range of a 1 and a half to 2 hour drive, depending on traffic.

Napa Valley, gorgeous landscape and the most famous wine-tasting in the United States. The city of Napa is about an hour drive from Sacramento, while the town of Sonoma is about an extra 45 minutes further.

Apple Hill is an apple growing region just past Placerville, under an hour drive from Sacramento. It is a popular destination in the Fall and early Winter, with a myriad of local orchards selling different apple products.

There are also several wineries in Apple Hill.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is the Six Flags for both the Sacramento and San Francisco area, located between the two regions in Vallejo. It is around a 45 minute drive from Sacramento.

Jelly Belly Factory offers tours of the factory. It is located in Fairfield, about 45 minutes outside of Sacramento.

Tourism Observer
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