Adventure Excursions

10 Things I love about Sacramento, CA

This week, the Blog & Review Roadshow (ok, it’s a working title) is in Sacramento, CA.

10 Things I love about Sacramento, CA

And while you may think that Sacramento is a curious choice for a trip, I’m here to tell you otherwise. In fact, the capital of the great country…errrr state of California is no longer a “second city,” a “cow town,” or “Sacram-tomato” as it’s been derided in past decades.

Nope, the 916 has given notice that it’s on the map, with a redeveloped downtown spurring a massive boom in restaurants, bars, hotels, high-end condos and housing, arts & culture, professional sports (the Sacramento Kings play at the NBA’s newest arena right downtown), all serving as a big magnet for businesses who want to benefit from being a stone’s throw from the legislative and governance center of the world’s 7th largest economy.

I also happened to live in Sactown from 2003 to 2011, and have nothing but mad love for the city and its people. I still come back once a year to visit, check in on a few friends and clients, and eat more Mexican food than any human being should (more on that later).

If you’re not sold yet, then just give Sacramento a visit (with our guidance of course), and you’ll see why it’s one of the most livable, diverse, and dynamic cities anywhere in the world (with a modest although growing pricetag).

One of the things I love, love, and love some more about Sacramento is that it’s one of the most diverse cities in the country – or the world. Sure, the city’s population includes just about every ethnicity, religion, race, color, and creed you could imagine, and it’s a very international city that’s popular with immigrants and strong cultural pockets. BUT, unlike other cities, everyone lives, works, mixes and mingles together (for the most part) in Sacramento, and there is far less segregation, both geographically and ideologically. California love!

The food is amazing in Sacramento, from plenty of mom-and-pop eateries that have been open for fifty years to just-opened modern and funky chic food spots. Some of my favorites include the Mexican food in Sactown (and it seems like the food gets better the worse neighborhood you’re in!), sushi, and all of the food trucks that visit the many festivals and fairs.

Talk about amazing; Sacramento has incredible nature to see and experience so close by. Not only are there endless parks, but a 50-mile jogging and biking trail that runs from Davis all the way to Folsom, and much much more. Lakes, rivers, orchards, wineries, skiing, hiking, in the foothills that slope up to Lake Tahoe, boating, horseback riding, or just have an outdoor picnic – Sacramento is your place.

One of the best aspects of Sacramento is its location. Sure, it’s not a seaside city like Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco (which also keeps costs down!), but it sits just 100 miles or so inland from San Francisco, which you can cover in an hour and a half on a good day without much traffic. They also have plenty of trains and buses to the Bay Area, or stopping specifically for Giants, A’s, Raiders, and 49ers games, etc. Sacramento is about the same distance from Lake Tahoe (although it may take you 2 ½ hours or so), which is seriously one of the most beautiful and even magical places on earth. In one day, you can literally hit a beach, see snow in the mountains, Yosemite State Park, and go wine tasting in Napa Valley – all in Sacramento’s backyard.

Pro Sports:
Yes, the Bay Area is a sports mecca with the Warriors, Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders (for now), and San Jose Sharks, but Sacramento is no slouch when it comes to professional sports. Not only are all of those games and stadiums accessible from Sacramento with a short trip, but Sactown has their own Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Even though the Kings have fallen on a few hard years (ok, a decade), it wasn’t so long ago – like the early 2000s – when Kings fans were considered the best in the league and the team boasted a fun and fast-paced squad. Now, the team’s new Golden One Arena is the jewel of NBA stadiums, located right in the center of the exploding downtown scene. Likewise, Sacramento has a professional soccer team (the FC Republic) which is surprisingly fun and action-packed, home to professional tennis tournaments, and is a hotbed of UFC and MMA fighters with Uriah Faber, TJ Dillashaw, and many more.

Sacramento is so livable and manageable also because it’s not expensive at all (compared to other CA cities). The price for housing is exponentially less than the Bay Area (the average house is about $380,000 in Sacramento and rent’s run around $1,500 per month), and the cost for parking, food, events, and just about everything else are far more reasonable (although rising).

Relaxed city:
Sacramento has a laid back, chill and casual vibe that really endeared me when I lived there. Far from the wine-and-cheese, booghie (no one knows how to spell that word!), and oft-pretentious San Francisco or LA, Sactown takes pride in how relaxed it is. Enjoy a culture of biking around town, neighborhood barbecues, street parties, dive bars, breweries, dog parks, casual NorCal attire, and saying hi to others you encounter.

Art & entertainment:
Despite its laid-back demeanor, Sacramento has plenty of arts and culture, including museums, art galleries, street art, festivals, fairs, TED talks, concerts and events, and centers of thought, medical, and scientific research like the MIND Institute in nearby Davis.

California may not be known for its history, but Sacramento really is the epicenter of any conversation of the state’s origins, as it was a riverside town and trading post when gold was discovered in the nearby foothills in the 1840s and 50s, growing virtually night into the first big community in the area. Go West, young man!

Easy in and out:
I love how easy it is to get to, from, and around Sacramento. The city has its own international airport (SMF) that is literally only ten minutes from downtown, and just big enough to offer plenty of non-stop flights to LA, Las Vegas, Mexico, and even New York City and Boston (among many others). Sactown also has a light rail system throughout, a train or buses to the Bay Area, and it’s also one of the most bikeable or walkable cities in the entire U.S.

There are many other reasons why I love Sacramento, but those are just ten off the top of my head – go find out for yourself!

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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