Moving to Sacramento
Welcome to Sacramento, or ‘The City of Trees’, or ‘The Big Tomato’, even ‘The Camella Capital of the World’. To most locals though it’s simply known as Sac or Sactown, the capital of California. Lying in the Central Valley and close to Sierra Nevada, move to Sacramento and you will be moving to the capital city of California and the seat of government of Sacramento County.
According to locals, not only is Sactown diverse, it is also culturally integrated, making it a vibrant city to relocate to. The biggest draw for many will be the weather. Sacramento has a Mediterranean climate, characterised by mild winters and hot, dry summers. Monthly temperature averages range from 8 °C in December to 24.2°C in July.
July in Sacramento is the sunniest place in the world, averaging 14 hours and 12 minutes of sunshine per day, which has led to a booming ice cream culture. You will have to live there a while to decide whether you prefer a Swiss Orange Chip from Gunther’s or a Boysenberry Sherbet from Vic’s.
If it’s high culture you are into, then you won’t be disappointed. The Sacramento Ballet was founded in 1954 and hosts a resident company of artists. Other renowned institutions include the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, the Sacramento Theatre and the California Musical Theatre. The city hosts the Summer Shakespeare Festival and the Sacramento Jazz Festival. The California State Fair is also held in Sacramento each year at the end of the summer.
Sacramento began as a city rich from gold and railroad money but nowadays government and transportation are the largest sectors of employment. There are also many hospitals and medical centres in and around Sacramento, as well as several universities and colleges if you have a background in education.
Sacramento has suffered from the wider financial crisis in California and the unemployment rate is currently at 6%, lower than the state average but slightly higher than the US average of 5.5%.
Moving to Sacramento County means that you can also take advantage of the jobs available in San Francisco or just down the 80 Freeway to UC Davis. Top private companies in Sacramento include Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, The Maita Organisation, Western Health Advantage and River City Petroleum.
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Moving to Sacramento is an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the seasons of northern California on a lower budget than one might need to live in San Francisco an hour away.
Your money goes further if you move to Sacrament, especially when it comes to food. Sure, some items are a bit more expensive than average prices in LA, like milk or bread, but others are significantly cheaper such as apples, rice, and imported beer.
While many people choose to have a car when they move to California, you won’t be left stranded in Sacramento. Here there are three light rail lines and several bus routes that you can take for $6.00 a day, though nothing as complex when compared to the likes of New York or London.
Sacramento County is fairly spread out, meaning that the high rises of San Francisco are not as common, and the rental prices are cheaper than in Los Angeles. As with all cities, the closer to the city centre one gets, the more expensive the properties become.
The median sales price for three bedroom homes in Sacramento in an area like Land Park is around $500,000, while the average monthly rental price for the same is around $1,500. The median rental price for the Midtown neighbourhood in Sacramento is $2,300.
The city is known for being environmentally friendly due to the energy distribution system (SMUD) and there are plans to raise investment in green projects to $1 billion by the end of the decade.
The city of Sacramento covers an area of 100.1 square miles and is divided into four areas: Central/Eastern, Southwestern, Southeastern, and North of the American River. Popular areas include Land Park, home of Sac Zoo and Downtown, which has undergone a recent facelift to its commercial district.
- Family Friendly: Land Park - Land Park is home to beautiful residential streets, the Sacramento Zoo and also one of the top ranked public elementary schools.
- Hip and Trendy: Midtown - If you’re looking for nightlife, head along to Midtown along with all the other movers and shakers.
- Upmarket: The Fabulous Forties - This section of East Sacramento has long been considered one of the city’s most quintessential and fashionable neighbourhoods.
- Up and Coming: Oak Park - Residents of once edgy Oak Park are looking to shake off the stigma of poverty and crime whilst retaining a sense of community.
Schools and education
Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) is the public school system in Sacramento. With 47,900 students in 81 schools, it is the eleventh largest school district in California. Sacramento is rated 5 out of 5 by Great Schools based on its public schools’ test results. Arnold Adreani Elementary School and Phoebe A. Hearst Elementary School both scored 10 out of 10.
The largest university in the city is the California State University, Sacramento, or as it is more commonly known, Sacramento State or Sac State. The university has a total undergraduate enrollment of 26,012.
Ranking against the world
Moving to Sacramento means moving to one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America, and has been in the top 20 for many different lists over the years. On top of being open to immigrants, Sactown is open to saving the environment and is a top notch eco friendly city.
Source: Flickr | Roshan Vyas
Sacramento is a pretty smart city, owing to some of its population going to universities and colleges in and near to the city, including the largest California State University, CSU Sacramento.
In 2013 the Trust for Public Land reported that Sacramento was tied with San Francisco and Boston for having the 3rd best park system among the 50 most populous US cities.
A day in the life
The most important thing to do in Sacramento is head outside to enjoy all that sunshine and have a picnic breakfast in one of the city’s beautiful parks.
McKinley Park, in downtown is a city favourite. With swimming, tennis courts and a gorgeous rose garden. Keep it simple and pick up some pastries from nearby Queen of Tarts bakery and ease gently into the day.
Head out to the Old Towns and enjoy the beautiful Sacramento River. Even if you’ve done all the touristy bits before and are now an expert in the Gold Rush, there are lots of kitschy shops and lovely streets to explore. If you are feeling lively then hire a kayak and take to the river.
For lunch you should enjoy something fresh and local. In 2012 Sacramento coined itself as America’s Farm to Fork Capital, due to the high number of restaurants sourcing their food locally from region’s farms. 1022 is a great spot for farm-to-table food in Old Sacramento. They are known for simple, organic and delicious dishes with served in a friendly and down-to-earth manner.
On a summer’s day or evening, one of the best ways to spend your time in Sacramento is at a free outdoor concert. There’s loads to choose for and some great local talent- Pops in the Park in East Sacramento, Friday Night Concerts in the Park in downtown Sacramento, Live on the Boulevard in El Dorado Hills or the summer concert series taking place in both Roseville and Folsom.
Finish off the perfect Sacramento day with a romantic meal along the waterfront. Pearl on the River has some of the most scenic views, and the food is really good too.