A unique feature of the city is the manner in which the neighborhoods are grouped. Generally speaking, most of the neighborhoods are placed into four different areas based on geographic location. These areas are Area 1, located in the central/eastern section; Area 2, located in the southwestern section; Area 3, in the southeastern part; and Area 4, the neighborhoods north of the American River. And while each of the neighborhoods in these areas has its own distinct personality and points of interest, we will introduce you to a few located in Area 1, as this is where you would be most likely to explore as a visitor to the city (versus the more residential neighborhoods).
So, let's start with an overview of the heart of Sacramento- its downtown, and work our way through a few of the most popular zones.
This is the city's business district and is the place to eat, shop, and play. It is located in the area north of Broadway, south of the American River, west of 16th St., and east of the Sacramento River. And while one may be new to the area, it is easy for visitors to find their way around, as the city uses a numbered and lettered grid system. Streets named for letters run east/west, while numbered streets run north/south (with a few exceptions thrown in for good measure!) Some of the most popular sights in this area include the California State Capitol Building, Sacramento City Hall, the Sacramento Convention Center Complex, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
Starting at 16th St. and moving east, you'll find the area known as Midtown. Midtown extends south to R St., north to J St. at 24th St., where it then extends to E St., while its eastern border is 30th St. And while Midtown is a largely residential area with picturesque tree-lined streets and stately Victorian homes, it is also the city's cultural center. Famous for its great sense of community, it also features an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and art galleries which proudly feature the works of local artists. If you're in town the second Saturday of the month, make sure to take advantage of the neighborhood art walk. Enjoy the exhibits, artists, live music, street fair, and delicious food and wine. If you love the performing arts, head to B Street Theater, Comedy Spot, Capitol Stage, or the Sacramento Ballet, just to name a few.
This historic park is nestled between the Sacramento River to the west and the downtown neighborhood to the east. It consists of several historic buildings dating to the Gold Rush days, including the B.F. Hastings Building, which once housed the California Supreme Court. Also of note is that the area once served as the westernmost points for the Pony Express, the first transcontinental railroad, and the transcontinental telegraph. The entire original 1850's business district has been named a National Historic Landmark. Apart from the fascinating up-close-and-personal look at history here, there are plenty of shops, boutiques, and restaurants to enjoy. This neighborhood should be on your must-see list while in the city.
This neighborhood is located directly south of the Downtown area. It is bordered by R St. to the north, the W-X Freeway to the south, 12th St. to the east, and I-5 to the west. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is its park (also named Southside Park), which both adults and children enjoy. Shady areas abound, thanks to the more than 300 trees. There are courts for basketball and tennis, walkways with fitness stations for exercising, and piers for fishing. All of this surrounds a peaceful central lake. The park provides habitat for a large variety of wildlife including several species of ducks, geese, turtles, fish, and more. Every Sunday the park hosts the year-round Sunday Farmers Market, and several annual celebrations are held here.
Located directly east of Midtown, this neighborhood is bordered by Capital City Freeway to the west, Elvas Ave. to the north and east, and US Route 50 and S St. to the South. Often referred to as East Sac, it is most well-known as the home of McKinley Park, a 32-acre park complete with library, baseball fields, tennis courts, a duck pond, playground, swimming pool, and walking trails. Don't miss the gorgeous McKinley Rose Garden, a historic 1,200 bush rose garden which often provides the backdrop for weddings and other special events.