Introduction to Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital of the State of California and is the fifth largest city in the state. According to U.S. Census data, as of 2004 the Sacramento metropolitan area was the 26th largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the United States with a population of slightly over 2 million people.
Sacramento is located in north/central California, approximately an hour and a half north east of Oakland and San Francisco.
Sacramento is ranked as the 23rd "Most Fun U.S City" in a survey conducted in 2003 by Cranium Inc. Factors taken into account in the ranking include: the number of sports teams, restaurants, dance performances, toy stores, the amount of a city's budget that is spent on recreation, and other factors. Sacramento was also a finalist in the National Civic Leagues prestigious "All-America City Award".
Sacramento has a Mediterranean climate characterized by mild winters and dry summers. Snow does occur in Sacramento in the winter, but it is a rare occurrence, with the record snowfall being only 3.5 inches over 100 years ago.
Colleges and universities in Sacramento include California State University, Sacramento and Sacramento City College. Some of the programs offered may include teacher assistant training, MBAs, and Engineering & Computer Science degrees.
Native Americans inhabited the Sacramento area for thousands of years before the first European settlers arrived. A Spanish explorer discovered and named the Sacramento Valley and the Sacramento River around 1806. John Sutter and other settlers established a trading colony and Sutter's Fort in 1839. Sacramento's population boomed with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, approximately 50 miles northeast of Fort Sutter. Sacramento adopted a city charter in 1849, which was accepted by the California State Legislature in 1850, making Sacramento the oldest incorporated city in California. Some key dates in Sacramento's history include:
- In 1849, the first river steamboat in California began service between Sacramento and San Francisco.
- In 1852, fire destroyed more than 85% of Sacramento.
- In 1854, Sacramento became the capital of California.
- In 1861, construction began on the California State Capitol.
- In 1863, construction began in Sacramento on the First Transcontinental Railroad.
Sacramento Arts and Culture
Sacramento is a center of arts and culture. Sacramento offers museums, the performing arts, and much more. Some of Sacramento's more notable museums include:
- The California Military Museum
- The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts
- The California State Capitol Museum
- The California State Indian Museum
- The California State Mining and Mineral Museum
- The California State Railroad Museum
- The Crocker Art Museum
- The Discovery Museum History Center
- The Wells Fargo History Museum
For patrons of the performing arts, Sacramento has a lot to offer. Some of the more notable attractions include:
- The Camellia Symphony Orchestra
- The Community Center Theatre
- The Sacramento Ballet
- The Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra
- The Sacramento Community Center Theatre
- The Sacramento Light Opera Association
- The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra
- The Sacramento Theatre Company
- The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society
Sacramento Sports and Leisure
Sacramento does not have as many professional sports teams as other cities, but it still has some nice offerings to keep sports fans happy, including the following major sports teams:
- Baseball - The Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Sacramento River Cats. The River Cats are a Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.
- Basketball - the National Basketball Association (NBA) Sacramento Kings, and the 2005 WNBA Champion Sacramento Monarchs.
Sacramento is also only an hour and a half away form both Oakland and San Francisco, and their many professional sports teams.
Sacramento is a city that is bounded by two rivers, the American and the Sacramento. There are 1000 miles of waterways around Sacramento, as well as nearby Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma. As one would expect, water sports are at the top of the list for outdoor activities, including boating, salmon and steelhead fishing, river rafting, sailing, windsurfing, and more. Sacramento also has 540 acres of municipal golf courses and more than 120 city parks encompassing over 2,000 acres. Further east, the Lake Tahoe area is home to a number of world famous ski areas.
Sacramento also plays host to numerous outdoor festivals and fairs including the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the California State Fair, the CA International Marathon, Summerfest, and more. There are also many wineries in the area surrounding Sacramento that are open to the public.
Sacramento "Must See" Attractions
Sacramento has attractions too numerous to do justice in a simple list. Some of Sacramento's more unique attractions include:
- The California State Capitol Museum
- The California State Fair
- The California Caverns in nearby Angels Camp
- All of the attractions of the surrounding "Gold Country" (along Highway 49 and surrounding areas)
- Sutter's Fort
- Wineries in the area surrounding Sacramento
Sacramento at Night
The central downtown area of Sacramento contains most of its cultural attractions. Old Sacramento, a 28-acre State Historic Park on the river, in downtown Sacramento offers dining, entertainment, and interesting shops. Excellent sources of information about restaurants, nightclubs, and events include the "Entertainment" Section of the Sacramento Bee, the weekly Sacramento News & Review (SN&R), and Sacramento Magazine.