Sacramento is the capital of the western U.S. state of California. It is located at the junction of two rivers, the Sacramento River and the American River, and was named after the former. Based on the April 2020 census, the city’s population is around 515,000 people, ranking 6th as the most populous city in California.
Sacramento is known for its rich agriculture and vibrant history. It’s a top destination for food lovers due to the delicious food and local produce offered only by the certified farmers’ markets in the area. Besides that, Sacramento is famous for sports, museums, and the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.
The Country’s Farm-to-Fork Capital
It’s not just a way of life, but also their history which makes Sacramento one of the biggest sources of local produce enjoyed all over the nation. Thanks to the Sacramento Valley’s geographical advantage — access to water, sun, and productive soils — the city’s agriculture continues to thrive, with wine grapes as their leading commodity. Other crops like tomatoes, cereal grains, hay, cotton, and tree fruits dominate the area.
A Place That Paved the Way for an East-West Connection
Between 1863 and 1869, the Central Pacific First Transcontinental Railroad was built from Sacramento to Promontory Summit. It is a segment of the western half of the first transcontinental railroad, which eventually linked to the subsequent routes in the east, unifying the United States. Its construction was one of the greatest technological feats of the country in the 19th century. It opened up certain areas of the region for settlement and led to breakthroughs in economic production, as well as the creation of national parks.
The Big Tomato
Due to its location at the intersection of major transportation routes, and its proximity to fertile lands, Sacramento plays an important role in the canning industry. The city canned every imaginable farm product, but they are most famous for canning their high-quality tomatoes; hence, the nicknames “The Big Tomato” and “Sacra-tomato.”
The Capitol Building of California
California has 280 parks all over the state. One notable structure is the Capitol Building found in Sacramento. It is an elegant example of Roman architecture, with a portico leading to a central dome, similar to the design found in the capitol in Washington, D.C. It’s not only the outside that attracts tourists but the interior that contains pieces of history. A great example is the Senate and the House of Representatives chambers, and other restored historical offices that people look forward to viewing.
The City of Trees
While the city experiences very hot and sunny summers, people can easily endure high temperatures, thanks to Sacramento’s dense canopies. Within its area of less than 100 square miles, its tree canopy coverage reaches over 23 percent. It has recently surpassed the cities of Los Angeles, New York, and Paris in terms of percentage and has earned its status as the “City of Trees.” This factor further contributes to the integrity of their urban landscape, and by taking care of its green cover, Sacramento can counter the effects of climate change.
The Popular Film Lady Bird
Sacramento is known for Saoirse Ronan’s movie, Lady Bird. The actress was 22 when she portrayed the role of Christine — a strong-willed teenager who grew up in Sacramento — in the award-winning film. The drama features famous landmarks in the city, including the Tower Bridge, Thrift Town, and the Fab Forties.
The Sacramento Kings
Sacramento does not only love sports, but they take it very seriously too. If you are an NBA fan, you’d be familiar with the Sacramento Kings, or “The Kings” for short. They are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues that is located in the city. They had their best seasons during the early 2000s. However, they still take pride in competing in the NBA and representing Sacramento. A fun fact is that in 2013, their fans won a Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd roar at a stadium.
The Gold Rush of 1849
The California Gold Rush all began when gold nuggets were discovered in the Sacramento Valley in 1848. It is a significant event that shaped American history. The discovery led gold miners to rush to the site and its surrounding area, which eventually resulted in a drastic increase in California’s non-native population — from less than 1,000 to 100,000 in just one year!
Upon the discovery of gold in Sacramento, people (mostly men) all over the United States mortgaged their properties, took out loans, and some even spent their life savings to begin their journey to California. It meant leaving their families behind for their pursuit of wealth. As a result, women took over the responsibilities of running farms and businesses, all while taking care of their children alone.
A Fairytale Town
Not sure where to bring your kids on holiday? Imagine, play, and learn at Fairytale Town, Sacramento’s 3.5-acre children’s storybook park filled with nursery rhymes and fairytales. Here, you’ll find performing art stages, friendly farm animals, lovely gardens, and lush grounds where children and families can channel their creativity and imagination. You will also get to see King Arthur’s Castle, a Pirate Ship, or even play hide-and-seek at Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest.
A National Historic Landmark
Take a walk at Old Sacramento State Historic Park. It was where the entire area of the 1850s business district once stood, which became a National Historic Landmark in 1965. Incidentally, the buildings were constructed at the outset of the Gold Rush. This includes the Eagle Theater, which offers video programs and lessons on the history of Old Sacramento to middle school students. The same building was also the first-ever theater to be built in the state of California.
The Most Hipster City
Sacramento has always been known for its developing contemporary culture. It’s a harbor of hipster culture due to its independent coffee shops, music stores — where you can even find old cassettes — microbreweries, and thrift shops. To add to that, their thriving arts scene is attracting more and more attention. It was dubbed the most hipster city in California a few years back. If you’re thinking of a “hipster” thing to do, try visiting the Midtown Arts District. It’s a cultural hub of the city where you’ll see galleries, boutiques, and shady streets with a Victorian and mid-century modern flair.
A Place That Rarely Sees Snow
It is extremely rare for Sacramento to experience snow. The last time it did was way back in 1976, with a decent accumulation of 2 inches of snow. Likewise, it is uncommon for Sacramento to reach freezing temperatures. The upside is that residents and tourists can enjoy plenty of time hiking, biking, kayaking, and other activities best enjoyed on warm afternoons.
The Hometown of Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain, winner of the Oscar for best actress at the 94th Academy Awards, was born and raised in Sacramento. She enrolled at Sacramento City College, where she realized her passion for acting after joining the drama program. According to her theater arts professor, she was a very motivated student who would surely succeed in the business. Indeed, after being nominated three times for an Oscar, she finally nabbed her first award for the film titled, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
Home to One of the Largest Almond Processors in the World
The Blue Diamond Growers — California’s agricultural cooperative and marketing organization that specializes in almonds — was founded in 1910 and headquartered in Sacramento. It produces over 80 percent of the world’s almonds. In fact, it is California’s number one agricultural export. The US ranks first in the top almond-producing countries, with Spain in the 2nd place and Iran in the 3rd place.
A Product of Spanish Exploration
The Sacramento River and Sacramento Valley were both discovered and named by the Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga in 1808. It led to the city simply being called Sacramento. A Spanish writer who was part of the expedition described their experiences uniquely, stating that the air was like champagne and that they “drank deep of it” as well as of the beauty surrounding them. Unbeknownst to many, Moraga initially assigned the name Jesús María to the river which is now known as the Sacramento River.
A Place with the Best Ice Cream and Froyo
It’s just natural for a hot and sunny city to have some of the best ice cream and froyo. These desserts are very important to locals, especially in the summertime. Tourists come to enjoy the local favorites as well, including Leatherby’s Family Creamery, Yogurtagogo, and Gunther’s Ice Cream.
Holder of the Oldest Public Art Museum
The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento is the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River. It showcases European master drawings and international ceramics and holds permanent collections of art, ceramics, and photography from all over the globe. You will find a diverse exhibit of collections not just from Europe, but also from Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The unique thing about the museum is that it dedicated its entire first floor as an education center that holds classrooms and offers space for student activities.