Situated at the confluence of the Sacramento River and American River, Sacramento is a city of contrast, defying expectations that the capital of a state must be a bustling metropolis studded with sleek steel and glass towers. There are buildings fitting that description clustered downtown, but the heart of California's capital city has tree-shaded streets lined with elegant Victorian homes. Unlike most major metropolitan areas that grew from a civic center, Sacramento started from several small communities that grew together.
Today, within the sprawling metropolis, the influence of these original settlements can be seen throughout the city. Just a few minutes southeast of Sacramento International Airport along Interstate 5, Sacramento visitors are rewarded with sweeping views of the river meandering down to the Delta. Sacramento's tiny settlement grew explosively with the discovery of gold. Disappointed gold-seekers returned from the gold fields and founded the surrounding towns. Today, the Sacramento region extends west from Davis and Woodland to the lovingly preserved frontier town of Auburn, northeast along Interstate 80, and to vacation spots in the Sacramento River Delta. Sacramento has grown from a tent city to the capital of California and has never forgotten its colorful Gold Rush roots.
Since its humble beginnings as a tent city, Sacramento's fate has been intertwined with its namesake, the Sacramento River. Today, Old Sacramento is a 12-block restored neighborhood between the river and Interstate 5 and is a state historic district with interesting old stone and brick buildings. There is a world-class comedy club, a live theatre, elegant restaurants with sweeping views of the river, candy stores, costume shops, pubs and bookstores to be found along the canopied plank sidewalks. The focal point of downtown is the Downtown Plaza , reached from Old Sacramento through a pedestrian tunnel covered with colorful murals. This open-air mall (cooled with suspended “misters” during the summer) features a megaplex movie theater, department stores, a bookstore, specialty clothing stores and much more. Plaza shoppers are entertained by strolling musicians, jugglers, acrobats and mimes.
Beyond the plaza is the K Street Mall , which extends several blocks to the east and is home to the Crest Theatre . This Art Deco venue was a vaudeville theater that has been restored and is now a repertory cinema featuring art and foreign titles. Further down K Street is the Esquire IMAX Theatre with its six-story tall screen, several vintage record stores, novelty shops, a blues club and several splashy psychedelic murals painted on the dignified walls.
The trees grab the attention of the first-time visitor to the Midtown district. Throughout the city, there are more than 250,000 varieties of fruit, flowering and palm trees. Many of the trees are huge elms and oaks planted by homesick settlers. In the summers, when temperatures average in the high 90s, the cool shade of the trees is welcome. Along the shaded streets are several cutting-edge off-Broadway theaters, a diversity of art galleries, fine and down-home dining establishments, as well as nightspots catering to every taste.
Across the American River, this old neighborhood centered on Del Paso Boulevard has more than a dozen galleries and, as a result, is a popular area during Second Saturday , an event that happens on the second Saturday of each month and showcases free entrance (and often free food and drinks) into many art galleries around Sacramento. Today, spiffed up and known as Uptown, the area has also attracted interesting restaurants and cafes, and other businesses busily renovating the old neighborhood. To the east is Arden Fair Mall , with theaters, restaurants and a multitude of shopping opportunities.
East of downtown Sacramento, the town of Folsom traces its history directly to the Gold Rush. Along a four-block stretch of Sutter Street, now designated a historic district, are restaurants, coffeehouses and boutiques. Also, here, you will find the Folsom Zoo , affectionately nicknamed the "Misfit Zoo," which provides a haven for injured animals such as bears, bobcats, wolves, dogs and domestic cats.
Unfortunately, the Sacramento River that did so much to put the city on the map also had the alarming habit of flooding on a regular basis. The early town was practically erased several times before levees and the Yolo Bypass were built. The Causeway, a section of Interstate 80 on stilts, crosses the Yolo Bypass and connects downtown Sacramento with Davis. The University of California, Davis, attracts thousands of students and faculty with a taste for non-mainstream entertainment. Most evenings, the downtown streets overflow with townsfolk seeking unique events such as poetry readings, live theater, gallery openings and music concerts.
Regardless of which part of Sacramento you plan to visit, rest assured that here along the banks of the river with its Gold Rush past you will find a city with a promising future. It is, after all, the location of bustling and productive new enterprises, home to a major university and the seat of government for the great state of California.
The facility is distinctive and features a two-story atrium with palm trees and fountains. All rooms include a large desk with modem jack and free local calling. Fax and ...
California State Railroad Museum is the largest train museum in the country. Dedicated to accuracy and detail, the California State Railroad Museum, located in historic Old Sacramento ...
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