Moving to Sacramento, CA
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What comes to mind when thinking about moving to Sacramento? For us, it’s the fact that California’s capital is quite a melting pot with over 500,000 folks from all walks of life. Streets here buzz with different languages and colors, showing off the world in one city.
There’s history everywhere, going back to the Gold Rush days, but it’s not all old — history shakes hands with the future. Sacramento is big on being green and eco-friendly, so quite future-forward. And it’s green not just in its parks but in how people live and move around, making energy-smart choices.
Not far from both the mountains and the ocean, in Sacramento, you’ll be in the middle of everything. And, bonus, you’ll get a lot of sunny days.
The Best of City Life and Nature, All in One Place
Living in Sacramento is pretty cool, especially if you like fresh food and being outside. It’s called America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital for a reason, and that reason is it gets lots of fresh stuff right from nearby farms. They even have a festival with that name, and foodies will always have something tasty to try, from quick bites at food trucks to fancy meals at restaurants.
Now, we’ve mentioned it’s a green city, but did you know it ranks among the Top 10 urban forests in the country? With parks and trees everywhere, the city’s air and water are also better. Plus, they give Sacramento a special charm that is only enhanced by the weather.
Since it’s mostly sunny, it’s perfect for all sorts of fun outdoor activities all year round, and there are a lot of opportunities in and around the city, no worries. Besides the parks, there are also plenty of bike trails, and you have Lake Tahoe only a 2-hour drive away. Aiming for Yosemite National Park? It’ll still take you under 3 hours.
A Diverse Economy and Job Market
Although it’s the state capital, Sacramento’s economy doesn’t just revolve around government jobs. Healthcare and education are big here, with UC Davis Health leading the way. Plus, with the tech industry growing, thanks to the STEM job market being top-notch, there’s always something new and innovative happening. And let’s not forget about agriculture. After all, there are over 1.5 million acres of farms around the city and the growing season never seems to stop.
Now, living here does cost a bit more than the average U.S. city — about 20% more. But, compare it to San Francisco just down the road, and it looks like a bargain, being 33% cheaper.
When it comes to earnings, folks here bring in a bit more than the average U.S. household. But on a per-person basis, it’s a tad lower. Still, while you might spend more on living, the job opportunities, especially in tech and science, are pretty exciting.
Unemployment rate in Sacramento County: 4.5 percent (as of October 2023)
Average weekly wages for all industries in the Sacramento metro area: $1,455 (Q1 2023)
A Very Competitive Real Estate Market
Half of Sacramentans own their homes, while the other half prefer to rent. A possible explanation lies in the median value of homes and gross rents. Compared to the U.S. median values, homes in Sacramento cost almost 60% more, while rent is only 25% higher.
That’s actually not bad, especially if you compare it to where California as a whole stands: an extra 46% more than Sacramento in home values and over 16% more in rent. So, when moving to Sacramento, you get the perks that come with it being a state capital, but housing is more affordable than in other large cities in the state.
On a side note, it’s a great place to be for real estate agents. There are a lot of job opportunities, and the real estate market is healthy and very competitive.
Fun fact: Most people interested in moving to Sacramento currently live in San Francisco.
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Neighborhoods To Put On Your List When Moving to Sacramento
Looking to be in the middle of the action? That’s Downtown and Midtown for you. While Downtown is the city’s heartbeat, always on the move with lots to do, Midtown is the artsy cousin, with cool galleries and funky coffee spots. Now, how about some peace and quiet?
Elk Grove is Sacramento’s largest suburb, known for its excellent schools and family-friendly environment. It’s a bit quieter than what the city has to offer but still has plenty of amenities.
East Sacramento is the “chill” neighborhood that families just love. Tree-lined streets, a relaxed vibe and McKinley Park are some of its big draws.
Natomas is the new kid on the block. It’s family-friendly with lots of parks and summer fun like movie nights. Love the outdoors? You’ll fit right in here with trails and green spaces galore.
Traffic in Sacramento Is A Breeze
Getting around Sacramento is pretty straightforward and the light rail line is a big help for commuting from outer neighborhoods to downtown, from early morning till late at night. Looking for something with a more personal touch? Try the ride-sharing service offered by Sacramento Public Transport: SmaRT Ride.
Now, if you prefer to drive, you should know that on average, it takes a bit over 25 minutes to get to work, which is quicker than most places in California. And while the city leans a bit towards cars, traffic isn’t a huge problem. In fact, Sacramentans drive less than half the time compared to folks in San Francisco. Plus, the city is flat and has great bike paths, making it awesome for cycling.
Some of the Finest and Most Inclusive Education There Is
Sacramento City Unified School District, one of the oldest in the West, serves a diverse student body of over 40,000 across 75 campuses. Now, you may have heard of many places being called a melting pot of cultures, but this one really stands out, as district residents speak over 50 languages!
Unique programs? They’ve got three Public Waldorf schools and the only Hmong language immersion program in the state. Then, there are world-class colleges like UC Davis — a leader in research, excelling in veterinary medicine, agriculture and forestry — and Sacramento State University. UC Davis Health is an academic health center just 20 minutes from the main campus.
From top-tier universities to innovative K-12 programs, Sacramento’s education scene offers quite a wide range of learning experiences. It is dynamic and inclusive, just like the city itself.
Mild and Lovely, with a Hint of Heat
The city basks in a Mediterranean climate, meaning you’ll get lots of sunshine after moving to Sacramento, especially in the summer. Plus, whether you’re a sun worshiper or a fan of crisp autumn days you’ll be able to engage in fun outdoor activities all year round.
Sure, the summers here can get pretty hot, but everything cools down nicely in the evenings. Spring and fall are absolutely lovely in Sacramento, with perfect temperatures and clear skies, and winters aren’t bad either. They are mild and a bit rainy, but you won’t see snow — the most recent measurable snow here occurred in 1976 when it added up to two inches.
Summer average (June – Aug): 92℉ high, 60℉ low
Winter average (Dec – Feb): 58℉ high, 42℉ low
10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Sacramento
There are a host of unique and enjoyable events in this California city that should be at the top of your list. But what else would you enjoy seeing and doing after moving to Sacramento? Take your pick:
- Get tickets to the California State Fair. It takes place at Cal Expo every summer and spans over 17 days. It comes with fun carnival rides, horse shows, a petting zoo, concerts, cooking challenges and many competitions and shows to keep you entertained.
- While you’re at it, grab another set of tickets to the Farm-to-Fork Festival and celebrate Sacramento’s agricultural heritage with local food and drinks. The festival is billed as the “west coast’s top food and music destination” that annually attracts more than 100,000 people from across the country.
- Explore the Crocker Art Museum, the oldest public art museum in the Western U.S. Permanent collections focus on Californian art, European paintings and international ceramics, while additional exhibitions can be as current as AI-generated art and change every few months.
- Jog or ride your bike along the 32-mile American River Bike Trail (also known as Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail). It is quite scenic and runs from the confluence of the two large rivers in the area, Sacramento and American, to Folsom Lake.
- Take your kids to Sacramento Zoo inside of William Land Park, just south of downtown. This family-friendly spot has over 90 native, rare and endangered species on its grounds, and a New Zoo is currently being built in Elk Grove.
- Walk through history in the restored Gold Rush-era district of Old Sacramento. Visit the State Historic Park and the California State Railroad Museum within it.
- Baseball fans can catch a Sacramento River Cats game at Sutter Health Park, while football lovers head over to Hornet Stadium to cheer for the Sacramento State Hornets.
- Do you want to just enjoy a family picnic, swimming or boating? Folsom Lake is your best bet. More into adventurous rafting? The American River it is.
- Visit nearby Fairfield — halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento — for a sweet tour of the famous candy factory that is Jelly Belly.
- Explore local art galleries and street performances in Midtown at the 2nd Saturday Art Walk, which, you guessed, takes place on the second Saturday of each month.