Downtown Sacramento, CA

Downtown Sacramento is a pretty dynamic place thanks to a strong residential base, the local Civic Center, the California Capitol Park, a distinct historic district called “the Kay”, an entertainment district building around Golden 1 Arena, and the quaint and vibrant Old Sacramento along the Sacramento River. I also like how Downtown flows pretty seamlessly to surrounding urban districts located in Central Sacramento. Its nice that the inner belt wasn’t built too tight around Downtown.

The future is also bright for Downtown Sacramento as Civic leaders as moving to continue to built up its residential base, and bring more and more entertainment and retail amenities. I also like the fact that Downtown has few surface parking lots thanks to California’s strong real estate market. But there are several key urban elements Dwtn needs before it becomes a premiere US dwtn. This includes walkable K-12 schools, a university presence dwtn, more amenities for children, better affordable housing options, a stronger civic plaza marking the heart of Dwtn, a better skyline, and missing cultural and retail amenities including more theaters & art galleries, a dwtn post office, and a supermarket.

Click here to view my Downtown Sacramento album on Flickr


* Very good density for a Dwtn district.
* Great ADA and sidewalk infrastructure.
* Pockets of attractive historic architecture (i.e. Old Sacramento and Cathedral Square).
* Decent public transit access within the City especially Central Sacramento. Hit or miss with the suburbs.
* Excellent system of dedicated bike lanes across the whole region. One of the best systems in the country. While there are no dedicated bike stations, Lime provides excellent bike and scooter options throughout most of the City of Sacramento. Not so much in the suburbs.
* Very connective dwtn. Some large 1-way streets but not terrible.
* Great racial and economic diversity residing Dwtn.
* A decent # of affordable hsg units Dwtn. This is certainly reflected by dwtn’s high poverty rate among residents.
* Good number of parks anchored by the State Capitol Park. Several small/medium sized parks spread throughout Dwtn and some nice plazas at Dwtn Commons.
* Solid Dwtn cultural amenities including plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafes, several live music venues, a cineplex, i-max, and historic movie house, a good array of museums, and couple historic homes.
* Regional amenities include a major convention center and an NBA arena and plenty of government office and courts thanks to being the state capitol.
* Dwtn has solid employment # hosting about 90K. Vacant rates also appear low, albeit these are pre-covid #s.
* Solid retail amenities as well including: a couple drug stores, a Macy’s; the DOCO Shopping Mall filled with tons of food & beverage stores, an urban outfitters, and several other retail outfits; tons of boutiques & gift shops in Old Sacramento; plenty of banks and dessert joins, a couple gyms & bookstores, a dwtn library, and several churches.
* Overall very good urban massing and good tree canopy for a dwtn.


* Not my family households living dwtn but a fair amount of museums and the NBA to draw them into Dwtn.
* Really no K-12 schools within dwtn although a handful exist on the edges of dwtn.
* Certainly an expensive place to purchase a house but a decent # of moderately priced 1-bed condos selling btwn 300K-600K. 2-beds sell anywhere btwn 400K-1M, and a decent # of 3-beds selling anywhere btwn 500K-800K.
* Rentals are a similar story… studios lease in the 1Ks-mid 2Ks, 1-beds in the 2Ks, 2-beds in the 2k and low 3Ks, and 3-bed rentals are pretty rare.
* Several plazas could function as Dwtn civic plaza, but not clear and well programed heart of Sacramento.
* Skyline has some tall buildings but they are pretty bland and the skyline overall lacks cohesion and interest.
* Largely missing from Dwtn’s cultural & entertainment scene include art galleries, only a couple of theaters,
* Missing retail amenities include a supermarket, major dwtn post office.
* Dwtn is generally safe but large homeless population.
* Only a handful of small satellite colleges dwtn. Any colleges of size are at least a couple miles away.
* In-fill is a mixed bag. High rises are generally pretty bland but pretty good medium sized infill.

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