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A horse-drawn wagon carries tourists down the streets of Old Sacramento, which offers a mixture of historic charm and tourist shops.
A horse-drawn wagon carries tourists down the streets of Old Sacramento, which offers a mixture of historic charm and tourist shops. Sacramento Bee File Photo

Steeped in California and Gold Rush history, Sacramento was once named one of the 10 best cities in the United States.

Newsweek cited Sacramento for its rich heritage, commitment to quality of life and abundance of trees and parks.

While ratings come and go, the city continues on the path that lead to that recognition.

The capital of California, Sacramento has a diverse population of about 407,000 in a metropolitan area of about 1.5 million. The city is the business and government heart of the region.

Diversity is also the watchword for its recreational opportunities. Professional basketball (Kings), baseball (Rivercats), ballet, opera, theater, museums are all part of the electic mix in the state capital. Boating, fishing and swimming can be had in in the Sacramento and American rivers.

One of the highlights is the unique American River Parkway, which stretches 23 miles from near downtown Sacramento to east of Fair Oaks. A bike and hiking trail extends the entire length of the park, which also offers picnicking, kayaking, rafting and more.

Sacramento's wide variety of neighborhoods offers elegant, older and luxurious homes, newer and affordable housing as well as a full range of rentals.

Land Park south of the Capitol, for example, is an older neighborhood with shady, tree-lined streets. Midtown is undergoing a resurgence of shops, homes and night life. The Pocket area offers family living along the Sacramento River with easy access to the downtown area.

As for shopping, customers are well-served by easily accessible shopping centers in the area, along with a host of speciality shops.

Riverfront dining can be had in historic Old Sacramento, home of the renowned State Railroad Museum. Diners can find an ecletic mix of restaurants, ranging in price and tastes.

The city is located on Interstate 80 and Interstate 5, allowing good access to San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. Light rail and bus service links the downtown areas to outlying communities. Commuter trains also carry passengers on daily roundtrips to the Bay Area.


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