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Cow town to ‘game-changing’? Sunset Magazine says Sacramento is tops in NorCal

People shop for fresh produce during the Sacramento farmers market under Highway 50 in September 2017. Sunset Magazine touts the city’s numerous farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants in ranking Sacramento tops in its list of “20 Game-Changing Places to Live” in Northern California.
People shop for fresh produce during the Sacramento farmers market under Highway 50 in September 2017. Sunset Magazine touts the city’s numerous farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants in ranking Sacramento tops in its list of “20 Game-Changing Places to Live” in Northern California. Brian Baer/Special to The Bee

Sacramento tops Sunset Magazine’s list of “20 Game-Changing Places to Live” in Northern California, as shown in the upcoming February 2018 issue.

The magazine’s editors examined average housing prices and population in each place, and interviewed residents to identity cities thinking smart about their futures. But ranking the changing industries and nightlife seemed largely subjective based on individual preferences rather than a definitive formula.

“It used to be that come Friday night, this cow town practically emptied out – its county and state capital employees fleeing for the suburbs or surrounding farmlands,” the story reads. “But in the years that followed the 2008 recession, real-estate development and a steady crop of new restaurants and boutiques took advantage of the low rents and property costs and slowly filled the streets of Sacramento.”

Though once-low rents have significantly increased over the last half-decade, the aforementioned development added glitzy lofts and craft breweries to the Victorian houses and trees throughout the grid, the magazine said.

Sunset also commends Sacramento’s ability to bring farmland practices into the city center, highlighting a 2017 county ordinance that allowed urban residents to nurture bees, chickens and goats and sell agricultural products out of their homes.

“Farmers’ markets are open all week during peak season, and farm-to-table restaurants abound,” the magazine noted. “No reason to flee to the suburbs; Sac is giving city dwellers a taste of both town and country.”

Eureka, Truckee and Fresno follow Sacramento as the most livable cities or towns adapting to modern life in Northern California.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

The rankings

The article ranks cities and towns within the five areas redefining the U.S. and Canada’s western halves, finding each of the following the best among their respective regions:

  • Southern California: Carlsbad
  • Mountains: Salida, Colo.
  • Southwest: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Northwest: Tacoma, Wash.
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