Nearly every city in the country has some sort of “It's a [enter city name] thing." It's no different for Sacramento. People have their own perceptions about the city, mostly based on what they think happens in the state capital, what they've read online or what they see on film. But there's so much more to a city — all sorts of interesting secrets. The following Sacramento facts may change how you view the city.
There's a lot you already know about Sacramento but there are some things only residents of the city know — and those Sacramento facts are fascinating!
Sacramento facts: What you should know before making your move
1. Sacramento is the most “hipster" city in California. The culture is contemporary and constantly evolving, and the young population has serious influence over what happens in the city — the same (if not more so) as the men and women in suits.
2. Sacramento, like every city, has more than one nickname. In this case: SacTown, Sac, The Big Tomato and City of Trees. For the most part, locals just call the city Sacramento or Sac.
3. The Sacramento Kings had their heyday in the early 2000s. They're definitely not as good now. But they're your team no matter what. And you'll be faithful to them — no matter what. And the Lakers? Nope. Never, ever going to happen. However, it's a fair split between Kings and Golden State Warriors fans, which makes sense since the franchise chose the name “Golden State" so they could represent basketball fans in the entire state.
4. The Kings play at…wait, they don't play at ARCO Arena anymore? It's a Sacramento fact that where the Kings play is super confusing. They played at ARCO Arena forever. Even when the Kings moved from the original ARCO Arena to the new ARCO Arena and then that venue changed its name to Sleep Train Arena, locals still referred to it as ARCO Arena. See why it's confusing? Now, they technically play in the Golden 1 Center.
5. Ice cream and fro-yo are important to locals. Makes sense since it gets so dang hot in the summertime. Some local favorites you need to try if you're visiting or are a newbie: Gunther's Ice Cream, Leatherby's Family Creamery (thank goodness they have three locations in Sac and surrounding areas), Vic's Ice Cream and Yogurtagogo.
6. If you think you love bacon, you've probably got nothing on Sacramento locals. After all, they created a festival in honor of the greasy, delicious goodness that is bacon.
7. Fairytale Town has been around for over 60 years. It's a non-profit amusement park that's committed to making learning fun and fostering kids' imaginations. Many families have Fairytale Town traditions that continue on, generation after generation. The Park has 26 play sets based on nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty, Mary's Little Lamb and Jack & Jill. There's also an animal farm, gardens throughout the park and two performing arts stages.
8. Here's an interesting Sacramento secret: Locals are Gold Rush experts. Not because they want to, mind you. It's because going to some Gold Rush history museum was one of the most common field trip destinations for Sacramento kids. Sometimes kids would dress up like pioneers. Other times, they'd actually mine for gold. Mention gold mining or the Gold Rush to a local and you can expect to get an eye roll in response.
9. Farm-to-table or farm-to-fork is a way of life for people in Sacramento. It's literally a way of life. In fact, Sacramento is America's Farm-to-Fork Capital. And produce from local farms isn't just for sale at the 40 (yep, you read that right) farmer's markets — it's shipped throughout the U.S. all year long.
10. The reason people call Sacramento the City of Trees is because — shocker — there's an abundance of trees. The trees (sycamores, elms and oaks) line the city streets and keep downtown looking beautiful and green, which is a nice change of pace from some cities that are strictly metal and concrete. What's great about having all these trees in such a hot city (not hot as in awesome, hot as in Hades-level hot) is that the trees can actually lower ground temperatures by more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. The original city of Sacramento is underground. Back in 1862, there was a huge storm that flooded the city and created an inland sea. Those who stayed in Sacramento rebuilt the city but had to raise the streets, which created underground spaces and walkways. The underground areas are more than nine feet below the Sacramento streets. And yes, you can tour these underground areas!
12. Golden 1 Center, the first fully solar-powered venue in the world, is really trying to impress locals. Not only is it home to the Kings and a venue for some of the best acts in the world (Paul McCartney, Pentatonix and Stevie Nicks, to name a few), but owners of the venue are also trying to keep at least 90 percent of the food and drinks locally sourced. They're also reusing or recycling all their fryer oil and green waste.
13. Locals swear that ghosts haunt the city, including a former governor's son, old gold minors and a glowing pink orb named Pinky that floats throughout the Sacramento Theater Company.
14. When locals say they're going to “the City," they're not talking about downtown Sacramento. They're talking about San Francisco.
15. A moderate 60 degrees will leave someone from Sac shivering.
16. If something is good or great or awesome, locals will put a “hella" in front of it to show just how enthusiastic they are about the thing. “That show was hella great." “My dinner was hella awesome." You get the idea.
17. Art is life for many locals, whether they're creating the art and showcasing it on the street or in galleries, or simply appreciating it.
18. A well-kept Sacramento secret (a secret to tourists anyway) is the Dragon House. This is a private residence that's off the beaten path. The unnamed couple who owns the structure has been working on their home for nearly 20 years, turning it into a mosaic work of art. The house has ornate tile work, a mosaic dragon that weaves between windows, a tiger that stares you down, a stained-glass fence and kinetic sculptures of fairies and forest animals throughout the yard.
19. Locals take their sushi very seriously. Sacramento sushi chefs create beautiful, delectable works of art. Once you experience it, you'll never go back to your old way of eating sushi.
20. Here's a fun Sacramento Fact: The city is home to a child-sized city called Safetyville. And nearly every child raised in the city has gone there to learn all about fire and street safety.
21. If you're trying to plan a fun date night in Sacramento, take your date to the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In theater. It's a retro drive-in that gives you and your date some privacy for a little bit of romance.
22. The California State Fair is fun for the whole family. It takes place each year at Cal Expo and lasts for 17 days. The event showcases California agriculture, industry and diversity.
23. While some locals love the California State Fair, others are partial to the Sacramento County Fair, a four-day event where you can experience tractor pulls, chainsaw artists, a rodeo, figure-8 races, animal auctions and live music.
24. Sac residents aren't huge fans of folks from Los Angeles. And oftentimes, the feeling is mutual. Locals feel like SoCal residents look down their noses at anyone from NorCal. It's not true of 100 percent of the people but it's a recurring theme, so the stereotype has stuck.
25. You know ice cream is super important to locals. Well, there's a bit more to the story. East Sac, Curtis Park and Land Park residents all think their type of ice cream is the best. It's a constant debate between Burr's, Vic's and Gunther's. But that just proves how (hella) awesome the ice cream is in Sac.
26. The state capital building is a regular field trip destination for school kids. Kids know the building inside and out better than a lot of adults in the city.
27. The city is home to the world's oldest triathlon. There's a 5.82-mile run, a 12.5-mile bike ride and a 6.10-mile water event. What's odd about the event, known as Eppie's Great Race? Instead of swimming 6.10 miles, racers kayak. Before the race, local celebrities, as well as an Ironman and Ironwoman complete the race. Anyone else who beats the best time wins a free breakfast (yay, pancakes!).
28. Sacramento isn't cheap. That's probably not a secret but it's definitely a Sacramento fact. On average, the cost of living is more than 22 percent higher than the national average. Apartments in Sacramento are nearly 40 percent higher than the U.S. average. But the median monthly income is also higher than the national average. If you can afford it, though, it's a great place to live.
29. It rarely snows in Sac. In fact, there are only three significant snow events on record, the last of which was in 1976 when the city recorded two inches of snow.
30. Locals don't drink Starbucks. They're Temple Coffee drinkers all the way.
Ready to learn some more interesting Sacramento facts?
You can learn a lot about a city by doing some online research. But the best way to really get to know a city is with first-hand knowledge. Schedule a trip to Sacramento and explore this beautiful, unique city on your own.
Or, better yet, make some friends in the city. They'll happily show you their favorite destinations and provide you with some fascinating Sacramento facts and secrets. You may find that this city fits your personality so much that you'll never want to leave!