When my husband got the offer from his company to move to Sacramento five years ago, my initial reaction was “YES!” Of course then I remembered that while I had been to the Bay Area, Sonoma, and Los Angeles before, Sacramento was a whole new ballgame. We came out here to see what the city was like, and we both immediately knew we were moving. A lot has changed for us (and the city) in the last five years, and here are the reasons why it’s truly become our home:
1. The Size
Coming from Chicago, I never thought that a small city would steal my heart. Even though I grew up in the suburbs, I always thought of myself as a city girl. The lights, the lake, the skyline: Chicago just has this allure that is truly something unique. It will always be “home” for both of us in a lot of ways. But where the size makes Chicago beautiful, it makes Sacramento practical. When there’s a new restaurant in town that we want to try, it’s no more than a 20 minute drive. We love that we have access to all sorts of wonderful activities in the city, and they are all within a reasonable distance. It makes making friends that much easier as well, as no matter how many times we move, everyone is still within 15 minutes.
2. The Weather
Okay, okay… this isn’t exactly a fair comparison to Chicago. But there’s more to it than just being warm. What made me really marvel at Sacramento’s weather is that it has true seasons. My favorite season (by a mile) is fall, and Sacramento still has all of the wonderful fall leaves and colors. And those fall colors sit right next to palm trees. It’s legitimately the best of both worlds. Of course I miss Illinois summer thunderstorms and snow on Christmas, but the amazing fall weather that lasts all winter in Sacramento makes up for it.
3. The Location
California would be the simple answer. But as my husband would tell you, he pictured California living as more of the Southern California lifestyle. However, we’ve grown to adore Sacramento’s location. We’re an hour and a half from San Francisco, two hours from Lake Tahoe, and just over an hour from Sonoma. If we want to go wine tasting and buy some bottles, we don’t have to have them shipped to us. Coming from the Midwest, that’s a crazy concept. If we want a beach vacation? Drive to Los Angeles. Up for a super scenic road trip? Let’s drive over to the coast and head in either direction. What about if we want to see the snow we miss so much? Well, Tahoe is a perfect spot for a weekend or day trip. And as a bonus – Sacramento has its own airport with nonstop flights to Chicago and Hawaii (among numerous other locations).
4. The Available Activities
Sacramento is the farm-to-fork capital of the country. Who knew? It makes total sense with our location, but it’s still something we didn’t know before we moved here. All of that amazing produce makes for phenomenal farmers markets every day of the week and crazy good restaurants. Being the capital of the state, we have a lot of activity that one wouldn’t necessarily expect. And with the new arena for the Sacramento Kings, we’re now attracting more and more high-profile acts. Our location in California also allows for incredible outdoor activities all year round.
5. The Atmosphere
This is arguably my favorite part of Sacramento. Every city and region in California has its own feel to it, and Sacramento is no different. When we moved from the Midwest, I didn’t expect to get that same feeling again in another state, and Sacramento has managed to do it. Its size makes it feel like a small community within a big city, and the people make you feel so welcome. It really does feel like the Midwest of California. Another crazy coincidence is that a lot of the city was built up around the same time as Chicago was, making the architecture very similar in certain areas. Yet there is so much growth that’s happened over the last few decades that the city is a great mix of old and new.
I didn’t think we’d be here more than two years and here we are five years later. But we just bought a house and are ready to bring our second baby home here. Sacramento clearly stole our hearts, and I can’t wait to see what else it has in store for us over the years. While we can’t answer if we’ll be here forever, it’s safe to say that we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to make it our home.