16 Pros and Cons of Living in Sacramento, CA

Updated On October 9, 2023
Sacramento CA

Located in the northern half of California, Sacramento is the 35th most populated city in the US.

There are 500,000 people who call this once Gold Rush destination home.

Since 1850, people have come from all over to see this place for themselves and settle down. 

Sacramento is a close driving distance to several bigger cities and yet remains one of the more budget-friendly places to stay long term.

However, crime and lack of jobs might make moving here a hasty move. 

If you’re thinking about making Sacramento home, stay tuned.

We’re going through all the pros and cons of living in this part of California. 

Sacramento, CA
Sacramento, CA

Pros of Living in Sacramento, CA

1. Capital Perks

Being unfamiliar with California’s logistics often leads to many believing that Los Angeles is the capital of the state.

Or, rather, Hollywood, which isn’t actually a city at all.

That’s actually not a bad thing, necessarily.

Let the people go there and think that.

Keeping Sacramento lower on the radar means the city can enjoy the perks of being a capital without being overrun by tourists.

Well, there are tourists, but you get it.

Anyway, so much is poured into the arts, shopping, dining options, and outdoor spaces.

It makes Sacramento a gem.

2. Things to Do

If you’re looking for green spaces in an urban setting, you have found your match.

Sacramento is special because there are a lot of outdoor activities here.

We have access to several lakes and rivers for the summer and are close to the mountains for winter skiing.

In town, there are plenty of parks and walking spaces.

Not to mention, there’s a real community effort to keep locals engaged.

Small businesses are always creating events to keep people busy.

Not to mention the museums.

3. Proximity to Getaways

When things are going slow nearby, citizens are in the perfect position to jet off by car or plane.

Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver are just up the coast if you’re interested in a road trip.

To the south are San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Cabo San Lucas.

Las Vegas and Salt Lake City are also within a road trip driving distance.

There really is no end to the possibilities.  

4. Job Opportunities

A city that is bursting at the seams is one that has jobs available.

Keeping up with the demands of a growing city means positions in the government are plenty.

It’s possible that you might have to live outside the city to really take advantage of a job in the city, but hopefully, that’s temporary.

The unemployment rate is low so, if you move here on a whim, you will probably make it.

5. Winter

Hearing winter and north together, it would be easy to mistake Sacramento for a place that gets heavy snow.

Well, it just so happens that the location is a perk in itself.

We’re far north enough to experience weather cold enough to wear jackets and hoodies for months.

We’re also close enough to the ocean that we don’t get bombarded with heavy snowfall.

Talk about a win-win.

6. History

When your city started out as the gold standard, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of historical things to see.

Taking a ghost tour or participating in museum days makes getting to know the city so much easier.

Even if you don’t expect to come upon a ghost, the locals who lead the tours have so much insider knowledge that it’s worth the excursion.

Don’t forget to check out some of the original homes.

7. Diversity

A city that attracted its early population with promises of gold is likely to bring a unique crowd.

Between the early days of pioneering and the influx of Asians making their way to America, the mix got more varied and created a wonderfully diverse population today.

The ethnic makeup of Sacramento is 32% European American, 28% Latin American, 20% Asian American, 13% African American, and 7% Native American or Pacific Islander.

8. Food Scene

Aside from making the whole city a more colorful place, a fun perk of having a population of people from everywhere is the food.

Just about any kind of cuisine you can imagine is hosted at a restaurant here.

Whether it be a mom-and-pop type of establishment or a full-on fine dining situation, there is no limit to what kind of food you can get.

Come hungry, my friends.

Cons of Living in Sacramento, CA

1. Fast Growing

If you’re not from here, reading a report that says Sacramento is the fastest-growing city in California might sound inspiring.

Clearly, it must be nice to see so much movement within the population.

While it’s nice to live in a place that is attractive, it can really weigh down on urban planning.

It causes things like housing shortages and a crunch for jobs.

Growing faster than the government can get a strategy together leads to mayhem. 

2. Cost of Living

When a city is as fast-growing as this one is, it really starts to show in everyday prices.

The more people flood in, the more priced out the natives of the area are.

Influx often leads to price increases due to demand.

To be fair, Sacramento is more affordable than all the other major cities in the state.

That’s not really saying a whole lot though.

The price for a starter home is north of $350,000.

3. Summer

This one depends on perspective and what you’re used to.

Sacramento gets hotter than many places.

If the idea of continuous days that are over 100 degrees is unappealing, you might want to reconsider coming here.

Between July and August, many days are well beyond that because the breeze from the ocean just doesn’t reach this far.

4. Homelessness

There’s nothing as disheartening about a city as seeing an onslaught of homeless people everywhere.

Sacramento is not singled out for having this problem, but that doesn’t make it better.

All big cities have this issue to one degree or another.

However, the problem here is that the city doesn’t do enough outreach.

Shelters are so few and far between that many experiencing a lack of housing are spread out in public places.

There are programs for the homeless to take advantage of, but that doesn’t keep them from having to experience the elements.

5. Taxes

California has one of the highest tax rates in the country.

Not only do you have to pay federal taxes, but state taxes are up to an extra 12.3% coming out of your income.

With that much money coming to the state and local governments, you’d think they’d do more for the homeless population, but that’s another topic.

6. Crime Rate

Sacramento is a place you want to remain vigilant at all times.

Crime is 53% more likely here compared to the national average, property crime is 51%.

That’s probably quite unnerving to outsiders and it’s a problem citizens have been raising with the local government.

If there is an upside, it’s that violent crimes are far below both the national and state level.

7. Allergens

Thanks to the abundance of flora, many have issues with allergies.

The pollen count is pretty high and can cause a lot of distress during the spring and other times of the year.

If Sacramento speaks to your soul, be sure to visit a doctor before it gets to that time of year when you’re more likely to have a flare-up.

There is plenty of anti-allergy medication, but it’s worth using it as a deciding factor if your allergies are pretty bad.

8. Highways

With so many people living here and driving through, the capital should have more highways.

Traffic gets so thick and a lot of it has to do with a lack of options.

That’s something else taxes should be improved upon, but there does not seem to be an end in sight.

There are only three main highways in the city with people coming from all directions.

Sacramento, CA
Sacramento, CA

Pros and Cons of Living in Sacramento, CA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Sacramento, CACons of Living in Sacramento, CA
1. Capital Perks1. Fast Growing
2. Things to Do2. Cost of Living
3. Proximity to Getaways3. Summer
4. Job Opportunities4. Homelessness
5. Winter5. Taxes
6. History6. Crime Rate
7. Diversity7. Allergens
8. Food Scene8. Highways

Sacramento Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Sacramento Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Sacramento's best neighborhoods?

This list is highly dependent upon what matters to you, as a citizen of the world.

It’s hard to say what works best for everyone but, generally speaking, the neighborhoods that ranked the highest in the city are Downtown Sacramento, East Sacramento, Land Park, Natomas Park, and North Oak Park.

Would retiring in Sacramento be financially viable?

It really depends on what your retirement plan looks like.

If you look to collect millions upon retirement from various accounts and whatnot, sure.

If you expect to be living on a budget and don’t already own a home there, then probably not so much.

Between natural disasters and the expense of living, Sacramento would eat away quickly at accumulated savings.

Does Sacramento get earthquakes? 

If you have a fear of the shaking earth, you might not want to stay.

As you’re likely aware, California is a hotbed for ground rattles due to lying on tectonic plates.

Sacramento specifically has an almost 80% chance of having a 7.0 earthquake by 2050.

That will no doubt be devastating.

How far is Sacrament from the beach?

The closest beach is in San Francisco Bay, which is about an hour and a half away.

There are a few more options within two and a half hours, so take your pick.

Any direction west leads to the water.

What is Sacramento known for?

There has always been a lot going on here.

You may know Sacramento for a number of different reasons.

In the early days of settlement, the Gold Rush made Sacramento a boom town because of the vast multitude of people running through it.

The capital is also known as the City of Trees and happens to be the farm-to-form capital of the world.

Really, Sacramento has its hands on many things.

5 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Sacramento, CA

  1. Sacramento, CA offers capital perks and a diverse population with plenty of outdoor activities and proximity to getaways, but it also has high crime rates, a growing cost of living, hot summers, homelessness issues, high taxes, allergens that can cause distress for those with allergies.

  2. M
    Morgan Nguyen says:

    As a Sacramento resident for over a decade, I can say the beautiful weather and proximity to nature are definitely top pros!

  3. E
    Emily Jefferson says:

    One of the biggest pros for me is the vibrant arts and culture scene here in Sacramento. From local galleries to the renowned Crocker Art Museum, there’s always something inspiring to explore.

  4. M
    Mark Townsend says:

    One of the cons of living in Sacramento is the air quality, especially during the summer when wildfires can affect the region.

  5. D
    David Perkins says:

    Living in Sacramento means being close to some of the best outdoor activities in California. Whether it’s hiking in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains or kayaking along the Sacramento River, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had.

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