Lots of Lovely Trees...But the Crime....
My family and I moved to Sacramento CA. (the Arden/Arcade area) about 11 years ago because my brother lived here. It was the worst decision of our lives. It was an especially bad decision since our daughter was only 10 years old and we had previously lived in nice areas.
I got a quick horrifying glimpse of what life was going to be like here when I went to enroll my little daughter into elementary school at Del Paso Manor. On the teacher/parent night - I ran into the parents of some of the kids and the parents all looked as if they were meth tweakers! I thought maybe I just had a bad steak and tried to shrug it off. A few weeks later, my little daughter asked if she could play with a boy (her same age) from down the block and so as usual I went down there to see where he lived and to talk with his parents. The parents were friendly enough...but they were tattooed from head to toe and had just gotten out of jail.
I discovered that many people here were on drugs or sold drugs and the crime rate was/is through the roof.
My young daughter survived it all, she is 21 years old now, and managed not to become a drug addict or alcoholic, but three of her close friends died here -- all under the age of 21!!!
If you love high crime and high drama with lots of poverty -- move here!
After the 2008 crash recession, Sacramento was hit HARD. There were foreclosures
all over the place. The economy still has not recovered and it seems crime has grown worse.
The upside is that Sacramento is innocently bucolic looking, with it's many gorgeous trees and big yards...I always said it looks like city in the country. If it weren't for the churches here, it would be truly abysmal. However, there are some great churches in the area - check out Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on 11th St. or Saint Francis of Assisi Parish or if you are Protestant, visit Arcade Church (there are so many more) and that's the sparkle of Sacramento.
The nicest thing I can say about Sacramento is that most folks here are down to earth and friendly -- and that is the upside - but it's very strange. You see the oddest things here. For example, at one of our stores, there is a full bearded woman who is just as pleasant as a spring day, as she politely chats as if it's the most normal thing to be a lady cashier with a full beard!
The skies over Sacramento are always sunny, with the exception of a few cloudy or rainy days. Summers in Sacto are scorchers with temperatures easily tipping the 100 mark or more. On those days, which are plentiful, you really don't want to go out in this desert-like heat -- so if you do plan to stay here, make sure you have a decent working A/C.
Before the crash of 2008 we always rented homes, but after the crash, we could no longer afford renting a home. I began to look for decent apartment living, if there was such a thing in a place like this. In 2012, I must have visited and toured 22 apartment buildings to see if they were suitable to live in. It was a long process that seemed to be nothing but horrible looking places...until I found this one. It was affordable, gated with decent management. They keep the grounds beautiful - and whenever something needs fixing, they are right on it. We have a nice pool, a clubhouse, tennis courts, a dog park with a BBQ area. Every apartment has a front or back outside porch...but this was difficult to find, sort of like finding a needle in a haystack. I'm thankful I found it. The neighbors are all pleasant. The management does not put up with chronically noisy neighbors and will put them out in a heart beat if they keep up the racket.
In a few years, my husband and I plan on retiring. We want to move to Florida where I have family.
As for Sacramento, it would truly be a lovely place if it weren't for all the shady elements of drug & thugs every where killing and robbing their way to another fix in a ghetto culture.
If one doesn't get completely depressed here, you will find Old Town quite charming. There is an interesting Train Museum to visit, FairyTale Land and the Zoo is a fun place for the kiddos. There is the beautiful American River to walk or bike along, there's Effie Yaew park land to investigate in Carmichael (next to the Arden/Arcade area) And just outside of Sacramento there is Grass Valley and Nevada City about 45 minutes away, which are great little western towns to visit. Every fall season we visit Apple Farm in Placerville where they bake fresh apple pies and having many farms that have a fair-like atmosphere. During the winter the Sierra mountains are usually covered in snow and if you ski or snow board, this is the perfect place. Lake Tahoe is about a 2 hour ride and the lake-water is a clear emerald! San Francisco is about an hour and a half away -- if you don't mind tolls and the bumper to bumper traffic. It has great little places to eat and lots of fun places to explore.
However, as pretty as it is here, I'm sad to say, I would never encourage anyone to move to Sacramento - especially if you have children. It is definitely not the place to raise your kids. I understand that there are no perfect places to live -- but this is the very last place on earth I'd move, had I known what I know now.
Jeanie | Arden-Arcade, CA