Sacramento - River City, capital of a state that has seen Spanish, Mexican, British, and even Russian flags fly over its land; focus of the 1850's Gold Rush that was the impetus for a giant migration to the Western US; and western terminus of both the famous Pony Express and the Nation's first transcontinental railroad, is much more than just an exciting city with its aura of colonial and Gold Rush era history. Today Sacramento is the capital of the largest state in the Union and is a fast growing metropolitan community with expanding business opportunities, such as its electronics industry. It is a city with growing international importance because of its political position and deep channel port, which links Sacramento to San Francisco and the international maritime world.
With over two million people in the greater Sacramento Area, the city of Sacramento has become the cultural, financial, communications, and transportation center. Beginning as part of a Mexican land grant given to John Sutter, the city developed from a frontier fort in the early 1840's, and a muddy tent city in the late 1840's during the onslaught of the Gold Rush, to a modern city by the 1850's.
One of Sacramento's assets is its location in the heartland of California. Only an hour's drive to the east is the fabulous Gold Country, one of the most fascinating tourist areas in the West. And further to the east lies Lake Tahoe, offering year-round recreational activities from snow skiing to casino fun. In the opposite direction, a two-hour drive will put you in the heart of downtown San Francisco, the international city and gateway to the California coast. The Napa Valley Wine Country is an hour away. The Sacramento River Delta, with its hundreds of miles of secluded waterways, a favorite of boaters and fishermen, is a short drive south of downtown Sacramento. Folsom Lake, a half hour drive from the Sacramento State campus, is an 18,000 acre State Park offering camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, and swimming.
Sacramento enjoys a mild climate and an abundance of sunshine most of the year. Cloudless skies prevail during the summer and largely in the spring and autumn. The summers are remarkably dry, with warm days and pleasant nights. In the "rainy season" (November through March), over three-fourths of the actual annual precipitation falls, yet rain in measurable amounts occurs only about nine days monthly during the period.
Although high-rise buildings in the downtown area give Sacramento a modern skyline, Sacramento has ensured that its rich history continues to play a role in city life. Old Sacramento, a section of the city's original business and commercial area located on the Sacramento River near the Capitol, is very much alive and well. Restoration, including cobblestone streets and gas lamps, gives an accurate and charming vision of nineteenth century California.Restaurants, entertainment spots, museums, and specialty shops line the streets of Old Sacramento.
Sacramento's history can also be explored at Sutter's Fort, the Governor's Mansion, the Railroad Museum, the State Indian Museum, the City and County Museum, the Sacramento Junior Museum, and the California History Center. The Crocker Art Museum, the oldest art museum in the West and once the home of one of Sacramento's most affluent citizens, has a broad and diverse permanent collection, including works by the University's art faculty. Numerous art galleries are located throughout the city.
Sacramento's location and weather make it ideal for outdoor recreation of all kinds. Several public golf courses and tennis courts are available in the area. The American River, which flows by the Sacramento State campus and through the city to join the Sacramento River, offers everything for the water enthusiast including canoeing, rafting (one of Sacramento's most popular sunshine sports), and fishing. A thirty-mile parkway extends along the river, complete with bicycle and horseback trails, picnic facilities, and recreation areas. Cal Expo, the home of California's annual State Fair, is located within minutes of the Sacramento State campus. Cal Expo is also a lively entertainment center hosting shows, horse racing, and various other events. The Sacramento Zoo is another popular spot in Sacramento, as are the many other parks dotting the Sacramento landscape.
California State University, Sacramento (also commonly known as "Sacramento State"), is one of twenty-three university campuses forming the California State University (CSU) system. The CSU is the largest senior system of higher education in the nation. Founded in 1947, Sacramento State moved in 1953 to its present 300 acre site beside the American River. The University's location in the capital of the richest and most populous state in the United States of America provides unique opportunities for observation of and participation in the workings of modern American government and politics.
Sacramento State offers a wide range of academic programs leading to bachelors and master's degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional-level disciplines. Also offered are a doctorate in Educational Leadership, a comprehensive teacher preparation program and the pre-professional undergraduate preparation necessary for post-baccalaureate enrollment in health science and law schools.
An enrollment of approximately 29,000 includes students from all over the US as well as more than one hundred nations, giving the campus a truly international flavor. Despite the large size of the Sacramento State population, most classes have less than thirty students. Thus, instruction remains on a very personal basis with a low faculty/student ratio.
The larger Sacramento community is drawn to the campus by the strong cultural arts program including drama, music, and art as well as by intercollegiate athletics.
Those with access to the Internet may obtain additional information concerning Sacramento State on the Sacramento State Home Page www.csus.edu.
LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION
Since Sacramento is situated halfway between the Sierras and the Pacific, there are numerous recreational activities that can be found in or around Sacramento. A two-hour drive east will take you to the Sierras and some of the finest skiing found anywhere. Two hours in the opposite direction will take you to the rugged Pacific Coast, San Francisco, and the world famous Redwoods.
Even within the city limits, there are so many recreational opportunities that it would be impractical to list them all here. Sacramento has a rich history that all newcomers to the area should investigate. Old Sacramento has been restored to create a delightful illusion of the Old West. Some of the main attractions to the old town are the California State Railroad Museum, the many specialty shops, and the restaurants, bars, and discos.
Another historic spot in Sacramento is Sutter's Fort (27th and L Streets), which was originally settled in 1839. Sutter's Fort functions as a museum which includes a prison, living quarters of the pioneers, artifacts of the past, and the State Indian Museum.
Sacramento is also graced with more than 250 parks. Many of these parks have varied athletic facilities serving everyone from equestrians to swimmers. In addition, field sports of all kinds including soccer, football, and baseball are very popular in Sacramento. For more information regarding city teams contact your local district park office. There are also intramural teams at Sacramento State that are quite active at different times of the year. Students interested in participating on intramural teams should contact the Sacramento State Student Activities Office. Other recreational facilities available in Sacramento are listed below.
Peak Adventures is an organization affiliated with Associated Students Inc. and is located in the The Well near the Hornet Stadium. They offer recreational and educational opportunities through guided outdoor trips, clinics and classes. If you are interested in hiking, biking, rafting and outdoor activities / trips, please take a look at their schedule of events at www.peakadventures.org.
There are many miles of bicycle trails in Sacramento. A particularly popular route is the thirty+ mile stretch along the American River. Reserved for bicycles, horses, and pedestrians only, it is a quiet and pleasurable form of recreation being discovered by more and more Sacramento residents. It is advised that students use the bike trail only during daylight hours.
Sailing/Water Sports Students wanting to take a riverboat cruise, boating enthusiasts, or those who just enjoy water sports, (swimming, water-skiing, fishing etc) have a full opportunity to enjoy themselves at the nearby Folsom Lake. A thirty minute drive from Sacramento State, Folsom Lake is a very popular spot with local students. In addition, the university has established the Aquatic Center at Lake Natomas where students have the opportunity to learn basic to advanced techniques of sailing, canoeing, and other popular sports, with university credit available. It is easy to reach the Aquatic Center using Sacramento Regional Transit Light Rail.
On the California State Fairgrounds, there is a fourteen-acre aquatic park. Also available are bumper and paddleboats, an electronic center, volleyball, food, and entertainment.
Rafting is a very popular summer pastime for Sacramento residents. Rafts may be rented (at reasonable rates) from any of the several raft-renting companies located at various river accesses Seasonal fishing is also very good on both the Sacramento and American rivers.
For those who come alive after the sun goes down, Sacramento has much to offer. There are numerous bars, discos, and theaters to light up your night. Once again, Old Sacramento is a popular spot, but be careful as the cover charges and drinks may be more expensive than other places in town. Movie theaters are located throughout the city. For students interested in foreign films and high quality “Second Run” films, the Tower or the Crest Theaters have low ticket prices for regular customers and special movie passes may be purchased.
Sacramento maintains professional ballet and theater companies. These performances are given mainly in the Sacramento Community Center which is located downtown at 13th and L Streets, telephone 264-5181. Other popular sites for the performing arts are Garbeau&'s Dinner Theater, The B Street Theatre, and the Old Eagle Theater. There is also the "Music Circus" which features nationally known performers throughout the summer and Arco Arena where you may view a variety of sporting events and entertainers. Once again, in addition to these professional groups, Sacramento State gives some fine performances of its own.
Throughout the year Cal Expo presents many interesting exhibits. Every summer it is the site of the California State Fair. At other times of the year it serves such diverse interest groups with events such as cat shows, dog shows, horse shows, boat shows, flower exhibits, bicycle races, horse races, music festivals, and the list goes on and on. For information regarding current activities being presented at Cal Expo, visit their website www.calexpo.com.
The Sacramento Zoo
Located next to William Land Park, Sacramento has its own fifteen acre city zoo. An all-time favorite of Sacramento youngsters, the zoo also provides an enjoyable pastime for all of us who have an interest in our world and its exotic inhabitants. The zoo is open every day except when the weather is extremely poor. For more information, visit their website www.saczoo.com.
In conclusion, just about the only thing you have to do in Sacramento when it comes to recreation is to find where it is offered. Most parks are very helpful in assisting you to find your particular form of recreation, and Sacramento State offers many different programs that are available to Sacramento State students free of charge.