Best Areas to Live in Sacramento California (Updated 2020)


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Sacramento and the surrounding suburbs are a great place to live.  It is rated in the top 100 places in America to retire and #3 on the list of most diverse cities.  If your looking for the best places to live, we list the top 30 places to live in the Sacramento area.

If you’re planning on renting for awhile, maybe you’re test driving for the best suburbs, be sure to combine these communities with our most expensive zip codes to rent in Sacramento.

Centrally located to year ’round activities

To begin with, there’s always something to do in Sacramento.  For instance, you can attend a Sacramento Kings game, watch a minor league baseball game or go to the railroad museum with the kids.  Finally, enjoy the bustling nightlife in mid town pr East Sac.

Do you love water sports?  In the summer, go jump in a lake, literally.  Enjoy either the Sacramento or American Rivers and the several parks along the river, or nearby Folsom Lake if you are looking for a fun place to cool off.  Besides these water options, there are whitewater rafting adventures just 45 minutes away for those needing more adrenaline in their life.  For those who just want a relaxing afternoon, enjoy bicycling along the Jewel of Sacramento, a 23 mile river trail, either with the family or with another cycling friend.

“Enjoy bicycling along the Jewel of Sacramento, a 23 mile river trail”

Then in the Fall it’s off to Apple Hill.  Nestled in the foothills in nearby Camino, it’s apple harvest time – fresh apple cider, homemade apple pie and fun hay rides for the kids.  On your way home, stop in historic Placerville and enjoy some great dining in this quaint gold rush town.  Finally, in the Winter, skiing and other winter sports are a short 90 minute drive away.

If you are thinking of moving to the Sacramento area, Niche.com updated their “Best Suburbs to Live in Sacramento Metro” for 2018.  Their grading scale takes in many factors affecting those living in suburbia:  quality of local schools, crime rates, housing trends, employment and other factors that impact the communities desirability.

Want free money to help pay closing costs?  Be sure to read how to receive 20% of your agent’s commission from your next home purchase.

Top 10 Places to Live in Sacramento

  1. Davis– First on the list, Davis is best known as a college town.  Davis has held the number one spot of best places to live for several years.  And not without reason.  It has many excellent restaurants, night life and is very conservation conscious.  In addition, if you enjoy bicycling, Davis is super bicycle friendly.Sacramento is a great place for families
  2. Folsom – Folsom has held the second highest position for the past two years.  On the eastern end of the American River Parkway, this former cow town has become thriving place for families to live.  Along with excellent schools and Folsom Lake College, it also has many great restaurants.

    The new Folsom Ranch expansion to the south of town will dedicate over 1,000 acres to open space and have over 23 miles of new paths and trails along with 138 acres of parks.  Oh, and it still hosts a rodeo every year.
  3. Gold River – Several of the areas on the list are located next to or within walking distance to Sacramento’s premier American River Parkway including Gold River. This “jewel of Sacramento” has 23 miles bike paths and walking trails along the American and Sacramento rivers.  The bike trail is my personal favorite, and is a go-to destination for many cycling enthusiasts who come to visit Sacramento.
  4. El Dorado Hills – Not to be left out, El Dorado Hills is a great place to live along with nearby Cameron Park.  It was originally built as housing for the local aerospace industry, but now has become a home for employees of Intel and Blue Shield.‌

    The bustling Town Center has several fine dining establishments, a great movie theater and fountains.  It also provides a place go for a nice evening stroll or to meet up with friends.  The Town Center also hosts several events during the year including their annual Art and Wine festival that brings artisans from far and wide to display their craft.

    In addition, Folsom Lake borders the north side of town with awesome boating and water activities that can be reached from Brown’s Ravine.1
  5. Rocklin – Rocklin was rated as one of the safest cities in California to raise a family.  Rocklin has awesome schools, great restaurants and are great places to raise a family.  Just to prove a point, Niche.com also rated Rocklin in the top 10 cities in Placer County, CA to raise a family.Want to get away for the weekend?  It is just a quick 2 hour drive to San Francisco or to Reno.

    If you like shopping, be sure to check out the Galleria with it’s many upscale stores and anchors.
  6. Granite Bay – Moving from 7th position to number 6, is Granite Bay.  Granite Bay is on the west side of Folsom Lake and is home to many corporate executives and families.  Like so many other parts of Sacramento, it also has several parks with access to boating and bike trails.Water Sports in Sacramento
  7. Roseville -Is next door to Rocklin.  These two suburbs could almost be sisters.  In addition, they have awesome schools, great restaurants and are great places to raise a family.  Want to get away for the weekend?  It is just a quick 2 hour drive to San Francisco or to Reno.

    Denio’s Flea Market has been around since I was a small child and can be a fun diversion to walk through the various shops.  It also hosts a large selection of farm fresh produce stands seven days a week.
  8. Fair Oaks – Also moving up our list is Fair Oaks.  Located just across the American River from Gold River, this quaint older town is known for it’s wild chickens that roam around town .  They even have an annual Fair Oaks Chicken Festival that draws quite a crowd.  It’s also just a short distance to the American River Bike Trail.
  9. La Riviera – Moving up from 10th place is a nice part of town adjacent to the American River Parkway and Sacramento State University.  It has with several parks along the American River for fun in the water.  In addition to being close to Sacramento’s downtown, it too is a quick drive for weekend get away to the nearby wine country areas of Placerville, Jackson and Plymouth.
  10. El Grove -Elk Grove consistently ranks in the top 10 every year.  Best known for it’s award winning schools, it also has tons of shopping and restaurants.

    My favorite is the cute old town section that has a kind of Mayberry feel to it.  Furthermore, the city has lots of parks and playgrounds for children to play.

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Additional great suburbs to live in and around Sacramento

  1. Rancho Murrieta – Golf anyone?  This gated, golfing community is located further out than most of the other areas on the list and is nestled up against the foothills. It is also just a few minutes drive to California’s foothill wine country.
  2. Rancho Cordova – Rancho Cordova is a community undergoing a revitalization.   Originally a city supporting Mather Air Force Base, it went through hard times when the based closed.  In the past several years the city has been replacing blighted store fronts with new restaurants and businesses.

    Warren Dayton mural in Rancho CordovaRancho Cordova is a bedroom community but still close to downtown and light rail, and has a several top employers like Mercury Insurance, Delta Dental, Dignity Health, and Sutter Health.  Want to take a leisurely inner tube ride down the river?  Check out the boat rentals off of Sunrise Avenue.
  3. Vineyard – One of Sacramento’s best kept secrets.  A community where the neighbors are friendly, the schools are excellent and crime is low.   Seventy-five percent of the residents own their own homes.   It’s one drawback is the lack of public transportation.
  4. West Sacramento – West Sacramento’s home prices are some of the most affordable in the greater Sacramento region with the median price being $329,700.  It is home to the Port of Sacramento, providing shipping services for the regions agricultural products.  Due to home affordability, West Sacramento has moved up from 16th position on our list.
  5. Rosemont – Want to get away for a relaxing day at the river?  Then Rosemont may be just the place for you.  Located between Watt Avenue and Bradshaw, and just south of La Riviera it is a just a few minutes away from the American River Parkway.  Rosemont is a very diverse community where buying a home is still affordable.

Communites 16-20

  1. Orangevale – 150 years ago Orangevale was home to sprawling rolling hills that overlooked the American River.  In the late 1800’s it was the home to orange groves, giving rise to the original spelling “Orange Vale”.

    Like it’s westerly neighbor of Fair Oaks, Orangevale offers quick access to the American River Bike Trail and a short bike ride along Lake Natomas to Folsom shopping outlets.
  2. Carmichael – Another community just north of the river.  It offers many parks including Ancil Hoffman Park on the north bank of the American River. It is also home to the prestigious Jesuit High School a private, Catholic school.
  3. Newcastle – Newcastle is an unincorporated north east of Sacramento in Placer County, where 85% of the residents are home owners.  Newcastle also offers more affordable homes with a median home price of $293,000.  It’s also just a few minute drive to the north and middle forks of the American Rivers and the Auburn State Recreational Area (Auburn SRA).  Surrounding 40 miles of river, the Auburn SRA is a favorite destination for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riding, and many other activities.
  4. Antelope – Antelope started as a planned community in the 1980’s.  Due to the relative newness of the city, the homes tend to be newer than it’s surrounding neighbors.  Additionally, Antelope tends to be a more politically liberal and diverse community.
  5. Loomis – Loomis is rated as the #5 best place to live in Placer County.  Northeast of Sacramento along Interstate 80 it has highly rated schools, close proximity to Folsom Lake.  It is somewhat rural with homes sitting on larger acreage while still having nearby amenities and shopping.  It is a small town that boast that it feels like family.

More great communities to live

  1. Lincoln – Located north of Sacramento off of Highway 65, Lincoln is a quiet, commuter town just a short drive from Roseville and Rocklin.
  2. Auburn State Recreation AreaThis historic gold rush town is a 45 minute drive from Sacramento and home to Placer County Offices.  It’s downtown area is a popular attraction for tourists, as well as hosting several popular eateries and a brewery.  It’s often the stop over town on the way to the Gold Country or skiing in the Sierras.  Many of it’s homes are historic craftsmen style.
  3. Shingle Springs – Shingle Springs is often identified with Cameron Park, maybe because of having the same zip code.  Shingle Springs offers larger parcels and a more rural feel than Cameron Park.  With many 5 and 10 acre lots, there’s room for horses, goats or a your own menagerie of animals.
  4. Cameron Park – Cameron Park is named after James Cameron who initially purchased 5,000 acres of land in the 1950’s for development.  One of the most notable features of Cameron Park is the Cameron Airpark Estates, a subdivision with airplane taxi ways connecting each of the homes to the airport.  The average home price starts in the mid $400,000’s.  Additionally, Cameron Park schools have received an A+ grade by Niche.com.
  5. Citrus Heights – Citrus Heights is a popular community incorporated in 1997.  It is surround by Roseville to the north, Fair Oaks to the south, Foothill Farms to the west and Orangevale and east.  Home prices range from $350,000’s to $375,000.

Need to sell your current home before moving?

If you’re going to be buying a home in the Sacramento area or selling your current home, make sure you also read our Top 10 Questions to ask when Interviewing a Realtor to make sure you hire the right agent for you.