I love my hometown but in the last few years our downtown area has been struggling with unseemly visitors in a two block area on the K Street Mall. The Mall runs from 5th Street to 12th Street and in the two blocks between 7th and 9th many homeless and other unsavory characters "hang out". They are harmless for the most part and I know of no attacks on any person. You should not be in harm's way but it isn't a sight in our town to be proud of. I walk there many days during lunch and have never been bothered, just a word to the wise. The police patrol on bicycles regularly.
Summer gets HOT in Sac, and (when I can't get out of town) my favorite way to get through it is to pack a cooler, find a shady bank on the American River overlooking a clean little beach and hang out for the whole day. My husband and I were both river raft guides, so we see some crazy behaviors out there that don't seem crazy until trajedy occurs. The river is safe as long as it is approached with the dangers in mind:
(1) A hot day can be 110 degrees while the river can be 45 degrees. Probably not a great idea to play a hard game of football and then rope swing into deep water to cool off. Hypothermia is fast and kids die of it here every year.
(2) The currents can look gentle while being very strong.
(3) There may be tree roots, whole fallen trees, or other debris under the water. These are dangerous if the current pushes one in to them and one becomes entangled and can't get to air.
(4) Most boaters on the river are conscientious, but some are oblivious to kids swimming and some are so drunk that they are menaces to every other person on the river.
Many of Sac's parks with beaches have free life preservers for kids to use and there are signs posted which tell the dangers of the American River. Caution is key.
Sac has several terrific bike trails and it isn't difficult to enjoy much of the city by bike, but I would never leave my bike locked outside. I have seen, on SEVERAL occasions, a group of bums circle a bike rack and steal bikes that appeared to be well-secured. (My local bike shop says they use liquid nitrogen and a hammer and can grab a bike in seconds.) I'd definitely recommend biking in Sac, but bringing your bike in to your motel when not in use. If you are eating while biking, eat outside and keep the bike near you.
(1) When you find a parking space, check the area for broken glass. The same areas are robbed routinely, and usually several cars are hit at the same time. Streets are cleaned weekly, but glass is a very clear indicator of a danger zone.
(2) Everyone knows not to leave valuables in the car, but it isn't enough here. Don't leave anything in the car. Things you perceive as having no value will get taken. On different occasions, I've had my dog's water bowl taken, a child's gift, and a $1 school notebook.
(3) Leave your car unlocked (I know - it seems irresponsible.) Even with very active security, great lighting, and a gated complex, the only thing that stopped the regular smashing of my car windows was me not locking my car. Thieves still regularly pilfer the car, but I haven't had damage since using this strategy.
(4) Think about what you are really leaving in your car. I recover a lot of purses, backpacks, and computer cases from a park near me. I always try to return the remainders to owners when I can find them. I am shocked at how often people keep their flashdrives (used as backup) WITH their computers (so they are stolen, too). Twice I have recovered big key rings to homes and offices along with plenty of info to get to the home and office.
(5) Put a phone number or email in your stuff so you can be reached if it is recovered. Your name or address are not necessary. A tag on a ring attached to the inside of a purse or backpack would work great.
(6) If your car does get broken in to, don't waste your time calling the police. They will not come. They won't even fill out a report.
(7) Don't underestimate who is robbing your car. Where I live, thieves are not bums or meth addicts: they are kids about 15-25 who work in groups, who are clever, aware, and well-practiced at robbing. They know about computers and credit cards and they never get caught. They are good at robbing places that look very safe - downtown, busy family parks, suburban neighborhoods, etc.
In the winter time, from December thru March, the foggy conditions in Sacramento are at their worst. Avoid driving as much as possible, especially at night and in the morning during rush hour.
There are many accidents a year as the visibility is very low.
Having booked my one-way air ticket from Sacramento to Burbank, CA, I thought little more of it. I had about a 3-hour wait at the airport, after my hire car company dropped me off (free shuttle!!). I had to pay for, and collect my ticket at the Southwest Airlines desk, having booked the flight at a travel agents in the city 2 days before.
The security guy said he was going to x-ray my suitcase, and to accompany him to a waiting area, which I did. After the x-ray, I saw my suitcase being thoroughly hand searched. I was then given my ticket back, and thought nothing more about it.
Later, when I went through to departures, I was subjected to further searches, of my hand lggage, and even my camera. A full body search, with the wand, was also carried out. I even had to roll down the front of my trousers, so they could see I had nothing hidden there, LOL! Naturally, shoes are always removed.
I'm not against any form of security searches, but was not expecting this type of search on an internal flight. I had a chat with they security guy, who pointed out that my ticket had been marked at the check-in desk, and therefore wherever I went, I would be subjected to a full search. So now you know!
On our trip back from Old Town to the Hyatt, we stopped in for a quick pop at one of our fave bars, Marilyn's.
We wanted to hear some more music and see if we could catch the score of the NBA playoff game.
This band started making fun of the Jazz Jubilee and those going there (Ha-Rumph!) and the drummer said they'd be glad to play "When the Saints Go Marching In" 10-12 times for us.
Appears he may haven't even been there to find out that they have opened up to ALL sorts of music now.
Then they started to play. I never knew of a new musical genre called "Drone on" music.
All she kept singing about was her
ex-boyfriend's truck leaving from Anderson or Red Bluff...somewhere...After hearing her drone on and on, I could see why he left..
The waitress wouldn't even give us their names. Maybe she knew?
All in all, Marilyn's is a good spot to party.
watch out for junkies that hang out in gas station parking lots and on the sides of stores. there are a lot. if you are a girl and happen to pass a group of these hobos, be prepared for some, uh, conversation.
Unfortunately, Sacramento has it's danger zones. It is not a fantastic idea to be out walking around any part of the city late at night, but that's just common sense. Concentrated areas of crime include the Downtown area, Oak Park (which is making a great come-back, I must say), South Sacramento (there's nothing interesting there, so I'd be surprised to see tourists out that far anyway) and other outlying areas around the central city.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!!!!
Just kidding. I think its really funny to read people's warnings and dangers, mine included...like who needs to be told not to get bitten by a dog in Bali. But seriously, Sac is a very safe town. I walk around downbtown at night with my baby in a stroller (yes I do have a 130 lb. dog, but that is niether here nor there!!) and I have never had any problems.
Just one more tip. Make sure to reserve a campsite as early as you can. This place is so popular, it's booked up for the entire summer usually within the first week of the year. Reservations start January 1st.
If you are sensitive to heat, Sacramento is not your place in the Summer. Temperatures in excess of 100 F are common, and if the wind is still, the air is poor for those who have sensitive breathing problems. There is a supposed 'Mass Transit' system here, but if you are accustomed to a true Mass Transit system, you will be sorely disappointed with what Sacramento (and most of California with the exception of SF for that matter) offers. Better get a car. Other than that, this is a very easily livable area.
There is, hoawever a great Waterslide Park that can help you cool offf on a hot summer's day.