Renting in Sacramento, CA – What You Need to Know

California has so many fantastic cities, but Sacramento stands out as one of the best places to live. With gorgeous tree-lined streets, ample rivers, a hot food and drink scene, and lots to do, renters from across the country pack up and head to Sacramento. If you’re one of the many, you’re facing a small problem. You know you want to move to Sacramento, but you aren’t sure which neighborhood to choose.

  • Thursday, February 20, 2020

  Matt Angerer


California has so many fantastic cities, but Sacramento stands out as one of the best places to live. With gorgeous tree-lined streets, ample rivers, a hot food and drink scene, and lots to do, renters from across the country pack up and head to Sacramento. If you’re one of the many, you’re facing a small problem. You know you want to move to Sacramento, but you aren’t sure which neighborhood to choose. Each of Sacramento’s neighborhoods has a distinct style so that you can pick a spot based on your needs. Check out the best Sacramento neighborhoods for renters and make your choice. Then it won’t be long before you’re living the dream in California’s capital city. 


Midtown has everything you love about Sacramento in one place. The tree-lined streets give off a California vibe, and the neighborhood is full of bike paths. Plus, Midtown has some of the best eating and nightlife options in the city, and it is also home to Sutter’s Fort. Throw in the gorgeous Victorian homes and ample rental opportunities, and it’s easy to understand why so many people relocate here.  

Where to Live in Midtown

You’re interested in Midtown, but you need to find a place to live. Midtown is full of apartment complexes that renters love, starting with 1801 L Apartments. You can choose from newly renovated studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, and some can even be used as living and workspaces. The amenities are out of this world and include a pet spa, pool, and concierge services. This is a luxurious apartment community. Oh, and the best part is the atmosphere. The management team runs events throughout the year, so you can meet your neighbors and form a community. 



Are you on a budget? Q19 offers affordable studio, one, and two-bedroom apartments in Midtown, and it also has some excellent amenities. Top amenities include a fitness center, internet café lounge, digital concierge, and a complimentary pet spa. Plus, with 24-hour emergency maintenance, you know you’re in good hands here. You might save a few bucks living here, but you won’t feel like you’re on a budget. 


Dining Out in Midtown

If you consider yourself a foodie, get ready to fall in love with Midtown. This neighborhood has something for every taste, and some of the restaurants are among the best in the city.

Let’s start with Lucca Restaurant and Bar. When you walk through the doors, you’ll find everyone from high-level politicians to working-class folks. Everyone fits in here, thanks to the location’s casually elegant atmosphere. As lovely as the ambiance is, Lucca excels when it comes to the food. If you aren’t sure what to order, have the beef short ribs. Get a side of zucchini chips to complete your meal. 


Localis is also a top spot in Midtown. Since the chef makes use of fresh ingredients, the menu constantly changes. It also has a reasonably priced chef’s tasting menu that you need to try if you dine here. Along with the tasty food, you’ll fall in love with the atmosphere. Consider it a fine-dining spot without the pretense. It’s not stuffy, so it’s the perfect spot to hang out with friends at the end of a long day at work. 


This is just a small slice of what you can expect when you eat out in Midtown. You can forget about bringing your cooking gear along for your move. You can easily have every meal out as long as your budget can handle it. 

Hottest Nightlife in Midtown

You don’t have to go home after a meal out in Midtown. The neighborhood is known for its nightlife, so spend some time out and about, meeting new people and having some fun. 

Old Ironsides is probably the most popular spot in Midtown. This bar draws a blue-collar crowd during the week, with the same regulars there each night. If you become a regular, you’ll feel like part of the cast of Cheers when you walk in. The regulars and staff will learn your name, and you’ll feel like you’re at home, only with lots of friends and alcohol. While conversation and beer are the focus during the week, the bar turns it up a notch on the weekends. Stop by on the first Saturday of the month to listen to some DJs spin tunes. One minute, they’ll spin Brit-pop, and then they’ll play your favorite 80s songs the next. The DJs know how to play to the crowd, mixing it up between hits and indie favorites. You can also listen to live music or enjoy some karaoke here.


The Flamingo House is another hot spot in Midtown. You can’t miss the pink Victorian house with a front-yard full of flamingos and palm trees. That sets the tone for what you’ll find inside. The pink velveteen sofa, blue velvet sectional, and pink barstools will make you feel like you’re in Key West instead of Midtown Sacramento, and the fruity drinks add to that feeling. This is your chance to enjoy a beach vacation without heading to the coast. It's one of the newest bars in Midtown and already one of the most popular, so you don’t want to miss your chance to visit. 


This is a glance at Midtown’s nightlife. Follow the crowds when you live here. They’ll point you toward the next big thing. 


Downtown Sacramento is one of the most coveted neighborhoods for renters. The city’s cultural mecca, it is full of museums, attractions, shops, and restaurants. It’s also the place to live if you are a Sacramento Kings’ fan since the Golden 1 Center is here. Imagine just walking over to a game and then returning to your rental. That’s a great way to live. 

Downtown is a prime location, and you can expect to pay extra in rent if you relocate here. However, you’ll also save on transportation since everything you could want and need is located in this neighborhood. 

Where to Live Downtown

If you have the budget to move Downtown, you can expect to live in luxury. The gorgeous rentals are modern and full of amenities, and you’ll be proud to show off your home. 

You can live in the heart of downtown if you get an apartment at Capitol Towers. With studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, it’s easy to find a space for yourself, your family, or a roommate, and the rental rates are reasonable by Downtown standards. Still, you can expect some luxurious amenities, such as patios and balconies and gorgeous views. Plus, the grounds are full of things to do, from lounging by the pool to working out in the fitness center. Also, the community has regularly planned social activities, making it easy to meet your new neighbors. 


800J Lofts is another excellent choice if you want to live downtown. The complex has studio, one, and two-bedroom units, and everything is contemporary and modern. Plus, the lofts make excellent use of Sacramento’s sunlight with floor-to-ceiling windows. The grounds are also fantastic, with a new lounge and a fitness center that has a Peloton Bike. Hit the bike so you’ll have the stamina you need to walk to your favorite spots in Downtown Sacramento. 


Dining out Downtown

Downtown areas tend to have some fantastic restaurants, and Downtown Sacramento is not an exception to the rule. If you live here, you can walk around and go from one delicious restaurant to the next. You might even find yourself walking into restaurants after you catch a whiff of the tasty smells when you are out and about.

Don’t want to use your nose as a guide? Then you’ll need some dining recommendations. Ask just about anyone where to eat downtown, and they’ll point you toward Frank Fat’s. This restaurant has been in business since 1939, and it’s the only Sacramento establishment that’s won a James Beard Award. If you want to see why it’s won the award, get the deep-fried Peking duck. The deboned duck might be the tastiest dish in all of Sacramento, and that’s no easy feat.


After you have the deep-fried duck a few times, you might need a lighter meal. That’s when it’s time to go to Backbone Café. This breakfast-lunch restaurant is the place to get gluten-free, low-carb, and paleo meals and is proof that you can adhere to a diet without sacrificing taste. You can also load up on energy here by getting the Chicken Power Bowl or another delicious, protein-packed meal. 


Start at these two places and then branch out and try other eateries. With so many options, your taste buds won’t get bored when you live in Downtown. 

Hottest Nightlife Downtown    

The food is excellent in downtown Sacramento, but do you know what’s even better? The nightlife.

Downtown Sacramento has cornered the market on the best nightlife, so you’ll never be bored if you live here. You can get the party started at the Park Ultra Lounge on 15th Street. Don’t be shocked when you see a line forming outside, managed with velvet ropes that indicate just how unique this club is. Once you make it through the line and get inside, you’ll be treated to a huge dance room, a fire pit, and lots of bars. Want to get in on the action without paying the cover that kicks in at 10 p.m.? Get on that exclusive guest list, and you can party without paying upfront. Otherwise, have your money handy so that you can gain entrance. 


Do you prefer something a little lower key? If people-watching is more your speed than dancing, head to the Grand Wine Bar. This small bar has a patio that’s perfect for watching the comings and goings Downtown, and with the impressive wine list, you’re sure to have a great night. Oh, and it also has mixed drinks and beer so that everyone can come out for a fun night. 


Start at these two spots and then work your way throughout the downtown nightlife. You’ll find everything from wild dance clubs to quiet bars, so it’s easy to find a spot that fits your personality. 

East Sacramento

Do you want to live a more suburban lifestyle? East Sacramento, commonly referred to as East Sac, might be the right choice for you. Students and young professionals love putting down roots in this neighborhood, and it’s also home to families and retirees. This community provides easy access to parks, schools, restaurants, and bars. 

Where to Live in East Sacramento

You’ll have lots of choices when it comes to choosing a place to live in East Sacramento. First, there is The Angelino. This community has loft apartments and two-story townhomes for you to choose from, and each is modern and luxurious. Features like balconies, large closets, and up-to-date appliances provide you with everything you need for the perfect rental. The community also has retail spaces, access to public transportation, and valet trash services. Plus, it’s in a prime location on J Street. You’ll find all kinds of things to do just steps outside of your door. As you can imagine, this apartment community is in high demand with East Sac residents. 


If you attend Sacramento State, you might prefer to stay at Academy 65. The ideal location means you won’t have far to go to get to classes, and even though the apartments are designed for students, they are still upscale and have lots of amenities. The fully furnished studio, one, two, and four-bedroom apartments have washers and dryers, fully outfitted kitchens, and other features that make student life more comfortable. Plus, the complex has a sense of community. You can hang out on the rooftop terrace, spend time in the game room, or attend one of the social events. This is just a small sample of what you’ll get when you move here. 


Dining Out in East Sacramento

If you hate to cook, you’ll love living in East Sac. The neighborhood has one taste bud tempting option after the next, so get ready to enjoy lots of meals out. 

So, where should you go? Start your culinary tour at Hawks Public House. This is located right on the border of East Sac, and it’s the best high-end American cuisine you’ll find. The chef uses seasonal ingredients so that you will enjoy some new offerings each season, along with some standards. This needs to be your go-to spot on Mondays when you can get the buttermilk fried chicken. Just expect a crowd since most of Sacramento is in on this secret. Get there a little early to ensure you get a table and some of that crispy fried chicken. 


Then there’s Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine. You might remember this place when it was Downtown, but it has a new, larger home in East Sacramento. It’s about three times the size of the original, but it still has all your favorite menu items, such as the homemade pork gyoza. If you’re feeling adventurous, spring for the omakase. This chef tasting menu might be a little on the expensive side, but it's money well spent.

After you try these places, venture out and hit up other local favorites. It’s easy to find the most popular restaurants. They bring in crowds, so just follow the people. 


Hottest Nightlife in East Sacramento

East Sacramento is the perfect neighborhood for enjoying a laid-back evening with friends. It’s full of bars and pubs that offer delicious drinks and friendly service, and you’ll meet lots of locals when you stop by. 

The Bonn Lair is probably the most popular bar in East Sac. The English pub serves a variety of beer, including Guinness, and the bartenders are among the friendliest you’ll find. The patrons are also known to engage in conversations with new friends, and everyone cheers on the soccer games while downing adult beverages. If you’re looking for a neighborhood hangout where you can make some friends, this is the place.


If you’re in the mood for a dive bar, head over to Hilltop Tavern. There are so many things to love about this bar. First, the clientele is worth mentioning. You’ll find everyone from students to retirees hanging out at the bar, and each person is made to feel welcome. The regulars and the staff are friendly, and there are all kinds of things to do. Play some billiards or air hockey or try your luck at ping pong. You can also just chill and watch TV. Like most dive bars, the drinks are cheap. However, unlike dive bars, this place is clean. 


You can also find sports bars and other options in East Sac. Whether you want to hang with students, working adults, or retirees, you’ll find your crowd at the bars in this neighborhood. 

The Pocket

What if you want the suburban lifestyle with easy access to Downtown? Consider relocating to the Pocket. It’s just a few miles from Downtown so that you won’t be far removed from the excitement of city life. At the same time, you will enjoy a quiet community with beautiful landscaping and gorgeous scenery. Whether you are a young professional, raising a family, or nearing retirement, you will love calling the Pocket home. 

Where to Live in the Pocket 

Like other Sacramento neighborhoods, you’ll have lots of apartment options if you live in the Pocket. Rush River Apartment Homes is easily one of the most popular spots to live here. The one and two-bedroom apartments include washers and dryers, gourmet kitchens, wood-burning fireplaces, and balconies or patios. When you venture outside of your residence, you can enjoy the pool, fitness center, and barbecue area, or take a short stroll to public transportation.


Shore Park at Riverlake is also located in the Pocket. The large one, two, and three-bedroom apartments will make you feel at home, and the outstanding amenities will ensure you always have fun. You can use the two swimming pools, a barbecue at the pavilion, or get your workout in at the fitness center or tennis court. There’s even a playground you’ll appreciate if you’re raising kids in this suburban neighborhood. Add in the 24-hour maintenance, and it’s a hit with singles and families. 


Dining Out in the Pocket 

While you can always zip Downtown to enjoy a meal out when you live in the Pocket, the neighborhood also has some delicious eateries.  You can stay close to home and enjoy some tasty food when you live here.

Let’s start with Sai Varee. This restaurant specializes in authentic Thai cuisine made with fresh ingredients. The food doesn’t contain MSG, so if you have an allergy, no worries. You can chow down on pad Thai, pumpkin curry, and other delectable dishes without fear.


Oh, and you need to try L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. Now, this is technically fast food, but the plate lunches are among the best you’re going to find. The chicken katsu is among the most popular of the dishes, and you’ll know why with the first bite. The price is also right here, and the portions are large. 


These two restaurants are so delicious that you might want to stop your culinary tour right there but explore the other restaurants. Just like the rest of Sacramento, the Pocket is full of eateries you’re sure to love. 

Hottest Nightlife in the Pocket 

You can always head Downtown to hit a wild club, but if you want to stay low key, the Pocket has you covered. It has a nice assortment of bars to keep you occupied in the evenings.

The Trap is the Pocket’s most famous dive bar. It started as a grocery store and saloon in 1861, and it had entrances for both, so women didn’t have to walk through the bar. Now, it’s known for its karaoke, pool, and affordable drinks.


Then there’s Spitzer’s Walnut Room. Also classified as a dive bar, the bartenders and locals are welcoming, and conversation is always on the menu. Most patrons are 40 or older, and the place has a chill, laid back vibe. Don’t believe the rumors that it’s closed. The bartenders are still slinging affordable drinks, and the jukebox continues to play your favorite tunes. Stop by and see what all the fuss is about if you move to the Pocket.


You can also find sports bars and more in the Pocket. Locals frequent the different spots, so you can meet your neighbors when you go out.

Moving to Sacramento? Get a Roommate

Picking a neighborhood is just one part of moving to Sacramento. You also need to make sure you can afford a rental. That’s easy to do when you get a roommate.

Pick the right roommate with VerticalRent’s Roommate Finder. This free tool allows you to perform criteria-based searches for roommates, send messages, and execute a roommate agreement. It’s easy to use and will help you pick a financially responsible roommate that you’re sure to love.


About the author

Matt Angerer is the Founder and President of VerticalRent. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics that help Landlords, Property Managers, and Renters across America. He is particularly interested in helping renters understand their local marketplace, pick the best places to live, and find an awesome roommate. Since 2011, VerticalRent has grown to service over 100,000 landlords and renters across America. 

Read more articles from Matt Angerer

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