A mix of beautiful and seedy

It’s always fun to read what folks have to say about Sacramento who do not live here.

From a review at fodors.com:

My first impression riding in was mixed and the city seemed fairly empty, there were not nearly as many folks walking around as I thought there would be in a city of that size at that time of day.

I’ve noticed this myself. Sure, traffic is a mess, but once people get to their homes they don’t seem to hit the streets, huh? Well, if you don’t have a home you do…

Leaving the restaurant, the sun was beginning to set, and I was surprised to see that most of the shops had already closed. Retracing my steps to the hotel was kind of spooky, There were very few people on the streets and many of those that I saw seemed to be vagrants. I was hit up for change at least half dozen times before reaching the hotel.

The author continues with a few great reviews of restaurants (especially Aioli) and services, so give it a read and tell us what you think.

Is Sacramento a tourist destination? Can it be?

Author: RonTopofIt

RonTopofIt is a complex personality, as are most of the small breed of modern day renaissance millionaires. He wishes more people were like him and yet believes that it takes all kinds. You've met RonTopofIt many times, you just don't remember him.

7 thoughts on “A mix of beautiful and seedy”

  1. This is a really timely discussion for me because the whole time I was in Bend, Oregon (or haven’t you heard? – ugh, I promise I’ll stop talking about it soon) I was thinking/talking about what they have that Sacramento doesn’t have. Downtown Bend is like Downtown Davis – good for tourists but also useful for locals. Old Sacramento and K Street could be that way, but instead they are useless wastelands catering to uncreative tourists. But this Fodor’s writer’s experience zig-zagging around Midtown reminds me that Midtown really has it going on, especially because you get to see the beautiful trees, which you don’t get if we transform Old Sac or K Street back into a real destination spot.

    The writing in that Fodor’s piece is also hilariously odd. Steak dinner, quick trip to the ER, Cobb salad.


  2. The vagrant travel publications all give downtown Sacramento very high marks …great climate, big river with shady trees, big soup kitchen just North of downtown, easy Greynhound & rail access, city owned hotels etc.

    But you raise a good point. If for some reason Sacramento wanted to attract fringe groups such as tourists, business travellers, and local residents then of course they would need to adopt a completely different approach.


  3. I love this city but we really gotta stop telling tourists about Old Sac. They just get disappointed. There’s nothing worthwhile in Old Sac anymore… unless you are a historian or a salt water taffy enthusiast.


  4. Maybe as a historian who likes salt water taffy I am biased, but I hear a lot of positive feedback from tourists to Old Sac–but generally they get there during the day, when the museums are open and the streets are busy. The dinner hour is really the lull of Old Sac–the tourists have left but the club crowds haven’t arrived yet.

    That writer’s experience (a mixture of beautiful and seedy) sounds a lot like my last trip to Los Angeles. I stayed at the Biltmore, arriving on a Sunday, and the area around Pershing Square was totally dead except for a few vagrants. I went to Playa de Los Angeles and found primarily touristy shops selling tourist goods (with pan dulce instead of salt water taffy), a couple restaurants, and a few museums. I walked back via Broadway and there was a very seedy neighborhood where I got spare-changed a lot. I walked in the other direction towards Figueroa and there were fancy restaurants, beautiful building, and upscale shops. Instead of a fancy Spanish restaurant I stopped at a cheap BBQ place, but it kicked ass.

    I figure if someone visiting Sacramento had a similar experience, albeit in miniature, we’re doing pretty good. Even if they did need antibiotics.

    And yeah, I’d consider “a mix of beautiful and seedy” to be a phrase that pretty much captures the central city in one phrase, even better than “Keep Midtown Janky.” I like it.


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