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Old 07-17-2018, 08:04 PM
Location: Littleton, CO
4 posts, read 2,831 times
Reputation: 13


Hello! Although I have been stalking this forum for years, I am finally posting.

My wife and I have been married for a little over a month now. We are living in the Denver area while she is pursuing her Master's degree. While we were planning our honeymoon to Santa Cruz, California, we were bemoaning the fact that we were only visiting, and not moving to California. Then suddenly it dawned on us that there's no glue on our shoes, and that we could in fact move to California if we so desired. So the plan to move to Sacramento at the end of the year was hatched, as it is reasonably close to the coast as well as the mountains (we love the mountains of CO). The cost of living is lower (albeit slightly), and we are ready to get the heck out of Denver. We don't hate Denver, but we feel it's overpriced and overhyped for what it is, and we want to experience a new place from where we spent our undergrad.

So, while we are excited to potentially leave Denver, we want to make sure we don't have rose-colored glasses about Sacramento, and that the move will be good for us, especially since the move is entirely on a whim. Thus, a few questions:

1. Weather: From stalking the forums, I know that it is hot in the summer. We're prepared for this, as we are both originally from the Midwest, and know what a hot, humid summer is like. I don't think we'll have a problem with dry, hot summers, as the last couple of summers in Denver have been upper 90s most days and don't find it unbearable. But what about the winter? Is it reasonable that we could sit outside on a patio for most days of the winter months? Is there ever any frost or ice? What is a typical winter day, weather-wise? For the record, we consider a Denver winter very doable, though we would like to ditch the snow, if anyone has a comparison for Sacramento to Denver winters. Also, how many thunderstorms does the Sacramento area get? We are true Midwesterners who love a good thunderstorm. not a deal breaker though.

2. Employment: I recently graduated with a Communication degree. My only work experience is working on my dad's farm as well as my college job, the local Chick-fil-A. Will I have much trouble finding a professional, decent-paying job (entry-level, of course)? Are there good communication jobs in the Sacramento area?

3. Sacramento State: My wife is looking into transferring to the Clinical Counseling program at Sac State. Does anyone have any knowledge of whether that's a good program?

4. Suburbs: We definitely know that we don't want to live in the city core, as we would actually prefer to live rurally, but suburbs are a good compromise for working professionals as rural locations lack in those types of jobs. From what I've seen on the forums, I feel like either Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, or Carmichael would suit us. We're not looking for a crazy nightlife or really even many things to do. We just want a decently priced, low crime, nice-ish area that has access to your typical grocery stores, movie theaters, you know, regular suburb stuff within commuting distance of Sac State. Would those suburbs fit us well, or does anyone have other suggestions?

5. Nature: We know that the mantra is "2 hours from either mountains or the coast," but how true is that really? Are there good mountains within two hours, or do you have to go further to get to the really good stuff? Also, what are the best coastal areas that could be accessed in a day trip? We love the outdoors and want to make sure that outdoors life is actually accessible.

6. Peoples' Temperament: Are people generally nice? We aren't necessarily looking for Southern hospitality, but would prefer that people don't go out of their way to be jerks like in, say, New York City. As long as people are generally pleasant we're fine with that.

We're not expecting Sacramento to be the most exciting place, and we're fine with that. When we visited the Bay Area we both agreed that we liked Sacramento way better as a place to live. We just want to make sure that we're making a good move.

That's my list. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by MountainDude95; 07-17-2018 at 09:03 PM..
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:39 PM
Location: Phoenix, AZ
2,048 posts, read 1,455,767 times
Reputation: 2075
I can't answer a lot of your questions (I live in Phoenix), but I can tell you that the median home price in Denver is now HIGHER than in Sacramento. I'm biased, but I'd take Sac's climate anyday over Denver's. Being a gardener, I appreciate the LONG growing season in Sac vs Denver's short growing season.

I also think Sac's location is much better. Denver is isolated--the nearest cities are Kansas City, Omaha and Salt Lake City (all many hundred miles away from Denver.)

I guess the cherry on top is no snow in Sac. Having that aggravation gone is a big plus IMO. I didn't like Sac's occasional fog in the winter, but it hardly compares with the aggravating snow in Denver. Too bad Sacramento is in dysfunctional CA ��.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:02 AM
Location: Northern CA
184 posts, read 101,335 times
Reputation: 366
Here's some thoughts for the OP. Hopefully they help some. I don't work in either of your career fields so am leaving that for somebody who does.

1. Weather:
Yes, you could sit outside on your patio during most winter days as there's still a lot of sunny days. This past winter, most days were in the 50's and 60's. There's not very many thunderstorms and frost or ice is very rare.

4. Suburbs:
Any of the suburbs in the Sacramento area will have access to shopping, movie theaters, etc. For people to give you better suggestions, they would need to know a bit more about what your want and your limits, etc. Are you going to rent or buy? What is your limit for renting or buying? What is your limit for commute time?

5. Nature:
The time to drive to the mountains would depend on where you live in the Sacramento Valley and where in the mountains you want to go. For instance, snow skiing is usually at higher elevations and a little further away. Elk Grove is a little further down the hill than Rancho Cordova. Driving to the coast is definitely going to take longer than 2 hours. The main freeways run North and South. Heading West to the coast usually involves secondary roads or highways that take several hours.

6. Peoples' Temperament:
People in California can often be rude but they're not as bad as NY. There are still a lot of nice people in California.

Just as a suggestion, maybe you guys should take a vacation in the Sacramento area and get a better feel for the area vibe. Drive up to Tahoe and over to the coast so you see how long it takes you to drive. California is a lot bigger than some people realize but offers more opportunity. Hopefully this helps some and gives you more to consider.
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:52 AM
Location: Littleton, CO
4 posts, read 2,831 times
Reputation: 13
For commute time, the ideal would be 30 minutes or less. We would certainly be renting, as we have little money at the moment and don’t want to get stuck in Sacramento if we decide we don’t like it. Limit is a bit nebulous right now as well. If I don’t get a professional job, we’d be looking at an apartment in the neighborhood of $1,000 a month. If I do get a professional job, we’re hoping to rent a house for around $2,000 a month (or preferably a bit less).

Neither of us ski, so skiing mountains aren’t important. Looking more for good views while hiking or backpacking.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:36 AM
Location: Sacramento
418 posts, read 290,919 times
Reputation: 670
1. Weather:
There's a pretty epic weather thread on this forum you can check out if you want to see a handful of people constantly arguing over what is considered pleasant versus too hot! I love the winters here - they can differ year to year depending on whether it's a dry or wetter winter. We usually have a month or so of cool weather where it might be a bit chilly to be sitting outside. But yes I'd say if you have a sunny patio spot to drink coffee then it would be very pleasant to sit out there many days in the winter.

2. Employment:
I imagine it is hard to find an entry-level communications job anywhere. There will be plenty of competition as I read that Sacramento is one of the most popular destinations for younger adults these days. But really I have no idea what kind of opportunities exist for you or your wife.

3. Sacramento State:
Sac State is a solid middle of the range State University. Don't know anything about that program specifically. There's also UC Davis nearby.

4. Suburbs:
There's a variety of suburbs that would fit your needs. When you figure out a budget people can direct you to areas you should consider.

5. Nature:
Mountains are much easier to access than the coast. Good hiking and mountain biking in the mountains can be had 1.5 hours from Sacramento. The closest coast has you going through the bay area to get there and depending on your time of drive it can take 2 hours or it can take 4+ hours and frustrating traffic everywhere. Coastal areas I usually head to for day trips are beaches in Marin and Sonoma county - these are typically a 2.5 hour drive from Sac. Ex - Stinson Beach or Bodega Bay area.

6. Peoples' Temperament:
People are okay. Some nice and some grumpy. Some wealthy snootiness and some low class slobs. There's tons of people these days from all over that have relocated to Sac. I can't imagine it differs all that much from Denver but I've never been there.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:49 AM
2,311 posts, read 3,435,313 times
Reputation: 1869
Great answers -- just want to congratulate you on your decision to move to a wonderful city!
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:30 AM
Location: Littleton, CO
4 posts, read 2,831 times
Reputation: 13
Thank you all for your help thus far. A couple more things I’ve thought of. How is traffic? Some say it’s awful, some say it’s not too bad. Any comparisons to Denver? Also, how green is it throughout the year? Denver is brown except for about two months in the early spring/summer. I remember Sacramento being quite yellow as we drove through in June.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:33 PM
Location: Novato, CA
260 posts, read 166,940 times
Reputation: 203
1. Weather:
Winter in California is sublime in my opinion. It is generally 60s and some 70s. It can get cool and damp at night. Some days you have Tule fog which can last all day but apparently not as thick as years past. I personally love the fog. Other than rare hail there isn't ice. Maybe a frost a couple nights but that's it. You can forget about thunderstorms. Although they do happen here occasionally they are no long lived or as spectacular as they are in the Midwest. It is also hot & sunny for a 3 month block in the summer time. It does cool off at night/evening due to the Delta breeze but make no mistake about it. It is hot & the sun is intense (like it is in Denver).

2. Employment: I would highly advise obtaining employment before moving here.

3. Sacramento State:
I have no idea on this question.

4. Suburbs:
Every area will vary. It really depends on where you actually get a job. Outside the city itself and a few select towns, I find most of the suburbs similar in aesthetics. People say parts of Elk Grove are getting rougher but I can't personally attest to this.

5. Nature:
You can start getting into the mountain areas fairly quickly especially if you are east of the city (45 minutes or so). There are good hiking areas around Auburn and I believe Placerville. There really is nothing to the south, north, or west of the city as it is all flat with very little tree cover. Sacramento itself has an urban canopy of trees which I love. It truly sets Sac apart from other central valley cities. Other than this, everything is very yellow/brown in the summer (May - Oct). In winter everything is green which is opposite of Denver. So imagine the landscape of Denver in winter without snow and heat. That is summer in Sac.

The coast is more of a challenge. You'll have to go west into the cluster that is the Bay area. 2 hours is without traffic but I would say it is more typical of 3.5-4 with it. You're best shot it coastal areas north of SF (Sonoma coast or Mendocino county) although Santa Cruz is a great little beach town. The water, however, is very cold year round. If you don't need actual Ocean, Lake Tahoe is fantastic and only about 1.5 hours from Sac (traffic dependent). There is also Folsom Lake in the metro area plus the Sacramento & American rivers which are superior to those in Denver.

6. Peoples' Temperament:
"Nice" varies. I generally find people in the Sacramento metro area to be quite friendly. More so than San Francisco or DC but maybe not like Cleveland or other upper Midwest areas. I also think NYC gets a bad rap and my multiple experiences there have shown people there were nice (at least to me).

6. Unsolicited Advice:
Before even attempting to move, I would check out the job market and secure something before coming. I'm not sure what the market is like for communication majors. Prices in Sac are moving up as people get priced out of the Bay and as Sac's popularity grows as a whole. $1,000/mo for a 1 bedroom is doable but you may be pressed to find a decent place in that range. Remember things like income taxes and gasoline are significantly more expensive in CA than in CO.

Good luck!
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:52 PM
203 posts, read 150,484 times
Reputation: 201
Originally Posted by MountainDude95 View Post
Thank you all for your help thus far. A couple more things I’ve thought of. How is traffic? Some say it’s awful, some say it’s not too bad. Any comparisons to Denver? Also, how green is it throughout the year? Denver is brown except for about two months in the early spring/summer. I remember Sacramento being quite yellow as we drove through in June.

Traffic basically depends on where you start, where you are heading, and time of day. The daily commute can be quite bad at times but there are alternate routes that can get you around most of it.

As far as how green - very green, especially in spring and summer. There are fields around that are not maintained and will die off when it gets hot but most of the neighborhoods and parks stay green. In fall, you get a very nice combination of broad leaf evergreens, coniferous, palm trees, and the red/gold changing leaves.

Nature- don't forget about the American River Parkway. I can drive for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, and be in a fairly wild area with eagles, fox, rabbits, and the occasional deer. There are also wildlife preserves in the Yolo bypass area and other easily accessible destinations.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:31 AM
4,433 posts, read 4,444,018 times
Reputation: 2056
Sacramento State - Lovely campus, compact and green in a great part of town. Clinical Counciling, sorry, not sure about that program
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