Best of Sacramento 2016

Frances Wang is among Sacramento’s best in 2016.

Frances Wang is among Sacramento’s best in 2016.

Ask almost anyone who’s lived in Sacramento for the last few years and they’ll tell you this city’s changed. A lot.

What was once a sleepy, stodgy government town now bustles with energy. Yes, we’re still a government town—but we’ve wiped the sleep from our collective 916 eyes.

There’s a wealth of new bars and restaurants, a vibrant arts scene and several sports franchises. Sacramento suddenly seems more grown-up, more urban, maybe a little cooler on the surface.

Which is not to say we were never not cool. If anything, we’ve always been too cool to care. When you’re the kind of town that’s basically famous for its politicians, trees and heat (and not necessarily in that order), then you develop a bit of a laid-back whatever attitude. You become the kind of place where people dig in deep to create awesome things and forge new paths—regardless of who’s paying attention.

Sacramento’s a place that’s long thrived on underground clubs, obscure artists and weirdo culture—and here’s hoping all the $12 cocktails, shiny new arenas and jacked up rents in the world won’t ever change that.

So, essentially, Sacramento is at a bit of a crossroads: Old-school street cred meets new world money and ideas. This year’s Best Of issue celebrates both.

We’ve got rising media stars like ABC10 reporter Frances Wang and the owners of Kicksville Vintage, a tiny but adorable shop specializing in midcentury modern wares. There’s Gus Pearson, the organ player who revs up the crowd at River Cats games and the rule-breaking Identity Coffee. There’s tiny boutiques, fancy eats and tasty, off-the-grid doughnuts. All this and underground comedy, free-form radio and the coolest music venue you’ve maybe never heard of.

Sacramento may be changing, but its foundation—all the people, places and things that made it so great in the first place—remains solid.