Healthy Living Guide: Sacramento
Ah, Sacramento! California’s State Capitol, delta town, seat of the 19th century gold rush, and the town where the Pacific Railroad began. It’s also my old college town, a place where me and my friends spent our afternoons picking sour Seville oranges from the old trees lining downtown’s gorgeous streets (yes, harvesting is both legal and encouraged!), strolling in the camellia gardens at the Capitol, and scouting the perfect bowl of menudo in the hundreds of muy authentico Mexican restaurants that dot the area.
Located in Northern California’s fertile Central Valley, Sacramento is an agricultural powerhouse. The city itself is home to some of the biggest urban citrus groves in the nation. Past the city limits, farms dominate the landscape. Popular area crops include rice, all manner of nuts, vegetables, orchard fruits, berries, and melons. There are also wineries, cheese makers, beer brewers, marmalade makers (using the above mentioned Sevilles) and other food artisans. You can taste it all at any of the area’s farm-to-table restaurants that are so popular. Or, visit one of the local farmer’s markets, roadside produce stands, tasting rooms or pick-your-own farms.
But food isn’t all Sacramento has going for it. With its temperate climate and soft breeze—made possible by the surrounding Sacramento, American, and San Joaquin rivers— Sacramento is an outdoorsy town. Be prepared to cycle along some of the hundreds of miles of dedicated bike lanes, jog next to the one of the rivers, canoe or raft, swim, stroll through historic Old Town, ski in the nearby Sierras, hike through foothill nature preserves, or join one of the Frisbee or soccer games that are always being played in one of the hundreds of area parks.
Looking for healthy options in your town? Check out the rest of our healthy living guides!
Sugar Plum Vegan Café
2315 K Street
This vegan cafe and bakery is home to some of Sacramento’s most beloved vegan
dishes and baked goods! Sugar Plum is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—but we can’t get enough of their Sunday brunch menu! The Tofu Frittata and Hempy Blueberry Pancakes are simply outstanding.
The Green Boheme
1825 Del Paso Boulevard
The Green Boheme is a very popular spot among Sacramento’s health-minded community! They serve healthy, gluten free, raw, vegan dishes at their café; many with a delicious Asian flare. The café also hosts raw cooking demonstrations, food plans and raw food cleanses!
1215 19th Street
Mulvaney’s Building & Loan is a New American farm-to-table restaurant that specializes in handcrafted cuisine made with local, organic ingredients. The menu is based completely on what is available locally each day, so it changes daily, but the quality and taste is always amazing!
Magpie Café & Catering
1409 R Street
This adorable café and catering company offers seasonal, local fare, including beer and wine. The menu changes seasonally—sometimes even daily based on area ingredient availability—and features several vegetarian options.
8493 Auburn Boulevard
This Italian spot serves delicious pastas and pizza, all of which are 100% gluten free! What 7 Sisters lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in taste and quality of food—you would never guess that cheesy, delicious calzone is gluten-free!
Ella Dining Room & Bar
1131 K Street
Ella is a New American farm-to-table restaurant that has been supporting local, sustainable farmers, growers and ranchers for more than 20 years. The family- owned restaurant has a stunning, modern dining room and an equally stunning menu. Although it’s hard to pick a favorite, we love the Wood Fired Chicken Breast!
5340 H Street
Owned by the same family as Ella Dining Room & Bar, Selland’s—the family’s namesake—is a casual eatery. The café serves local, organic lunch and dinner dishes as well as organic baked goods and local, California wine. Catering is also available for parties.
926 J Street
If you are looking for a casual, farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Sacramento, Grange is an excellent choice! All of the menu options are made with local, organic ingredients. While the menu tends to vary slightly from day-to-day based on produce availability, we recommend trying the Lemon Parisian Gnocchi if you have the chance! Grange is very popular, so make a reservation before you go!
1022 Second Street
This burger joint was highlighted by Sacramento Magazine as one of the best places to eat in Old Town Sacramento, and the reason is clear: The burgers are delicious. Not only are they delicious, but everything on the menu is made with local, organic ingredients!
Sacramento Natural Food Co-op
1900 Alhambra Boulevard
A locally owned natural food co-op that has supported local farmers and food artisans since 1973. Check website for membership information.
Davis Food Co-op
620 G Street
Fifteen miles west of downtown Sacramento is the college town of Davis, a slower, smaller, (dare we say it?) greener counterpart to Sacramento’s busy, mid-city vibe. A favorite among Davis residents, the Davis Food Co-op offers members, organic, local and seasonal produce. Check website for membership information.
This popular farmers market—open on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings—boasts fresh, organic produce, fish, meat, poultry, cheese, wine, beer, and baked goods from local farmers all year round! There is also locally made clothing and crafts. Let the kids ride the carousel or play in one of the playgrounds that surround the market.
The Davis Bike Loop is a 12 mile long route that circles the city of Davis. It’s mostly concrete paths and trails, so it’s great for walking and running as well!
A series of hiking and biking trails outside of Sacramento, the American River area is truly beautiful and definitely worth a visit while you are in the area.
The Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is a network of rivers and tributaries in the waterway between Sacramento and San Francisco with great fishing, boating and dozens of islands to explore!
Just a short, two hour drive from Sacramento, Lake Tahoe offers a quiet escape from the city. Enjoy skiing and snow-shoeing in the winter, boating and hiking in the summer—Tahoe has something for everyone! (Photo credit: Max Whittaker for The New York Times)
For more restaurant options around the country, have a look at all of Integrative Nutrition's Healthy Living Guides, or explore all our recommendations on the map below!
View IIN's Healthy Living Guide Map in a larger map
Do you have any restaurant suggestions for our upcoming Healthy Living Guides? Just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to include your suggestion when we get to your city!