Strangely enough, I have really fond memories of hanging out in malls as a young girl. I remember spending full days at Sacramento's Downtown Plaza, filling bags with sweets at the candy shop, buying cheap jewelry at Claire's, spritzing ourselves with an obscene amount of fragrance from The Body Shop, sitting on the soft, crushed velvet couches at Z Gallerie and dreaming of the day when I would be old enough to own a fancy purse from Wilsons Leather.
We lived in the suburbs of Sacramento at the time, but when we headed Downtown for the day we'd wander much farther down K Street than we were supposed to (sorry, parental units...it's true). We'd check out the crisp work shirts at Joe Sun's and spend hours in the stacks at Records. Fast forward several years and I'd be getting my belly button pierced at Sub Q with my best friend by my side. A few years after that, I'd be walking out of the mall with that Wilsons Leather purse as a reward for landing my first job after graduating college -- a job with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.
While this may not mean much to those of you who live outside of the Sacramento area, having local landmarks and institutions -- those that have closed and those that remain -- as part of my upbringing completely influenced the person I am today.
I've lived in the Sacramento region of California for approximately 70% of my life. Sacramento is the city of my birth. I spent summer vacations and holidays here during a handful of my formative years (see the 'obscene amount of fragrance' reference above) and studied literature in the shade of Sac State's ever-expanding tree canopy. I've learned to love this place over and over again in each new season of life.
Over the years, I've lived in Davis, West Sacramento, Sacramento and unincorporated parts of Sacramento County -- all of which are about a 30 minute drive from one another. I met my husband and have grown a career here. This place is my home. As residents, we sometimes forget how good we have it and head down the well-worn path of inferiority. Yet, we have amazing events, happenings, restaurants, outdoor activities, shops and artists here in the Sacramento Valley that keep us busy and our lives full. As a community, we're supporting new landmarks and reviving old institutions.
Because I've enjoyed so much of what this area has to offer, I've decide to create a Sacramento Guide as a way to share some of my favorites with all of you:
If you've never visited, I hope you'll make your way to the Sacramento area soon. Our region isn't comprised of the biggest or brightest cities in California and I'm so happy for that. Both residents and visitors are beginning to see the Sacramento region as it should be seen: not as a less-than-shiny object when compared to other places, but as a wonderful place in its own right.
I'm here to tell you that it's about damn time.