Population: 475,000 in the city, 2.5 million in greater metropolitan area.

Location: Sacramento, the state capital, is part of California’s Central Valley, a rich agricultural region that feeds the nation. For meeting groups, location and convenience are the keywords. Sacramento International Airport, offering nonstop flights to 30 destinations and direct flights (one stop, no change of planes) to 100 more, is just 15 minutes from downtown conference facilities and hotels. Interstate 5 and Interstate 80 converge downtown, and Amtrak operates about 18 trains a day in each direction to the San Francisco Bay Area. To the east is Gold Country, rich in history and recreational opportunities. Lake Tahoe, Northern California’s favorite playground, is just 100 miles away. More than 200 regional wineries welcome visitors eager to sample new labels and local hospitality.

Vibe: “Sacramento offers the ideal blend of a bustling urban city and the welcoming culture typically reserved only for small towns,” says Mike Testa, chief operating officer for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. “California’s capital is also undergoing a distinct transformation, exuding an energy that’s hard to ignore. From downtown to Midtown, new shops, bars and eateries abound, bringing with them a modern, youthful vibe that can be felt throughout the city. Something new is always bubbling.” Professional sports are also kicking up the heat, Testa adds, with baseball, soccer and basketball franchises drawing sellout crowds. The NBA’s Sacramento Kings will relocate next year to a new sports and entertainment complex downtown. Several new hotels are also in the works. 

Must-sees: Old Sacramento, a 28-acre national historic landmark district, features Gold Rush-era buildings that house shops, restaurants, night spots and museums along the Sacramento River. Top museums include the California State Railroad Museum, interpreting railroad history from the coming of the first transcontinental railroad to the present, and the Crocker Art Museum, fresh from a 125,000-square-foot expansion in 2011. The American River Parkway is the city’s most prized recreational asset, stretching 32 miles from Old Sacramento to Folsom. Just steps from the convention center is the trendy Midtown district, home to a vibrant entertainment, theater and dining scene.

Convention Center and Hotels: Two major convention hotels, the Sheraton Grand and Hyatt Regency, each with 503 rooms, flank the Sacramento Convention Center, while hotels offering another 1,300 rooms are within walking distance. The CVB works with meeting planners and convention groups to host events at hotels and venues across the city, including the 384,000-squarefoot Sacramento Convention Center, the architecturally distinguished Memorial Auditorium, seating 3,800, and the 2,422-seat Sacramento Community Theater, the city’s primary performing arts venue.

Restaurants: Sacramento styles itself as America’s farm-to-fork capital, and its restaurants are earning accolades. “Sacramento-area restaurants utilize the abundance of regionally grown products to create a freshness that’s unparalleled in this country, says Testa. “Our coffee is also creating national buzz, with Sacramento earning more mentions on Coffee Review’s 2014 list than any other city. If it’s a pint you’re after, craft brewing has arrived in a big way, with more than 40 breweries in the region.” Many fine-dining restaurants featuring locally sourced cuisine are located within the core convention area, among them Mulvaney’s B&L, Ella, Grange, Esquire Grill, Dawson’s, Morgan’s and Biba.

How the CVB Helps: “The Sacramento CVB acts as your full-service concierge when it comes to planning your meeting, convention or special event,” Testa says. “We can serve as your single point of contact throughout the process. Our experienced team can assist with bids from area meeting facilities, as well as with technical services, housing, transportation, leisure activities, food and beverage, dining experiences, signage and other branding material, and local media outreach. The success of your event is paramount, and our goal is to ensure that we exceed your expectations.” 

Less than two years after California legalized recreational marijuana, cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, is gaining widespread acceptance as a therapeutic substance used to promote relaxation, relieve pain and reduce tension. Where else but San Francisco to take it mainstream?

 

Perhaps your attendees have hopped on those electric bikes and e-scooters that are scattered all over metropolitan areas throughout California. That’s old news, no question. Yet it’s a sure bet they’ve never been on a Vintage Electric Cruz Bike, because only 250 of them ever have been made. Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop in Carmel has a fleet of these smile generators, as well as a fleet of knowledgeable guides to lead scenic group tours. 

 

 

California is one of the most abundant agricultural regions in the world, but a startling number of residents aren’t always sure where their next meal will come from. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, one in eight Californians struggles with hunger. The situation is especially startling for children; one in five is food insecure.

Hunger is not a supply problem, it’s a logistics challenge. And the meetings and events industry is full of logistics-minded people who are in a position to chip away at it.