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Sacramento Is a City of Festivals That’s an Entertaining Choice for Meetings

Photo of state capitol of California during night at Legends of Wine 2023 festival.

The capital of the fifth-largest economy in the world—at least if California was a sovereign nation—Sacramento is ready to take its place on the big stage, figuratively and literally.

Photo of band playing in front of flames at Aftershock 2022 festival.
 2022 Aftershock festival. Credit: Kevin Graft.

The largest hard-rock festival on the West Coast, Aftershock, has cranked up the volume here since 2012, and on the flipside, the creators of Aftershock debuted the GoldenSky country music festival in the city two years ago and now have expanded it to three days in 2024.

The Sacramento City Council even joined in on the jam in 2022, to the tune of a $700,000 pandemic relief funds investment to brand it the “City of Festivals” through grants funding special events.
Sacramento’s a town that loves a good celebration.


“Over the last four or five years, Sacramento has become one of the ideal locations for festivals on the West Coast,” said Kari Miskit, COO of Visit Sacramento. “We started off hosting the Aftershock festival, which has grown into the largest hard rock festival of its kind in the West, which started off as one day and now has grown to four.”

Photo of Kari Miskit, COO of Visit Sacramento.
Kari Miskit

Another notable fete, and which celebrates Sacramento’s prodigious agricultural bounty, is the Farm-to-Fork Festival, held every September and with a website that bills the city as “The West Coast’s Top Food & Music Destination.”

Sacramento is one of three select markets to host the new Holo Holo Music Festival, celebrating island and reggae music, this September.

Meeting planners, too, are taking notice and joining in on the festival fun, according to Miskit.

“We’ve had some meeting planners come out to the festivals in the past couple of years. They’ll go catch the show and then also do tours of the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center,” she said, referencing the city’s main convention facility that wrapped a $180 million renovation and expansion in 2021. “I think it’s opening up other possibilities for these planners, because these are all predominantly end-of-the-week/weekend shows, so attendees can extend their stay on either side and really get to experience the city.”

[Related: A Refreshed and Expanded Convention Center Breathes New Life into Sacramento Meetings]

Major League Baseball Coming to Sacramento

Sacto’s large-event hitting streak continues, as the Oakland A’s MLB team announced it would call the capital home, at Minor League ballpark Sutter Health Park, for the next three years as it transitions to a permanent home in Las Vegas.

“It’s really exciting from a tourism perspective; we already see an influx of visitors every time the Warriors play the Sacramento Kings, so we are happy to be able to offer the A’s fans a spot not too far from home to come and cheer on their team,” Miskit said. “And for other MLB fans, it’s a great opportunity to come to an amazing ballpark with killer California views when their team comes to town to play the A’s.”

Photo of Sutter Health Park in Sacramento.
 Sutter Health Park (Formerly Raley Field). Credit: Visit Sacramento.

All of this recent attention has revealed Sacramento as a city of surprises for many visitors.

“We enjoy an element of unexpectedness,” Miskit said. “People don’t always expect that we’re going to have Michelin-recognized restaurants in Sacramento. People don’t always expect that we’re kind of the epicenter of music festival growth on the West Coast. But when they get here, they get these fun surprises.”

[Related: Sacramento Is Primed for the Post-Pandemic Era With New Developments]

Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Scene

Photo of audience at Farm-to-Fork festival at night, watching a band.
Farm-to-Fork Festival. Credit: Francisco Chavira.

Miskit added that meetings and conventions groups should avail themselves of the city’s thriving dining scene whether as part of group events at popular restaurants such as Mulvaney’s B&L, a longtime leader in the city’s localized farm-to-fork movement located a half-mile from the convention center, or out on their own in the neighborhood feel of the Midtown district.

Attendees may also enjoy the new retail offerings that have sprung up in the last few years in the Downtown Commons, or DOCO, district, home to the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel and NBA Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center arena.

Ice Blocks offers three blocks of ground-floor retail in Midtown, packed with boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

On the hotel front, Midtown Sacramento has welcomed two new properties, The Fort Sutter Hotel Sacramento, Tapestry Collection by Hilton and Hyatt House Sacramento Midtown, as well as a new AC Hotel Sacramento that opened in the heart of downtown in March.

One of the city’s two main convention center headquarters hotels, Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, is set to embark on a major renovation of all of its 503 rooms and suites.

[Related: 4 California Convention Centers That Prioritize Sustainability]

Photo of DOCO sculpture in downtown Sacramento.
DOCO District. Credit: Francisco Chavira.

Miskit added that for planners who may have not considered a West Coast destination in the last few years, Sacramento may just be the perfect reentry into the market.

“For planners who maybe for the last few years haven’t been able to book on the West Coast and are looking to get back to this market, Sacramento can be the place to bring that California experience back,” she said. “We have all the things that I think someone’s looking for from a California location. We’ve got the great weather, we’ve got the great restaurants, and, obviously, lots of outdoor activities to explore. We’ve retained that sort of mid-sized city feel, so you can have all of these ‘California amenities,’ but you can also come in here and feel a part of the community.”

Popular Sacramento Offsite Options

Groups sold on Sacramento can hold offsite events at some of these popular event venues:

  • Photo of cask room with a meeting held in it at Urban Roots Events & Catering.
    Urban Roots Events & Catering

    Urban Roots Events & Catering: This barbecue and brewery offers event space in its Barrel Room, which can hold 72 seated and up to 100 for a mixer, with five large German beer hall-style picnic tables, a private bar and an audiovisual system with mics and a 10-by-10-foot projection screen. Its Smokehouse BBQ menu includes award-winning slow-smoked meats, seasonal produce and salads, and is vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian friendly. Urban Roots also offers catering services.

  • Hyatt Centric Sacramento: Located across from Golden 1 Center arena, this 172-room downtown property can shut down the street it’s on for festive activations.
  • Cafeteria 15L: Located almost adjacent to SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, this upscale restaurant is a group offsite favorite serving up eclectic urban comfort food. Features include two outdoor patios, a lounge space and large private and semi-private dining areas that can accommodate up to 100 seated and 300 for a reception.
  • B Street Theatre: For events craving a dramatic flair, this local theater favorite expanded its space a few years ago with special event rentals in mind. It features two stages and a lobby space. The Sutter Theatre can hold 386; Gallery B offers gallery space that can accommodate 75 seated and 131 standing; and Gallery A has the capacity for 50 seated and 106 standing. 
  • Memorial Auditorium: Part of the SAFE Credit Union Convention and Performing Arts District, Memorial Auditorium was built in 1927 but recently underwent upgrades to its acoustics and stage area. Having hosted headliners such as The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones and others, the auditorium, which features farm-to-fork catering by Sodexo, is a popular venue for events that doesn’t require the large amount of space available in Golden 1 Center.


Visit Sacramento

Read next: 7 Fun Offsite Venues to Book in Sacramento

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About the author
Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.