Even if California didn’t have its celebrated coastline, it would still be one of the world’s most amazing destinations. The Golden State interior is a wonderland all its own, a place of bountiful agriculture, pioneer history, river deltas, ancient sequoias and spectacular mountain landscapes.  

It’s also a place where meeting groups will find good value and a welcoming atmosphere. Among those who attest to this is MaryAnne Bobrow, a veteran independent planner and a long-time Sacramento resident, who highly recommends her home region to those looking for a California destination without the high cost of the coastal cities. 

“Sacramento has so much going for it now, with new hotels, an approved convention center expansion, good air access, a growing craft beer scene, great restaurants and expert support for meetings,” she said. “Anyone who thinks of it as a cow town hasn’t been here lately.”

Sacramento

Bobrow’s endorsement is backed up by an array of new developments that are changing the face of downtown Sacramento these days. These include the Golden 1 Center (G1C), a sports and entertainment complex that is the new home of the Sacramento Kings basketball team as well as a venue for large-scale events and conventions. In addition, the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, a 250-room property with 20,000 square feet of meeting space, opened last month in a mixed-use high-rise building next to G1C.

“The location of G1C and the Sawyer is a developing area we’re calling DoCo, for Downtown Commons,” said Sarah Atilano, vice president of sales and business development for Visit Sacramento. “There are several restaurants that opened recently in DoCo and several more slated to open in the coming months.”

Another hot spot is a former warehouse district called R Street Corridor, which draws locals and visitors to the Shady Lady Saloon, a popular live-music venue with a speakeasy vibe, as well as a burgeoning number of cafes and art galleries. 

Located a short walk from G1C, the Sacramento Convention Center recently received approvals for an expansion that will increase exhibit space to 161,500 square feet, update the building’s technology and add new meeting space and indoor and outdoor prefunction areas. The project is currently in the design phase.

“In addition, the city also approved a renovation of the Community Theater and Memorial Auditorium, which are within walking distance of the convention center and are great spaces for general sessions and other events,” Atilano said. “Memorial Auditorium is often used for receptions, dinners and events, and if you are looking for a cool and different space for a tradeshow, it’s perfect for that as well.”

For planners looking for customized experiences, Visit Sacramento will draw on local resources to fit the needs of a particular group, according to Atilano.

“If you’re a religious group, we can bring in a local faith leader to open morning prayer,” she said. “If your delegates enjoy health and fitness, we’ll coordinate and staff a fun run around our Capitol Park or an outdoor yoga session. We’ve developed day excursions to area farms and ranches for groups looking to get a little taste of our farm-to-fork culture.”