Where to stay in Sacramento for first time: Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Sacramento as a first-timer can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Sacramento for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Sacramento for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Sacramento and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California, situated at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, on the north part of the state. 

As the capital, it is home to the government of California, including the Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol. The city has a rich history, dating back to the Gold Rush era, and it played a significant role during the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th century.

Sacramento is home to various cultural institutions and attractions, including museums, theaters, and historic sites. The Crocker Art Museum, the California State Railroad Museum, and Old Sacramento are notable places to visit.

The city is served by several institutions of higher education, including California State University, Sacramento (Sac State) and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), which has a campus nearby.

Sacramento has a well-developed transportation network, including highways, public transit, and an international airport. The city is also served by Amtrak and has a historic railway station.

Is Sacramento safe to visit?

Yes, Sacramento is generally a safe city to visit. There’s a lot of homeless people downtown, but as long as you exercise common sense, avoid walking alone late at night, be aware of your surroundings, and watch out for bad drivers, you should be fine.

Touristy areas such as Downtown and Old Sacramento are generally safe to book your accommodation. Midtown is a cool area with lots of restaurants, bars, and vibrant nightlife. It is generally safe during daytime, and there are a couple of nice hotels near Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park.

Where to stay in Sacramento for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Sacramento for first-timers and tourists are Downtown and Old Sacramento. These areas offer central locations to book your accommodations and explore the city.

Both Downtown and Old Town offer easy access to major sights and tourist amenities. You’ll be within walking distance to the California State Capitol Museum, Crocker Art Museum, California State Railroad Museum, and Golden 1 Center.

While tourist central areas are generally safe, it is recommended to avoid staying in some neighborhoods such as Del Paso Heights, Meadowview, and some certain parts of South Sacramento due to its high crime rate.

During my trip to Sacramento, I stayed at the mid-range  Kimpton Sawyer Hotel. It had a prime location in the heart of the city, within walking distance to major sights, old Sac, and museums. They have a nice bar, nicely decorated room, and a wonderful pool.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Sacramento for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Sacramento first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Sacramento first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Sacramento, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Sacramento have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

2 Safe areas to stay in Sacramento for first-timers and tourists:

1. Downtown Sacramento 

Downtown is undoubtedly the best area to stay in Sacramento for first-timer visits. Downtown is the central business and cultural district of the city, and it’s home to various attractions, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Downtown is pedestrian-friendly, allowing visitors to explore on foot. The grid layout makes navigation straightforward, and you can discover various shops and boutiques as you stroll through the area.

The State Capitol building, located in Capitol Park, is a prominent landmark. You can take tours of the Capitol building and its museum to learn about California’s history and government.

The area boasts several museums, including the California Museum and Crocker Art Museum, which is the oldest art museum in the West. It houses an impressive collection of Californian, European, and Asian art.

The Golden 1 Center, an indoor arena, hosts concerts, sports events, and other entertainment. The area also features nightlife options, including bars and clubs. K Street Mall features shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Best places to stay in Downtown Sacramento for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): The Exchange Sacramento, Curio Collection By Hilton, 4-star beautiful hotel located in a safe area in central Sacramento, close to the old Sacramento waterfront, K Street mall, Valley Station, and the Golden 1 Center. It has a 24-hour front desk, air-conditioned rooms, and laundry services.

Mid-range ($$): Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, an IHG Hotel, great 4-star modern hotel, centrally located on J Street in Downtown Sac, close to everything including California Capitol Building and California State Capitol and Museum. The hotel offers free use of bicycles, a large rooftop swimming pool, parking, and 3 restaurants.

Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Regency Sacramento, popular 4-star hotel conveniently situated on L Street, very close to the California State Capitol. It has family rooms, good breakfast, an outdoor heated pool, and spa services.

Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Centric Sacramento Downtown, 4-star hotel located in the heart of Downtown Sac, on 7th Street, just behind the shopping mall and within walking distance to many restaurants and eateries. Essay access to light rail trains. Good base to explore the city and for the California International Marathon.  

Budget ($): Inn Off Capitol Park, Ascend Hotel Collection, 3-star hotel conveniently situated right next to the California State Capitol Park, between downtown and midtown Sac, within walking distance to several restaurants, bars, and breweries. 

Budget ($): Residence Inn by Marriott Sacramento Downtown at Capitol Park, 3-star hotel located in central Sac, easy access to downtown and Midtown. You can find a number of good restaurants nearby including the Public House Restaurant.

Budget ($): Governors Inn Hotel Sacramento, 3-star good value for money hotel, located close to a gas station, and the police station, 7 mins drive/ 30 mins walk from city center. Just take note that there are a few homeless people (a feature of Sac) in the area.

Hostel ($): HI Sacramento Hostel, 2-star good value for money accommodation in central location, on H Street, featuring  Dormitory for Women, Men, and all gender. They also have private rooms. Walking distance to many cafes, restaurants and pubs. Close to the Waterfront, Railroad Museum, and History Museum.


2. Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento is a preserved historic district along the Sacramento River, offering  a glimpse into the city’s past with its cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and waterfront views. It’s a popular area for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

One of the main attractions in Old Sacramento is the California State Railroad Museum. It showcases the history of the railroad in California and features a collection of restored locomotives and cars.

Old Sacramento sits along the Sacramento River, providing a scenic waterfront with views of boats and bridges. You can take a stroll along the riverbank or even enjoy boat rides.

The district is home to numerous specialty shops, boutiques, and stores selling unique and handmade items. It’s a great place to find souvenirs and gifts.

Best places to stay in Old Sacramento for tourists:

Mid-range ($$): Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade, 4-star hotel located along the Sacramento River close to the historic old Sac and the Capitol, 5-10 mins walk from the Crocker Art Museum, California State Railroad Museum, and Entertainment venue Golden 1 Center. It has an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, superb breakfast, and family rooms.

Budget ($):  Delta King Hotel, 3-star boutique hotel and historic river boat located along the riverfront area, easy access to popular points of interest like the Crocker Art Museum, Raley Field, Valley Station,  Sutter’s Fort, and the Stanford Mansion. It has Great views of Tower Bridge.


In conclusion, Downtown and Old Sacramento are the best places to stay in Sacramento for first-timers and tourists. These areas offer central, safe locations to book your accommodations and explore the city.

You can continue reading about other cities in California in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Sacramento. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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