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California State University, Sacramento: A Comprehensive Guide

California State University, Sacramento: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover the exciting life at Sac State, from unique campus events to outdoor adventures and cultural enrichment in Sacramento. Team


4 min read

August 29, 2023

California State University, Sacramento, commonly known as Sac State, is situated in California’s capital city of Sacramento. The campus sprawls over a lush 300-acre area that is home to a wide variety of trees, earning it the nickname "Tree Campus USA." With a diverse student body of nearly 31,000 students as of 2021, the institution boasts an inclusive environment that encourages growth, innovation, and community involvement. The university has come a long way since its inception in 1947 and is now one of the major public universities in California, offering a broad range of undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees across seven academic colleges.


Founded in 1947 as Sacramento State College, the institution started with a modest enrollment of just 235 students. It wasn't until the 1950s and '60s that it began to grow significantly, both in terms of student population and infrastructure. In 1972, it was officially renamed California State University, Sacramento, reflecting its integration into the broader California State University system. Over the years, the university has evolved into a hub for higher education, gaining a reputation for academic excellence, robust research programs, and significant contributions to the local community.

What Sac State is Known For

Sac State is renowned for its programs in Business, Engineering, Nursing, and Criminal Justice. The institution has received several accolades for its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, fostering a vibrant community of students from varied backgrounds. One of its distinct features is the well-regarded "Hornet Family," a network of alumni, staff, and students aimed at supporting one another in educational and career goals.

Sacramento State University has a wonderful campus to enjoy and explore to enhance your education.

Life at Sac State

Transportation Options

Sac State is well-connected in terms of transportation, ensuring ease of commute for students. There are several ways to get to and around the campus:

Public Transit: The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) provides extensive bus and light rail services, with stops conveniently located near the campus.

Shuttle Services: Sac State operates a shuttle service that circulates around campus and connects to nearby residential areas.

Cycling: Given the city's bike-friendly nature, many students choose to cycle to campus, aided by ample bike parking spaces and repair stations.

Parking: For those who prefer to drive, the university offers multiple parking structures and surface lots, though spots can fill up quickly during peak hours.

Food and Dining

The university has various food options to cater to diverse tastes and dietary requirements. From fast food to more health-conscious offerings, students have a myriad of choices. The Dining Commons provides a buffet-style meal service, and there are numerous cafes and food trucks scattered across campus. Additionally, the nearby neighborhoods offer a plethora of restaurants, ranging from American to international cuisines.

As the state's capital, there's plenty of interesting activities to pursue in Sacramento.

Local Attractions

Sacramento, being the state capital, offers a rich cultural experience and numerous attractions:

Old Sacramento Waterfront: A historic area filled with unique shops, dining options, and scenic views of the Sacramento River.

State Capitol: A must-visit for those interested in California history and politics.

American River Parkway: Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, offering biking, hiking, and kayaking options.

Art and Culture: From theaters to art galleries, the city offers a vibrant arts scene that students can take advantage of.

Living in Sacramento gives students the opportunity to balance academic life with cultural enrichment and recreational activities, making Sac State an ideal choice for those looking to make the most out of their college experience.

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Top 5 Things to Do at and Near Sac State

If you’re a current or prospective student at Sac State, you won’t be short of activities to keep you entertained and engaged. Whether you’re into arts and culture, outdoor adventures, or unique campus events, here’s a list of the top 5 things to do at and around the university:

1. Attend Festival of the Arts

Every spring, Sac State's campus comes alive with the Festival of the Arts—a week-long celebration that showcases the creative talents of students and faculty. From music performances to theater productions, and art exhibitions, the festival offers a little something for everyone. Don't miss this annual event to engage with the vibrant creative community at Sac State.

2. Kayaking at the Aquatic Center

Located on the shores of Lake Natoma, just a short distance from the campus, the Sacramento State Aquatic Center offers a variety of water sports activities. Kayaking is one of the most popular choices, providing an excellent way to relax and take in the stunning natural surroundings.

The Sacramento State Aquatic Center is an astounding attraction that is worth visiting at least once.

3. Enjoy a Movie Night at the University Union

The University Union often screens movies, some of which are pre-release specials that haven't yet hit the broader market. These movie nights are usually free or come at a nominal charge for students, making it a great budget-friendly entertainment option.

4. Visit the Hornet Bookstore

While it may sound conventional, the Hornet Bookstore is more than just a place to buy textbooks. With an array of Sac State merchandise, tech gadgets, and even a Starbucks within, it serves as a hub for students to socialize and relax between classes. Plus, you can pick up some Hornet gear to show off your school spirit!

5. Explore the Nearby Midtown Area

Only a short drive or light rail trip away, Midtown Sacramento offers a variety of boutiques, cafes, and nightlife. From sampling local cuisine to finding unique treasures in thrift shops, the area is perfect for weekend adventures.

Downtown Sacramento is as fun as any major city, full of interesting restaurants and places to hang out.

The experiences that Sac State and the surrounding Sacramento area offer go far beyond the classroom. From unique campus events like the Festival of the Arts to outdoor adventures at Lake Natoma, life at Sac State is filled with opportunities for enrichment, entertainment, and personal growth. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a water sports enthusiast, or someone who enjoys the simple pleasures of a good movie or a day of shopping, Sac State provides an environment where every student can find their niche.

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