North Highlands, California, sits along an industrial area bordered by McClellan Air Force Base. Since the closing of the base in 2001, the site has been converted into a commercial park that has housing and hosts many annual events. The quiet streets of the neighborhood are lined with modest single-family homes, and residents enjoy access to many restaurants and shopping opportunities nearby. Located just 10 miles from downtown Sacramento, North Highlands is an ideal location for those who work in the city.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Restaurants in North Highlands serve many types of cuisine and mostly lie along Watt Avenue, which runs through the center of the neighborhood. The smell of chicken roasting away on smokers is sure to lure you into El Pollo Feliz. To go along with the famous barbecue chicken, choose a side of rice, beans or asada fries. This restaurant is popular for takeout and family meals—the buckets of chicken are an inexpensive way to feed a hungry crowd.
For takeout pizza, visit Toss Up Pizza and order a specialty pie, such as the pesto chicken or artichoke supreme. An addition of wings and cinnamon sticks transforms your pizza into a full meal. Stop by for the lunch specials, and order a large pizza for just 10 bucks.
Take a culinary trip to the Caribbean with Cuban fried chicken and fried plantains from Sol Cubano. The lechon asado, a traditional Cuban dish consisting of marinated pork, comes with rice and beans and remains a favorite menu selection. Finish off your meal with a cup of coffee and a selection from the pastry counter.
Residents of North Highlands have access to many bars and nightlife options. Congregate with the locals at the neighborhood dive bar Sticky Wicket, and enjoy the drink specials while watching the Sacramento Kings play. Arcade games and billiards also provide entertainment possibilities, as does the karaoke.
History & Culture
North Highlands was associated with McClellan Air Force Base throughout much of its history. The closure of the base in 2001 caused the loss of many jobs, but the base has been re-purposed as a business park. Its conference center hosts annual events, including the Art of Beer Invitational, which lets you sample beers from over 30 local breweries. Local chefs pair signature dishes with the beer samplings, and artists exhibit their work. The site also houses the Aerospace Museum of California, which exhibits a variety of civilian and military aircraft.
For more museums, residents visit downtown Sacramento. The Crocker Art Museum displays exhibits of artwork from around the world. The facility also sponsors film screenings and concert performances. You can also take a tour of the restored Victorian mansion at Governor's Mansion State Historic Park. This site offers a history of California by exploring the house where former governors lived.
Residents of North Highlands mostly rely on personal vehicles for transportation, so businesses typically provide free parking. Bike lanes exist sporadically along many roads and are not continuous, which can make biking difficult and potentially unsafe. Although most roads have sidewalks, the distances between housing and many businesses preclude walking as a reliable means of transportation. The Sacramento Regional Transit operates a few bus lines in the neighborhood, and you can also call a taxi company to arrange a ride. Uber services the area as well.
Residents find it easy to leave town because Interstate 80 runs through the neighborhood. To visit surrounding areas using public transportation, take the bus to the Amtrak station in downtown Sacramento. Many train lines run through the station, providing service to the Bay area and to major cities, including Portland, Seattle and Denver.
North Highlanders enjoy a cost of living 11 percent lower than the Sacramento average. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom residence runs about $657, while gas prices remain 6 percent higher than the national average. Expect to pay about $5 for a pint of beer at a local pub. Getting from North Highlands to downtown Sacramento on a Sacramento Regional Transit bus costs $2.50.
Most shopping opportunities lie along Madison Avenue or Watt Avenue and include high-value stores, such as Target and Walmart. Head a few miles south and shop at Country Club Plaza, a mall anchored by Macy's, or purchase groceries at Que Huong Market, Bel Air or one of many ethnic supermarkets. A farmers market takes place every Saturday in the parking lot of Country Club Plaza.
Paintball enthusiasts should stop by Predator Paintball to stock up on paintballs and guns. The store also sells accessories, including tanks and barrels, and the knowledgeable staff performs maintenance on paintball guns. The selection of apparel and masks ensures you're well equipped for that next paintball excursion.
Decorate your home with an antique lamp or sofa from Midway Antique Mall. This space has large showrooms of mid-century furnishings that are sure to add a unique retro touch to your home. Vendor booths also sell an array of books, vintage clothing and jewelry.
This neighborhood contains several small community parks that provide residents with recreational opportunities. Arcade Creek Recreation Park features tennis courts, a basketball court and soccer fields. Turn your kids loose on the playground or large open spaces, or enjoy walking and jogging on the trails that wind through the grounds. Picnic tables and ample shade make Arcade Creek a popular place for parties and gatherings. The park hosts an annual event called Touch a Truck in which your kids can climb on bulldozers and ambulances, and a concert series takes place here during the summer.
For a full day of family activities, drive a few miles north to Gibson Ranch County Park, and walk around the lakes and wilderness trails. This park houses many farm animals, including ponies for your children to ride, and locals enjoy fishing in the lake. Events like Civil War re-enactments and a cornhole tournament take place annually at this park. Gibson Ranch also features several concerts throughout the year, such as Country in the Park, a country music celebration held each summer.