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Here are 6 places where Sacramento lives up to its name ‘City of Trees’

For more than a century, Sacramento has been called the “City of Trees.” To this day, the cityscape is defined by its many tree-lined streets, public parks, and neighborhoods with lush greenery.

Experts approximate that Sacramento is home to around 1 million trees all within the city limits —with an impressive array of tree species including oak, maple, elm, sycamore, and redwoods.

To help support and preserve Sacramento’s prolific tree canopy, the Sacramento Tree Foundation provides residents the resources they need to get the most out of the city’s urban forests, from tips on what to plant in your own backyard to self-guided tree tours to many of the city’s flourishing neighborhoods and parks.

From the expansive William Land Park to the serene palm tree paths of the Capitol Mall, there is no shortage of places to experience Sacramento’s natural beauty.

Here are six places where Sacramento lives up to its name:

1. McKinley Park

601 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento

More than 100 people attended a free yoga class at McKinley Park on July 2, 2016. Autumn Payne/apayne@sacbee.com
More than 100 people attended a free yoga class at McKinley Park on July 2, 2016. Autumn Payne/apayne@sacbee.com

With some trees dating back to when the park was established in 1871, McKinley Park is an excellent example of how trees are a living history. This 32-acre urban forest has rich plant diversity as documented by the Sacramento Tree Foundation, which developed a tree tour for McKinley Park. McKinley Park is home to two kinds of redwood trees (the Coast Redwood and the Dawn Redwood), ponderosa pines, and mighty elms which can grow up to 120 feet tall. It’s a wonderful place to go for a walk or a run, or just sit in the shade under the trees.

2. Capitol Park

1300 L St, Sacramento

Duane McMullen, of Sacramento, walks along 15th Street past Capitol Park on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in downtown Sacramento. Xavier Mascareñas/xmascarenas@sacbee.com
Duane McMullen, of Sacramento, walks along 15th Street past Capitol Park on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in downtown Sacramento. Xavier Mascareñas/xmascarenas@sacbee.com

Surrounding the California State Capitol is 12 city blocks (roughly 40 acres) of greenspace featuring 800 trees and flowering shrubs that represent more than 200 plant varieties. With so much greenery, Capitol Park makes the grounds of the California State Capitol one of the most beautiful of its kind in the country. Here you’ll find several of the largest trees in the state, trees native to the region as well as rare trees from across the globe. Many of the trees planted in Capitol Park tell a story whether it be to memorialize a person or event and honor their contributions to California and American history. You can explore the significance of these trees by taking the California State Capitol Museum: Capitol Park Tree Guide pamphlet with you during your visit.

3. The Fabulous 40s

East Sacramento

A 1941 Chevrolet is parked in a Fabulous 40s home’s driveway in Sacramento on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Randall Benton/rbenton@sacbee.com
A 1941 Chevrolet is parked in a Fabulous 40s home’s driveway in Sacramento on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Randall Benton/rbenton@sacbee.com

Known for its iconic homes and tree-lined streets, the “Fab 40s,” named for its numbered streets in the 40s, is one of Sacramento’s most recognizable neighborhoods. Over the decades, it’s attracted many famous residents ranging from politicians to celebrities. Some of these homes have even been featured in films, including the “Blue House” which was in Greta Gerwig’s movie “Lady Bird.” The gigantic trees along the streets of the Fab 40s give the neighborhood an idyllic suburban feel. The oldest tree in the Fab 40s is a deodar cedar tree that is over 100 years old.

4. William Land Park

3800 W Land Park Dr., Sacramento

David Garcia listens to music as he enjoys the afternoon near the pond in William Land Park across from the Sacramento Zoo on June 2, 2014. Jose Luis Villegas/jvillegas@sacbee.com
David Garcia listens to music as he enjoys the afternoon near the pond in William Land Park across from the Sacramento Zoo on June 2, 2014. Jose Luis Villegas/jvillegas@sacbee.com

There’s so much to enjoy at William Land Park. There’s the Sacramento Zoo, Funderland, Fairytale Town, and the William Land Golf Course.. Interspersed between it all is a diverse population of majestic trees. Citizen scientists on the iNaturalist app have observed quite a few unique trees throughout the park including Persian walnut, basswood, western sycamores, and Chinese elm trees.

5. Southside Park

2115 Sixth St, Sacramento, CA 95818

A cyclist rides past the pond in Sacramento’s Southside Park in December 2015. Randall Benton/rbenton@sacbee.com
A cyclist rides past the pond in Sacramento’s Southside Park in December 2015. Randall Benton/rbenton@sacbee.com

When designing Southside Park, the first trees planted were selected by the city with assistance from John McClaren, the landscape architect for Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. That’s why, when you stand on the banks of the lake in the center of the park, you can see a beautiful assortment of trees. The Sacramento Tree Foundation’s tree guide highlights 44 different varieties of trees in the park and their handy map will help you track down a picturesque Willow Oak and point you in the direction of the park’s Giant Sequoia.

6. Sacramento State Quad

6000 J St, Sacramento

Students walk beneath a canopy of fall foliage on the campus of Sac State in Sacramento on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Randall Benton/rbenton@sacbee.com
Students walk beneath a canopy of fall foliage on the campus of Sac State in Sacramento on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Randall Benton/rbenton@sacbee.com

With more than 3,500 trees on the campus, Sacramento State has earned the nickname “Tree Campus USA.” In addition to having an arboretum on campus, the trees that line the college’s main quad create a leafy tunnel that turns vibrant shades of yellow and orange during the fall. Among the quad’s many trees documented by the Sacramento Tree Foundation is the Tree of Peace, a California redwood planted by Shasta Hall in 1986 by Jake Swamp, Chief of the Mohawk Nation.