A new year is upon us. It’s time for a fresh start. But first, let’s take a fond look back at the year that was as it pertains to Sacramento’s arts, entertainment and nightlife scenes. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite (and not so favorite) things that went down in Sacramento this year. Think we missed something? Shoot us an email and let’s discuss. Happy New Year!


The way that Art Hotel 916 seemed to elevate Sacramento’s visual arts scene was truly amazing, and we get the feeling that it was just the beginning from M5 Arts, the local non-profit collective behind the massively popular immersive exhibit. The M5 team is already hard at work on their next project, ArtStreet, which will run from Feb. 3–25, 2017 in and around a huge warehouse in downtown Sacramento.

Station 1, a new jazz bar in West Sacramento, recently opened for business and has a great upcoming schedule in place for their upstairs space above Burgers and Brew in the recently renovated Washington Firehouse at 317 Third St. The more venues in the area, the better, especially for local and touring jazz players.

Sacramento finally got a legit tiki bar when The Jungle Bird opened in Kru’s former space on J Street (the popular japanese restaurant has sinced moved to a new, beautiful location on Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento).

Our favorite new restaurant that opened in 2016 is in a small, nondescript, unpretentious space on 10th Street. Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining serves up small plates of immaculately grilled meats and veggies prepared over a 1,000-plus degree grill operated by cooks masterfully controlling the heat using paper fans.

When Sir Paul McCartney played two sold-out nights in a row to open up Golden 1 Center, downtown Sacramento’s half-billion dollar new state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex and home to the Sacramento Kings.

The inaugural Sacramento Mural Festival brightened up the city, bringing artists from around the globe who added new pieces of art for locals (and visitors) to enjoy for years to come.

The folks at Radio 94.7 continue to step up their game when it comes to producing excellent concerts in Sacramento. Their City of Trees Music Festival at Bonney Field and Electric Christmas show at Golden 1 Center were two of our musical highlights of the year.

Rocklin’s awesome new 1,000-seat amphitheater at Quarry Park opened this year, hosting such acts as James Bay, The Marshall Tucker Band, Molly Ringwald and many others.

Shout-out to these recurring local events that continue to make Sacramento rad: Concerts in the Park, Crocker’s ArtMix, R Street Block Party, Sac Lady Fest, NorCal Noise Fest, THIS Midtown, Sac Stay Home Fest, First Fest, Makers Mart, HOFDAY, Sac Burger Battle, Torch Club’s Neck Fest, Sacramento Comedy Fest and others that I’m likely forgetting. Without events of this nature, Sacramento would be a culture-starved wasteland.


Parking rate hikes downtown are a shock to the system and the new metering systems are way too confusing. We can’t tell you how many complaints we’ve heard from residents and local business owners.

A mainstay for local vinyl collectors, Records, recently announced they’ll be closing due to rent hikes. The infamous record store has been located at their current spot at 1618 Broadway for nearly a decade. Owner Kevin Hartman recently told the Sacramento Bee’s Chris Macias that he might open in another location, but he doesn’t have any solid plans in place yet.

Speaking of rents going up, we’ve just got to say: WHAT. THE FUCK. Too many of our friends have had unreasonable increases in their rents recently. Before you know it, all of the artists, musicians and creative folks will be pushed out of the central city. There is a huge need for more affordable housing in and around downtown Sacramento.

One of our favorite local hip-hop groups, Who Cares, decided to call it quits this year, which really sucks, but at least they went out in style with an epic final performance at Concerts in the Park.


When mayor Kevin Johnson got a pie slammed in his face at a local charity event from a protester. What a weird, and yes, quite hilarious way to get a point across. Hey, it got everyone talking!

Homelessness continues to be a problem in the Sacramento region. It’s a complicated issue, to be sure, but we’re hopeful that the new mayor Darrell Steinberg will work toward humane and sustainable solutions to help get people off the streets and into situations to better their lives.

The dude behind the Snarkramento Twitter account (@sac_snark) got jumped and beat up IRL, presumably by someone he pissed off (he has a knack for pissing people off). Pretty, pretty, pretty lame (said in our best Larry David voice) for someone to get so upset with a dude running a Twitter account that they’d resort to physical violence.

Hip-hop hates Sac. Kanye West showed up at Golden 1 Center, did a couple songs, ranted for a while and then bounced. Shit was weird, man. Also, Snoop Dogg cancelled a DJ gig at Ace of Spades and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) flaked on a Crest Theatre show (which has since been rescheduled… And then cancelled again). ‘Sup with all that?

**This feature first appeared in print on page 8 of issue #230 (January 2 – 16, 2017)

    Jonathan Carabba

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    Find me at the bowling alley. Co-founder + Advertising Director + Marketing at Submerge. Contact: jonathan@submergemag.com