Midtown Sutter might be Sacramento’s best kept secret. The renowned entertainment corridor has a friendly neighborhood atmosphere where you can find theatre, live music and a treasure trove of locally owned restaurants and bars. The area is crowned by the historic Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, an adobo-stucco construction that includes a replica fort that provides exhibits and living history interpretive services.
When you visit the thriving Midtown Sutter, we invite you to think about the many generations of people who lived on this land before us. Sutter has changed a myriad of times in our history and will continue to change. Read on to learn about the history of Sutter, and places to explore today to fully experience Midtown Sutter.
History at Sutter
The iconic Sutter’s Fort Park sits in the heart of Midtown, and is an area that has been the homeland of the Nisenan people since time immemorial. If you grew up in Sacramento, chances are you took a school field trip here to learn about what life was like for the pioneers in the mid-1800s, but how much did you learn about the lasting devastating impacts on the area’s original Native residents?
Recently, California State Parks has recognized the need to reexamine the past at this National Landmark and confront the unbalanced perspective of John Sutter and his legacy, along with other settlers. You can find the plans of California State Parks to change the way history is interpreted at Sutter’s Fort to share a more inclusive and historically accurate history in their Sutter’s Fort Interpretation Master Plan.
Long before colonizers ever set foot on Californian soil, Native peoples’ had created a mature and highly managed landscape. In the early 1800s, the colonization of California had reached the Native villages of the Sacramento River valley.
From 1839 to 1849, Sutter’s Fort was the economic center of the first permanent European colonial settlement in California’s Central Valley. Its founder was John Sutter who named his vast Mexican land grant “New Helvetia.”
During that time, the Fort catalyzed patterns of change across California. Native peoples felt these changes most significantly as their lives were transformed by the Fort’s presence. Many different Native people helped build the Fort, and their exploited labor made the Fort’s many industries possible. In 1848, the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill started the gold rush that ultimately undermined Sutter’s businesses at the Fort and led to an even greater exploitation of Native people across California.
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is often a memory for many schoolchildren who visited the park across generations in Sacramento. If you have never been to Sutter’s Fort or perhaps only went as a kid, we invite you to come back to reminisce about your school day field trips, learn a more inclusive and accurate history, and enjoy all the amenities offered.
Visitors to Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park are welcome to explore the historic structures and living history museum at their own pace with a self guided tour, and can find a map and brochure available at the kiosk.
When you visit, plan your day to also visit the State Indian Museum (only a three-minute walk away). All the exhibits and photographs on display are presented with respect for those who went before us on this land and continue to live in California communities today.
Although Sutter’s Fort and the State Indian Museum are the best places to learn more about the history of Sutter, we encourage you to also explore the Sutter Midtown area and experience how it has evolved into a thriving district with restaurants, bars, live entertainment shops, and of course some of the best brunch in Sacramento!
Exploring Sutter Midtown you will find understated elegance and well curated experiences that reflect a variety of the best of what Midtown has to offer. Plus visits are a breeze with easy freeway access and plentiful street parking in the area.
Here are some of our favorite places to visit inside Midtown Sutter.
2724 J Street
Visit Barwest to find a modern day neighborhood sports bar and restaurant that serves up delicious burgers, hot wings, beer, cocktails, wine and more. Check out this spot to gather with your friends to watch the next ballgame!
Blue Cue | @therealbluecue
1004 28th Street
Featuring karaoke, darts, multiple pool tables, and a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere, the large, brick-walled space is bolstered by traditional bar cuisine combined with a wide selection of spirits and cocktails.
2730 Capitol Avenue
A casual dining concept based on the European tradition of cafe dining, Cafe Bernado is a longstanding local favorite featuring a farm-to-fork menu with house made bread, pasta and dessert. Come here for an inviting atmosphere for any moment.
2730 J Street
Centro crafts all their dishes from scratch – from salsas, to masa and corn tortillas, slow-cooked meats, and hearty soups. The bright and colorful interior highlights items sourced from Mexico providing a festive and casual atmosphere.
2708 J Street
Harlow’s is one of our favorite venues for nationally renowned musicians and acclaimed local acts. For more than 35 years, Harlow’s has featured some of the best live music for every type of fan from blues to soul to rock ‘n’ roll.
2730 N Street
This tattoo-themed restaurant and bar is known for their Bloody Mary Bar and quality brunch fare! Ink offers an approachable yet inspired menu, great prices and down-to-earth attentive service.
1401 28th Street
Opened in 1983, Paragarys is considered a Sacramento dining staple, serving generations of locals over the years. Known for its delicious seasonal cuisine in a beautiful setting, this restaurant is perfect for your next dinner date.
2718 J Street
The Red Rabbit’s mission: raising the neighborhood bar. They believe in seasonal and local, creating their cocktails from the ground up with housemade syrups, fresh squeezed juices, and fresh herbs. Enjoy their farm-to-table food selections, the artisan cocktails, sourced beer and wine.
2700 Capitol Avenue
At Tea Bar you’ll find create-your-own wraps and bowls, snacks like avocado toast and edamame, and frozen, iced, or hot teas all made with the freshest ingredients. Stop by for lunch or a snack before catching a show at B Street Theatre.
2700 Capitol Avenue
Over the years the B Street Theatre has introduced more than 100 original plays. Located at The Sofia, this gorgeous theatre keeps audiences laughing and crying, and critics raving.
From the Historic Sutter’s Fort, to delicious farm-to-fork dining, and even live entertainment, Midtown Sutter has it all. We would love to hear from you about what you learn and experience while exploring the area. Do you agree with us that it may be Sacramento’s best kept secret? Tag us in all your adventures @exploremidtown on social media.