I chose to live in Arden-Arcade (or A-A for short) when I moved to Sacramento, mainly due to my work also being here. ( I knew the I-80 or 50 commutes can be hell ) The house I live in is nice, the neighborhood quiet and my neighbors friendly at least in the proximity of my house. However that's what is deceptive about A-A : quiet neighborhoods lined with endless apartment complexes along the main thoroughfares, such as Watt Ave, Marconi Ave, Arden Way. This creates a "neighborhood hostage" situation- you don't really dare go for a walk outside of your established residential neighborhood. Walking along the main thoroughfares involves passing streetwalkers, beggers, gangbangers, druggies, homeless people- you name it. Terrible city planning if you ask me (oh wait, we aren't in a "city" since it's not part of the Sacramento city limits- A-A is unincorporated Sacramento County- county bumpkins in the middle of a metro area- go figure ) Arden-Arcade was I'm sure once the "happening" suburb of Sacramento, say in the 1960s and 70s. As the population continued to expand towards the east to places like Roseville, Rocklin, Folsom- it left this place behind, leaving what we have now- mostly older people who originally settled here, and low income mostly thuggy-type people. Even the nice smallish mall that was once thriving in the middle of A-A (Country Club Mall) is practically vacant now, with just a handful of anchor stores holding it up- the interior is a ghost town! This exemplifies what I see as a slow but steady decline in commercial quality for this area. There aren't many young families in A-A, who are of middle to upper income anyway. This lack of youth shows in the stores in this area- mostly fast food, WalMart type places. The only restaurants and stores that are "happening" are at Arden Fair Mall area- which involves taking your life into your own hands when going there- it isn't very nice anymore, nothing like say, the Roseville Galleria. One thing A-A has going for it is a number of good international type restaurants- then again, you can't really tell what country you're in when living here, if you know what I mean, so I guess that would go with the territory. I could really write this same review for the other Sacramento suburbs on the east side, including Carmichael and Citrus Heights- although they might be at a bit lesser degree of these points. It's not until you get to about Roseville, or Orangevale and eastward- until you see things noticeably change for the better. Sacramento has a vast wasteland of generic rather blah suburbs to its east, and very blah personality people to go along with it- this is by far the most impersonal place I've ever lived in. Not necessarily rude people, just not outwardly friendly or talkative, unless they have to be... or if they know you well from somewhere. Anyway, after over 6 years I've had enough and have decided to take a job offer in Louisiana- hoping the residents will be more "community" oriented and sociable. So unless you can stand very generic living, and commuting either downtown or to Roseville/Folsom for anything "cool" apart from your local fast food- A-A is a liveable place that will serve you as a basecamp for cooler places to visit in and around Sacramento.
While living in and around Sacramento for 7 years, I shopped, watched movies, ate, and sold office buildings in and around the Arden-Arcade area. Located on the eastern side of Sacramento running into the western border of Carmichael, the close-in suburb of Arden-Arcade contained some of Sacramento's most desirable areas as well as its leading shopping mall, Arden Fair.
The city of Arden-Arcade is extremely well served by freeways with access from US 50, Business 80, Interstate 80 and California 160. It also enjoys extensive bus service as well as being cut on the northwestern corner by the light rail. It contains a major auto mall, significant office development and some of Sacramento's best restaurants in the "Gourmet Gulch" area of Fair Oaks, east of Howe Avenue. Finally, it is home to Cal Expo and to the attached waterpark which provide recreational opportunities.
Although many areas of Arden-Arcade are extremely desirable, it is a bit of a checkerboard. Those considering this city should engage in due diligence to ensure that the part that they are looking into is not infested with drugs or gang activity. Staying close to Fair Oaks on the southern end of the district will help to ensure this.