For my personal taste, I like to have a little bit of everything without having as many of the negatives of everything as possible.
I have lived deep in both the suburban city of Elk Grove as well as the fun and happening downtown Sacramento scene.
When I was single, I found Elk Grove to be quite boring and far from the good times, but I did enjoy the quiet and overall safety. When I moved the downtown Sac, I was never bored, but it was also quite noisy and dangerous with many people getting too outta control.
I always wanted to live in semi-rural situation but not be that far from the city life. Almost impossible, I know.
When I finally settled down and got married, I knew we had to find a good location to raise a family. For me, Elk Grove was a little too crowded with shopping malls and nonstop traffic. And we definitely could not live near downtown where my kid/s would have to go to the abysmal Sacramento city school district and be in a somewhat dangerous neighborhood.
That's why I was so estastic when I found the Vineyard Area of Sacramento.
Taking the backroads, it takes about 15min to get downtown without traffic, 30min max with traffic (which is better than most outerlying suburbs in the Sac Area). Also, it's only a 5-10min drive to Old Elk Grove, where the more developed and overall better half of Elk Grove is located! And, because a lot of the Vineyard area is owned farmland, the few suburban communities are few and far between. So your neighborhood is never packed with nonstop traffic - and you'll feel like you kind of live out in the boonies while actually not being that far away.
The violent crime rate is lower than the state and national average so it's pretty safe, the Vineyard area is within the Elk Grove Unified School District (which has a great academic rating with the Dept of Education) so my kid/s can go to a good school, and you're never more than a 5min drive to anything you need to do like shopping or eating out.
The ONLY negative that I will say about the area is that if you do not have a car, you will probably be pretty bored as there is very little places to go within walking distance. There are some but not a lot of bus transit options to get places. I live about a quarter mile from a 7-eleven-type shop - so that's kind of cool if I need any last minute items or just wanna take a walk SOMEwhere. If you own a bike, you could get around to a few things within 15-20 minutes. But overall, if you want to do anything besides walk for exercise, you will need to get in the car and go somewhere. I do miss the days of stepping outside of my apartment and just walk in any direction and find something to do downtown. But that doesn't mean I can't just drive 15min there and do the same thing I wanted to.
My favorite part of living here is that even when there is traffic on Bradshaw or Jackson Road is that the traffic MOVES! When you live deep in the city of Elk Grove, going 2 miles could literally take half an hour due to how crowded it is. In Vineyard, 2 miles takes 3-5minutes as it should.
For me, it's the perfect location. Other people may want to be more closer to shops/restaurants and the nightlife, in which case, this probably wouldn't work for them. But for a growing family that wants those things sometimes but mostly just a stable, safe, family friendly neighborhood/community, the Vineyard area is a goldmine for the Sac Area as many Sac areas are either dangerous or not suitable for comfortable family living. The other nice areas of Sac like the Pocket area and Land Park area are comparable to Vineyard, in my opinion, but without the higher price tag.
So far, I'm thoroughly enjoying my choice of living in the Vineyard area and couldn't be happier!