A Tour of the Sacramento Railyards Districts

Overhead image of the Railyards concept art. Take a tour of the Sac Railyards district.

A Tour of the Sacramento Railyards Districts

March 18, 2019 | By The Railyards

Ready to explore The Railyards? This 244+ acre infill development project has been decades in the making. Now, this historic landmark is set to be a transit-oriented, sustainable community that knits together its surrounding neighborhoods and connects Sacramento to her river.

It’s time to take a tour of the five, distinct districts that make up the Railyards plan area, and discover the highly anticipated projects that are proposed, planned, or underway in each.

1. Depot District

All Aboard for the Sacramento Valley Station; New Sacramento Courthouse

The Sacramento Railyards Depot District

For many visitors to The Railyards, the Depot District is likely to be your first stop.

That’s because the Depot District is home to the Sacramento Valley Station and is bordered by Old Sacramento and Downtown. It extends from the Sacramento River on the west to 12th Street on the east. Whether arrive by rail, bike, car, or on foot, the Depot District welcomes you. 

The Sacramento Valley Station is the centerpiece of the Depot District and provides a crucial connection point to the rest of the City and region for Old Sacramento, Chinatown, Downtown, and the Alkali Flat neighborhood. 

The Depot District isn’t just a transportation hub; it’s a mixed-use district that includes residential, retail, civic and office spaces.

Look for the proposed new Sacramento Courthouse to be located in the Depot District at 6th and G Street. The 17-story building will house 53 courtrooms and replace the existing Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse.

Now that you’ve been welcomed into the Depot District, your tour of The Railyards takes you into a district brimming with historic and cultural treasures.

2. Central Shops District

All Aboard for the Historic Central Shops

The Sacramento Railyards Central Shops District

The Central Shops District represents the heart and soul of the Railyards development.

Centering around eight historic buildings from the original Central Pacific Railroad Yard, known as the Central Shops, a turntable structure, and the historic water tower, these historic landmarks are intended to be preserved, rehabilitated, and adaptively-reused as a vibrant destination center.

The Railyards has turned to BCV Architects, the same team responsible for the transformation of San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, for the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the Central Shops.

The Central Shops District will be a vibrant neighborhood that celebrates Sacramento’s history and culture and an exciting destination for residents and visitors.

The 500,000 square-foot retail district will feature eateries, art galleries, entertainment venues, retail shops, open air plazas, and a proposed expansion to the State Railroad Museum: the Railroad Technology Museum.

The Central Shops District provides close connectivity to Old Sacramento, the Riverfront District, and the next step on our tour: the Kaiser Permanente medical campus in the West End District.

3. West End

All Aboard for Kaiser Permanente Medical Center

The Sacramento Railyards 5 District Map

Take a northward stroll from the Central Shops District up to the West End District, where you’ll find a mix of office, residential, retail, and open space uses. A series of interconnected plazas and sidewalks dotted with plants and artwork create a pedestrian-oriented experience and provide non-vehicle access from the Central Shops.

Kaiser Permanente’s planned 18-acre medical center will be located along the northern edge of the West End District with vehicle access at South Park Street and Railyards Blvd.

This is the third major investment that Kaiser Permanente has made in downtown Sacramento, following the opening of Downtown Commons Medical Offices at 501 J Street in June 2018 and its Sports Medicine Center in Golden 1 Center in 2016. Kaiser Permanente plans to build a state-of-the-art hospital in the Railyards, bringing major medical serves to downtown.

The remaining West End District is intended to provide employment/office areas of different scales, along with provisions for residential, retail, and hospitality venues. It is integrated by a network of pedestrian paths, alleys and plazas, with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs opening onto Railyards Boulevard and Camille Lane.

The West End District is bordered by the Riverfront District to the west, the East End District to the east, the East End District to the north, and the Central Shops Historic District and Depot District to the south.

Ready to depart the West End District? Then it’s time to explore what may be the single-most talked about feature of the Railyards development, which waits for you in the East End.

4. East End

All Aboard for MLS Stadium & Entertainment District; Residential Project

The Sacramento Railyards East End District

Everybody’s talking about the East End District.

This urban in-town neighborhood has been designed to embody the spirit of the City with diverse, mixed-use housing, open parks, and urban open spaces. The East End replicates the traditional street grid of Downtown.

But the most notable feature in the East End District isn’t mixed-use residential housing or the 10-acre, recreational Vista Park.

It’s the proposed MLS Stadium and adjacent 14-acre entertainment district, which Mayor Darrell Steinberg called “the next DOCO in our city.” The proposed outdoor stadium is slated to be located east of 7th Street.

A transit stop with bus and light rail services is planned in the vicinity of the intersection north of Railyards Boulevard and 7th Street, providing residents, visitors, and stadium patrons a walkable neighborhood within 5 minute walking-radius of transit.

The East End will offer more than just a proposed home for the MLS stadium.

It offers a home for residents and businesses, as well.

The first residential project in the Railyards, a 6-story mixed-use building featuring residential units, parking, ground-floor retail space, open space, and resident amenities, is slated to be located at 7th Street and Railyards Boulevard.

The East End is bounded by Railyards Boulevard and the railroad tracks along its southern edge, 12th Street to the east, North B Street to the north and 5th Street to the west.

Your tour of the Railyards districts wouldn’t be complete without heading to the Sacramento River. So let’s head westward, back across the East End and through the Central Shops District to connect with the riverfront.

5. Riverfront District

All Aboard for the Sacramento River; Riverfront Park

The Sacramento Railyards 5 District Map

The Railyards development provides a unique opportunity to reconnect Downtown Sacramento to the Sacramento river.

Here in the Riverfront District, whose borders are created by the rail tracks to the south, Interstate 5 to the east, and the Sacramento River to the west, Sacramento receives an opportunity to reclaim a part of its geographical history with a reinvigorated waterfront.

The Riverfront District is planned to offer restaurants featuring spectacular views, a hotel, and residential housing.

The Riverfront District plan includes public parks and open space that ensure visual and physical access to the waterfront. One such park planned for the district is Riverfront Park, providing water access and small gathering places that will draw users from all around the City.

The Riverfront District will establish enhanced accessibility to one of Sacramento’s most precious amenities and will enable the community to utilize the waterfront for recreation and entertainment, as well as offer visitors a unique and memorable experience in the heart of Sacramento.

Black Line

What Happens to the Historic Buildings in The Railyards?

What Happens to the Historic Buildings in The Railyards?

As projects take off in the Sacramento Railyards, what will happen to the brick buildings that have stood in place for almost 150 years?


Black Line

5 Distinct Districts, One Unified Vision

The Railyards development is transforming nearly 250-acres of unused, historically significant land into a vibrant and exciting neighborhood that will essentially double the size of Downtown.

Your tour through the Railyards has included stops at 5 distinct districts, each with its own individual vision and exciting projects that are either planned, proposed, or underway.

But each of these districts is connected by The Railyards vision, which is to create a dynamic 24‐hour mixed‐use, urban environment that celebrates the area’s cultural heritage and connects the Railyards with its surrounding neighborhoods and the waterfront.

We hope you enjoyed your tour through the Sacramento Railyards!

Enjoy this article? Share it with your friends.

Be A Part of The Railyards.

Take one moment to tell us what your unique vision is for a future home at The Railyards.

Take The Survey