Awesome Alleyways in Sacramento, California

A street sign reading "UPTOWN alley" is seen against a blue sky and next to two palm trees

One of the most unassuming distinctions of Sacramento are how we have named our alleyways. | Photo by SACtoday Staff

Alleyways are, by definition, inconspicuous: they sit behind, obscured by more significant city constructions, like the buildings we call home or the places where we work. Except here in Sacramento.

Yes, these intermediary spaces accommodate our smelly waste bins. Yet they are also filled with charm, character, and something ineffably Sacramento. How could you ignore names like “Tomato Alley” or “Government Alley” when out for a walk in the Grid?

However, it wasn’t always this way. Former City Councilmember Steve Cohn had the idea of naming the 21 alleyways in Midtown + Downtown back in 2006 — an idea the City Council approved about five years later, arguing that the appellations would “protect human health and safety by enabling a quicker response time” for several public services.

The City Council set a few rules: each alleyway had to start with the letter of the street directly north of it (i.e., Jazz Alley is just south of J St.) + represent part of Sacramento’s history or identity (i.e., Solons Alley nods to our old baseball team and the fact that we have a lot of legislators as the State Capital). Meaning, you should never get lost or forget you’re in Sac while in the Grid.

The naming committee was a community-sourced effort. The public were invited to make suggestions before the City Council approved the final list of names.

All the names are great, with some providing more local pride than others — just take a look at Tomato Alley Free House. We thought we’d share three of our favorite alley names that make us smile + remind us how much we love living in Sacramento.

  • Liestal Alley | The name of our Swiss sister city.
  • Eggplant Alley | It’s called Eggplant — what’s not to love?
  • Victorian Alley | Celebrates the Victorian mansions in Midtown.
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