Living in Pocket-Greenhaven, Sacramento: Neighborhood Guide
If you take a look at Sacramento's map, you’ll notice an area where a bulge of land juts into the Sacramento River, causing it to bend into a C shape. Then you’ll see that I-5 runs down the other side of the bulge, cutting it off from the rest of the city and forming a kind of pocket.
This is precisely why the neighborhood of Pocket-Greenhaven is often referred to as “the Pocket” by those who live there. It’s here in the Pocket that residents have formed a unique community within the larger Sacramento area, one noted for its high-achievement and success.
The Pocket is suburban and primarily residential with schools, restaurants, parks, and shopping centers designed to facilitate this lifestyle. As a clean and safe part of the city, it’s at times attracted highly successful and even famous residents. With access to the river as well as two lakes, Lake Greenhaven and River Lake, it’s attracted both families and young professionals looking for a home closer to nature.
The Pocket as seen from an airplane, with the Sacramento River along its western border.
The History of Pocket-Greenhaven
Due to its location near the Sacramento River, the area known as “the Pocket” or Pocket-Greenhaven is fertile farmland. After the California gold rush in the mid-19th Century, many unsuccessful miners and immigrants from countries like Portugal and China started subsistence farms. A brickyard also started up were Chinese immigrants worked cutting the thick river clay.
The Pocket remained rural farmland until 1958 when the Lincoln and Parker Development Company bought some of the larger ranches in the area to construct a planned community called “Greenhaven 70.” The City of Sacramento then annexed the land in 1959, and the company got started.
Development continued through several phases, culminating in a large construction boom in the 80s. Developers bought up the last of the remaining farmland and built gated communities, houses, and apartments as well as commercial areas, parks, and schools.
The construction of I-5 down the Pocket’s eastern border helped define it as a unique suburban community, leading to considerable growth.
The Pocket Lifestyle
The Pocket can be described as residential, suburban, and upscale. You can easily lose yourself winding through residential streets of large single-family homes under the shade of palm trees. Eventually, you’ll get to the river or one of the lakes or maybe a gated community. Even the shopping centers, schools, and churches seem to blend seamlessly into the suburban style of asphalt roofs and green spaces.
The culture in the Pocket is dedicated to success. The Pocket has been home to many high-achieving residents including movie stars, professional athletes, and politicians. Since people are so often a product of the company they keep, the neighborhood tends to encourage success and achievement for those who live there.
Things to Do in the Pocket
Have Fun on the Sacramento River
The Sacramento River forms the entire length of the Pocket’s western border. This means recreational opportunities abound. In fact, the Sacramento River bike trail runs down its east bank. Besides cycling, many residents like to go boating or fish on the river or from the bank. Just make sure to get all the proper permits required by the California and Sacramento authorities.
Explore the Pocket Canal Parkway
The Pocket Canal is a drainage system that runs right through Pocket-Greenhaven and into the Sacramento River. Lined by the Pocket Canal Parkway, this area is a great way to explore the natural side of the neighborhood. It passes by parks, shopping areas, and even residential areas, meaning most homes in the Pocket are within walking or cycling distance of the canal. To accent the natural beauty, several animals make their home in the lake, including turtles, fish, ducks, and geese.
Visit Vierra Farms
Vierra Farms lies right across the Sacramento River from the Pocket and is a major producer of locally grown food. It’s also a popular destination for couples and families looking for fun, especially during the holidays. That’s because the farm sets up several annual holiday installations, including Dave’s Haunted Corn Maze, Dave’s Pumpkin Patch, and Dave’s Xmas Trees.
You can have fun at Vierra Farms year-round, though. The owners have regular events like pig races, movie nights, live shows, and dinners. Of course, you can always shop at Dave’s Fresh Produce Stand as well. The hours and dates of the various installations and experiences change throughout the year, so make sure to check before you go. It’s usually a good idea to buy tickets online or by phone ahead of time.
Join Your Community at Elks Lodge
The Elks Lodge is a fraternal community with locations across the United States and has a location near the Sacramento River in Pocket-Greenhaven. Members have access to amenities like the fitness center and pool, but the lodge serves the entire community. The Pocket residents can rent several different sized rooms for events, and the lodge itself puts on regular social events, including dinners, dances, variety shows, fairs, and karaoke. It’s a great meeting place for the neighborhood.
Parks and Recreation in the Pocket
The Pocket has ten parks to serve the recreationally enthusiastic residents and families of the neighborhood. They include:
- Lewis Park: a small park with a playground and two tennis courts, located on the Pocket's north side.
- Frank Seymour Park: a beltway park consisting of over 43 acres, this was the original border of the planned community that was Pocket-Greenhaven. It features several walkways meandering through well-kept greenery, a playground, and a small baseball field.
- Sojourner Truth Park: This small field provides a recreational area for the school next to the School of Engineering and Sciences.
- Portuguese Community Park: in honor of the large immigrant community that first developed the area, this three-acre park includes a full soccer field, and fully equipped children’s playground, and access to the Pocket Canal Parkway.
- Tony Court Park: a reserved green space along the Pocket Canal Parkway.
- Parkway Oak Park: a nearly 10-acre park featuring tennis courts, a soccer field, four picnic areas, a gazebo, and a playground.
- Reginald Renfree Park: one of the neighborhood’s main go-to's for soccer features two full-sized soccer fields and several play structures.
- Charter Pointe Park: another reserved green area along the Pocket Canal Parkway includes picnic tables and a playground.
- Garcia Bend Park: located on the south side of the Pocket along the river, Garcia Bend Park is very popular and includes a large parking lot to accommodate patrons. It features several soccer fields, a playground, two tennis courts, a walking trail, and access to the Sacramento River Bike Trail and Garcia Bend boat ramp.
- Richard Marriott Park: nestled in the southeast corner of the Pocket, this eight-acre park has two picnic areas and an extensive play area with swings and equipment for toddlers.
Shopping and Dining in the Pocket
Fitting with its suburban residential setup, shopping in the Pocket is mostly limited to several strip malls in the neighborhood. These feature a wide variety of businesses, including chain stores, boutique shops, gyms, restaurants, banks, and supermarkets. They all have extensive parking and are strategically placed to reach all corners of the neighborhood.
For other, more upscale shopping options, I-5 provides easy access to most Sacramento, including downtown, only 13 minutes away. Many residents especially enjoy shopping at the Downtown Common near the State Capitol.
Dining is a mixture of both national chains and local ethnic cuisine. This includes traditional American fare along with Thai, Japanese and Mexican. There is also an abundance of cafes catering to the hardworking, professional clientele who like their coffee.
Pocket-Greenhaven Real Estate
Despite being undeniably suburban, the real estate in Pocket-Greenhaven is actually quite diverse. Naturally, most properties are single-family homes on standard plots that include a yard, but there are also condos for rent and occasionally for sale and numerous apartment complexes.
The most sought after homes in the Pocket tend to be those near the river or either of lakes. Many of the developments in these areas are gated communities that provide access to them.