The Best Thing About Rancho Cordova?
Great Place to Grow (Up)
Over the past 20 years, RC residents have watched countless cow pastures transform into brand new residential and commercial construction. As the city grew, so did interest from families. Here they could find a turnkey home as low as $500,000, within the well-regarded Cordova-Folsom Unified School District surrounded by beautiful parks and businesses perfect for growing children.
The city of Rancho Cordova is all-in on expanding its list of master-planned communities. In late 2023 alone it had a list of six development projects, largest of which being Rio Del Oro where more than 12,000 attached and detached homes were developed northeast of Sunrise Boulevard and Douglas Road. These communities typically feature 3-bedroom homes on decently sized lots with access to great amenities like a clubhouse and pool. The only part you might not be excited about are the HOA dues. Every rose has its thorn, right?
When the kids aren’t attending their well-rated schools, they can connect with the outdoors at one of the area’s plentiful parks – most popular of which is the Hagan Community Park. Or, take the fun indoors at Wacky Tacky, K1 Racing or Sac Town Family Fun. Admittedly, there is a lack of nightlife in Rancho Cordova, but that won’t matter to your 13 year-old.
The Worst Thing About Rancho Cordova?
Old vs. New
It’s a question that plagues every would-be Rancho Cordova resident: do we want the old or the new part of town? Each has its own distinct perception. The more recently developed areas feature brand new master-planned neighborhoods with either newly constructed commercial areas and schools or some sparse land that developers intend to bring to life one day. Most of these new developments reside south of the 50, the main freeway that bisects the city.
The older parts of town, north of 50, have mixed reviews. Because it’s been around longer, it does have more commercial areas, like the main shopping area along Folsom Road. However, it also has a history of crime. According to locals, crime in the “older” part of town stood out as the greatest deterrent for those considering settling down in RC. However, as we mentioned, a lot has changed over the last 20 years. In the early 2000s, the city established its own police force. According to the Rancho Cordova Police Department’s website, violent and property crime have decreased by more than 65% in under two decades.
Furthermore, other residents who have been around awhile reject the notion that everything above 50 is sketchy. There are well-established, small, peaceful neighborhoods in that area as well, they argue. Houses in such neighborhoods go for around the same price as the new builds south of 50. So, when working with your real estate agent, it’s important to know what your top priorities are. Most families moving to Rancho Cordova opt for the “new” part of town because of the clean modern homes and school district zoning (some sections of town outside of these master-planned communities are not zoned for the Cordova-Folsom Unified School District).
Lifestyle of Rancho Cordova
Brews + Beautiful Places
One of the greatest perks of living in Rancho Cordova is its proximity to places you’ll want to visit. First, your access to nature is pretty outstanding. Running right through the city in all its glory is the American River. It offers residents endless recreation opportunities ranging from fishing and rafting to swimming and picnics with a view. The American River Trail winds alongside miles of the river and through Hagan Community Park, and is a popular attraction for bikers and runners. Only 20 minutes away you’ll discover Folsom Lake, a great spot for fishing, mountain biking and more. Another nearby body of water you might have heard of is Lake Tahoe. You can take the whole family for a weekend getaway to this famous oasis that sits only 2 hours from your front door.
As far as parks go, you’ve got plenty to choose from. Start with Hagan Community Park, where you can fish in the pond, ride bikes, or jump in the American River. If you love the outdoors but hiking, biking and boating aren’t your thing, then maybe you’ll be excited to learn about the Granite Arch Climbing Center located in the heart of RC along Folsom Boulevard. Here, 20,000 square feet of wall space is a great challenge for beginners and advanced climbers alike. Visitors can enjoy indoor top roping, an outdoor bouldering park and some of North America’s “most natural indoor rock.”
For the kids, Rancho Cordova offers tons of family-friendly entertainment. Take a Go Kart ride at K1 Racing, throw a birthday party amongst the indoor playgrounds of Wacky Tacky, learn new things in the Sacramento Children’s Museum or visit the Sac Town Family Fun complex complete with an escape room, virtual reality arcade, glow-in-the-dark mini golf course, and more. Your. Options. Are. Endless.
Now, for the adults. Like we mentioned, Rancho Cordova scores poorly for nightlife, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a spot to sit back and unwind. Home to just shy of 10 breweries (our favorite is Movement Brewing), a drive-in movie theater and the beautiful Jensen Botanical Garden, you can find something to fill your afternoon or evening. For food, residents look to local staples like the Mimosa House https://mimosahouseca.com/breakfast-menu and Brookfield https://brookrest.com/ for breakfast or a decent list of American and ethnic eateries with 4+ stars for lunch and dinner. Most of your shopping needs can be satisfied along Folsom Road. You’ve got a Safeway, KP International Market, Costo and Sprouts all within 10 minutes of one another. And if needed, the amenities and cultural attractions of Sacramento, Elk Grove and Folsom (and the fan-favorite Folsom Premium Outlets ) aren’t too far away.
We avoided it as long as possible, but now it's time to talk about work. If you save lives for a living, chances are you’ll be able to keep your commute under 20 minutes if you work at any of the nearby hospitals like the UC Davis Hospital. If you’re a mere mortal like the rest of us, you may need to drive further for work. The good news? Sacramento is an easy 20 minutes away. Not to mention it's a straight shot (you won’t be dealing with other town’s traffic on your way). You wouldn’t want to commute to San Francisco, obviously, but it’s nice to know that its sights, sounds and smells are only 2.5 hours away. If you haven’t guessed already, you will need a vehicle if you want to live in Rancho Cordova. It’s close to major freeways, but public transportation cannot get you everywhere you need to go.
Schools in Rancho Cordova
Most homes with the Rancho Cordova zip code are zoned for the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District . This district serves about 21,000 students via its 21 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, one charter school and seven alternative schools. Niche.com gives the district an “A” rating, highlighting the district’s well above average academics, teachers, diversity, college prep and sports.
It’s worth noting that although it is considered the best school district in Sacramento County, the majority of the top ranking schools in this district are within Folsom city (check out the map on this page). The two schools rated “A” within Rancho Cordova are Mather Heights Elementary School and Riverview STEM Elementary School. Both the middle school and Cordova High School have “B” ratings. But hey, a B isn’t bad in our book.
For private options, residents benefit from being so close to Sacramento. Within Rancho Cordova you’ll find “A+” rated St. John Vianney Catholic School (PK-8th), and beyond you’ll find Folsom’s Folsom Preparatory School (K-5) and Sacramento’s countless star pupils including: Sacramento Country Day School (PK-12), Christian Brothers High School (9-12) and Jesuit High School (9-12).
Why You Should Move Here Now
Up and Coming
According to real estate agents in the Sacramento area, people want to know where the new builds are. We can confidently say that Rancho Cordova is one answer to that question. If you appreciate the turnkey home, high-end finishes, pristine landscaping and well-maintained amenities that an HOA can provide, then we highly recommend checking out the master-planned communities being built here. Check out a current list of in-progress developments here.