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Sacramento is the state capital of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. Located in California's expansive Central Valley, it is the seventh-largest city in California. As of 2004, Sacramento had a population of 456,441. The city is the core cultural and economic center of its five-county metropolitan area (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, and Yolo counties). With a population of 2.5 million, the Sacramento metropolitan area is the largest in the Central Valley, and is the fourth-largest in California, behind the Los Angeles-Orange County area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego area.

Typical of California informality, Sacramento is referred to by many nicknames. The most common names are Capital City, River City (after the Sacramento River and American River), and the City of Trees. The nicknames most used by those living in Sacramento are Sacto, Sactown or Sac. The area where Sacramento started originally is called Old Sac. The Big Tomato, Sacratomato, and Sack O' Tomatoes are also used, despite the ongoing triumph of tract houses over tomato fields, referring to the perceived pastorality of Sacramento in comparison with San Francisco and Los Angeles.