Located just minutes from downtown along Garden Highway, Riverbank Marina is one of the most accessible and socially active spots to enjoy the Sacramento River, thanks to its thriving restaurant scene, nearby offices and 175-plus covered and uncovered berths and slips. Needless to say, most Sacramentans have spent many a day (and night) on its docks. But what most locals don’t know is how rare a destination like this really is.
Built in 1985 (after the owners obtained permits from a whopping 37 different agencies), Riverbank Marina is still the newest marina built on the Sacramento River. It’s also surely to be the last, now that the permitting process is even more stringent. “Something like this could not be built today,” says Tess Jones, the marina’s current harbor master. “For starters, everything that does not float would have to be built on the land side of the levee.” (In other words, on the other side of Garden Highway. Boooo.) Hence, the answer to the age-old question: Why aren’t there more restaurants on the river?