Arts & Culture, Downtown Sac

_____ Downtown with Experience Designer Ryan Royster

Marketing Department

Ryan is an experience designer. He creates experiences that connect people to their city and shape the way they interact with their environment. Being born and raised in Sacramento, his connection to the city shapes all that he does. He is the co-founder and CEO of Last Supper Society and has created experiences for thousands of people. From events like downtown’s first Juneteenth celebration to businesses like Solomon’s Vinyl Diner and Tiger, Ryan’s expertise has touched Sacramento.

“Sacramento’s story is still being written,” Ryan says. Historically, K Street was part of Sacramento’s West End, which was a diverse, mixed-use neighborhood west of Capitol Mall. The neighborhood encompassed Chinatown, Japantown, and the Black business district. It also had jazz clubs, like The Clayton Club, where Ella Fitzgerald even played. However, this history is often forgotten because a redevelopment project during the 1950s–1970s eradicated homes and businesses, unfairly displacing the people of the West End.

4th Street near Capitol Ave in 1949. Credit Center for Sacramento History.

The legacy of the West End is being revived on K Street today with the help of innovators like Ryan. Sacramento is one of the most diverse cities in the country and you can feel it—especially on Friday nights. There are different faces, voices, and cultures happily sauntering from place to place as their nights unfold. It is important for us to continue to grow welcoming spaces downtown, because the center of a city should be a neighborhood for everyone. For Sacramento, as Ryan says, “you can measure the health of the city by the health of K Street”.

Sacramento faces challenges that we need to tackle collectively as a small business community, as a city, and—being the capital—as a state, and with challenge comes opportunity. Right now, we have the opportunity to continue growing downtown and building community to create meaningful experiences for people in Sacramento because this city is special.

Ryan explains, “That’s the enduring spirit of Sacramento. That something can feel like home, can feel like a small town, but also have the support from the community, the creative capacity, and the cultural relevance to grow to have global impact.”

The future of downtown Sacramento is full of opportunity and can be shaped by our people. We have the chance to collaborate and be creative to define what we want Sacramento to mean to its people and the rest of the world.