I imagine that the city has sprawled out badly by now. The cheapest places to buy will be way out north and east, but the commute into downtown, where I presume your job will be, will not be fun.
I used to work at the Capitol and lived in Curtis Park. Very short drive. Nice.
Basically, the areas around dowtown -- Land Park, Curtis Park, McKinley Park, and East Sac -- were all developed pre-WW2 and are beautiful. Except for the real mansion streets like 13th Ave and 45th Street, the houses tend to be smaller than modern homes. But because the areas are nice looking and close in, they are expensive. You can probably get a lot of house out in Roseville, but then you will torture yourself on the freeways every day.
I suppose downtown is a lot better than it used to be, but it's probably still not ideal for a family.
The heart of the city is a 30x30 grid, almost perfectly square. West of 16th is considered downtown proper, east of that is "midtown." 21st street around G is tres ghey, but the old Victorians are beautiful. The other old 19th century mansion neighborhood is called Poverty Ridge, around 22nd and S. Lovely homes, I don't know what the crime is like.
There is a small knot of nice restaurants around 28th and M.
For shopping, basically, drive to SF. If you must shop in Sac, Pavilions is the only decent shopping center. You won't find Rubinacci. Julius is the nicest store, and ten years ago, their top line was Zegna.