I live in Midtown and it is the best area for walking to restaurants, coffee houses and even shopping. East Sacramento and Land Park are close. Many residents ride their bikes and some walk. I would look at Downtown as well as East Sacramento and Land Park. If you want to know what it is like to live in the heart of downtown, just give me a call.
There are plenty of great walkable neighborhoods in the area.... A favorite website of mine for just this subject is http://www.walkscore.com... If that fails I would be more than happy to help you find an agent who lives and breaths neighborhoods...
Of course, I would pay particular attention to East Sacramento, Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, and Elmhurst! There are some others however, these would be my suggestion if you want something close to downtown.
These are higher priced areas (don't know your budget) but you can find some decent deals in pockets in and around these areas.
Depends what you are willing to pay. It seems alot of the more walkable neighborhoods tend to be higher priced. Also, depends which part of the neighborhood you live in. Some are closer to commercial space than others.
I personally like the Sierra Oaks area, near Pavilions plaza. There are not many homes, but it is within walking distance of some of the best restaurants, shops, etc.
Otherwise something that's close to the mall. Really depends on your taste.