The 9 Best Things To Do in Davis, California
Whether you’re looking at Davis close up from the viewpoint of a resident, or you’ve only heard about this city from a distance, it’s likely you’re impressed. With its bike-centric culture, thriving small businesses, residential prestige and a thriving university community, Davis is one of our favorite places in the Sacramento area.
For one, there is just so much to do in this city! Here are a handful of our favorite things to do in Davis.
Sip on a Cup of Coffee
We’ve mentioned Temple Coffee Roasters’ Davis location before, as we examined the best coffee shops in and around Sacramento. Our suggestion still stands! This roaster and coffee shop takes great care in the origins and production of their coffee beans all the way from the farm to your cup. Stop by their Davis location to be a part of Temple Coffee Roasters’ incredible coffee culture, and to start your day off the right way — with a cup of coffee in hand. If coffee isn’t your “cup of tea” (pun intended), Temple also serves some amazing teas.
Photos courtesy of Temple Coffee Roasters
Ride a Bike
If you weren’t aware, Davis is widely known for its bicycle culture. In fact, the city has been called the “Bicycle Capital of America” since 1964, and was the first U.S. city to legislate and implement standardized bike lanes. Davis was built with bikes in mind, with more than 100 miles of bike paths and trails winding their way through town, and a car-free campus at UC Davis. Furthermore, Davis was the first city in America to earn the Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclists.
Photo courtesy of Bike Barn
We hope all of those impressive accolades are enough to convince you that Davis is a wonderful place to go on a bike ride. Rent a bike from UC Davis’ Bike Barn for $20 a day or $30 for a weekend rental. Then go anywhere — really, anywhere — and you and your two wheels will be welcomed and celebrated in this bike-friendly community! But if you need some direction, follow this carefully mapped out Davis Bike Loop courtesy of Davis Bicycles.
Need some final words of advice before you face the bike trail? Check out The Complete Guide to Cycling in Davis.
Grab a Bite to Eat
One of the best ways to experience a city is by tasting its local cuisine. And thankfully, Davis has quite a few wonderful restaurants to choose from. To cut out the guessing game, we’ll give you the scoop on a few of our favorites.
Head to The Mustard Seed for delicious and unpretentious, yet elegant, California cuisine with an exceptional wine list, featuring only California wines. Like any fine restaurant, they offer a small, but high-quality selection for lunch and dinner.
Sophia’s Thai Kitchen was the first Thai restaurant in Davis and is still a local favorite. They serve country-style Thai food prepared with a unique California twist, combining the sweet-spicy tastes of southwest-Asian cuisine with the fresh and flavorful ingredients found on California’s plates.
Seasons holds true to Sacramento’s farm-to-fork mentality by utilizing fresh and local ingredients, providing seasonal menus and actively supporting local growers, ranchers and farmers. This sustainable foundation makes their food exceptional — whether it’s lunch or dinner time. As can be expected with its proximity to Napa Valley, the Central Coast and the Sierra Foothills, Seasons has a wonderful wine selection as well.
The folks at Our House will make you feel at home during your dining experience, as the name implies. They offer exceptional food, wine and cocktails in a comfortable lounge atmosphere. Their housemade recipes use local and fresh ingredients; for example, their “Market Muddles” are ice-cold cocktails made with ingredients straight from the Davis Farmers’ Market!
Pick Up Fresh Produce
Whether you’re in Davis during the week or over the weekend, you’ll have access to some wonderful local produce at the Davis Farmers’ Market. The market is open at Central Park every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. year-round, rain or shine! And visit their “Picnic in the Park” market at Central Park every Wednesday from 4:30–8:30 p.m. between March 16 and October 26, 2016.
Photos courtesy of Davis Farmers’ Market
Head to the Davis Farmers’ Market to select from their large supply of fruits, vegetables, certified organic produce, meats, chicken, fish, wine, local eggs and honey, fresh baked goods, flowers, plants, and various gifts. Every item in the market is either grown by or made by the seller! This is a wonderful way to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, stock your fridge and pantry, and support local farmers and makers.
Take in Natural Beauty
How is it that one of the most popular activities to do in Davis offers free admission? The UC Davis Arboretum is a 100-acre public garden showcasing over 4,000 kinds of trees, plants and shrubs. This “living museum” is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
We recommend traveling the main path, which takes you on a 3.5-mile loop, by foot or by bike! This is a fun way to take in the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of your natural surroundings at the arboretum.
Photos courtesy of UC Davis Arboretum
Take a Leap of Faith
If you’ve always considered exploring your adventurous, adrenaline-seeking side, Davis is the place to take a leap of faith. And we mean that quite literally!
SkyDance Skydiving offers tandem and accelerated free fall options specifically designed for first-time skydivers. If you’re nervous about jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet (and rightfully so), you can know you’re in good hands with SkyDance. They were the first tandem skydiving school in the western United States, and are the only Northern California facility approved for training by the Department of Defense. Exercise your desire for adventure and go skydiving with SkyDance to see this beautiful town from a rare — and exhilarating! — perspective.
Photos courtesy of Kurt Issell via SkyDance Skydiving
Grab a Drink
If you take us up on that last suggestion, you might need to relax and calm down that released adrenaline. Unwind with a drink at one of our favorite beer and wine destinations in Davis!
Some of our favorite places to grab a drink include de Vere’s Irish Pub for their impressive whiskey collection, Gunrock Pub located on UC Davis’ campus, Burgers & Brew for their devotion to craft beer, and VINI Wine Bar for their local wine selection.
Take a Walk in the Park
Whether or not you’re there for the Davis Farmers’ Market, you are sure to enjoy your time at Central Park. This 5.8-acre area hosts a playground, BBQ area, ball fields, a basketball court, horseshoe pits, the Central Park Gardens, and lots of green grass for the kids to run around in.
Or make a trip to Community Park, featuring 28 expansive acres perfect for going on a long walk, having a picnic, playing a game of frisbee, or riding your bike. There are four play areas suitable for any age, a skate park, tennis courts, pool complex, a separate gated dog park, ball fields and a wonderful bike path.
Admire Local Artwork
If your visit to Davis lands on the second Friday of the month, you’re in luck! You’ll have the opportunity to embark on Davis Downtown’s 2nd Friday ArtAbout, a monthly self-guided art walk allowing you to explore art installations and receptions at galleries, art co-ops, and businesses in Davis. You can admire local artwork, take part in activities, hear live music, receive complimentary wine and refreshments, and converse with featured artists — all for free!
The art walk generally runs from 5–9 p.m., but check out the monthly 2nd Friday ArtAbout guide and map for specific reception times.
Photo Courtesy of The Davis Enterprise
Need more of a visual?
This virtual tour of the city should help.
What is your favorite thing to do in Davis?
We’d love to know so we might add it to our ever-growing list!