The Best Things To Do in Davis, California
Located in Yolo County less than 20 minutes from Sacramento, Davis is a close-knit community known for its quaint downtown and bike-centric culture. Surrounded by farmland, it has all the charm of a rural community but with all the amenities — top-notch restaurants, lively bars and small businesses. Home to the University of California at Davis, it has a thriving college culture that blends seamlessly into its family-friendly neighborhoods.
With such diversity, it’s no wonder Davis is one of the best places to live (and visit!) in the Sacramento area. Following are some of our favorite things to do in the area.
Ride a Bike
Davis is known as the “Bicycle Capital of America,” and for good reason. It was the first city to legislate and implement standardized bike lanes, and it boasts more than 100 miles of bike paths and trails winding their way through town. In addition, Davis was the first city in America to earn the Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclists. Needless to say, Davis is a great place to take a bike ride. You can rent a bike from UC Davis’ Bike Barn and head out to explore on your own, or follow the Davis Bike Loop. There are also longer rides that will take you past the scenic countryside of Yolo County.
One of the most popular activities in Davis will take you on a short jaunt around the world. The U.C. Davis Arboretum is a 100-acre public garden showcasing more than 4,000 species of trees, plants and shrubs along the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve. There are sections focusing on different ecosystems, such as the East Asia Collection, the South American Collection and the California Foothill Collection. This “living museum” is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The main path takes you on a 3.5-mile loop, by foot or by bike, with plenty of spots to stop and take in the natural beauty along the way.
Spend Time at a Park
Davis has a number of community parks, all of which make for a pleasant day out. Central Park is known for its weekly farmers’ market, one of the largest in the area, which is open Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Not only do they offer fresh fruits and veggies from local growers, they also have baked goods, crafts and food trucks. You can also view roses and native plants at Central Park Gardens, let the kids run around on the playground, or have a picnic at the BBQ area.
Nearby Community Park has 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
Davis has always been a hotbed for local artists, and you can view much of their work via the Davis Transmedia Art Walk. The self-guided art walk, the first of its kind, comprises works embedded with microchips, which you can scan with your smartphone to learn more about the work. It includes 23 public murals, 16 sculptures and 15 galleries and museums, all located within walking distance of one another in downtown Davis and the U.C. Davis campus. Many of the outdoor works are illuminated at night, so you can take the tour at any time! You can download a map ahead of time to make it even easier.
Go Wine Tasting
Did you Yolo County is an up-and-coming wine region? In fact, there are several spots in and around Davis where you can sip the latest releases. Some to consider are Great Bear Vineyards, which offers tasting and picnicking on their scenic grounds (reservations are required in advance). Cork it Again is an urban wine bar where you can sample varieties from the region, including those from the Nashoba Wines label.
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:
- The Mustard Seed. This casually elegant restaurant serves exquisite cuisine with an upscale California vibe. The meat-centric menu features dishes like pan-seared duck breast, rack of lamb and braised short ribs. They also have an exceptional wine list, featuring California wines.
- Sophia’s Thai Kitchen. The first Thai restaurant in Davis, Sophia’s is still a local favorite. They serve country-style Thai food prepared that combines the sweet and spicy tastes of Southeast Asian cuisine to create flavorful stir-fries, curries, soups and noodles. Plus they have a full bar and turn out creative Asian-inspired cocktails!
- Seasons Kitchen and Bar holds true to Sacramento’s farm-to-fork mentality by using fresh, local ingredients to turn out creative, seasonal menus. Offerings change regularly but include dishes like coal-roasted vegetables, seared salmon and braised short ribs. They also have a varied wine list with both local and global selections.
- Burgers and Brew. Those looking for a laid-back brewpub will find it here. Naturally, their menu features all types of burgers, including meatless varieties. They also have sandwiches, salads and gourmet fries. And of course, you can wash it all down with a craft beer like IPA or stout.