How to Spend a Day in Davis, CA
The city of Davis in Yolo County is a friendly, tight-knit community just 20 minutes from Sacramento. Perhaps best known as the home of the University of California at Davis, it has a thriving college culture with a lively downtown core, chock full of restaurants, bars and shops.
Surrounded by farmland, Davis has the charm of a rural community with the modern amenities that make it a destination in its own right. It’s known for its environment-friendly vibe, including a bike-centric culture where two-wheeled transportation reigns supreme. Numerous community parks and greenbelts can be found throughout the city’s neighborhoods, many of which host community events such as farmers’ markets, outdoor concerts, and holiday celebrations.
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 Davis.
Go Bike Riding
It’s no secret that Davis is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the nation. In fact, 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 several spots around town, including the U.C. 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.
Spend Time in Nature
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.
Enjoy a Community 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.
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Explore Arts & Culture
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! On the second Friday of the month, you can also join in the 2nd Friday ArtAbout, a free, self-guided art walk in downtown Davis. If you’re a fan of performing arts, Davis is also home to the Mondavi Center, a world-class facility that hosts music, dance and theater.
Go Wine Tasting
Think you have to go all the way to Napa for some great wines? Think again! Yolo County turns out some of the best wines in Northern California. 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.
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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.
With so much to do in Davis, it’s only natural you may want to stay a bit longer and put down roots here. Davis offers a wide variety of homes for sale, including ranch-style homes in family-friendly neighborhoods, charming historic properties in the center of the action, and even expansive country estates. Check out homes for sale in Davis and make this charming community your own!
Category Davis, Neighborhood Guides
Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.