Not sure where to begin your next California road trip? Let us help! Just a few hours from the north entrance of Yosemite National Park is a lively city known as Stockton. Settled between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Nevada mountains, Stockton is ideal for a traveler looking to get a healthy mix of culture, food, and outdoor adventure. Plan your trip in advance—check out this sample itinerary!
This article was created in partnership with Visit Stockton. All photos provided by Visit Stockton.
Day 1: Paddle on the California Delta & try new foods
For your first morning in Stockton you’ll be anxious to get outside and see the city, but first—breakfast. Stroll down the city’s “Miracle Mile” and try something sweet or savory at Midtown Creperie.Stockton is located at the furthest inland point of the California Delta, an expansive inland river delta formed near the coast. What better way to see the city than out on the water? Head over the the Downtown Stockton Marina to rent a kayak or a water bike.
After lunch at either Market Tavern or Garlic Brothers, take it easy and check out the local museum. The Haggin Museum has been referred to by Sunset Magazine as “one of the undersung gems of California.” The exhibits focus on art and local history, including 19th-century paintings. If you’re visiting with children, check out the Children’s Museum or even Pixie Woods Amusement Park, where kids can enjoy rides, a water play area, and playgrounds.Stockton was recently named the most racially and ethnically diverse city in the nation. That is important for many reasons, and one of those is food! Visitors can find great food from many different countries and cultures. Try something new for dinner on your first night. Maybe go with Mexican food at Nena’s or Korean food at Seoul Soon Dubu.
Day 2: Shop the best farmer’s markets & watch the races
If there’s one thing you don’t want to miss in Stockton, it’s the farmers markets—there are three of them and they each have their own unique specialty. The biggest, and most abundant, is the Downtown Stockton Certified Farmers Market, formerly known as the Downtown Stockton Asian Farmers Market. This market is held every Saturday year-round and is considered to be one of the oldest and most successful markets in California. Locals say that there are items here that they just can’t get anywhere else. Another spot is In Season Market and Nursery. Not only can customers find unusual plants here, but they can also find organic produce as it comes in season. The market sells artisan food, olive oils, honey, jams, and even has a specialty coffee shop for folks to enjoy espresso by the garden. The third spot, The Fruit Bowl, is a 73-year-old, family-owned market and bake shop. Their specialty? Peach pies. Need we say more?
You don’t have to go to Napa Valley to enjoy fine wine in northern California. With lower prices and more family-owned operations, Stockton is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting.If you’re looking for something to do with kids, take the more exciting route and experience the Stockton 99 Speedway. The racetrack hosts car races, stunt bike events, and swap meets. In the evening, see what’s showing at the historic Fox Theatre in the downtown area. Built in the 1930’s, the theatre was one of the few “movie palaces” in the Central Valley of California. Between one of the country’s most intriguing cities (San Francisco), and one of its most iconic national parks (Yosemite), Stockton is an ideal place to call home for a few days on the road between.