The Davis Lifestyle

The city of Davis is renowned for being one of America’s true college towns. Small-town safety and ease blend with big-city amenities like sophisticated restaurants, theaters and entertainment. The centralized, walkable downtown offers international cuisine, delightful shops and inspiring entertainment and social activities.

Located in Northern California, Davis is about halfway between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Lake Tahoe region. With a population of around 66,000 (about half of whom are university students and faculty), Davis is a friendly, small town with rich, cultural activities.

students at farmers market

A Welcoming College Town

As an ethnically and culturally diverse campus and community, Davis welcomes international travelers and students with open arms. And Davis is full of events and activities that celebrate this diversity.

People who live in Davis describe it as a safe place to go to school, work and raise a family. Located in the heart of rich, agricultural farmlands, Davis residents enjoy a serene, leisurely lifestyle - with the knowledge that world-famous sites and incredible recreational opportunities are just a short drive away.

With more bicycles than people, Davis has long been known as "the bicycle capital of the United States." Bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation in this environmentally-aware, fitness-conscious community.

  • Things to Do in Davis
  • Davis Farmers Market

    Located in Central Park, The Davis Farmers Market meets on Wednesdays and Saturdays and is a place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and baked goods, as well as socialize with friends, listen to live music and, of course, eat. The Farmers Market is held on Saturday mornings year-round as well as on Wednesdays: April-September / 4:30- 8:30 p.m., and October-March / 2-6 p.m.

    From spring through fall, the Farmers Market hosts the "Picnic in the Park" celebration on Wednesday evenings with local entertainers, food booths from local restaurants, a beer garden and plenty of activities for children including pony rides and bouncing bungalows. 

    Davis Links

    The following websites offer things to do, places to eat and shop, and a variety of other resources in Davis:
    Explorit Science Center 

    City of Davis
    Davis Community Network 

    Davis Downtown Business Association 
    Davis Chamber of Commerce 
    UC Davis 
    UC Davis Calendar

  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Davis is home to several art galleries, including the John Natsoulas Gallery which represents internationally known artists.

    If performing arts is your passion, Davis has a lot to offer. You'll find everything from symphonies to rock concerts.

    The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts 
    Performing arts of all kinds, including dance troupes, rock concerts and distinguished speaker presentations. This state-of-the-art performing arts center, opened in October 2002. 

    Varsity Theatre 
    Live theatre. Located downtown. 

    UC Davis Arts and Entertainment 
    There are a wide variety of entertainment options on the UC Davis campus. 

  • Night Life
  • Unlike other small towns that "go to sleep" at 9 p.m., Davis remains lively into the late hours of the night. Students and the young at heart enjoy live music and dancing at a number of Davis night clubs, most of which are located within walking distance from the UC Davis campus.

    And places like coffeehouses, bookstores, music stores and video stores often stay open late to cater to those night owls.

    You'll also find movie theater complexes totaling 11 screens, both located downtown. Check the websites for locations and movie show times.
    Regal Davis Holiday 6
    Regal Davis Stadium 5
    Varsity Theatre

    Eating out 
    In Davis, the sky is the limit when it comes to food. You'll find everything from pizza parlors and juice bars to authentic restaurants featuring Mexican, Chinese, Greek, French, Japanese, Indian and Thai cuisine…just to name a few.

  • Special Events and Fairs
  • Picnic Day 
    Picnic Day, held in April each year, is the largest student run event in the United States and is the annual Open House for the University of California, Davis. This hallmark event has been designed to showcase and celebrate the richness of campus life, the diverse achievements of UC Davis students, staff and faculty and to provide a day of education, information and entertainment. There are more than 150 events throughout campus including a parade, sheep dog trials, dachshund and Jack Russell Terrier races, live music, food and a wide variety of fun and interesting exhibits. 

    Whole Earth Festival 
    For more than 30 years the UC Davis campus and community have come together each May to celebrate the Whole Earth Festival. In an effort to promote sustainability, spirituality and holistic consciousness, a new staff is assembled each year to plan and prepare the three-day collective of life that is the Whole Earth Festival. 20-30,000 students, families and followers of a dream come to Davis each year to celebrate spring and enjoy the two music stages, a dance stage, several speakers areas, workshop spaces for natural crafts and personal growth, vegetarian (and often organic) food booths, educational booths and tables, massage booths, spiritual ritual, and booths selling handmade natural and/or recycled goods. 

    Native American Cultural Days 
    For more than 30 years, Native American Cultural Days on the UC Davis campus has been a showcase for the rich cultural heritage of Native American community. The event features: speakers, film, music and dance performances. The highlight is the Pow Wow where visitors can watch traditional dance performances and listen to Native American drum circles. This is truly an incredible experience that should not be missed.

    La Raza Cultural Days 
    La Raza Cultural Days (LRCD) is designed to educate the campus and community about the social, cultural and political issues facing the Chicano/Latino community, while celebrating the traditions and contributions of Chicano and Latino cultures. The event features: live entertainment and traditional foods; youth outreach and empowerment conferences; art exhibits; political forums; performing artists; seminars; and films. 

    Asian Pacific Culture Week 
    A university-sponsored cultural program dedicated to creating cultural awareness and celebrating diversity within the Asian-Pacific American community. The activities begin on Monday with "Kickoff on the Quad," a noontime celebration featuring music, dance, food, games, and student organization booths. The week continues with presentations by speakers from diverse corners of the Asian Pacific Islander community. In the past, musicians, comedians, actors, authors, artists, and civil rights activists have visited the campus to share their experiences and talents. 

    Yolo County Fair 
    Held each August in Woodland, the Yolo County Fair is an area tradition. The fair features exhibits, rides, live music and food. 

    California State Fair 
    Since 1854 the California State Fair has been a showcase for the people of this state. The fair features a wide variety of exhibits, entertainment, rides and food.

    Dixon May Fair 
    For more than 125 years - the Dixon May Fair has been providing surrounding communities with a spring fair. Highlights include: livestock and craft exhibits, carnival rides, fair food and a variety of live music. This is a great opportunity to experience a real, small town fair. 

  • Recreation
  • Davis is a very active community and residents and visitors can also be found jogging, inline skating, swimming, golfing, rock climbing, exercising at fitness clubs, bowling, and playing tennis, baseball, basketball, soccer and racquetball at facilities on and off campus.

    City of Davis recreational facilities 
    List of community parks, swimming pools and tennis court locations in Davis.

    UC Davis Campus Recreation 
    Learn about all sorts of recreational opportunities on campus including: the recreation pool, the equestrian center, the craft center and more.

    UC Davis Outdoor Adventures 
    Outdoor Adventures offers a wide variety of trips and outings aimed at people who enjoy backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, kayaking and more.

    The Craft Center 
    Explore your artistic side at the Craft Center on the UC Davis campus. The center offers courses on everything from glass blowing and ceramics to welding and paper making.

    Rock climbing 
    There are a lot of excellent rock climbing spots near Davis. While in town you can practice your skills at Rocknasium - an indoor climbing gym.

    Not only does Davis boast more bicycles per capita than any other city in the country, Davis has more bikeways per kilometer of roadway than any other city in the world—more than110 kilometer in all. Many of Davis' city streets have incorporated wide bike lanes for cyclists to safely travel from place to place. And bike paths along the many kilometers of greenbelts that stretch across Davis provide a more scenic route for cyclists. For those interested in mountain biking, Davis is in close proximity to a number of world-class trails. Information on cycling in Davis, including a map of bike paths throughout the city.

    Adventure sports
    For the more adventurous there are world-class opportunities for mountain biking, windsurfing and hiking within a short driving distance from Davis.

    Mountain biking, hiking and camping 
    It is a well kept secret that Northern California has some of the most challenging mountain biking in the country. There are also ample opportunities for excellent hiking and camping. features comprehensive information on mountain biking and hiking trails as well as campgrounds. Click on Northern California on the following map link for information on this region.

    Yolo Hiker 
    A website dedicated to hiking and outdoor recreation in and around Yolo County.

    Effie Yeaw Nature Center 
    Located in Sacramento, this nature center offers some great hiking as well as interesting exhibits.

    State parks 
    California has a multitude of state parks to be explored. Everything from redwood forests to sandy beaches.

    Northern California is home to some of the best Windsurfing on the planet.

    Rio Vista Windsurfing Association 
    Information on sailing sites in the Delta - a short 45 minute drive from Davis.

    San Francisco Boardsailing Association 
    Information on sailing in the Bay Area - a short one hour drive from Davis.

  • International House
  • Adjacent to the UC Davis campus, International House (I-House) is an independent, nonprofit organization which serves as a resource to individuals and groups interested in world issues. Principal activities focus on international awareness and education. Services emphasize hospitality and assistance to international visitors and their families. 

    I-House offers celebrations of U.S. and international holidays, ethnic dinners, cultural exhibits and receptions and international speakers. You can also take advantage of the following programs:

    Friendship Program
    Families "adopt" international students during their stay in Davis and include them in family and social activities

    Country Partners
    Introduces new international students and scholars to established Davis residents from their own country

    Day trips to regional attractions such as San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, the California Redwoods and museums.

  • Visiting Northern California
  • Napa Valley / The Wine Country
    The Napa Valley is home is California's world renowned wine industry. A short 30-minute drive from Davis, the wine country offers a wide variety of dining, shopping and spa opportunities - not to mention wine tasting.

    San Francisco
    One of the most beautiful cities in the world, San Francisco is only one hour from Davis (during peak commute hours it could take significantly longer). There are so many things to do and see in San Francisco that it would be impossible to even begin to list them here. The links below are excellent resources for planning your visit to the city by the bay.

    Located just before the Bay Bridge on the way to San Francisco, Berkeley has a lot to offer.

    UC Berkeley

    Lawrence Hall of Science
    Public science museum

    Whether you want to do some snowboarding, go for a hike, have a world-class meal or get married - Tahoe has something for everyone. Located just under two hours from Davis.

    Grover Hot Springs State Park
    Great place to soak in some natural hot springs with a view of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. Located approximately 30 minutes by car from Lake Tahoe.

    The Gold Country
    Gold was discovered in California in 1848 and the following year saw thousands of gold seekers flooding the region. The Gold Country preserves much of our gold rush heritage. Located along historic highway 49, The Gold Country is approximately 1-2 hours from Davis, depending on where you are headed.
    Nevada County Gold
    Amador City
    Malakoff Diggins, State Historic Park
    Detailed map of the gold country