Davis, California Photos and Information

Davis, California, the bicycle capital of the US, is a progressive, eco-conscious community.


Your spokes will be spinning in Davis, California if you like bicycling. 11 miles west of the Sacramento State Capitol, this progressive college town with over two bikes per capita—more than any place in the nation—enjoys bragging rights as the Bicycle Capital of the U.S. Filled with bike stores, clubs, races and even a bike radio program, the city with an old fashioned highwheel bicycle as its symbol mostly rides mountain, hybrid and street bikes that are sold at numerous stores. Visitors can rent bikes and fit right in when they shop, dine and tour places like the college with its expansive 5,200 acres of grounds. University of California Davis (the largest of nine campuses in the UC system), is best viewed on bike because the campus is a car-free zone. Bike rental is available from B & L Bike Shop, 610 3rd Street Davis, CA 95616. Phone: 530-756-3540.


The love affair with bicycles began over 40 years ago with a small band of sharp-thinking academicians who sought safer roads. They noticed that as the population grew, automobile drivers became more aggressive—and cyclists were calling it quits. They orchestrated a successful campaign that put Davis on the map as the first municipality in the U.S. to establish bicycle lanes in 1966. Their blueprint for success was later adopted by the Federal Highway Administration and fittingly Davis is now home to the Institute of Transportation Studies.


Whether traveling by car, train, bus or bike, be sure to apply the brakes and stop in Davis. A step back in time, the downtown shopping district is a National Main Street Community as subscribed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Shady streets, historic buildings, over 40 restaurants, numerous art galleries and hundreds of shops and services make this the heart of the city. If you want to stay overnight, the hotels are affordable and include mostly chains you'll recognize such as Comfort Suites and Best Western.


There's enough to see and do to fill at least a day and night. One of the new additions to the city's cultural scene is the spectacular Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis. This state-of-the-art venue features over 100 concerts annually with symphonies, choral, chamber singers, an Early Music ensemble, concert bands, electronic music, plays and lectures. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, Chick Corea, Youssou N'Dour, The Blind Boys of Alabama and McCoy Tyner Trio provide a sampling of world class musicians in the 2005-2006 series, which also includes Shakespeare plays, musicals, dance and distinguished author presentations open to the public. If you don't have time for an overnight stay complete with dinner and concert or play, you'll enjoy looking at the sandstone and slate-covered building, a real standout on campus.


Within view of the Mondavi Center is University Arboretum which is also open to the public and features more than a dozen rare or endangered plant species. It winds along Putah Creek and connects Putah Creek Bike Path to downtown via a $4.5 million, 12-foot wide crossing under Interstate 80.

While riding your bike or even driving along city streets, the stroke of an artist is evident in almost every direction. Art dots the landscape in a collection of unusual public objects d’art that have been commissioned or selected through a city-funded public arts program. A must-see artwork is a unique and mesmerizing installation called Solar Intersections. Located at the beautifully restored Davis Transit Depot which was built in 1868, you'll find it at the intersection of 2nd and G Streets near the multimodal station.


Solar Intersections was created in 1989 by renown artist and educator Robert Behrens, in a design competition sponsored by the Davis Art in Public Places program. This outstanding piece ranks among the finest in California, along with the Sundial Bridge in Redding. While one is massive, new and cost $23 million to build, the smaller project at Davis shares many attributes with the bridge 150 miles north, though the price tag is not one of them. Context, design and interest are at play in both works—and they also share the magic. These elegant works have so much depth, you remember them long after you leave, and hope that you'll be able to go back to take another look.


In addition to great outdoor art, there are over a dozen galleries to enjoy, including the artery, an artists cooperative where shoppers seeking fantastic art in an affordable price range can enjoy ceramics, paintings, sculptures and photographs made by very talented artists, often selling their works for less than in other galleries. 207 G Street, Davis, CA 95616   Phone: 530-758-8330. artery.coop  Second Friday Artabout is a walking tour of local galleries with exhibits, artist receptions and opportunities to discuss art and enjoy it with friends.  


A popular shopping event that happens twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays is Farmers Market held in Central Park.  In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables sold by local farmers, often organic, there are gourmet foods, live entertainment, specialty products, arts and crafts, and even splash fountains for children’s enjoyment. Admission is free.


385 miles north of Los Angeles and 72 miles northeast of San Francisco, Davis can be accessed by Interstate 80. It is only 20 miles or a 25 minute drive from Sacramento Airport (SMF).  Surrounded by farm lands in one of the most fertile growing regions in the world, this Yolo County also sits in the Pacific Flyway, a major migration route for waterfowl and other North American birds. Several wildlife preserves, offering a natural environment, dot the landscape. The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area - one of the most successful public-private partnerships for wildlife preservation – provides habitat for thousands of resident and migratory waterfowl on more than 15,830 acres of seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands. Open to the public, it can be accessed off Interstate 80 at East Chiles Road exit. Travel east one-quarter mile to the west levee access. From westbound I-80, take Frontage Road exit immediately west of the west end of the Yolo Causeway, turn right at stop sign and head south under freeway to west levee access. Admission is free.

Seasonal events in Davis include free summer concerts, Labor Day 5K and 10K races in September and a parade, open house, and tree plaza lighting in December. The University has an annual Picnic with over 50,000 people attending. There's always something going on in a university town and with the Mondavi Center featuring over 100 performances in year, you won't run out of things to do on a visit.

Davis was named for local farmer Jerome C. Davis and grew around a Southern Pacific Railroad depot which was built in 1868.  The post office at Davisville shortened the town name to Davis in 1907 and the City of Davis was incorporated in March of 1917. Modern day Davis grew up around the university which was established in 1908 as The University Farm. Before that time, linguistic evidence indicates that between approximately 2500 BC and AD 0, the Yokuts expanded from the Delta into the area. Prior to the Yokut expansion, sites in this vicinity were probably occupied by Hokan speakers, perhaps ancestors of the Pomo or Washoe. By approximately AD 0, the Miwok were probably present in the region and possibly also the Patwin and Nisenan.


From its inception as a farming community, Davis has been known for its contributions to agriculture along with veterinary care and animal husbandry. Davis Toad Tunnel which runs beneath the Pole Line Road overpass was built to protect toads that hop from one side of a dirt lot (which a highway overpass replaced to the reservoir at the other end.  The toads refused to use the tunnel and so the tunnel was lighted to encourage its use. The toads then died from the heat of the lamps inside the tunnel. The exit to the toad tunnel has been decorated by the Post Master to resemble a toad town.


When visiting: Davis weather ranges from a winter low of 30s at night to summer highs of around 102 degrees, roughly. Average rainfall is 17 inches with the months of June - August rarely seeing any rain. Attire in Davis is casual, except for special occasions.


Getting to Davis: If you fly into Sacramento Airport you can get to Davis for around $20 on the Davis Airporter. 800-565-5153. davisairporter.com


Amtrak offers eight round-trip trains that link Davis to the Bay Area and beyond on the Capitol Corridor, California Zephyr, and Coast Starlight routes. Train Depot, 840 Second Street, Davis, CA.  amtrakwest.com  (530) 758-4220 or 1-800-872-7245
For more information on visiting Davis, you can contact the Davis Conference & Visitors Bureau , 105 E. Street, Suite 300,  Davis, Ca. Phone: 877-71DAVIS.  davisvisitor.com

Yolo County Visitors Bureau, 105 E Street, Suite 300, Davis CA 95616; tel. (877) 713/2847 or (530) 297-1900. fax. (530) 297-1901.

davis california
davis california
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