Stockton, Calif., was named the country’s most diverse city by U.S. News & World Report, which makes it the perfect place to explore incredible food, amazing cultural events and stunning art.
Fresh produce and tantalizing spices draw locals, travelers and chefs to the hustle-and-bustle of the Downtown Stockton Certified Farmers Market every Saturday from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. (or until things sell out). It’s one of the state’s oldest and most successful farmers markets. Find it under Hwy. 4 at Washington and San Joaquin streets.
Throughout the year, many festivals showcase the city’s heritage from the Cambodian New Year’s Festival in April to the Saint Basil’s Greek Food Festival in September. Or, head to one of the city’s many food trucks parked at Stocklandia for a culinary journey through the world with dishes like noodles, birria, tacos, barbecue and more. Find it at 2107 N. West Lane.
Or, head to a local favorite showcasing Stockton’s amazing produce, The Fruit Bowl at 8767 East Waterloo Rd. Owned by the Lucchetti family since 1945, you can indulge in delicious pies, sandwiches and gelato in addition to its famous stone fruit. The Fruit Bowl sells more than 40 varieties of peaches throughout the year. Local Wes Rhea’s advice?
“Try The Fruit Bowl pie – there’s something about strawberries and peaches together that’s just phenomenal,” says Rhea, who serves as Visit Stockton’s CEO.
Grab a snack to enjoy at one of the picnic tables outside, or head to Stockton’s World Peace Rose Garden for a relaxing afternoon.
With more than 245 rose plants, this garden is all about peace and poetry. Enjoy your picnic before strolling the mile-long walking trail.
There’s so much more locally produced food to be found on Stockton’s Farm Trail from U-pick farms to cheese tastings. Download a guide at https://www.visitstockton.org/farm-guide/
Stockton is For Art Lovers
Next, check out the Stockton, Calif., art scene on the Stockton Art Trail with more than 50 stops at outdoor art installations. Don’t miss the giant buddha and 90 other jewel-encrusted statues at the Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple, which celebrates the life and story of the Cambodian buddha. An active Buddhist temple, you may spot monks walking along its paths. The temple area is free and open to visitors during daylight hours. Donations are accepted.
Head inside to see stunning paintings by artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Albert Bierstadt at the Haggin Museum, which completed a $2.5 million renovation of its galleries in fall 2017. You’ll even catch a glimpse of Yosemite’s timeless natural beauty here in Bierstadt’s panoramic paintings of Yosemite Valley with its iconic El Capitan. The Haggin has the largest museum collection of major Bierstadt works. In fact, President Ronald Reagan borrowed Looking Up the Yosemite Valley to hang in the Roosevelt Room in the White House during his presidency.
You’ll also see a permanent gallery dedicated to J.C. Leyendecker, one of the nation’s most successful commercial artists during the first 40 years of the 20th century. A mentor to Norman Rockwell, he designed hundreds of covers for Saturday Evening Post, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and others.
In addition to its permanent collection, the Haggin showcases artists like Picasso and Mary Cassatt in revolving temporary exhibits.
“It’s beautiful on the outside, but I think people get inside and are amazed by the collection we have here in the Central Valley,” says Wes Rhea, Visit Stockton’s chief executive officer.
Traveling with Kids in Stockton, Calif.
If your children are older, head to the heart of downtown Stockton, and stop at the Village West Marina to rent kayaks, stand up paddleboards or hydrobikes to spend a few hours exploring the waterfront. Kids under over 14 can paddle their own kayak or SUP as long as a parent or guardian is present. Hydrobikes are great for kids over eight to pedal themselves.
Pixie Woods Amusement Park is an outdoor fairyland is perfect for kids eight and under. Open May through June, your little ones can ride on a vintage carousel, experience a Wild West train and splash in a water park. With slides, swings and quirky gnomes galore, the back seat is sure to be quiet on the rest of your drive to the park after stopping here.
Explore nearly 200 acres of beautiful oak forests in Stockton at Oak Grove Regional Park. Bring a frisbee to play the 18-hole disc golf-course, fish on the lake or walk the nature trails before heading to the nature center to learn more about the ecology and history of the San Joaquin Valley with hands-on displays perfect for kids.
Beat the heat or escape the cold at the Children’s Museum of Stockton. With interactive exhibits with topics like the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta estuary, Stockton native astronaut Jose Hernandez and a live reptile display, your children will be sure to learn something new – and you just might, too. After working up an appetite, you’ll be just steps from all the best restaurants downtown.
For more information:
125 Bridge Place, Stockton, CA 95202