20 minutes from Sacramento, in Yolo County, is a quiet, clean, friendly, cosmopolitan, liberal town known as Davis. It is home to the prestigious University of California at Davis campus and is considered the Bicycle Capital of America. In 2006, CNN Money ranked Davis the second most educated city in the nation, which means a high percentage of residents have graduate degrees.
Must See In Davis
First is Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven since Davis is steeped in agriculture. Next, the UC Davis Arboretum is beautiful in spring and fall. For food, shopping and entertainment, look no further than downtown Davis, or, for a taste of the arts, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
Honorable Mention: Toad Hollow, the Tunnel for Toad Travel, which was built in 1995 to help save the lives of toads who were cut off from their ancestral wetlands by a deadly, six-lane highway. There are now several tunnels for the toads to safely get from one place to another.
Where To Stay In Davis
Hyatt Place UC Davis. For anyone scouting the campus, or for parents visiting their children, this is the spot. It's clean and close to the campus. It also offers breakfast in the morning, so it's a good choice for families with children.
Best Western Plus Palm Court Hotel. Another good hotel close to both the campus and downtown, but a person may want to ride a bike to the campus. Since it's near downtown, it is a good choice for those looking for some nightlife and things to do.
For the cheapest hotel rates, a person may want to book a room in the town of Dixon, which is approximately 10 minutes west of the town of Davis.
Best and Worst Time to Visit Davis
Worst: June through August. The climate in Davis is typical of the Sacramento Valley. Summers are hot, sometimes upwards of 110 degrees without so much as a breeze.
Best: October and November, and March through April. Fall in Davis is very pretty. The foliage is lovely, and the temperatures are perfect. The rainy season does not typically begin until November. Spring in Davis is also very pretty, and temperatures range from 65 to 78 degrees.
Where To Get Lost In Davis
The UC Davis Arboretum: Admission is free, and it's open 24 hours a day. It is not recommended to visit after dark for safety reasons. Parking is free on weekends. Bring a camera and a picnic lunch. There are many varieties of plants to admire, and strolling about can take several hours. The trails are paved and utilized by cyclists, runners and those who are in no hurry to be anywhere. Leashed dogs are welcome, and please pick up after them.
Downtown: There is much to love about downtown Davis. A person can find everything from mattresses and shoes to movie theaters and sushi bars, and, of course, bike shops. Whatever a visitor needs, it can probably be found downtown. There is even an Ace Hardware store that sells kitchen gadgets and home goods in addition to hardware.
The weekly farmers market: Everything from produce to plants can be found here, and on some days there is live music.
Best Deal In Davis
Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Free admission, but please consider a donation to help with funding. The gardens are lovely, and guided tours are available to learn about the bees and how to protect them. Beautiful ceramic pieces dot the garden, and make for really pretty photographs. Leashed dogs are welcome, and please pick up after them. Plan to spend one to two hours meandering the grounds.
Transportation In Davis
Personal cars are the most popular, but there is an Amtrak station near downtown. Bicycles are optimal for getting around, and there are special traffic lights just for cyclists in some neighborhoods. The city also has buses.
Getting In From Sacramento Metropolitan Airport
A personal car works best, but the airport has numerous taxi services to bring a person into Davis. There is also the airport's blue and yellow Super Shuttle vans, which are available for a fee.
Local Tip For Visitors To Davis
Visiting the town during the college semester means more traffic, so if a quick getaway is on the agenda, it is best to do this during the summer months or for major holidays when most college students have returned home.
Author's bio: Shawna McGregor-King is a freelance writer who lives in the Sacramento area. When she isn't writing, she can be found roaming Tamriel or knitting.