North, south, east, west? Although Davis is a small town, it does vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Whether this is your first year living off-campus, or you’re just looking to try somewhere new, there are a few things to consider before you sign that year-long-lease.
Location, location, location
Before choosing an apartment, consider what type of environment you want to live in and what you want to be surrounded by, said Steven Lee, director of the ASUCD Office of City and County Affairs.
Consider if you want to be close to downtown or supermarkets, or if you want to live around a lot of students, or somewhere more low-key, he said.
Also, keep in mind how you plan to get to campus.
“If you plan on taking Unitrans, make sure it stops where you live,” Lee said. “Also keep in mind which buses go to what part of campus, how frequent they pick up at that line, and how crowded those lines may be.“
If you bike to campus, consider an area of town with convenient bike paths, he suggested.
“South Davis has a pretty good bike path directly to campus, as well as [West Davis] – the bike path along Russell coming from Arlington.“
Lee recommended inquiring about the parking situation when you tour apartments; it is an issue some places.
And although there is a lot of hype in February about finding housing, that doesn’t mean you must be impulsive.
“Don’t rush into a place if it doesn’t meet your needs,” Lee said.
North Davis, east of Highway 113 and north of West Covell, is one of the most popular student neighborhoods.
Many apartments on Alvarado Avenue and Sycamore Lane tend to cater to students and most are within walking distance of Anderson Plaza and the Marketplace, which contain a Savemart supermarket and a Safeway, respectively.
North Davis also houses the Covell Greenbelt, an interconnected network of parks and bike and walking paths that is easily accessible from most complexes.
“I would recommend North Davis,” said Nova Chavez, a senior psychology major. “It’s pretty convenient-right next to the Marketplace and the G and J bus lines. It’s also a pretty safe neighborhood.“
Located south of Highway 80, South Davis is characterized by rather new apartment buildings and a high density of chain restaurants: you can find In-N-Out, Applebees and IHOP.
“South Davis is nice, clean and quiet. A lot of families live here,” said Faradebah Waziri, a sophomore international relations major.
But the distance from campus is a minor drawback, Waziri said of South Davis, which has less of a college-town look and feel than most of Davis. And because it is sectioned off from the rest of town, Waziri said it sometimes feels farther away than it really is.
“It’s not that bad, but it’s annoying to have to go back to campus once you’ve already gone home,” she said. “I usually stay on campus really late and get everything I need done [at one time].“
If you want to be where all the “action” is in Davis, this is your place. Downtown Davis offers the majority of the town’s restaurants and entertainment outlets. Living downtown also makes you just minutes away from the university and events at Davis Central Park, such as the Wednesday night Farmers Market.
“I like being close to everything; I can walk or bike everywhere,” said Jaclyn Ferber, a junior human development major. “The grocery story is one of the only places you actually have to drive to.“
But because of their downtown locale, apartments lack abundant parking options, and the area can be noisy, she said.
Though apartments here tend to be older, Downtown Davis is an area in high demand because of its convenience.
“It is harder to find apartments, and they seem to be way more expensive [than other parts of town],” Ferber said.
Along with downtown, Central Davis is one of the closest locales to the university, located west of highway 113, north of Russell and south of West Covell. This neighborhood consists mostly of apartments (that usually tend to be older) and houses, along with the University Mall and Fraternity Row.
Walking and biking to campus is an easy feat from this part of town, but students can also opt to take the bus for a short ride to campus.
Many of the apartments surround the Cuarto Residence Halls along Wakeforest Drive.
“It’s really convenient and close to campus, and really pretty,” said Bethiah Benson, a sophomore animal science major.
Because many of the complexes are near the dorms and Oxford Circle Park and the dorms, Central Davis can be noisy, Benson said.
“I [also] feel like people aren’t very social in this neighborhood-you don’t know your neighbor,” she said.
East Davis is anything north of I-80 and east of J Street. Most students live in apartment complexes, although the area also boasts many single-unit homes, including the master-planned community Mace Ranch.
A popular attraction in East Davis is Slide Hill Park off of Tulip and Temple, where visitors can play tennis and basketball or go for a swim in the Manor Pool.
“I think East Davis is nice because it feels a little more quiet and secluded than most parts of town,” said Gloria Lu, a sophomore psychology major. “There aren’t a lot of parties and its easy to get work done, so that’s nice.
“At the same time, the seclusion is kind of isolating and it’s hard to get to campus,” she said, noting that biking to campus is not very convenient, and the distance is too far to walk.
“The apartments here are mostly newer, and seem to be a little cheaper [than other areas] to compensate for distance,” Lu said.
Most East Davis complexes are also far from grocery stores.
“The only thing that’s really close to us is a police station and an elderly home,” she said.
“The bus lines are really busy because we are so far out,” she said.
Encompassing the area west of Highway 113, toward the town of Winters, West Davis is primarily residential – not many shopping complexes or restaurants here. The area does, however, have a distinctly rural feel with extensive farmland and the landmark Avenue of Trees, a historic section of Russell Blvd. lined with 100 year old Black Walnut Trees.
“The west area of town is mostly very quiet,” said Jack Zwald, a sophomore international relations major. “Except for Arlington, which is more social and [known as] “the sophomore dorms“ … you can have a louder living experience.
“Shopping is one drawback,” Zwald said, adding that you have to take the bus or drive to the grocery store.
Zwald said that overall, he is very happy with West Davis and enjoys living close to the various parks in the area.
“There are a lot of really nice apartments out here for not a lot of money,” he said.
The ASUCD Community Housing Listing offers apartment and roommate vacancies that can be sorted by area of town. Visit chl.ucdavis.edu
The City of Davis offers the Davis Crime Map, an interactive tool allowing you to look-up crime rates in Davis based on apartment complex, neighborhood, street address and intersection. Visit cityofdavis.org/Police/crimemap.cfm
ANNA OPALKA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.