A new school year at UC Davis can mean a lot for a new student: a new bed, new classes, new friends and new eating (and drinking) habits. Aside from all the changes on campus, students often forget the new town waiting to be discovered, just blocks away. So once the new-school jitters settle down, here is something to point the way once the Quad is out of sight.
Davis Farmers Market
Central Park at Third and B streets
Wednesday 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., March to October.
Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., year-round
Twice a week Davis‘ Central Park is lined with farmers, fresh fruit, vegetables, students, parents, toddlers, professors – and plenty of free samples. The Farmers Market offers the bounty of the nearby land and promotes community and local food.
Great for picnicking, produce-shopping or just as a gathering place often accompanied with live music, Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings make downtown Davis a hard place to find a free bike rack.
Randii MacNear, market manager, knows that UC Davis students make the market what it is.
“A lot of students say the market was one of the places that helps them adjust to a new town,” MacNear said. “And [students] love our t-shirts, we are a fashion icon.“
The market recently won the American Farmland Trust contest as best farmers market in the large market category.
“We were very proud and pleased to see the extreme enthusiasm the students had for this contest,” MacNear said.
Locals stepped up to vote for the market, each with their own reason why the Davis Farmers Market is great.
“It’s one of the few places left nowadays with a sense of community,” said junior environmental policy analysis and planning major Gwen Megan.
Others love the market for its versatility.
“[The Farmers Market] is the perfect place for anything from a date to when family comes to town,” Dominic Hastings said, a Davis resident.
Davis Parks and Recreational Areas
When not host to the Farmers Market, Central Park (Third and B streets) is just one of the many parks and green areas available to Davisites. Greenbelts are scattered throughout the city, providing great recreational spots and biking areas.
Pat Riley, parks manager for the city of Davis, highlighted some parks and their special amenities that he recommends for students.
Swimming pools are available at Community Park (1405 F Street), Arroyo Park (2000 Shasta Dr.), and Slide Hill Park (1525 Tulip Lane). Many parks also offer tennis courts.
Frisbee golf at Oxford Circle Park (505 Oxford Circle) and sand volleyball at Community, Playfields (2500 Research Park Dr.) and Walnut Parks (2250 Barony Place) can get a group of friends off campus and moving. Horseshoe pits are found in Oxford Circle Park and Central Park, Riley added.
View wildlife at Northstar Park (3434 Anderson Road) in North Davis or bring a skateboard to a skate park located in the center of Community Park.
Yolo Berry 316 C Street Frozen yogurt, more commonly known as “froyo,” has become a highlight of the Davis food scene. Perfect for hot weather, study breaks or an after dinner treat, this local yogurt stop is always bustling with people. Senior economics major Jessica Kim can be found at Yolo Berry once the weather gets hot. “I like how you can serve yourself. It tastes good, doesn’t have that tarty taste, [and] it is close to campus,” Kim said. “And the seating outside is pretty cool.”
Store manager Ryan Brands attributes a “culmination of everything” to what makes Yolo Berry a successful local shop, including its 101 toppings, self-service, late night hours and outdoor patio.
1020 Olive Drive at Richards Boulevard.
It doesn’t get old having this famous fast food joint in town. Known for its fresh lettuce and tomatoes, never frozen-fries and quality burger patties, In-n-Out offers “quality you can taste.” Open late on weekends, In-n-Out is a popular after-hours spot.
The “secret menu” adds options to a seemingly short list of choices. Daviswiki.com (a great online tool to get to know the city of Davis), has a Web page listing the little-known options available at In-n-Out.
The Davis Bike Loop
The city of Davis‘ logo includes a bicycle, so it makes sense that the city also boasts a 12-mile bike trail. Aptly named the Davis Bike Loop, it spans the entire city and is marked. To start mapping the route, check out davisbicycles.org/guide/bikeloop.
Putah Creek runs through the city of Davis. It provides many fun spots to relax, swim and bike.
Putah Creek Council executive director Libby Earthman suggests checking out certain spots along the creek for antsy students. She recommends the area down Old Davis Road, past the bee lab.
“[It’s great] especially if you are feeling stuck on campus and need to get away for a bit,” Earthman said.
For students who want to get involved in something, the council is always looking for committed volunteers. Their next project is the Coast and Creek Cleanup Day. More information can be found at putahcreekcouncil.org.
U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame
Third and B, 303 B Street
Along with the incoming first-years, another newcomer to town is the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, which is moving its permanent location from New Jersey to Davis this fall to display its treasure chest of bike memorabilia.
Their first big event will be the 2009 Induction Dinner and Ceremony on Nov. 7 at UC Davis‘ Freeborn Hall.
Although the hall of fame will not be open to the public until early 2010, bike enthusiasts can start getting ready, said USBHOF President Dawn Wylong.
“I am happy to know the Davis community is anxious for our opening,” she said. “We look forward to making each and every endeavor special for the cycling community and the organization.“
Delta of Venus
122 B St.
Music, food, and an outdoor patio make a great combination.
A fun venue for local – and even visiting – bands, the DOV becomes something like a nightclub once the sun sets. While the sun is shining, DOV is a great place to try original brunch and lunch dishes, including vegan-friendly options, such as their Caribbean vegan curry tofu.
John Natsoulas Gallery 521 First St. Pence Gallery
212 D St.
For those looking for a dose of culture, Davis provides a good number of venues to explore local artists. At the Natsoulas Gallery, art goes beyond installed paintings and exhibits. This fall, the gallery will host the Davis Jazz Artists Festival: Beyond the Beat Generation, which includes live jazz sessions and poetry readings. The Pence Gallery with its bright exterior and modern design is a great place to discover local and regional artists.
If all else fails, walking the streets of downtown can always be enjoyable. More often than not, something is going on downtown. Check out E Street Plaza–on E street between Second and Third streets where often live bands, usually organized by the Davis Downtown Business Association, play next door to Baskin Robbins during spring and summer evenings.
At First and D streets, the Davis Commons offers smoothies at Jamba Juice, shopping at the Gap and fresh salads at Pluto’s. Additionally Mikuni, a sushi restaurant, recently joined Border’s Books, Habit Burger, Bath and Body Works, Ben and Jerry‘s, and Papyrus.
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.