Free time is a precious resource at college. Services like Zagat, Yelp and TripAdvisor are helpful in providing people with systems that determine where time can be best spent. At Davis, there are many experiences you can look forward to, such as wine tasting, rock climbing, dining, theatergoing and relaxing at public parks. But if you really want to make the most of your Friday evenings, here’s a list of Davis’ highest rated dark alleys.
That’s right — we here at The California Aggie sent our best reporters (by which I mean just me), to the best known crawl spaces outside the college. At these locations, you can enjoy many activities, such as meeting your dealer, reenacting a scene from a superhero movie or getting controversial information from an informant. These are experiences you’ll remember for the rest of your life (because your life might end there).
Here are the five highest rated alleys to date:
#5: Tim Spencer Alley
Location: Between F and G St.
Close landmarks: Woodstock’s, Bistro 33, Temple Roasters
During the day, Tim Spencer Alley is crammed full of delivery cars, garbage cases and the mingling aromas of pizza smoke and grimy turf. At night, it’s the classic alley experience: smelly, dark and full of waste. Being near the center of downtown, it’s close to all the best bars and restaurants. If you’re in the area, it’s a place worth visiting (assuming you’re a detective in a noir thriller with a death wish).
Although the alley scores high in easy access and eerie decor, it has its shortcomings. It’s a vital route between many important restaurants, so there’s always a danger you’ll bump into a local employee who doesn’t want to kill you. It’s also too close to nosy witnesses who might spot you trying to sell black market weapons or illegal K-pop music.
I give it a rating of 3 red flags.
#4: Orange Court Alley
Location: E and 1st St.
Close Landmarks: Natsoulas Art Gallery, Sophia’s Thai Bar, Thai Canteen, Hotdogger
At first glance, this alleyway has it all: a narrow pathway, a dark foreboding aesthetic and a sweet spot between two, tall imperious buildings. Like the Tim Spencer alley, it’s close to a popular area downtown, but doesn’t have all those annoying witnesses and wide open spaces to make your escape. However, the experience does have a few cons.
Unfortunately, there is no dead end. Orange Court actually leads to the private parking lot behind Thai Canteen. Plus, there is a large opening halfway down the alley that allows you access to Sophia’s restaurant and the Dumpling house. In addition, it’s disappointingly clean and smells okay.
Still, the Orange Court alley gives the claustrophobic intimidation that you won’t find anywhere else (because you’re sane and don’t spend time in dark alleys).
3.5 red flags.
#3: D and E street Alley
Location: Between D and E St.
Close landmarks: Pence Gallery, Chipotle, de Vere’s, Tea List
This alleyway is a work of art, and not just because it’s located next to an art gallery and has lots of murals on it. It’s close to downtown, has a long narrow path and is full of places where someone might jump out to surprise you (in the least positive way possible). It has the classic garbage sites for restaurants, the smell of nicotine from waiters on break, and the view stretches to the other side of the block like the light at the end of the tunnel (which you might end up seeing if you’re not careful).
Downsides include its proximity to active businesses, its wideness compared to the Orange Court alley, and its popularity among people trying to make a short cut. And finally, it’s located next to the Pence gallery, where you are very likely to meet your art history professor who will ask you why you’re spending time in a dark alleyway instead of proofreading your homework.
The D and E St. alley does deserve recognition for its intimidating shape, numerous crawl spaces and smoky smell of no-going back.
3.5 red flags.
#2: The Putah Creek Path
Location: Between the Whole Foods parking lot and West Chiles Rd.
Close Landmarks: Arboretum, Whole Foods, Mikuni, Redrum Burger, Dutch Brothers
Though technically not an alley, the Putah Creek Path comes second on our list for the way it captures the dark isolated feeling of being in an alley. You can access the path at the east end of the arboretum, Whole Foods, Redrum, under the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway, and West Chiles Rd. It’s long, dark and on the edge of the city. This all adds up to the best (worst) experience you could get within walking distance of campus.
The path does have drawbacks. It’s relatively wide, clean, has fresh air and too many lamp posts. Despite this, its forlorn appearance is enough to make a grown man fear for his safety in this nocturnal gauntlet that is the Putah Creek path.
4 red flags.
#1: Northstar Greenbelt
Location: Sycamore Lane and F St.
Close landmarks: Northstar Park, Hacienda Park, Domino statue
Number one on our list is the Northstar Greenbelt of Davis. Again, it may be more of a path and not an alley, but it scores high on many of the aspects that you would want (hate) to find. It’s dark in most areas, longer than any of the other contenders on our list, has countless hiding spots and is close to parks that look extra creepy when dark and abandoned.The irony of feeling scared in a what is supposed to be a quiet and peaceful neighborhood heightens the fear levels. This element gives the Northstar Greenbelt a gold medal (warning) for walking around at night with one arm around your date’s shoulders and the other in your pocket with pepper spray, ready and loaded.
5 red flags.
For those who feel we could rate new locations for people to see/avoid, please do not contact us.
For those of you who wish to comment on your experience, please do not contact us.
For those of you who wish to use the locations for illegal purposes, please contact the local Davis Police Department to turn yourself in and, again, do not contact us.
But, if you want to contact EVAN LILLEY, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.