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Davis, California

Sunday, May 19, 2024

How to spend a day in Davis

Follow an itinerary curated by locals to visit popular spots downtown and on the UC Davis campus


By REBEKA ZELJKO — features@theaggie.org 


Some believe that an unassuming town like Davis doesn’t have much to offer beyond its cows and pastures, but locals say otherwise. If you’re just visiting, or looking for something new to do with your friends, here is a curated itinerary to best enjoy what Davis has to offer. Try beloved eateries, experience beautiful nature and visit incredible museums frequented by Davis residents. 

The first stop on our list is the local coffee shop Mishka’s. Stepping into this brick building, you’ll be immediately welcomed by tall ceilings, warm lighting and the smell of freshly-brewed coffee. Artwork from local artists is on display and for sale. 

Mishka’s is always buzzing with people, whether they be studying for a final or catching up with friends. According to the Mishka’s website, the coffee shop was established in 1995 and inspired by European cafes. Their emphasis on quality, locally-made products is felt every time you take a sip of the coffee they roast and brew themselves. 

Hukum Sekhon, a fourth-year environmental science and management major, is a regular at Mishka’s. 

“The ambiance of Mishka’s is honestly why I keep going back,” Sekhon said. “It’s a great spot to study at, and they always get your coffee out fast no matter how busy they are.”

Mishka’s serves a variety of drinks and food without compromising the quality.

“All of the coffee and pastries are honestly amazing,” Sekhon said. “You can’t go wrong with any of them.”

Mishka’s long-standing presence in Davis is a testament to the quality, consistency and ambiance many locals have grown to love. The cafe is open every day at 7:30 a.m. on 2nd Street and is worth a visit.

“Mishka’s just feels like that special local coffee shop,” Sekhon said. “You always know what to expect going into there. They don’t disappoint.” 

After grabbing a cup of locally roasted and brewed coffee, we recommend you bike or walk over to the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology. 

According to their website, the Bohart Museum was established in 1946, and their collection of over seven million specimens is the seventh-largest in all of North America.

Joseph Johnson, a third-year political science major, discovered the museum, which he describes as a hidden Davis gem, earlier this year. 

“I went with my girlfriend over the summer when they were celebrating the California butterfly, and the staff was so excited to involve students in entomology,” Johnson said. “I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling to find a new place to explore [in] Davis.”

The Bohart Museum is exemplary of the diverse activities Davis has to offer. The enthusiastic staff and impressive variety of insects that many visitors would otherwise never see make it a unique spot.

“It’s the only place where you can hold roaches or get an up-close-and-personal look at some of the most beautiful insects in our world,” Johnson said. “You have free rein to look through the thousands of pinned insects.”

The Bohart Museum is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  

When you are in need of a midday pick-me-up, Zia’s Delicatessen is well-known and recommended. Opened in 1995, Zia’s offers an array of Italian products like jams, cured meats, traditional Italian desserts and delicious made-to-order sandwiches. 

Kayle Chavez, a fourth-year psychology major, is a repeat customer at Zia’s. 

”It’s a one-stop shop for all your Italian snacks, foods and coffees,” Chavez said. “There’s no place like it.”

She said that their products’ quality and value sets Zia’s apart from other food spots in Davis. 

“Why would you go to Panera when you could go to Zia’s for cheaper and better quality?” Chavez said. “Zia’s is a bang for your buck because everything is so high-quality, and it is superior to any other sandwich shop in Davis by far.”

Zia’s serves something for everyone. 

“The sandwiches are super customizable, and there are so many options to choose from,” Chavez said. “They have a lot of vegetarian options, too, which is great.”

The local feel is very important to Zia’s. 

“The deli has created an extended family of customers,” owners Kevin and Anne Marie Crilly said on Zia’s website

After grabbing a sandwich at Zia’s between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 3rd Street, head to the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory. Its arrow pathways are overflowing with flora its beautiful sanctuary is teeming with plant life that everyone can visit. 

Zhuowen Kong, a fifth-year biomedical engineering major, said that she loves going to the conservatory in her free time.

“Do you not want to be amazed by nature?” Kong said. “The leaves are taller than you, and the color is just fascinating. And the way they are laid out, it’s so aesthetically pleasing. It makes you feel like you are walking through a jungle.” 

Kong also pointed out that the conservatory is a great place for plant enthusiasts to visit, but everyone can gain an appreciation for nature by going to the conservatory. 

“For people who love plants in general or just interested in nature, they have a great range of plants,” Kong said. “But I’ll take anyone I know there. It’s just fantastic.” 

According to the conservatory’s website, there are nearly 4,000 specimens on display that you can view through tours that are available to the public. The conservatory is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Shields Avenue.

To wind down your busy day in Davis, stop into the Root of Happiness Kava Bar. It features a well-curated ambiance with murals, plants and tons of cozy seating. For those who are 18 and older, grab a kava drink and enjoy the relaxing benefits of the beverages. 

According to their website, their drinks are made from a kava root sourced from Hawaii, and it’s a drink that’s been enjoyed by Pacific Islanders for over 3,000 years. Share a drink with some friends and enjoy the positive, relaxing sensation that kava brings.

Farah Noor, a third-year political science major, goes to the Kava Bar with friends often.

“I used to go with this group of people, and it was our weekly activity,” Noor said. “Even if you don’t drink kava, it’s just a comfortable environment.” 

She said that the space itself is what draws many people into the Kava Bar. 

“They have couches, magazines, a great environment and amiable service that attracts customers,” Noor said. “I have literally fallen asleep there before.” 

Root of Happiness is also a great place for people who are under the age of 21 and looking for a place to go out and enjoy themselves with friends. 

“It has that unique touch in Davis,” Noor said. “Not a lot of students can go to the [21-and-up] places in Sacramento and Davis, so it’s a great 18-and-up spot.”

After a long day spent hopping around Davis, we hope you can see all the great variety of activities, restaurants and local spots the town has to offer. 


Written by: Rebeka Zeljko — features@theaggie.org