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Living in the Davis Area

ducks swimming in the Arboretum waterway

The beautiful UC Davis campus part of the city of Davis. More than half the people of Davis have some tie to the university as students, faculty or staff members.

Aside from a world-famous campus, Davis is known for its attention to the quality of college town life – the environment, controlled growth and innovative housing. The weather is usually mild, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. The city streets are lined with big shade trees and there are more than 95 miles of bike paths! There are community pools, tennis courts, playing fields, parks and jogging paths throughout the city.


Davis is less than 15 miles west of the state's capital, Sacramento, and 72 miles east of San Francisco and the Bay Area. The Sonoma and the Napa Valley wineries are about an hour's drive to the northwest; Lake Tahoe and the ski slopes of the Sierra Nevada are two hours to the east, and the oceanside towns of Mendocino and Santa Cruz are about 150 miles to the north or south, respectively. There many recreational resources in and around the outlying areas such as golfing, boating, fishing, swimming, skiing, hiking, tennis and horseback riding – to name just a few.

Recreational Activities

The city of Davis and the university community share in many enjoyable cultural activities and events. The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts sponsors theater, dance, opera, film and music performances throughout the year, bringing to the area fine artists and productions. The Entertainment Board sponsors performing groups at the Coffee House and Freeborn Hall, lectures, films, and free noontime concerts on the Quad. The campus holds various festive annual celebrations, including the Whole Earth Festival, Picnic Day, and colorful Cultural Days, to name a few.

The Department of Music hosts visiting artists, numerous student and faculty concerts, and free weekly recitals. The productions of the Department of Performance Studies are always popular, and are frequently standing room only. Various clubs and groups sponsor films almost every night. Five art galleries located across the campus feature work by artists from the campus and the region, many with international reputations. The Memorial Union (MU) offers a variety of recreational activities such as a bowling alley, billiard room, restaurants, a recreational reading library, a music listening room, shops, and the Coffee House. An art gallery, seminar and meeting rooms, and UC Davis Stores are also in the MU.

White water rafting recreational activity at UC Davis

Sacramento has a nationally-known ballet company and the California Musical Theatre, a summer theatre that produces a different show each week. The California State Fair is held at Cal Expo each fall. The Sacramento area is steeped in the history of the Gold Rush era. Its memorabilia can be appreciated at such sites as Sutter's Fort, the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, and the California State History Museum. The California State Railroad Museum is located in Old Sacramento, on the Sacramento River, where many of Sacramento's original buildings have been restored and now house restaurants and shops. The Crocker Art Museum, the oldest museum west of the Rockies, has many fine examples of western art. The State Capitol offers daily guided tours. In addition, there are comedy clubs, numerous sporting events, and many fine restaurants and shops.

Fans of professional sports can catch baseball with the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland Athletics, or the A's award winning Triple-A team, the Sacramento River Cats. The Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors are the area's basketball teams, and football enthusiasts can watch the Sacramento Mountain Lions, the San Francisco 49ers or the Oakland Raiders. Hockey fans can watch pucks fly at the San Jose Sharks games.

There are many recreational possibilities on the campus. The Craft Center offers workshops, classes and facilities. There are three UC Davis swimming pools. The Activities and Recreation Center hosts many recreational activities for UC Davis students, faculty and staff. It features four indoor basketball courts (convertible to host volleyball and badminton), eight four-wall courts, a multi-use activity center, indoor running track, large fitness/weight areas, and an indoor climbing wall. In addition, the complex includes group exercise, dance and martial arts studios, student lounges with computer terminals and wireless access points, a large ballroom and a conferencing center. The Pro Shop, run by UC Davis Stores, supplies students with snacks, school supplies, and other UC Davis items. In addition, the combination of climate and beautiful rural environment in Davis offers ample opportunity for bicycling in the countryside or on the city's and university's well-maintained bicycle paths.

Cultural activity at UC Davis

San Francisco and the Bay Area also offer the symphony, ballet, opera, theater, museums and galleries – plus outstanding restaurants, beautiful architecture and magnificent views.

Cultural Activities

The region is also host to many cultural events, including:

  • Festival de la Familia. Sacramento's annual celebration of Latino culture featuring artists, food, music, and children's activities from more than 20 countries.
  • La Raza Galeria Posada. The mission of La Raza Galeria Posada is to advance, celebrate and preserve the art and culture of Chicano, Latino, and Native peoples for now and for future generations.
  • More cultural events in Sacramento.

Learn more about UC Davis's Commitment to Diversity.


The land surrounding Davis is some of the richest agricultural acreage in the state. People with only the smallest corner garden grow flowers, fruits and vegetables year-round. There are public gardens for personal use and experimental garden plots available on the campus for students. There is a farmers' market twice weekly where farmers from the area bring their goods and produce for sale. The weekly market quickly becomes a ritual in most households. The climate is mild to hot, and the spring and fall seasons are unparalleled for their clear, warm days. The temperature is hot and dry during the summer, but the nights are cool and comfortable; winters are cool and wet. It rarely snows in Davis, but there is an occasional freeze. Overall it is a most pleasant place to live, work, and study. Despite the pressure of rapid growth, people in Davis actively work to maintain their quality of life. Concerns include planned environmental development, limited growth, energy conservation, and open space. Davis has been successful in preserving its atmosphere while supporting one of the finest universities in the world.