12 Things To Do in Stockton, California

Last Updated on February 17, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Stockton is located in California’s Central Valley and is known for its inland seaport and rich agricultural history. With its diverse culture and convenient location, Stockton offers many unique attractions and activities for visitors. From its waterfront to its historic downtown, Stockton has something to offer for all interests.

This article will highlight 12 of the top things to do in Stockton to help you make the most out of your visit. Whether you want to explore the outdoors, learn about history and culture, or simply relax and have fun, Stockton has it covered. Keep reading for an overview of 12 not-to-miss activities in this Northern California destination.

Take a Stroll Along Weber Point Events Center

Weber Point Events Center is located right along Stockton’s waterfront, providing beautiful views of the Stockton Channel. This pedestrian-friendly area features a brick promenade that is perfect for taking a relaxing stroll or having a picnic. Visitors can watch boats passing by, view public art installations, or relax under shady trees on the Weber Lawn.

On weekends, there is often live music and entertainment. The center also hosts special events and festivals throughout the year. With its waterfront location and amenities, Weber Point Events Center is a great place to start your exploration of Stockton.

Cruise the Waterways on Port of Stockton Express

What better way to explore Stockton’s inland seaport than from the water itself? Visitors can take in all the sights along the bustling Stockton Channel by hopping aboard the Port of Stockton Express tour boat. This one and a half hour cruise provides an informative overview of the Port of Stockton’s operations and history while passing by its major terminals and berths.

Key landmarks spotted along the way include the Port’s World War II Liberty and Victory cargo ships, the Dock 20 grain terminal, and the Navy Logistics Terminal. With comfortable indoor and outdoor seating and heme-style food available for purchase, this cruise lets you sit back and take in the waterfront sights.

Try Paddle Boarding or Kayaking

For a fun and active way to experience Stockton’s natural waterways, rent a stand up paddle board or kayak. Paddle Stockton, located conveniently on Weber Point Event Center, offers hourly and daily rentals of all the gear along with basic instruction for beginners. Explore the scenic Stockton Channel, wind through the inland waterways Delta region, or paddle under several iconic downtown bridges.

It’s a unique way to take in views of the cityscape and get out on the water. Tours and lessons are also available for those who want a guided excursion. Whether aiming to relax or get an arm workout, paddle boarding and kayaking around Stockton are not to be missed.

Browse the Stockton Farmers Market

On Saturday mornings, downtown Stockton hosts a bustling Certified Farmers Market. Running from early morning to early afternoon, this open-air market brings the flavors of the Central Valley directly into the urban environment. Visitors can browse booths bursting with fresh local produce like stone fruits, nuts, citrus, vegetables, and more.

In addition to produce, the market features vendors selling baked goods, flowers, food trucks with multicultural cuisine, and garden plants. Spread out across several blocks with space for musical performances, the Stockton Farmers Market has an upbeat, lively ambiance that showcases both rural and city life. It’s a great opportunity to support local agriculture and sample authentic Central Valley and Stockton specialty foods.

See Public Art Along the Miracle Mile

Stockton is making a name for itself in the California art scene thanks to its Miracle Mile district. This section of Pacific Avenue is home to a wonderful collection of public art, including creative murals, installations and sculptures. The Miracle Mile Art Walk guides people along 14 unique art stops, like the rainbow tunnel Khalil Bendib Roundabout, the Lego-esque sculpture Brick Sculpture No. 7, and painted utility boxes depicting images that represent Stockton.

Plan to take a slow stroll up Pacific Avenue, admiring outdoor galleries filled with Impressionist-style dancers, nature scenes weaving onto buildings, vibrant Mexican cultural motifs and much more one-of-a-kind art. Stockton’s dynamic public art displays add an extra dimension for explorers to appreciate.

Catch a Show at the Historic Fox Theater

In the heart of downtown Stockton lies the magnificent Fox Theater, a visually stunning performing arts venue. Originally built as a movie palace in 1930 featuring Egyptian Deco style, the Fox later fell into disrepair before extensive renovations revived its glory for live performances.

Today people can tour the lobby to admire details like sunburst designs, glowing colored lights and gilded columns before seeing music concerts, comedy shows, musicals and local performances. The intricate details and intimate atmosphere make taking in a show at the Fox Theater a memorable night out. With world-class talent and productions taking the stage in this historic cinema treasure, visitors should be sure catch a show during their Stockton stay.

Discover Heritage at the Haggin Museum

Art and history buffs alike will appreciate the Haggin Museum, offering fascinating glimpses into Stockton’s past. This expansive museum houses artifacts, paintings, photographs and archives tracking the city and San Juaquin Valley’s agricultural roots and earliest residents.

Must-see galleries at the Haggin include 19th century landscaped paintings contrasting with modern abstract valley scenes, a replicated early 20th century street scene, pottery and baskets made by indigenous tribes, and rotating exhibits spotlights.

The museum also organizes lectures, children’s art and history classes and other public programs for the community. With both permanent and new collections to explore, unique events going on, a gift shop and cafe, visitors could easily spend hours uncovering stories about Stockton’s heritage at the Haggin Museum.

Wander Through Rural Life at Micke Grove Park

Just south of Stockton lies a true hidden gem called Micke Grove Park and Zoo offering a taste of traditional country life coupled with modern zoo excitement. Historic ranch buildings like an 1897 Victorian mansion, church, schoolhouse and blacksmith workshop transport guests back to 19th century rural Northern California living complete with costumed docents demonstrating daily tasks.

Visitors can also tour elaborate stables housing horses, donkeys and sheep while admiring vintage carriages. When wanting more fast-paced entertainment, Micke Grove boasts a theme park area with carnival rides and games for all ages. And animal lovers won’t want to miss seeing tigers, lemurs, reptiles and more native wildlife at the small accredited zoo. Micke Grove Park serves up fun and interactive activities for a well-rounded understanding of the valley’s cultural roots.

Tee Off on Local Golf Courses

With its sunny weather and open green spaces, Stockton offers fantastic spots for golfing. Public courses like Van Buskirk and Swenson Park feature meticulously landscaped greens set along scenic waterways with amenities like pro shops and restaurants. Private clubs in the area include The Reserve, Stockton Golf & Country Club and Brookside Country Club, some of which allow public play on certain days.

With picturesque settings and a nice variety of 18-hole championship courses catering to all skill levels, it’s no wonder Stockton is an increasingly popular golf getaway. Visitors can work on their swing against beautiful backdrops during their downtime in town.

Find Thrills at Panthers Paintball Park

Embark on an adventurous team outing with a round or two of paintball. Panthers Paintball Park spans 50-plus wooded acres filled with diverse playing fields to navigate while attempting to tag opponents. Guests as young as 10 can suit up with protective gear, grab paintball markers and ammo, then strategize their survival with friends. Various themed fields range from a life-sized mock wild west town called Deadwood complete with saloon and jailhouse to a jungle setting with fallen logs and tropical foliage providing cover.

Added elements like tires, ramps and barrels scattered throughout allow for dynamic gameplay requiring stealth movements across this challenging terrain. For those seeking heavy action, adrenaline and camaraderie, Panthers Paintball Park promises a rowdy good time.

Relax at Oak Grove Regional Park

Set against a scenic lake backdrop surrounded by oak woodlands, Oak Grove Regional Park serves as Stockton’s go-to spot for escaping urban life. Activities at this sprawling green space cater to all interests. Outdoorsy types will love fishing, boating and swimming opportunities in the lake as well as meandering trails for hiking, jogging or picnicking beneath shady trees.

Families can entertain kids at several playgrounds and an amusement park featuring mini golf, paddle boats and bumper cars. Oak Grove Regional Park also hosts summer concerts at its waterfront amphitheater and seasonal events like Independence Day fireworks. With so much natural beauty and ways to unwind across over 1,000 acres, Oak Grove Regional Park is definitely worth a visit when looking to relax Stockton-style.

Enjoy the San Joaquin County Fair

No trip to California’s agricultural heartland is complete without attending an old-fashioned county fair filled with blue ribbon competitions highlighting the best of the Central Valley. Held every Father’s Day weekend in June, the San Joaquin County Fair at Stockton Fairgrounds draws huge crowds eager to soak up entertainment, food and festivities.

Visitors can browse barns to see prize-winning farm animals raised by youth exhibitors and appreciate handmade arts & crafts. Carnival rides and games add thrill while concerts and pig races entertain. And fair food like corn dogs, candy apples and blooming onions are not to be missed! Taking place over several days, the San Joaquin County Fair offers fun for all ages that captures the essence of Stockton’s farm country spirit.

Conclusion

With its rich history, cultural diversity, natural landscapes and array of attractions, Stockton provides many interesting things for travelers to experience. From water recreation and public art downtown to heritage sites and county fair charm, visitors can tailor their itinerary around preferences to make the most of their stay. And Stockton’s convenient Central Valley location makes it easy to also explore more of Northern California once done enjoying what this inland gem itself has to offer. Whether simply passing through or using Stockton as a home base in the region, its variety of sights, flavors and activities promise memorable times for all.

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