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Arcata Plaza, Arcata

Arcata Plaza, Arcata
See the historic side of the North Coast’s Hippie Haven

The History: This college town of almost 18,000, on the state’s far north coast, may be nicknamed “Hippie Haven,” but its official name was a more sombre “Union” when it was settled in 1850. Those pioneers built up this plaza, mostly using wood for construction, but August Jacoby thought to build his store out of brick and stone. As a result, in the wake of an 1875 fire that destroyed dozens of the town’s buildings and businesses, his is the only original building left today. More recent structures, though, are still about 100 years old. The Hotel Arcata dates to 1915; it was once called “Sportsman’s Headquarters” and played host to those to who travelled by rail or steamer. Just off the plaza is the Minor Theatre; opened in 1914, it’s one of the oldest structures in the U.S. built for the sole purpose of showing movies. Don’t leave without debating the merits of slain U.S. President William McKinley—and be sure to do so in front of his eight-foot-tall bronze statue in the plaza, erected in 1906.

Where to Play: Check out August Jacoby’s legacy, the restored Jacoby’s Storehouse, with several restaurants and shops. Have dinner on the 3rd floor at Plaza Grill. You can stay at the Hotel Arcata, though prices have gone up since its 1915 rate of $1/night. Even if you don’t stay there, be sure to check out the lobby’s cool historic decor. Then mix past and present: Catch the latest Hollywood releases at the restored Minor Theatre.

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Tai Power Seeff

Northern California

Discover the North Coast

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11
May
Average (°C)
Mar - May
14°
High
6°
Low
June - Aug
16°
High
10°
Low
Sept - Nov
17°
High
7°
Low
Dec - Feb
12°
High
5°
Low

Romance finds a home in this idyllic coastal region, where ocean fog rolls in from the ocean to blanket hushed redwood forests, and whales spout offshore. Along the coast, artists set up their easels to paint scenes of crashing surf and whitewashed cottages wrapped in rose filled gardens.

Each year, from December to May, look to the sea to witness roughly 15,000 gray whales swimming south for the summer.

It’s also a place where a new generation of farmers and winemakers focus on preserving the land as well as producing amazing food and wine. Favourite escapes include the romantic hamlet of Mendocino, roughly a 3-hour drive up the coast from San Francisco, and Eureka, a former logging town 2 hours further north, and the gateway to breath-taking Redwoods National and State Parks.

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Clint Farlinger/Alamy

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Discover a coastal paradise with ridiculously fresh seafood, amazing wine, and craft beer

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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

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Humboldt County CVB

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California's North Coast
The Skunk Train on California's North Coast
Courtesy of Skunk Train

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Ride a historic train through soaring coastal redwoods

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When you come to California, come hungry. This is a state that really knows how to cook. Amazing and innovative chefs sprinkled with Michelin stars work with local farms and artisanal food...

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With its original roots as a military garrison and then a gritty lumber town, Fort Bragg skirted under the radar of most visitors. But now—perhaps...

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Chefs at work at Feast Mendocino
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The North Coast region of California
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