Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centerpiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34,000 square feet of gallery space showcases masterpieces, including the unforgettable works of Albert Bierstadt, whose wall-size paintings of Yosemite Valley are the closest thing to being there. In fact, the Haggin has more Bierstadts than any other museum—worthy of a trip just to see these iconic works—but there’s plenty more to discover. History galleries include the California Room, which delves into the state’s Spanish and Mexican heritage. Turn-of-the-century storefronts have been reassembled to help chronicle the history of Stockton and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley. Check the schedule before you plan your trip; the calendar is filled with family programs, lectures, and musical performances year-round.
Now head out to explore the adjacent Sacramento Delta. While you can drive the levee roads that lace the Delta to the north and west, consider renting a boat at Paradise Point Marina in Stockton. Or splurge on an easy-to-maneuver houseboat for a unique overnight stay.