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You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the perks of this ag-oriented college town
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Eco-friendly, laid-back, and progressive, with leafy streets lined by impressive professors’ homes and fraternity houses—Davis has all the hallmarks of a classic college town. But it’s got its own unique vibe too—thanks in large part to its flat topography and fertile Yolo County setting, 15 miles west of Sacramento. Started as the agricultural extension for University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis soon became its own campus, with strong veterinary, viticulture, and agricultural departments. Today it’s the fourth largest school in the University of California system, with around 40,000 students.

As for that flatness, it makes the town a haven for bicycles—it’s said there are more bikes than people here, and the town is home to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, with memorabilia and gear from top racers and events. Rent a bike for as little as $10/day at places like Green Bicycle Depot to follow some 100 miles of bike lanes (the first such system in the country—click here for a map) and paved paths. Loop through the lush U.C. Davis Arboretum, then pedal downtown and continue your explorations on foot. You’ll find streets lined with boutiques, galleries, bars, coffee shops and restaurants serving comfort foods as well as cuisines from around the world (Woodstock’s Pizza, Burma Eat, and Zumapoke & Lush Ice are standouts). As could be expected with tens of thousands of thirsty college students on hand, Davis has embraced the California’s craft-beer boom—drop in to sample the creations at Sudwerk Brewing Co., Three Mile Brewing, Dunloe Brewing, or Super Owl Brewing, to name just a few. Time your visit to sync with the twice-weekly farmers market (the city’s West and East Quads, as well as Central Park Gardens, are perfect for picnicking), or to catch a performance at the soaring Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Insider tip: Check out what’s going on in town and surrounding Yolo county at The Dirt.

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