The ocean-bound freighters dotting Stockton’s waterways seem a bit out of place in this middle-of-California town. Even though it’s 70 miles from the coast, Stockton lies on a winding channel that carves its way inland from San Francisco Bay. At California’s largest inland deep-water port, massive ships carry the region’s agricultural crops out to the Pacific and around the globe.
First time in Stockton? Get a taste for the seafaring life at Stockton Marina, where Opportunity Cruises’ riverboat steers visitors through the Sacramento Delta’s intricate web of inlets and bays. Wander the downtown waterfront, where you can catch live music, baseball or ice hockey at the side-by-side Stockton Arena and Banner Island Ballpark, then spend the night at the stylish University Plaza Waterfront Hotel.
Landlubbers can stroll among the colourful grandeur of the Cambodian Buddhist Temple, also known as the Wat Dhammararam. The grounds of this working Buddhist temple are adorned with more than 90 vividly painted Buddha statues made of chicken wire and concrete. The temple hosts a three-day Cambodian New Year celebration every April.
More artistry can be found at the Haggin Museum in Victory Park. The 1930s red-brick building houses an intriguing mix of 19th-century European paintings, including a Renoir, and agricultural marvels like the first mud-worthy tractor treads. Don’t miss the collection of Albert Bierstadt’s Yosemite landscapes.
Stockton is prime salad-bowl country. On Saturday mornings, browse the Downtown Farmers Market, where more than 80 vendors peddle an array of Chinese, Indian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Korean groceries—seafood and soy products, plus mountains of vegetables. Stop at The Fruit Bowl on Waterloo Road for a bucket of peaches, nectarines or apricots, or sit down for a slice of fresh peach pie.
For dining options, head to the neighbourhood eateries at Pacific Avenue’s Miracle Mile. Try the classy small plates at The AVE, sushi at Cocoro, or crepes at Midtown Creperie. Rev up your energy with a cold brew at Empresso Coffeehouse, housed in the Art Deco Empire Theater. Or, catch a concert or a classic film at the 1930s Bob Hope Fox Theatre: Cross the lobby’s Italian marble floor, then take your seat in one of 2,042 refurbished red velvet chairs.
California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory rich experiences, a chance to see and taste the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low key tasting rooms.
Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes. Just some of the ultra fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.
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