Situated in a scenic portion of Central California between San Francisco and Sacramento, Fairfield is widely considered to be one of the region’s most underappreciated gems.
Fairfield is located in a fertile area amidst two of Solano County’s lushest valleys. Though it’s near to many of the region’s premier tourist attractions, it has a decidedly more rural and natural feel than its big-city counterparts.
The city is probably most well-known for its iconic jelly bean factory, but it’s also full of natural, cultural, historical, and artistic attractions, making it easy to stay entertained and engaged without leaving city limits.
1. The Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center
Located just outside Fairfield on the grounds of one of the area’s largest military installations, the Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center is one of the city’s premier attractions.
It’s a big hit with lovers of military history and aviation, and since it was founded in the mid-‘80s, it has been drawing visitors of all stripes.
Over the years, the base’s main role has been as a hub for air mobility operations. Its collection includes dozens of vintage and contemporary aircraft, ranging from a massive C-5 Galaxy and an F-86 Sabre jet to the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II.
2. The Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company
Central California is known for its abundant wineries and olive oil producers. For traveling epicureans, they’re usually at the top of the itinerary.
The Il Fiorella Olive Oil Company is a family-owned business that started long before the current generation took over the helm.
Il Fiorella is located on Mankas Corner Road in Fairfield. It is a popular attraction for food lovers, outdoorsy types, and those traveling with kids who prefer seeing how things are done from a ground-level perspective.
Guests can hook-up with a staff led-tour of the groves and production facilities, and sample a variety of gourmet oils.
3. Budweiser Brewery Tour
Though it may not be as trendy or refined as organic olive oil or locally made wine, Budweiser is one of the country’s most iconic beer brands. It’s brewed in large quantities at a massive brewery on Busch Drive in Fairfield.
For those who’ve never seen one up close and personal, breweries are marvels of modern technology. They use time-tested recipes and traditional ingredients to churn out refreshing adult beverages that have been making drinkers happy for generations.
The Fairfield brewery opened in the ‘70s. During tours, visitors will learn about brewing, bottling, and other interesting tidbits of local history.
4. Paradise Valley Golf Course
Though the weather in Fairfield isn’t as mild for much of the year as it is in Southern California, during the late spring and summer months, it’s often downright perfect for outdoor activities like golf.
Paradise Valley Golf Course is an award-winning course that is frequently ranked as one of the Bay Area’s best golf values.
Previous players have described it as well-groomed and challenging, but also forgiving for those who choose to play from the shorter tees.
During peak season, the course hosts a number of high-profile tournaments, so it’s a good idea to check their calendar of events to see if tee times are available for when you’ll be visiting.
5. Rockville Hills Regional Park
Getting out into the great outdoors isn’t a particularly difficult thing to do when visiting Fairfield.
The city features abundant parks and green spaces, and many of California’s most majestic state and national parks are just short drives away.
That being said, for those who’d rather not waste valuable vacation time driving, Rockville Hills Regional Park is a convenient option that offers more natural areas and wide-open spaces than you might expect.
The park’s entrance is located on Rockville Road in Fairfield. It features nearly 10 miles of trails that wind through a variety of natural environments open to walkers, bikers, and hikers.
6. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Spread across nearly 150 fun-filled acres in Vallejo, about 35 kilometers southwest of Fairfield, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is aptly named the ‘Thrill Capital of Northern California.’
The park’s main attractions are its abundant amusement park-style ride like roller coasters, but it also features other activities, such as go-kart racing, laser tag, live entertainment, and animal shows.
There are plenty of dining and lodging options onsite and in Vallejo, though they may fill-up quickly during peak times, so advanced registration is wise if you’ll be visiting during the summer when kids are out of school.
For many families traveling with kids, Six Flags is where they spend the majority of their time.
7. Vezer Family Vineyard
For wine snobs, casual sippers, and those who wouldn’t know a zinfandel from a Bud draft, vineyard tours are among the most popular activities in central California.
The Vezer Family Vineyard is located on Mankas Corner Road in Fairfield. It’s widely regarded as one of the region’s best producers of zinfandels and petite Sirahs.
There’s just something perfect about the area’s soil and weather that make for great grapes and wines. Guided tours are great ways to learn about farming, harvesting, and the modern methods by which humble grapes are transformed into tasty, intoxicating beverages with a fantastic array of unique flavor profiles.
8. Jelly Bean Factory Tour
Though they tend to get a bad rap these days for their high sugar content and preservatives, jelly beans have been the favorite sweet treats of kids and adults for generations.
Fairfield’s Jelly Bean factory is one of the city’s most notable attractions. Tours are fun ways to spend a day experiencing the world of candy from a unique perspective.
Jelly beans are definitely the stars of the show, but the factory also produces more than 100 varieties of sweets.
The factory is located on Jelly Bean Lane in Fairfield and includes a café, chocolate shop, and gift shop that are worth checking out.
The production processes and modern equipment are wonders to behold, and tours generally last about an hour.
9. The Suisun Wildlife Center
In recent years, traditional zoos have come under fire for exploiting wild animals and keeping them confined in hopelessly small enclosures.
The Suisan Wildlife Center couldn’t be more different than zoos in those respects; its goal is to rehabilitate its injured and orphaned occupants and eventually release them back into the wild.
A not-for-profit organization that’s largely staffed by dedicated volunteers, it typically cares for more than 1,000 individual animals at any one time.
Though some of the facility is off-limits, visitors are encouraged to stop by the welcome center and have a look at some animals who are permanent residents.
The center is located in Suisun City, just a few blocks southeast of Fairfield.
10. Scandia Family Center
Featuring multiple mini-golf courses, batting cages, bumper boats, a video arcade, and a high-speed go-cart track, Scandia Family Center on Central Place in Fairfield is one of the city’s most exhilarating attractions.
Scandia Family Center features activities appropriate for children of most ages. Though it’s really all about the kids, parents and teens usually have a great time as well.
The center features snack bars with extensive menus and ample seating areas for harried moms and dads who’d rather watch the action from a safe distance.
Considering all the activity options, most visitors consider the cost a good value.
11. The Western Railway Museum
Located just off State Highway 12 in Suisun City, only a few minutes southeast of downtown Fairfield, the Western Railway Museum is another of Solano County’s premier historical attractions.
The museum is located inside a station that once lay along the Sacramento Northern Railway line, which was more of a short-distance commuter passenger railway than a traditional one.
The museum’s collection includes restored trolleys and other urban transport equipment, as well as an impressive archive of materials relating to the area’s transportation development, history, and economy.
Many visitors choose to leave a small donation to help with the museum’s restoration work and upkeep.
12. Heretic Brewery
Fairfield may be most well-known for its large commercial brewery, but it’s often small brew houses like Heretic Brewery that draw the real beer aficionados.
Heretic usually has 20 beers on tap in their tasting room; they run the gamut from pale ales and blondes to porters and stouts.
Brewery tours are offered a few days a week, and no advance registration is needed.
Just give them a call and ask when the next one is scheduled. Make sure to show up a few minutes early to reserve your spots.
Heretic Brewery is located on Horizon Drive in Fairfield. They offer special seasonal beers throughout the year as well.
13. Take in an Annual Festival
Regardless of when you’ll be visiting Fairfield, you may be able to enjoy one of the abundant annual festivals the city hosts throughout the year.
The historic downtown area is a popular open-air entertainment venue that features parades, festivals, and fairs. Nearby parks offer additional activity options like fishing derbies and organized trail runs.
Perennial favorites include a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Independence Day parade, and a candy festival that’s held in September, when the weather is usually perfect for outdoor activities.
Check the city’s website to see what’s on their calendar of events for when you’ll be in the area.
14. Lynch Canyon
Located in the foothills between Fairfield and Vallejo, Lynch Canyon offers wilderness lovers and nature enthusiasts a convenient way to escape the crowds often found at more traditional tourist attractions.
Lynch Canyon is owned and preserved by a local land trust. It is home to an abundance of animal species, including birds of prey, bobcats, coyote, and waterfowl. Many of them are commonly seen from the well-marked trails.
There aren’t many onsite amenities, so you’ll need to plan ahead and buy snacks and water before heading out for a hike or bike ride.
The canyon also features impressive wildflower blooms that are worth seeing if you’ll be in the area in the spring.
15. Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
For much of the 19th century, Vallejo was home to one of the West Coast’s largest naval installations and shipyards.
The Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum is on Marin Street on Vallejo’s Mare Island. Depending on traffic, the drive from Fairfield should take about 30 minutes.
The museum features a number of distinct galleries, including military equipment, historic photographs, and firsthand accounts of sailors, officers, and shipbuilders who worked onsite over the years.
Many of the museum’s exhibits are interactive, making them engaging and educational for most ages.