Lodi is a city of about 67,000 people situated in the Central Valley area of San Joaquin County. The city is known as the birthplace of A&W Root Beer, for having pleasant weather, and for being one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the country.
In Lodi, there are many restaurants, wineries, vineyards, cultural attractions and shopping areas, such as Lakewood Plaza, The Vineyard Shopping Center, and Sunwest Plaza.
The historic downtown district with its pretty tree-lined streets and murals is where you’ll find many of the city’s attractions.
Favourite activities in Lodi include cycling the scenic back roads in and around the city and checking out the beautiful fall foliage in the fall.
Many festivals and events take place in Lodi throughout the year, including Zonfest, Lodi Grape Festival, The Lodi Street Faire, The Sandhill Crane Festival, Lodi Cyclefest, and Golden State Pinball Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Lodi, California.
1. Learn About Local History at the San Joaquin County Historical Society & Museum
Lodi and the entire county of San Joaquin have a long history. At the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum, you can learn about that history and what it was like to live there in years past.
On the property are four historic buildings and eight buildings housing exhibits. It’s not hard to see how dedicated the society is to gathering, preserving, and sharing the culture and history of their city.
The Charles Weber Cottage, built in 1847, is where you’ll see how pioneers lived in the mid-1800s.
The Calaveras School is a one-room schoolhouse built in 1866. It paints an accurate picture of what a day at school was like in those times.
The blacksmith shop, built around 1880, is much as it was back then, and it’s still in operation today.
The exhibition buildings house numerous artefacts, and the Critter Corral is open on certain days throughout the week so children can meet the farm animals.
2. Kick Back at the Lake at Lodi Lake Park
Who says you can’t find nature in the middle of a city? Lodi Lake Park is a perfect escape from the urban setting without leaving the city. Situated in the middle of Lodi, this park’s star feature is, of course, the lake. However, there are many other things to do that don’t involve being on the lake.
The lake itself is beautiful, with clear, blue water. You can participate in many water activities, including jet-skiing, fishing, and swimming at the sandy beach area.
Kayaks are available for rent, and instructional sessions are offered. You can also opt to take a boat cruise of the Mokelumne River.
Also on-site are picnic areas and a children’s play area. Hiking and biking are popular activities in the park, and guided nature programs are offered.
3. Dine on Gourmet Cuisine at the Towne House Restaurant at Wine & Roses
Situated in the Wine & Rose Hotel, The Towne House Restaurant presents diners with an exceptional experience.
The restaurant specializes in gourmet American dishes. Each dish is an inventive creation using only the freshest, high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients.
Brunch, lunch and dinner are served, and you’ll find a wide variety of options on the menu, including appetizers, salads, and main courses such as Cavatelli pasta, citrus herb marinated swordfish, and roasted Coleman pork chop. A range of speciality desserts are also served, and patio dining is available.
Each evening, The Towne House Lounge hosts live music. This cosy lounge is the perfect place to relax with good music and a glass of fine wine or a speciality cocktail.
4. Spend a Day on the Greens at Micke Grove Golf Links
Situated in a beautiful natural area surrounded by vineyards, Micke Grove Golf Links is one of the area’s top public golf courses. This 18-hole, par-72 course features a range of challenges, including 42 sand bunkers and eight lakes.
A driving range and putting green are also on-site, and lessons are available.
5. Browse the Lodi Certified Farmers’ Market
The Lodi Certified Farmers’ Market is a weekly tradition in the downtown district. The most sought out products are the fresh, local produce, including a wide range of fruit and vegetables. Other products that can be found at this lively market are olive oil, flowers, speciality cheese, and crafts.
Food trucks are often on-site, and as you browse the market, you’ll hear the sound of live music performed by local bands.
6. Learn About Science at the World of Wonders Science Museum
Although the World of Wonders Science Museum mostly caters to children, the whole family will have fun learning about science through a variety of interactive exhibits.
This museum, situated in downtown Lodi, has expert staff on-hand to help visitors navigate the displays. As you make your way through the museum, you’ll have a chance to solve puzzles, conduct experiments, and learn about various aspects of science, including biology, chemistry and physics.
Some of the themed exhibits on-site include The Moon Walking Exhibit, Newton’s Cradle, The Flight Simulator, Earthquakes, and the Wind Tube.
7. Discover Lodi Wine Country at the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center
Lodi is known for being a fast-growing wine region. With all the different wineries and vineyards, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which ones to visit.
At the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center, you can learn everything there is to know about wine in the region, including where the wineries are located and what they have to offer.
Just passing through and don’t have a lot of time to visit multiple sites? You can sample a variety of wines from hundreds of local winemakers at the lovely tasting room.
A demonstration vineyard is on-site, so you can learn more about the art of grape-growing.
8. Meet Live Reptiles at The Serpentarium
Visitors of all ages appreciate the experiences to be had at The Serpentarium in Lodi. This museum showcases the largest amount of reptiles in the region. During your visit, you can meet some of these live inhabitants.
Anacondas, pythons, cobras, and boas are some of the snakes you’ll encounter during your visit. There are amphibians too, including frogs, lizards and turtles.
Some of the exciting experiences you are invited to participate in at the museum include holding a 12-foot python, feeding a water monitor, and holding a tarantula.
9. Indulge with Ice Cream and Art at Double Dip Gallery
Satisfy your craving for ice cream and your interest in local art at the same time at Double Dip Gallery.
This chic and unique establishment with vintage decor in Lodi serves as both an ice cream shop and art gallery.
The gallery features artwork by local artists. A variety of cold treats are available, including ice cream, milkshakes and red wine sorbet.
10. Attend a Live Performance at the Hutchins Street Square Performing Arts Theatre
The Hutchins Street Square Performing Arts Theatre in Lodi is a large theatre and community centre that hosts a variety of live performances and community events throughout the year.
The first thing you’ll notice upon arrival is the stunning neoclassical-style architecture.
Some of the performances you can attend include orchestras from all over the world, local talent nights and concerts.
11. Try Local Craft Beer at Five Window Beer Company
At Five Window Beer Company, you’ll enjoy top-quality, local craft beer in a comfortable, laid-back lounge.
This family-run brewery has 15 creations on tap at any given time. Some of the beers you can sample include Double Hazy Juicy IPA, Session IPA, Hazy Trip, Cream Ale, Sasquatch Porter, and Golden State Haze.
The kitchen prepares a wide variety of snacks and pub grub, including pizza and tacos. Many events, such as trivia nights, take place throughout the week.
12. Spend a Night Out at Parkwest Casino
If you’re looking for something to do in Lodi in the evening, why not try your luck at the Parkwest Casino.
Some of the available table games include poker, baccarat, blackjack, and Pai Gow Tiles. Tournaments are held throughout the week, and the on-site restaurant serves a variety of items, including burgers.
13. Spoil Yourself with a Trip to Perfect Balance Day Spa
For more than 30 years, Perfect Balance Day Spa in Lodi has been providing stellar service to visitors seeking a relaxing experience.
Massages are one of the more popular services they provide. You can choose from a wide variety of massages, including deep tissue, reflexology and aroma-touch. Facials, manicures, and pedicures are also available.
14. Admire the Walldogs Murals
The arts scene in Lodi is growing. Local art is not only displayed in galleries and museums, but also in the form of murals around the downtown area.
Most of these beautiful murals were created by a group of artists called The Walldogs, who painted 11 murals for Lodi’s 100th anniversary.
The murals depict the city’s culture and history. Maps are available at the Downtown Lodi Visitor Center, so you can take your own self-guided tour in search of these murals.
15. Visit the Micke Grove Zoo
At the Micke Grove Zoo, you can view 170 animals across 51 species. These animals include both native and exotic species from all over the world.
Some of the animals living at the zoo include lemurs, turtles, squirrels, iguanas, and a variety of birds.
These animals are showcased in a variety of exhibits, including the Tropical Rainforest Canopy and the Island Lost in Time.