Tracy may be the second most populated city in San Joaquin County, but it’s still smaller than other larger centres in the region. That’s why it’s the perfect base for your next adventure in Northern California.
Tracy is part of the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Statistical Area and is considered an extension of the greater Bay Area. It’s a small port city with 92,000 residents, but the bigger cities of San Francisco and Sacramento are within 60 miles of Tracy.
Tracey has nice weather year-round, with mild winters and hot, dry summers. This makes the city an excellent location to participate in a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking and biking.
Several state parks are close to the city, and there are plenty of green spaces and recreational areas nearby. In fact, many of Northern California’s top attractions are within an hour’s drive of Tracy, including Yosemite National Park.
A number of festivals and events are held in Tracy throughout the year, including the Dry Beach Festival, which takes place in early September.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in Tracy, California.
1. Learn about Tracy and Surrounding Areas at the Tracy Historical Museum
Tracy has a long and interesting history, and that history has shaped the city into what it is today. At the Tracy Historical Museum, you’ll learn about the people who helped develop Tracy, its rich railroad and agricultural heritage, and the Native American culture of the area.
This visual presentation includes a variety of exhibits featuring artefacts, photos, and many other authentic items that paint the story of Tracy. The building that holds this history is also historic. The knowledgeable staff can provide you with a tour of the museum if you book ahead.
2. Tee off at Tracy Golf and Country Club
Tracy Golf and Country Club is member-owned, but the general public are welcome to tee off at the championship 18-hole course. This desert course situated in a valley has some challenges but is suitable for all levels.
Other on-site facilities include practice bunkers, a driving range, a pro golf shop, and a bar and restaurant with fabulous views of the valley.
3. Satisfy Your Hunger at Magellan’s Restaurant
For almost 20 years, Magellan’s Restaurant in Tracy has been serving quality seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, and classic American dishes to locals and visitors alike.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner. There are a variety of options available, including appetizers, salads, and main courses such as Salmon Rigatoni, Rigatoni Bolognese and Smoked Pork Chop.
The drink menu features wines, beers, and cocktails. Dessert is also available.
4. Sample Local Wine at the Windmill Ridge Winery
The hustle and bustle of Tracy is left behind once you enter the grounds of the Windmill Ridge Winery in the Tracy Hills Appellation. This beautiful winery has been producing prize-winning wines since 2007.
Enjoy the serene atmosphere surrounding the area and explore the vast grounds that feature gardens, a scenic gazebo, and a picnic area.
Complete your visit with a trip to the tasting room, where you’ll have a chance to taste some of the red, white, and blended wines available. You may even have the opportunity to speak with the head winemaker himself.
5. Take a Day Trip to Yosemite National Park
About a two-hour drive from Tracy is one of the country’s most spectacular protected nature areas, Yosemite National Park.
Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply want to take a scenic drive with some amazing photo ops, Yosemite is the perfect destination for a day trip from Tracy.
The serene, almost untouched nature areas combined with higher elevations make it the perfect getaway for escaping the crowds and the heat.
Within this park, which is situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, you’ll witness spectacular scenes, including granite mountains, waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, and the iconic cliffs of El Capitan.
Some of the outdoor activities you can participate in include fishing, rock climbing, and hiking. Numerous trails are yours for the taking, such as Yosemite Falls, Mirror Lake, Half Dome, and Mist Trail. There are several campgrounds in the park.
The village of Yosemite is home to many shops, restaurants, lounges, hotels, a gallery, and the Yosemite Museum, where you can learn more about the history of the area.
6. Sample Some Local Craft Beer at Morgan Territory Brewing
Morgan Territory Brewing specializes in unique, top-quality craft beer made on site.
The tasting room features a beautiful bar with televisions and ample natural light to create a laid-back and friendly atmosphere. This is where you can taste up to 16 different beers, including California Cream Ale and Old Diablo Barley Wine.
7. Learn to Water-ski at Eagal Lakes Resort
Waterskiing is a fun and exciting sport, Eagal Lakes Resort in Tracy is the perfect spot to partake.
If you’ve never tried the sport before and want to learn or you’re a seasoned water-skier who wants to enhance your skills, the lessons offered by professional water-skier and instructor John Eagle will provide you with a thrilling and fun experience on the water.
Private and group lessons are available.
8. Browse the Modesto Certified Farmers Market
The Modesto Certified Farmers Marker in nearby Modesto features a wide range of items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade treats, and hot, ready-to-eat meals.
You’ll also find an assortment of handcrafted souvenirs, and live music is often featured.
9. Try a Famous Burger at Squeeze Burger
When a craving for a delicious burger hits, Squeeze Burger is the place to head to for the best in town.
Sit down to a lively ambience featuring upbeat music and friendly staff, and enjoy one of the nine burgers available on the menu. The Squeezeburger and double Squeezeburger are just some of the options. There’s even a veggie burger on the menu.
If none of the burgers are appealing, you can build your own using your choice of toppings.
If it’s not a burger you’re craving, there are many other items on the menu, including sandwiches, hot dogs, and tacos.
10. Find the Perfect Gift or Souvenir at Chrysalis Pottery
The potter who owns and operates Chrysalis Pottery has more than 30 years experience creating hand-crafted, unique pottery, so you can be sure to find a beautiful gift for that someone special or a lovely ornament for your home.
The shop’s collection features items with nature themes, and you can request customized items.
11. Visit the Great Valley Museum
The Great Valley Museum is a family-friendly museum in Modesto. Several exhibits feature various artefacts and even some live animals.
Permanent exhibits include The Native Californian, which showcases artefacts from various indigenous cultures of the region, and Science on a Sphere, which features a floating sphere that projects real-time weather.
A planetarium is located right next to the museum, and many events take place throughout the year. Group tours are available.
12. Go Skydiving over Tracy
Experience the thrill of a lifetime with a skydiving lesson high over Tracy.
As one of the top skydiving facilities in California and a member of the United States Parachutist Association, Skydive California features only the best skydivers in the world. These expert instructors ensure you have a thrilling and safe experience.
Your skydive includes a tandem jump from 13,000 feet. You’ll fall at speeds of 120 miles-per-hour until you open your chute and float the rest of the way to the ground.
13. Take a Mid-day Break at Town & Country Cafe
Whether you’re searching for a hearty breakfast or a satisfying mid-day meal, you’ll find it at Town & Country café, a charming cafe serving a wide range of fresh items made on site.
At breakfast, you’ll find many goodies, including veggie omelette and bacon-stuffed pancakes. The BBQ bacon cheeseburger and Italian club sandwich are just two of the many items you can choose from.
14. Take a Step Back in Time at the McHenry Mansion
The McHenry Mansion in Modesto was built in 1883. Today, this beautiful Victorian mansion is open to the public. Learn about the home’s long history and admire the stunning interiors.
Less than a block away from the mansion is the McHenry Museum, where you can learn even more about its history and the history of Modesto.