Yuba City is a small city of about 65,000 people in the Sacramento Valley area of Sutter County. The city is mostly known for pleasant weather, beautiful natural scenery – including the Sutter Buttes Mountain Range and Feather River – and its mix of urban amenities and rural charm.
Yuba City is also home to many parks, leisure facilities, restaurants, and shopping areas, such as Yuba Sutter Marketplace and Feather Down Shopping Center. Many of these attractions are situated in the historic downtown district.
The city is also known for its central location, with easy access to the major city of Sacramento, which is only 40 miles away.
Many festivals and events take place in Yuba City throughout the year, including the Sikh Parade, California Swan Festival, the California Beer and Wine Festival, Cinco de Mayo Celebration, and Yuba-Sutter Greek Food & Wine Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Yuba City, California.
1. Get a History Lesson at the Sutter County Museum
Since 1975, the Sutter County Museum has been collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of the region with residents and visitors alike.
On-site, there are over 15,000 artifacts across many exhibits highlighting the history and culture of the indigenous Nisenan Maidu people, the pioneers, and the people of today who continue to shape the region.
There are also exhibits about the geology of the Sutter Buttes and the agricultural history of the region.
2. Spend Time at Ellis Lake
Ellis Lake is a human-made lake in nearby Marysville and a popular spot for residents and visitors to gather on nice days. It’s situated within Ellis Lake Park, home to many amenities and leisure activities.
Pedal boats are available, and you can fish from the shore or a boat. A bridge connects the mainland area of the park to Gazebo Island and North Ellis Lake Island.
Also on-site are tennis courts and a fountain featuring a colourful light system that lights up the lake with several dozen colours after the sun goes down.
Several events take place in the park each year, including the Youth Fishing Derby and the Great American Regatta.
3. Take a Trip to the Old West at Cool Hand Luke’s
Cool Hand Luke’s has a great atmosphere, delicious food and fantastic service. Escape to the Old West and take a seat in this saloon-style eatery while friendly staff provide you with a unique dining experience.
The menu features a wide variety of items to suit every taste, including appetizers, salads, sandwiches, seafood dishes and main courses such as chicken fried steak, tombstone chicken pasta, fire-roasted chicken, and throwdown ribs.
Finish your meal with a tasty dessert or a signature cocktail. An extensive beer and wine menu is also available and happy hour is daily.
4. Visit The Sutter Buttes
When you visit the Sutter Buttes near Yuba City, you’re visiting the smallest mountain range in the world. This mountain range, made up of eroded lava domes, was formed over a million years ago.
Once home to important religious sites for the indigenous Maidu and Wintun people, today they are a popular attraction. A 200-acre area of the range can be accessed with guided nature walks by the Middle Mountain Foundation and Sutter County Historical Society.
5. Beat the Heat at Gauche Aquatic Park
On hot days, head to Gauche Aquatic Park, where there are facilities and activities for the whole family.
Some of the water facilities available include a modern waterslide and several swimming pools, including a large ten-lap competitive pool. Water fitness classes are offered, and lap swim sessions take place throughout the day.
Other on-site amenities include horseshoe pits, climbing boulders, playgrounds, a concession area, and locker areas.
6. Take a Tour of the Bok Kai Temple
Bok Kai Temple is a religious temple honouring the god of irrigation and flooding. Originally built in 1854, it was moved to its current location in 1880. In the late 1940s, it was restored to its original condition.
The impressive architecture on the outside is stunning to see. The interior, with its central alter and beautiful statues of Chinese gods, is equally stunning. Today, the temple is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Tours can be booked in advance through the temple caretaker. A number of events take place at the temple throughout the year, including the Bok Kai Festival.
7. Sample Local Craft Beer at Sutter Buttes Brewing
Since 2011, Sutter Buttes Brewing has been creating unique, tasty brews to share with visitors from all over. This microbrewery in Yuba City serves a variety of craft beers, including Watertower IPA, Annie’s Almond Brown Ale, Riley’s Red, and Floodwater Pale Ale.
A gastropub is also on-site; this is where you’ll find delicious food to go with your beverages. Pizza, burgers and fish and chips are some of the items available on the menu.
8. Spend a Day on the Greens at Plumas Lake Golf & Country Club
For almost 100 years, Plumas Lake Golf & Country Club has been known locally as a hidden gem of the Sacramento Valley. This popular golf course is open to the public and has been voted as one of the top 100 courses in the country several times.
The course itself has 18 holes, with many mature oak trees and small greens. If you wish to practice before you play, there’s a driving range, putting green, chipping green, and practice hole. Golf lessons are available, and a pro shop is also on-site.
When hunger strikes, you can head to the Plumas Lake Grill, where you’ll find a wide assortment of delicious options.
9. Race the Clock at NorCal Escape Co.
NorCal Escape Co. offers a range of exclusive escape room options in Yuba City.
If you’ve never participated in an escape room game, the idea is to free yourself from a locked room before your time runs out. You usually have about an hour; during that time, you and your group need to solve puzzles and find clues that will help you escape.
Several themed rooms are available, including the Fox Tail Saloon, Escape Truck, and Condemned.
10. Visit the Sicilia Vineyards
Situated in the foothills of the smallest mountain range in the world, Sicilia Vineyards provides top-quality grapes suitable for wine-making.
The first commercial vineyard in the city, within the five acres of vineyards, you’ll find many Italian varietals, including The Teroldego, Coda di Volpe, Fiano, Greco, and Primitivo.
11. Spend a Rainy Day Indoors at Millennium Family Entertainment Center
Said to be the area’s best family attraction, Millennium Family Entertainment Center in Yuba City features a variety of fun facilities for all ages.
An arcade, a laser tag arena, bumper cars, a climbing wall, and an elaborate children’s play area are some of the attractions you’ll find on-site.
12. Learn About Falcons at West Coast Falconry
Falcons are fascinating birds of prey, and at West Coast Falconry, you can learn all about these birds. Tour the facility and watch these amazing birds partake in an ancient hunting tradition.
You can even join a Falconry class led by knowledgeable, expert falconers.
Classes and other experiences are available to seasoned falconers and beginners alike.
13. Relax at Heads Together Salon and Day Spa
Travel can be exhausting and stressful, and the best way to relax is to kick back at a salon and let the professionals pamper you.
At Heads Together Salon and Day Spa, you can choose from a variety of relaxing treatments, including massages, pedicures, manicures, and facials.
14. Visit the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors
The Museum of the Forgotten Warriors is a museum dedicated to war heroes and veterans of various wars.
The museum features a wide variety of artefacts, photos, and documents. There are more than 46,000 items on display, including tanks, cannons, helicopters, uniforms, equipment, a Korean War-era jeep, and antique rifles from the Civil War era.
15. Satisfy Your Hunger at Midtown Grill
At Midtown Grill in Yuba City, you’ll enjoy a delicious meal in a casual environment. All food is made with the highest-quality ingredients available, including certified Angus beef.
On the menu, you’ll find a wide variety of items, including appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, seafood dishes, and gourmet burgers. Happy hour is held on certain days throughout the week.