Located in north-central California is the city of Stockton. Stockton is the 13th largest city in California and is surrounded by mile after mile of waterway. The cities people embrace any reason to have a party or a festival and lots of annual events help keep this vibrant city exciting.
Throughout the years the city has had its fair share of heartache, most recently during the 2008 financial crisis when it gained nationwide attention as it filed for bankruptcy protection. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the people of Stockton are certainly strong.
Let’s take a look at the 15 best things to do in Stockton.
1. Cheer On The Stockton Heat
If you like watching Ice Hockey then a trip to the Stockton Arena to see the Heat in action is a must. The Stockton Heat are an ice hockey team that play in the American Hockey League, the 2015-16 season was the first for the Stockton Heat as they were previously playing as the Adirondack Flames in New York. The locals have warmed to their new team and on match days you can really feel the buzz. The stadium is located on the waterfront so there is much to do in the area both before and after games.
2. Watch A Show At The Bob Hope Theatre
The Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton is on the National Register of Historical Places. The theatre was recently completely refurbished and has 2,042 red velvet seats, from which you can watch any of the fantastic shows this theatre has. The sound system is state-of -the-art, and the building encompasses a mosaic marble floor that covers 1,200 square feet of lobby space. There is a great selection of shows to be seen at the Bob Hope Theatre, ranging from classic movies to dance shows.
3. Take The Children To The Stockton Children’s Museum
Janet Geng was a teacher wounded in the tragic 1989 Cleveland School Shootings which left 5 children dead and another 30 wounded. Geng used that harrowing experience to focus her mind and create the Stockton Children’s Museum, a place where children can play in a safe environment. The museum is a fun and interactive place for children to learn and engage with the exhibits. There is also a permanent exhibition called Kidsworld that covers 22,000 square feet and is a child’s version of a miniature city, complete with a post office, banks and grocery stores.
4. Take A Trip To The Delta Center For The Arts
The San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton has a Fine Arts Division, within that division is the Delta Center for the Arts. There is always a schedule of fantastic events including many performances of classical music by the Stockton Symphony Association. You can see art exhibitions, drama productions, dance productions and many more things. A lot of the shows feature students from the college and ticket prices are always reasonable.
5. Increase Your Knowledge Of The Local History
In Victory Park in Stockton sits the Haggin Museum, an art and local history museum that was opened in 1931. The museum is split over three levels and most of the artwork on display was donated by Louis Terah Haggin. The Haggin collection spans just under 240 works of art and 75 are on view to the public at any one time. There are also Collections of Japanese woodblock prints, illuminated manuscripts and paintings by America illustrators. Stockton has a rich agricultural and industrial history, in one part of the museum you will find the latest addition, the Holt Wing. Here you will come across a Holt tractor, a restored combine harvester and other displays that show of this part of Stockton’s history.
6. Take The Dog For A Walk At Barkleyville Dog Park
Your dog will feel like he or she is in heaven if you go for a trip to the Barkleyville Dog Park. The park is an off-leash dog park and has separate areas for both large and small dogs. If you dog is feeling particularly energetic there is an obstacle course that comes with benches and drinking fountains. The park has a small parking area and the park does get busy during peak times so an early arrival is recommended to make sure you can park close to the park. Barkleyville Park is a real favourite with the local dog owners so treat your dog today and see what the fuss is all about.
7. Watch The Racing At Delta Speedway
Delta Speedway in Stockton is a great night out for the whole family to enjoy. Open every Saturday night from April to October. The track is a 1/7 mile length oval shaped dirt track, Micro Sprints, Junior Sprints and Super 600 classes all race around this exciting track, guaranteeing a night of great entertainment. A night here is a family event so arrive early, get something to eat and sit back and enjoy the racing.
8. Enjoy The Japanese Garden At Micke Grove Park
If you want to spend some time relaxing, looking at beautiful cherry trees and forgetting about your worries then you should come to the Japanese Garden at Micke Grove Park. The park was created by Duke Yoshimura in 1959, Duke had just returned from serving in World War II. The garden has 60 Kwanzan flowering cherry trees around the outside and five Akibono cherry trees in the middle. There is a lot to see in the garden including a koi fish pool, lanterns and a five story pagoda. In the garden you will find an angle bridge that represents Chinese belief that evil spirits will only travel in a low straight line, thus meaning they cannot cross the bridge and into the garden.
9. Visit Stockton Cambodian Buddhist Temple
If you like things that are larger than life and full of color, then you should take a trip to the Stockton Cambodian Buddhist Temple, also known at Wat Dharmararam. The temple is an active Buddhist temple and it features more than 90 super colorful and very large statues. The statues are encrusted with jewels and tell the life story of the Cambodian Buddha. In one part of the temple you can see a fifty foot long recumbent Buddha. The temple is an active one so suitable covered clothing should be worn at all times as a mark of respect to the temples worshippers. Each April the temple hosts the Cambodian New Year Celebration which is always worth a visit.
10. See The Micro Brewery At Valley Brew
Up until prohibition Valley Brew was brewed in Stockton and was a real favorite of the locals. Unfortunately when prohibition hit the brewery closed its doors and the city of Stockton was left without a brewery. This went on for a long time until 1994, when the Valley Brewing Company was brought back to life. As the years went by the business changed hands and today there are a couple of great owners who are interested in local produce and giving their clientele a meal and a drink to remember. Look out for Take 5 Jazz at the Brew, a club that has seen many world renowned jazz artists perform.
11. Celebrate The Stockton Chinese New Years Parade
The Chinese have always known how to celebrate in style and the Chinese New Year Parade is no different. The streets are lined with stalls selling various different Asian food, there is also live entertainment hosted on the festival stage. No New Year’s celebration can be complete without a lion dance so you can be assured professional lion dancers will come to the show to blow you away. The event is a free party and suitable for the entire family. If you are in Stockton during the festivities then missing this great show is not an option.
12. Try All Things German At Stocktoberfest
Ocktoberfest has become famous across the globe with many cities putting their spin on this annual event. The event has been running for several years and includes keg lifting competitions, craft and seasonal beers, German sausages, chicken dance dance-offs and lots of beer Stein. The event is held outside along the waterfront at the Outdoor Ampitheater by the Historic Waterfront Warehouse. Bands will play live music throughout the festival and the numerous food vendors will ensure you never go hungry.
13. Have Authentic Mexican At Maria’s Café
For over 20 years Maria’s Café has been serving up authentic Mexican food to the locals of Stockton. The tastes originated in the area of Sinaloa and have been featured in many local publications throughout the years. The restaurant has always been family owned and the passion of the staff shines through in the food that is served daily. Of particular note are the large combination burritos that are served all day long. You can eat in or take away and large groups are always welcome.
14. Get Cultural At The Stockton Community Pow Wow
Each year a Pow Wow festival takes place in Stockton. The festival is a three day event that celebrates the indigenous Americans and remembers their heritage and traditions. The festival features several intertribal dance exhibitions and competitions that attract people from miles around. There are ground ceremonies, drum circles and bird dances as well. You can also pick up some great handmade arts and crafts that make perfect presents.