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Stockton is not normally noted for its fine architecture because it has largely both sprawling suburban drab and post WWII chicken coop fixer uppers. Having said that, because Stockton is one of the older cities in California, it's downtown has some fine old brick highrises, and uptown has numerous pockets of urban affluence. The Magnolia district, which is closer to downtown off El Dorado, has many vintage Victorian era homes of historical preservation status. Some are restored, others are in need of restoration. More uptown, off Harding Way, near St. Joseph's Hospital, is a small neighborhood of large and stately homes originally built as homes for the physicians at the hospital and at the now deceased state mental institution (the grounds of which is now a collection of college satelllite campuses). My favorite haunt is nearer my home, near UOP, generally known as the Oxford Circle area (which is located in the center of the neighborhood). The confusing little streets in the area are lined with a variety of architecturally significant minor master pieces, most of which are completely restored and improved. Styles here range from Queen Anne, and California Bungalow, to Spanish revival and Early Modern. Take the dog for a walk or jog through this neighborhood. Stronger runners can take several of these neighborhoods in on one run, from downtown to UOP and back via Victory Park would be a great run for those who are really fit.
Written Aug 28, 2005
Address: South of UOP, between Pershing and Pacific Avenues
The largest annual festival in Stockton that I know of is the Asparagas Festival which is held in late April every year. Tons of asparagas, one of my favorite greens, are deep fried, stir fried, turned into ice cream, and so on. Live music, celebrity chef competitons, handicraft vendors, and other entertainment are all part of this huge event now held at Webber Point. The proceeds of the event go to charity.
Written Aug 31, 2005
Address: Webber Point, downtown Stockton on the waterfront.
At the junction of the crosstown freeway and I-5, Stockton has a nice downtown waterfront that is improving with redevelopment. There are a variety of places in the area that will rent a boat for water skiing and fishing in the San Joaquin River Delta area. The downtown waterfront is a good place to start, near where boats can be rented from boat sales shops, but check out the marinas in and just out of town.
Written Aug 10, 2005
Address: Downtown waterfront or various marinas in the area
Since we have a dock on the Smith Canal, anyone living in the Bay Area and beyond are welcome to navigate their way to our home. We have room for overnight visitors, and the dock space is ample for even the largest private vessels. Some sailboats with tall masts might not be able to pass under the I-5 bridge, but all others, short of commercial freighters can easily come up the Smith Canal. The speed limit is 5mph along the Smith Canal. Please don't create a wake that rocks the neighborhood docks. We occasionally take friends or family out for a ride in the pedalling kayak.
Updated Jun 7, 2006
Address: Smith Canal, contact me for specific instructions
Others have written about the lack of things to do downtown, and at the moment at least, this is sadly true. However, if you are booked to stay overnight downtown, a walk/jog tour around downtown is worth it. Unlike many larger and younger cities in California, Stockton does have an old, partly restored downtown with many classic brick highrise buildings with ornate cornices. The restoration process has a long way to go, so expect to see some construction fences and plywood closing off first floor entrances, but the streets and sidewalks are generally in good shape. If you are a realestate investor for downtown property, this is a buyers market of some architectural treasures in need of TLC and modernization. Start around the area of the waterfront, on El Dorado Street near the new Cinema complex and the old architectural gem, Stockton Hotel. Walk east to San Joaquin Street and turn left to find the old Fox Theatre near the corner of Main. Proceed east down Main until you reach the relatively new and massive Washington Mutual building and then circle north to return to the waterfront. This is a short jog for those who are fit. If you want to jog further, try either heading west along the waterfront areas (both sides of McCloud lake, or head north into the uptown and Magnolia district.
Updated Jan 24, 2007
Address: Downtown starting at the waterfront
Since we have a waterfront home with a large garden, visitors to our house find a surprising meditation close to downtown and freeways. Contact me and tell me your plans. We have room to spare for those planning a short stay. I do work on my house a lot, and longer term visitors are expected to contribute to the upkeep of the garden and house, chores which are generally very relaxing. We don't have noisey children or pets, so adults and students are welcome to contact me for more information.
Updated Feb 7, 2007
Address: e-mail me for details
The beautiful 1930's era Fox Theatre has been completely restored and renamed the Bob Hope Theatre, due in part to the friendship of million sponsor and local resident, Art Spanos (owns San Diego Chargers football team, among other things). Although not fully booked around the year yet, the venerable old theatre is a good venue to see live popular musicial and theatre entertainment. Due to its smaller size, it typically books the second level acts, often former great talent of one or another sort. The downtown location is idea, not for parking, but for it's atmosphere. Check out the website below for more information about this old building and its restoration. It's worthwhile just seeing on a walking tour of downtown.
Written Sep 4, 2005
Address: 242 E. Main Street, Stockton
Phone: 209 337-4673
People are often surprised to find that the Haggin Museum collection is so varied and holder of fine objects of art. At the top of the list is the collection of early tractors and farm equipment, particulary notable because the tractor was invented in Stockton. However, the museum also has a fine collection of landscape murals by famed California painters, and even a fair collection of European masterpieces. The Museum has a mummy on loan from San Francisco, and a respectible collection of other archeological artifacts dating back to Sumerian times. Downstairs, is an excellent collection of California Indian basketry and other Native American artifacts. The museum has special exhibits that include traveling out of town collections. The first Saturday each month is free. Victory Park is a relaxed atmosphere for the kids.
Updated Aug 28, 2005
Address: In Victory Park, on Pershing Avenue
It's worth simply walking around the end of the waterway knowledgeable locals know as McCloud lake. It's actually a part of the San Joaquin River. Weber Point has a tent like structure used as a band stand, which is surrounded by parklike grass and trees with a walkway along the water. Fourth of July is well worth spending here, as are the Asparagas Festival, Juneteenth, and numerous other festivals throughout the year.
Written Sep 4, 2005
Address: Weber Point
Actually, this is also true for every other community in California, but Stockton does have a well developed Adult education program. The local population includes a large number of recent immigrants who don't know English, and so the ESL courses are a particular value. There aren't any famous professors, but the teachers are better than the world average, the cost is zero, and students can come and go anytime they want. Also, California education code doesn't require any identification or residency status in order to attend, so don't worry about your immigration or visa status. A traveler from outside the US can easily stay awhile in Stockton, blend in where the rents are half the cost of the San Francisco Bay Area, and take English classes. If you are a college graduate though, don't expect your fellow students to be so capable at learning. Have fun, learn about other students and the teacher, and improve your English. Assessment days are Tuesday, the only prerequisite to proper placement. If your level is high enough, you can take remedial level English reading and writing classes there, but the school services all levels of ability from non-speaking to accent reduction.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: 1525 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, Room 101