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WulfstanTraveller Says: This is a good microbrewery with a nice range of beers that it makes, most quite good, plus some good food. It tries to straddle the role of being both a serious microbrewery as well as basic sports bar. The latter point is potentially harming its role in the former but not...
A few of the better hotels are just off hwy 99, such as the Best Western on Waterloo. But, frankly, the hwy 99 side of town is mostly for truck drivers and farmers. There isn't a lot to do on that side of town, and finding your way across the city to find the decent restaurants and action is challenging even for those who live here. Only Hammer Lane, on the far north, and Hwy 4, the crosstown freeway (or Charter Lane in the far south), cut directly across the city to link Hwy 99 and the I-5 corridor where the action is mostly located. There are other ways to navigate across between these two major roads, but they are really tricky and you can end up stuck at the railroad tracks or in some deadend business yard. Because the railroad tracks cut the city in two, the old industry and poor neighborhoods remain on the Hwy 99 side of town. Downtown and all of the better restaurants and things to do are on the I-5 side of town. However, if you must stay at the Best Western (perhaps you are a trucker taking Hwy 99), either back track to the crosstown freeway or take Waterloo all the way until it reaches Wilson Way, then proceed south until you reach Main, and turn right. Eventually, Main will end up downtown. This route take some courage though as one travels past pitiful old factories and some pretty old and ugly do-it-yourself neighborhoods. But, in general, most visitors will be happier finding a hotel on along the I-5 corridor. Check out either the Raddison or better yet, the Howard Johnson Express tips that I wrote.
Written Sep 7, 2005
Many visitors take the March Lane exit and see the string of corporate restaurants and the Radisson, and they think this is Stockton--another bedroom suburban community. Far from it. Stockton is a gritty old industry city steeped in California history. The tractor was invented here, but now most of the food processing plants have moved south. What's happening is the redevelopment of downtown, especially along the waterfront, and the expansion of a variety of ethnic communities in satellite development areas. Some of these areas are some distance from each other while the downtown and uptown areas are all pretty continguous. Wander around if you want to see the real Stockton at its best. While Stockton can be dangerous place (it has a high per capita murder rate and car theft rate), most of the danger is within certain neighborhoods after dark. There are no daylight danger neighborhoods that I know of, unless you are the one asking for trouble.
Unique Suggestions: The Radisson may be the logical choice for some who need access to the businesses in this area, but don't be tempted to stick with Applebees, Outback, and the other brand name restaurants. Be a little adventuresome and examine my tips for the ethnic and other restaurants in town. They aren't that far away, especially if you have a rental car.
Fun Alternatives: Walk east from Radisson to the Venician Bridges shopping center. There are a number of interesting small restaurants there Also, at Pershing and March, in the John's Pizza shopping center, tucked around the corner are very two very good Asian restaurants--a Cambodian and Japanese. But, the best are elsewhere in the city. If you have a rental car, the area south of hwy 4, the crosstown freeway, is the best area to browse for authentic Mexican restaurants. Otherwise, a large number of ethnic restaurants from many nations are scattered throughout the city. For those with more old fashioned American tastes, Stockton has a number of great traditonal steak and potatoes type restaurants too, a tradition that has its basis in the fact that Stockton is also a big trucking and rail town. So, skip the corporate fat and salts, and head for authentic food.
Updated Sep 6, 2005