Top Ten College Towns

University of California, Davis, California
University of California, Davis
ABORETUM: Students enjoy the University of California's campus gardens (Wikipedia)

2. University of California
Davis, California

Without the University of California, Davis—a town of 63,000—would be just another community in Yolo County farm country. Instead, it's a thriving college town that is also a bike-enthusiast's dream. In fact, due to the flat topography and smart city planning, bicycles outnumber people in Davis. Most people either walk or bike as their primary mode of transportation. Appropriately, the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is located there.

Residents of Davis take being green quite seriously, and city policies promote energy conservation, tree preservation, green belts, and parks. In the 1970s, the city council prohibited all shipments of nuclear materials through Davis. Thus, each April, Earth Day is celebrated with vigor on UCD's quad. One of the main events is the 96-year-old Picnic Day, which features more than 200 events, including the battle of the marching bands, a chemistry magic show, a fashion show, and cockroach races. In May, the university again pays homage to Gaia with the Whole Earth Festival, featuring live music and dance performances as well as eco-friendly wares and food sold by local vendors. Being surrounded by farmland, Davis is also home to a popular farmers market where live musicians entertain shoppers while they sample fresh produce from local crops. Kids love the Davis Famers Market because it's next to a park where they can ride on a human-powered carousel.

There are a variety of cool neighborhoods in the city. Central Davis is adjacent to the university and is the city's downtown district. Galleries, restaurants, and shops abound in Davis's downtown. Every second Friday of the month, galleries and other art-friendly establishments hold open artists' receptions, which are free and open to the public. Many offer refreshments and the chance to meet artists. For the foodies, one of the most popular places to eat is Bistro 33, known for its decadent breakfast and brunch menu. Seasons Restaurant serves the type of light style cuisine that made California dining famous. The setting quickly shifts from urban to rural as one heads west toward the city of Winters. There, small farms and orchards are the norm. Davis also enjoys the advantage of being close to some of the golden state's main attractions. San Francisco is about 80 minutes away, and the wineries of Napa Valley are just under an hour away.

Published: 18 Mar 2010 | Last Updated: 21 Sep 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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