One of the best things about living in Davis is our university. Having access to free lectures, art and music presentations, and on-campus festivals is priceless. Nevertheless, there is more to Davis than just the university. Join my hubby and me as we guide you through our lovely town of Davis, California exploring free fun activities.
Walk Among the Flowers
Our favorite activity is exploring the UC Davis Arboretum, a 100-acre botanical garden used for teaching and research planted alongside Putah Creek. Along this 3.5-mile path, you will spot many species of birds, such as the Green Heron and several varieties of egrets playing in the creek, yellow billed magpies and a large variety of song birds flitting here and there, and Swainson’s Hawks flying overhead. My favorite animal sighting is at the equestrian center, though. It looks like a horse corral from the old west. The Redwood Grove is a perfect place to take a break at one of the strategically placed picnic benches to munch on a picnic lunch. Click for map.
Points of Interest
- Free Folk Music Jam Sessions, every other Friday (12-1 p.m., Wyatt Deck)
- The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
How About “Art About”
Love art, music, and free snacks? Check out the “Second Friday Art About” where the entire downtown opens up as a free art show. For example, at the Hallmark Inn (110 F Street) an ironworks artist displays his art in the restaurant patio area, while free hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer flow freely. Jazzy music plays in the background. Vintage jewelry steals the show at Upwelling Capital Group (117 D Street). Munch on gourmet cheeses, artesian crackers, and fine local wines, while mingling with the locals.
Dance off the snacks at the E Street Plaza, which is jumping with a rocksy-folksy-blues band. A local dance teacher’s dance troupe adds a bit of class. Everyone is so friendly and having such a great time, that no one gives the occasional exceptionally exuberant non-professional dancer a second thought. Deadheads and young children alike are dancing and singing to the tunes.
Walk, Bike, Run
Explore our greenbelts. Although we are a small town/city (ten square miles), we have an impressive sixty miles of bike paths and parks that are either connected or nearly so. Keep your eyes open for the many migratory birds, wild turkeys, otters, fox, hundreds of squirrels, and many more animals who call these areas home.
You’re Invited to Our Open House
UC Davis opens its doors to all on Picnic Day, held in April. Thousands attend this annual event, which for us begins with the parade (see the schedule). The Cal Aggie Marching Band-Uh! always amazes–a real crowd pleaser. Click for videos. After the parade, visit a few halls, such as Hutchison. Learn about plant pathology and receive free plants. At Kemper Hall engineering students like to surprise the crowd with the likes of a house of horrors and liquid nitrogen ice cream.
If you love animals, visit Hutchison Field where you’ll find booths for education, various rescue groups, live animals, and conservation groups. But, the real fun is found watching animals in action. There are dogs racing and competing on courses, sheep dog trials, and of course Frisbee competitions. Everyone’s perennial favorite, has to be the Doxie Derby, a race of dachshunds–prepare to laugh uncontrollably.
Human entertainment abounds on the East Quad, Silo, ARC, and Vanderhoef Stages where you will find a wide variety of music, dance (including belly dancing), and other talents, such as Taiko Dan drumming.
Celebrate, Celebrate, and Dance to the Music!
Celebrate Davis, held in May, is a festival celebrating everything Davis. Hosted at the Community Park (1405 F Street–corner of F Street and Covell Boulevard), it looks like an old fashion town fair–very family friendly. There is rock-climbing, petting zoo, bands, and more. Local businesses and organizations set up booths offering information and free “stuff”. Click for video. Take a picnic, check out all the freebies, and dance to the music. We will be!
More by this writer:
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