What to Visit Nearby

Davis offers a wide variety of events and activities to students, but students are not restricted by the city limits. Davis is located in center of California, within easy driving distance of many popular destinations. Remember that in California, an easy driving distance is usually considered to be about two hours.


The capital city of California is located about 20 miles (29 km) from Davis. The city is home to the nearest international airport, Sacramento International Airport (SMF). Sacramento is home to many attractions, including Midtown and California Expo, an event arena. There are also several shopping centers and malls, such as Arden Fair mall and Westfield Downtown Plaza. It is also of historical importance as the departure point for many gold miners during the 1848 Gold Rush. Sacramento’s Sutter’s Fort provides a view into the pioneering life of pre-Gold Rush California and early California’s agricultural community. Other possible destinations include the Capitol building, the Crocker Art Museum, the Sacramento Zoo and Old Sacramento.

To reach Sacramento, students usually drive over the Causeway or through Woodland on Interstate 5. The Yolobus public transportation line also goes between Davis and Sacramento using the 42A or 42B bus lines.

Napa Valley

The famous Napa Valley lies in the heart of California’s wine region and is about 50 miles (80 km) from Davis. In addition to the winery and vineyard tours, visitors can go to cities in the area, including the City of Napa, American Canyon, Calistoga, St. Helena and Yountville. Other possible activities include horseback riding, hiking and golfing.

There is a public transportation option between Davis and Santa Rosa, which is a city in nearby Sonoma County. Students will need to purchase a ticket for the train line, called Amtrak. There is an Amtrak station located in Downtown Davis. The total traveling time is approximately two hours.

Most students choose to drive to Napa Valley. The drive in one direction is between one and two hours, depending on traffic.

San Francisco

On the West Coast, San Francisco is generally referred to simply as “The City.” It is located about 80 miles (129 km) from Davis. San Francisco is one of the most famous destinations in California. Visitors can see the Golden Gate Bridge (and walk across it!), Alcatraz Island Prison (where Al Capone was jailed) and Lombard Street (the “crookedest street in the world”). Other must-see sights are Fisherman’s Wharf, AT&T Park, Coit Tower and Chinatown.

It is possible to drive into San Francisco, but it is typically very difficult to find parking. For this reason, students usually drive to a BART station and take public transportation into the city. BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit, and it is mostly used for commuting. Nearby BART stations include Pittsburg/Bay Point, North Concord/Martinez and Concord. Tickets are required in order to ride BART, but they can be purchased at the station.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake surrounded by mountains, and it’s popular with skiers and snowboarders alike. It’s located about 120 miles (193 km) from Davis. Lake Tahoe has a unique connection with UC Davis, because the university is responsible for maintaining the lake’s water purity. The lake is also available for summer fun, with jet-skiing, boating and hiking.

The primary transportation to Lake Tahoe is by car. The drive can take between 2.5 and 3 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions. Drivers are encouraged to watch the weather forecast carefully, as the road can become slippery in snow and rain.