Northern California is a popular travel destination known for its iconic cities and world-class attractions. However, in order to visit the most popular destinations, tourists often skip smaller towns that are well worth a visit, including Vacaville.
Located in the Sacramento Valley region of Solano County, Vacaville is a meeting point between a large town and a small city, and its roots are closer to nature than many larger metropolitan areas.
With a population of only 100,000, you can expect fewer crowds and plenty of attractions and services.
The city is roughly halfway between the main centers of Sacramento and San Francisco. This means that you only need to drive about an hour to any city and spend the day exploring all they have to offer.
In addition to its pleasant climate, Vacaville is also home to a wide variety of shops, outdoor spaces and museums. The local restaurant serves a variety of local and ethnic dishes. Spend the day exploring the old town, wine tasting at the nearby Suisun Valley winery, hiking in the Lagoon Valley or attending an outdoor art show.
Vacaville hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, including Vacaville Carnival Day and the Festival of the Trees and Christmas tree lighting every December. Every Friday during the summer, the city hosts a creek walk in downtown Vacaville.
Here are 15 of the best things to do in and around Vacaville, California.
1. Learn about local history at the Vacaville Museum
The best way to learn about any city and its surroundings is to visit a museum that showcases the history of the area and its people. The Vacaville Museum is an excellent starting point for your visit.
This historic museum tells the story of Vacaville and Solano County through a variety of exhibits that change throughout the year. An exhibit about influential women in the area, and another about the people who once lived near Uratis Creek, are just two of the more than 40 exhibits the museum has displayed over the years.
Cultural workshops are sometimes held, and handmade crafts can be purchased in the on-site gift shop. Visitors can choose to visit the museum on their own or with a guided tour.
2. Explore the iconic Nuttree Plaza
While curbside stops are common on American roads, perhaps none are as iconic as Vacaville’s Nuttree Plaza.
This sprawling complex started out as a simple fruit stand on the side of the road in the 1920s. Today, it’s a massive 400,000-square-foot store, restaurant, and entertainment venue.
Start your outing with a visit to the stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Old Navy, Nordstrom and Kirkland’s. If you have kids in your group, they’ll have a lot of fun too; the live entertainment center includes rides, games and free activities.
End the day with a delicious meal at restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings or Chipotle. The complex also houses a Starbucks coffee shop and an ice cream parlour.
3. Start your day with Healthy Living Shakes and Cafe
If you travel a lot, you know how difficult it can be to find healthy food and drink on the road. Healthy Living Shakes & Cafes solves this problem with a range of quality, delicious, healthy products.
This locally owned restaurant offers protein shakes, smoothies, keto coffee, and acai bowls, all made with organic and all-natural ingredients without any artificial ingredients. Food is also served all day and cooked in the air fryer.
Chicken wings, breakfast burritos, wraps, sandwiches, teriyaki bowls and steaks are just a few of the items on the extensive menu, which includes aloe vera and a cup of matcha with every order.
4. Spend a day of golf at Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano Golf Course
While there are many golf courses in the area, your best options for a day on the greens in the Vacaville area are Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano. The two courses are only ten minutes apart, so they can be played at the same time on the same day.
Paradise Valley is a laid-back course with beautifully maintained grounds including oaks and creeks. Rancho Solano has more of a country club feel, with expansive greens that are among the largest in the state. This course offers more of a challenge; various features include rolling landscapes, lakes, and bunkers.
Both courses feature a driving range and an on-site Legends Bar & Grill.
5. Explore Pena Adobe and Lagoon Valley Park
You don’t have to go far to find the natural environment in and around Vacaville, but Pena Adobe and Lagoon Valley Park are among the best. You’ll find beauty, nature, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and lakes for fishing and boating all in one place.
With 470 acres of natural landscape, the park will make you feel like you are outside the city. These include a 20-mile hiking loop and a 7.5-mile biking trail. A disc golf course, dog park and archery range are also on site.
6. Enjoy the many facilities at Andrews Park
The main attraction in Andrews Park is the creek walk. This area of the park hosts many concerts and festivals throughout the year. This beautifully landscaped 18-acre park also features walking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds and several barbecue areas.
7. Visit the Jelly Belly Factory
For a truly unique experience, visit the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, just outside Vacaville, for 40 minutes. A knowledgeable guide will take you on a tour of the factory, where you’ll see how the famous jelly beans are made.
8. Take part in an escape room experience
Escape rooms are all the rage right now across the country. At Beat the Room, visitors can experience a unique escape room.
There are several rooms to choose from, including a pirate-themed room. As long as you have a team of two to ten people, you can join it.You will have an hour to solve various clues and puzzles to help you escape
9. Satisfy your hunger at Los Reyes Restaurante and Cantina
Take a seat in the vibrant atmosphere of Los Reyes Restaurante and Cantina in downtown Vacaville, where you’ll enjoy a variety of traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist.
Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas and seafood entrees are just a few of the extensive menu items, all made with high-quality locally sourced ingredients.
The full-service bar offers Mexican specialties such as tequila-based cocktails.
10. Take some hands-on learning at Vacaville’s Imagine That
Visitors of all ages can enjoy interactive technology displays at Imagine That in Vacaville. This 6,100-square-foot learning center offers hands-on learning, including activities that promote lifelong education.
11. Visit the Anheuser-Busch factory
The Anheuser-Busch factory in nearby Fairfield is a must for beer lovers. There are several different tours to choose from, but each covers all the basics, including how the beer is made and a detailed explanation of how the plant uses renewable energy to maintain green operations.
Perhaps the most anticipated part of the tour is the coveted samples that await each participant of legal age. Various events are held from time to time, including car shows and concerts.
12. Eat and drink healthy at Virtue Juice Bar
Virtue Juice Bar is more than just a variety of healthy juices; it’s a fusion restaurant and wellness center focused on healthy living.
The staff are knowledgeable about healthy food and beverages and want to share this knowledge with you when preparing nutritious meals to help you refuel for the rest of the day.
Make delicious signature juices right in front of you with a top-of-the-line juicer using the freshest organic ingredients. Smoothies, espresso elixir, acai bowls and a range of dairy and gluten-free options are also available.
13. Immerse yourself in the world of rocks and minerals
At the Rock Shop, the largest rock and mineral store on the West Coast, you’ll have the opportunity to see tons of rocks and gems.
Whether you’re a collector or an amateur observer, discoveries big and small, including rare ones, are sure to impress you. There is also a separate room on site dedicated to amethysts, fossils and a collection of shells. Items on display are for sale.
14. Spend the day hiking in a hiker’s paradise
Northern California’s pleasant weather, spectacular scenery and pristine wilderness make it an ideal location for hiking. There are a variety of trails in and around Vacaville for all skill levels.
At Lake Berryessa in the nearby winter-cold canyon area, hikers can enjoy mountainous terrain and beautiful views.
Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa Valley has a poplar trail that cuts through prairie and oak trees on the way to the top of the park area. At Basalt Boulder, there are many trails of varying lengths and difficulty.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Vacaville, CA, CA
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