"Bicycling Heaven and Quirky College Town Davis" Top 5 Page for this destination Davis by TooTallFinn24

Davis Travel Guide: 57 reviews and 133 photos

Where I Went To School

Quirky and goofy Davis, California. Where I went to school as an undergraduate and where I met my wife Bev. Back in 1970 when I went to school there it was a sleepy town of 18,000 give or take a few cows and horses at the Vet School. Fast forward forty one years later and the City is home to more than 65,000 people. Stores and students everywhere!

Davis was originally called Davisville. It was established in 1868 and named after Jerome C. Davis a local farmer. The community grew because of its rich soils and location next to a Southern Pacific depot. In 1907 the Post Office shortened the name to Davis. The City was incorporated in 1917.

Daivs has been the one of the national pioneers in making bicycling an active part of its transportation mode mix. Beginning in the 1960's Davis started building an array of bicycle lanes, paths and greenbelts that were unparalled in California. Bicycling even became a hot issue for potential City Council candidates and beginning in the late 1960's the City had a pro bike majority council. Moving around town you will soon find that biking is a way of life not just for students but for residents as well.

UC Davis: Farm to World Class School

California Governor George Pardee in looking to implement the University Farm Bill in 1905 chose Davis over 50 competing sites to be the "University Farm." The university's original thrust was in agricultural and veterinary science. Fifty two years later the school was made the seventh campus in the University of California system.

Today the school is home to just over 32,000 students. The school offers 102 undergraduate programs and 88 graduate programs. Schools in engineering, social sciences, medicine, agriculture and veterinary science are ranked among the best in the world. The college is also the largest of the UC campuses in area comprising over 5,300 acres.


Personal Notes As A Former Student

The grounds of the campus are truly beautiful. The Quad in the middle of the campus with its expanse of grass and green trees. The amazing University Arboretum that makes a 3.5 mile loop along Putah Creek not only transcends you to believing you are walking in a forest but contains some amazing rare trees. A great place to escape momentarily from the tensions of everyday life.

When I was student at UC Davis there were less than half the number of students there are now. One of the unique things about the school is that it was then one only of a handful of schools in the country that operated on the honor system. This meant that no teachers or proctors were present when exams were being given. Students were on their honor to complete their exams without cheating. The honor system was dropped by the university a few years later, a sign of changing times.

Quirky Environmentally Conscious Davis

With a highly educated and socially conscientious population Davis has always been quirky. When other area communities were busy discussing local issues the Davis Council was considering the war in Vietnam, drafting dark sky initiatives to cut down on light pollution, or deciding on a whole smorgasboard of environmental issues.

An example of that is Toad Tunnel. In 1985 the City had to build an overpass over Pole Line Road at 5th Street. Environmentally concerned residents were concerned that the overpass would result in the death of toads who crossed from a dirt lot over to a small reservoir. After considerable date it was decided to build a toad tunnel (See things to do more detail). The resulting tunnel runs under the Pole Line Overpass and allows the frogs safe passage. The cost to the City at the time was about $15,000. Only could have happened in quirky Davis.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Gorgeous Campus, Great Schools
  • Cons:Expensive Housing, Provincial and Isolated Ideas
  • In a nutshell:Biking is Cool and Safe in Davis
  • Last visit to Davis: Nov 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (20)

Comments (9)

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    That's a lot of bikes.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    I?m glad to see that there are so many bicycles in Davis. I know several people who have studied there at various times, and they all seem to have fond memories of the town and the university.

    • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Don- The whole town is designed for bicyclists. Issues with cars are pretty limited. Please check out my page on the Davis Toad Tunnel :) Ty for visiting.

  • Jeannette1's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    ahh, I have to disagree with you on Davis. It is no longer "provincial and isolated" :-)

  • tropicrd's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Great pages Steven,love the toad tunnel..in Australia we try to eradicate them as they are a pest which kills our wildlife.

    • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo
      Nov 14, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      Hey Dorisse! Ty for looking at my Davis pages. Yes in California they do everything possible to protect rodents including the toads. I appreciate your reviews!

  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Thanks Larry. I enjoy reading your helpful comments and your many reviews from California and all over. I have overseen the construction of two Nugget Markets in the Sacramento area. A good place for shopping if you are in Sac.

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Hello Steven, I see that my youngest son has something in common with you. He graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003 and practiced in Fairfield CA for a few years and then returned to his home ground as a DVM. He practices in Agoura Hills, CA and lives near my amigo Karl (roadquill) in Calabasas, CA. I enjoyed Davis and off campus living was expensive, but with roommates a home was within reach. Loved the town and the art boutiques. Had my first look at the European Nugget Market in Davis and felt they had a great deli. Sacramento has a few Nugget Markets. My cousins live in Auburn and Lake Wildwood and over the hill in Reno is my brother and three of his children's families. I love old Sacramento and of course the nearby Hwy 49. Best wishes.

  • Roadquill's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    Since my wife occasionally peruses my VT pages I am going to stick with my previous posting, "I have passed by numerous times". ;-), I know a number of recent grads from Davis from the Calabasas area. Probably because of the film/tv department. Best, Karl

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Thanks for the virtual tour. An interesting tip on the toad tunnel.

  • Agraichen's Profile Photo
    Nov 12, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    I'll be forwarding this link to my daughter to get her preped for her Medical School interview next month. Great over view of the area and school.


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