"Stockton - Historic Inland River Port" Top 5 Page for this destination Stockton by WulfstanTraveller

Stockton Travel Guide: 65 reviews and 115 photos

I originally wrote: There actually is pretty much nothing of value in Stockton that is not boarded up, although there very easily could have been a great city to visit.

That, thankfully, is no lo longer quite true. While the downtown is till a mere shadow of its former self and its potential, it has steadily, if slowly, begun to improve.

Stockton is one of the oldest big cities in California. Gorwing rapidly early on as a major Gold Rush city and port on the San Joaquin River, it was the closest port to the southern goldfields and the primary base for early settlement of the southern Sierra Nevada and the San Joaquin Valley. It fulfilled the same role that Sacramento filled for the northern part of the central valley and Sierras, as the primary shippng and transit station. As such, it grew rapidly in 1849-1870 and was for a while in the 19th century one of the largest, most important cities in California after San Francisco and Sacramento. In 1860, it was the 5th largest city in California and by 1870 it was the 4th largest city with over 10,000 people, when LA had 5,700 people and San Diego 2,300. It also remained a major port, like Sacramento, and continues to fill that role today.

This is evident in the large downtown, with some very big, grand old buildings throughout and generally a rich architectural heritage, with some old neighbourhoods. One can easily see this when driving past on the freeway or Hwy 4. The city is also the seat of San Joaquin County and today has a population of over 200,000.

Stockton suffered a lot as a result of, mostly, modern automobile-oriented development of housing suburbs and shopping centres. As recently as 2003, the big, grand old Hotel Stockton was a derelict, boarded up hulk, but now it has been heavily renovated and looks great.

Much of the downtown is still a bit on the dead side, with some abandoned buildings and many streets are too big and not very pedestrian friendly. However, it has many attractive old buildings, some big new ones, and some places to eat, etc. The old Fox theatre is a real gem and it has a great ocation with the waterfront connecting to the river going right into downtown. And, as said before, there is a LOT of potential here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Some history, some interesting buildings, etc.
  • Cons:Very patchy, a bit troubled, downtown still has a lot of room to improve
  • In a nutshell:Take a look if driving past.
  • Intro Updated Feb 28, 2010
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