"Yuba City - Seat of Sutter County" Yuba City by WulfstanTraveller

Yuba City Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 11 photos

Yuba City is an old riverine Sacramento Valley town and the seat of Sutter County. The town originally grew right next to the Feather River near its confluence with the Yuba River. It was for most of the history of the state of California in the shadow of its neaighbour right across the river, Marysville, seat of Yuba County. Yuba City was established only shortly after Marysville and became the seat of Sutter County permanently in 1856, but Marysville grew very rapidly earlier and by 1851 was already the primary commercial and population centre of the region, a position it held until the 2nd half of the 20th century.

Yuba City was not incorporated until about 1901, about 50 years after Marysville was incorporated but it was growing quite a bit in the early 20th century and then after WWII Yuba City grew significantly while Marysville decayed. Unfortunately, as with most other places, Yuba City's later growth took the form mostly of suburban sprawl and shopping centres.

Today it has about 45,000 in the city itself with about another 20,000 in the area while Marysville has only about 13,000 and Yuba City is the primary population and commercial center of the Yuba City Metropolitan Statistical Area, with a total population of about 165,000.

The whole region has become comparatively impoverished, though, a problem I discuss in my Marysville page but which affects Yuba City as well. Yuba City is the big town now but it has usurped only that role and neither city has anything like the wealth and prestige that the region used to have in the 1860s when this region was centred on Marysville and was the 3rd most important commercial centre in California behind only San Francisco and Sacramento.

Although Yuba City is bigger today, one can immediately recognize that Marysville was earlier the big town, however. Whereas Marysville's downtown is large and has some very big buildings, downtown Yuba City is rather small and mostly has small one- and two-storey buildings.

Interestingly, in part I believe due to the nature and periods of Yuba City's early growth, the downtown has distinct areas with two apparent cores.

One portion is a small older area right along the levee of the Feather River, with the old courthouse, some old commercial buildings and the Masonic Lodge, hemmed in very closely with old light industrial and residential neighbourhoods, homes being within a block of the courthouse and county offices. This area retains a very old-fashioned 19th-century Sacramento Valley character (a bit different from most of the rest of California), hugging the levee and covered in huge leafy trees. Many of the few buildings here are from the 19th century.

Several blocks away, beyond old mixed industrial-commercial-residential areas is the newer downtown, with buildings mostly dating to between 1900-1960. This is where most of the shops and restaurants actually are located and even on weekend nights or holidays when the old area around the courthouse is devoid of people, this area, particularly Plumas Street, is rather lively with a range of eateries from simple to fairly expensive.

Both parts are worth visiting, the former for the old Sacramento Valley feel and the architecture, the latter for places to eat, etc.

  • Intro Updated Dec 19, 2008
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