[y] Fairfield Visitors Guide
Fairfield, California, is a northern California city of about one hundred thousand people that lies approximately halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento. The settlement that became Fairfield was established in the early 1850s as a post on a trade route connecting the Bay Area of San Francisco with the gold camps of the Sierra Nevada. Named in 1859 by its founder, a clipper ship captain, after his hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut, Fairfield became the county seat of Solano County in 1860, though the city of Fairfield, itself, was not formally incorporated until 1903. In the late 1860s, some of the wind went out of Fairfield’s sails, temporarily, when the builders of the trans-Continental railroad routed their line through neighboring Suisun City, instead of Fairfield. Suisun City, with its access to both rail and water transport, remained the hub of freight activity in the region until trucking overtook rail transit in importance and Interstate 80 was built through Fairfield in the 1960s. Fairfield is now the home of Travis Air Force Base, the Jelly Belly Factory – at One Jelly Belly Lane, an Anheuser-Busch Brewery, and a manufacturing facility for Thompson Candy – on Watney Way. It maintains close ties with the nearby communities of Vacaville, Benecia, Vallejo, and its adjacent sister city of Suisun City.
Fairfield Quick Facts
- Population inside the city limits: 96,178, per 2000 census. According to July 2004 population estimates, the city has grown to 103,949 residents.
- Metro area population: (Fairfield’s metro census area includes Vallejo, CA) 411,072
- Elevation: 20 feet above sea level
- Area inside city limits: 37.7 square miles
- Average daily temperature in January: 45.1 degrees Fahrenheit
- Average daily temperature in July: 73.0 degrees Fahrenheit
Fairfield CA Attractions
It could be said that the major attraction of Fairfield is its proximity to the rest of the Bay Area, but the city does have one cultural facility that can draw a crowd: The Fairfield Center for the Creative Arts which hosts professional musical performances and theater productions. An art gallery is located in the lobby. For the transportation-minded, there is the Air Museum at Travis Air Force Base and the Western Railroad Museum in Suisun City. The tour of the Jelly Belly factory, with a stop in the on-site café for a jellybean-shaped hamburger, is a favorite tourist activity in Fairfield. The Anheuser-Busch brewery offers tours. More adventurous visitors to the area often enjoy exploring the old silver mining area near Lake Berryessa.
Fairfield is approximately a half-hour by car away from Marine World Africa USA, the wine country – especially the Napa Valley, and the beautiful Delta of the Sacramento River.
Fairfield CA Recreation
There is one golf course inside the city limits: Rancho Solano Municipal Golf Course.
The more than ten thousand acres of Grizzly Island State Wildlife Area on Highway 12 provides a spectacular setting for hiking, nature viewing, fishing, and hunting in season with a permit. The Rockville Hills Park is a somewhat tamer venue for nature lovers. Administrated by the city of Fairfield, it offers interpretive nature hikes and picnic facilities.
While not generally viewed as an arts mecca, the city of Fairfield has still managed to find a place on the controversial side of the art world. In 2003, a large sculpture entitled “The Super Imposer” was removed from display in a juried art exhibit in the lobby/gallery of the publicly funded Fairfield Center for the Creative Arts. There is some controversy as to the cause for its removal, but First Amendment advocates across the country voiced concerns that the cause was the piece’s strongly expressed political theme.
Dining options in Fairfield are diverse and plentiful. A few representative establishments, just to get one started in the area, are Big Valley Hofbrau on Travis Boulevard for German dining, Adalberto’s Mexican Food on North Texas Street, Rosanna’s Bakery on North Texas Street for pastries and bread, and Bay Sushi on Gateway Boulevard.
Fairfield CA Communities
Fairfield leaders are striving to manage the city’s growth in a responsible way, mindful of anticipating and fulfilling needs before they become dire. As the city expands at its edges, it also seeks to revitalize its city center and other, older neighborhoods. Business growth in the past twenty years has been phenomenal: Fairfield has averaged the development of an additional 350,000 square feet of new industrial development each year and 260,000 square feet of new commercial and office space per year since 1986. On the residential front, the City of Fairfield is currently evaluating a proposed project for “Villages at Fairfield” to be constructed on a tract of about 440 acres near Travis Air Force Base. If constructed as proposed, this development will include approximately 2400 housing units, a new elementary school, two neighborhood parks, and a shopping center of about 110,000 square feet. The Fairfield Redevelopment Agency has active projects in the following areas: North Texas Street, the City Center, Highway 12, and Cordelia. The Neighborhood Revitalization division of the city government has encouraged the development of community/government collaborative revitalization efforts, called Quality Neighborhood Teams, along San Marco Street, along Fillmore Street, and in the PACE neighborhood