Modesto Travel Guide 2024

2024 Modesto Visitors Guide

Founded in 1870, and named after the Spanish word for “modesty”, Modesto is located just eight miles from the Bay area in Stanislaus County, California on State Highway 99. It is 80 miles south of Sacramento, 86 miles east of San Jose and the Silicon Valley Industrial area, 88 miles southeast of San Francisco, and 311 miles north of Los Angeles.

The census of 2000 indicated that there were 188,856 people residing in the City. With a current population of over 207,000, it is the 15th largest city in California. Population growth is predicted to grow steadily at an average of 2.4% from 2005 to 2008.

The racial makeup of the city was 69.58% White, 25.58% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 3.97% African American, 1.24% Native American, 6.03% Asian, 0.50% Pacific Islander, 12.74% from other races, and 5.93% from two or more races. The median income for a household in the city was $40,394, and the median income for a family was $45,681. The per capita income for the city was $17,797 (Census, 2000).

Modesto Attractions

Modesto has several attractions to explore that will pleasantly surprise visitors. The McHenry Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an excellent example of Victorian Italianate-style architecture. Located a block away from the McHenry Mansion, the historic McHenry Museum is dedicated to preserving a picture of the early life and culture of Modesto and Stanislaus County from its pioneer days through the mid-20th century.

The Central California Art League Gallery, located in the Mistlin Art Gallery, supports the visual arts in Modesto by offering paintings, sculptures, graphics, and selected crafts of local artists.

Built in 1912, the Modesto Arch is one of the few remaining in California. The illuminating arch holds 668 lights, stands 25 feet high at its center, and spans 75 feet across. The arch is popular for what it displays, which is the city’s motto: MODESTO (Water, Wealth, Contentment, and Health).

Modesto Arch
Modesto Arch

Located twenty minutes from Modesto is the Castle Air Museum. Visitors can see the B-25, the B-24 Liberator, and the B-29. Many other examples of U.S. military aircraft are also on display.

Modesto Recreation

Modesto has an abundance of year-round indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities. Visitors and residents can enjoy a quiet picnic at one of the 66 parks, play a round of golf at one of the three municipal courses, or catch a Modesto A’s baseball game. Also, the Annual Coca-Cola Modesto Relays is the home of 34 world records, the first of which was set in the inaugural Modesto Relays in 1942 by Cornelius Warmerdam in the pole vault.

The City is also the home to the oldest professional sports franchise in the Western United States. The Modesto Nuts of the National Association of Professional Baseball has served as the launching grounds for such former and present major league stars as Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, and many others.

Modesto also offers shoppers a regional mall and hundreds of specialty shops, boutiques, and shopping centers scattered throughout the city. The Vintage Faire Mall is made up of 120 specialty stores and 5 major department stores and is considered Modesto’s premier shopping mall. Another shopping locale, the McHenry Village, holds the distinction of being one of the oldest outdoor shopping malls on the West Coast. Antique lovers can enjoy over 20 antique shops. Many treasures can be found from furniture to porcelain and home décor items.

Modesto Arts

Music lovers can enjoy the Modesto Symphony, which offers a season of nine concerts, and the Townsend Opera Players, which present several full opera productions. The Modesto Civic Theatre hosts four to six comedies, musicals, and other theatrical productions annually while the Modesto Performing Arts performs musicals and features children’s theatre and other productions during the year. The Central West Ballet Company holds four to five performances each season, ranging from classics like “The Nutcracker” to contemporary works.

Musical concerts for all tastes are also provided by the Dixieland Jazz Society, the State Theatre concert series, Modesto Band’s Concerts in the Park, Modesto Melody Makers, and Sweet Adelines.

Modesto Dining

Whether you prefer California Cuisine or Continental, a casual cafe, or a romantic dinner setting, Modesto’s restaurants offer a variety of menu options. With over 200 dining establishments within Modesto, you will find eating out to be a truly delightful event. Fresh, made-from-scratch Thai specialties are the order of the house at the Thai House. Or, try the “Flying Tomato,” “Everest” and “Kickin’ Chicken” pizzas at Extreme Pizza. Another local favorite is the Tymless Cuisine which offers comfort food with elegant sauces and a faint twist of spice.

Modesto Communities

Most of Modesto and the surrounding communities struggle with some of the worst air quality in the nation, on occasion surpassing even that of Los Angeles. It is also reported to have the highest car theft per capita rate in the United States for at least two years running. Modesto is comprised of 45 neighborhoods including Dutch Hollow, Dutch Meadow, Bret Harte, La Loma, No Man’s Land, Robertson Road, The Garden, Ceres, Riverbank, Salida, Ripon, Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon, Aqueduct, Ashby, Beard Brook, Bellenita, Beyer, Brook way, Creekwood, Elk Park, Enslen Park, Fairway Park, Kewin, Lakewood, Moose Park, Muncy Park, Orchard Park, Pierre, Revard, and Rose Avenue.

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