Modesto, CA

Travel Guide
Photo provided by Visit California
Relive the excitement of 1960s America during the Graffiti Summer celebration or take a daytrip to Yellowstone National Park from this San Joaquin Valley city.

Feel at home as soon as you arrive in this northern Californian city, home to 200,000 residents. If there’s something eerily familiar about Modesto, it might be that you’ve seen its streets on the silver screen. Think back to George Lucas’ 1973 classic filmAmerican Graffiti, which immortalized the city’s streets.

The cozy city is surrounded by some of California’s most fertile farmland, responsible for large crops of nuts as well as poultry and dairy production. Sample California’s most succulent produce at a weekend farmers market before you set off to explore Modesto’s many sites or take a daytrip to the surrounding regions.

Modesto is conveniently located in the heart of California’s major tourism area. Drive a short distance to reach the state capital, Sacramento, the stylish San Francisco and its Bay Area, the incomparable wilderness of Yellowstone National Park and many other major attractions. Don’t feel compelled to leave Modesto, however. There’s plenty to see and do in the city itself.

If you’re staying in the downtown area, walk to reach the city’s shopping and entertainment precincts. Browse through antique stores and pick up local handicrafts before settling down for a long lunch in the sun and a glass or two of award-winning California wine.

Visit Modesto in June when the town comes alive for Graffiti Summer, a celebration of Lucas’ landmark film and one of the United States’ best-known directors, who was born in the city. Watch as classic hot rods parade down the streets and 1950s rock ’n’ roll echoes through the town.

Even if you don’t come for summer, rest assured that you’re probably in for good weather since Modesto enjoys a mild climate year-round. Revel in the chance to get outside and follow one of Modesto’s walking trails as it weaves past the city’s most cherished sites, like the McHenry Museum and the Vintage Faire Mall.

Where to stay in Modesto

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Empire

While Empire might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like E and J Gallo Winery and Tuolumne River.

Empire
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Keyes

While Keyes isn't home to many top sights, Pedretti Park and Dust Bowl Brewing Co. are some notable places to visit nearby.

Keyes
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Northwest Modesto

While there might not be top attractions in Northwest Modesto, you can explore the larger area and discover places like Vintage Faire Mall and Boomers.

Northwest Modesto
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La Loma

La Loma might not have many top sights, but E and J Gallo Winery and Gallo Center for the Arts are two attractions nearby that you can check out.