What To Do In Stockton, California On The Way To Yosemite | Visit Stockton
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What To Do In Stockton, California On The Way To Yosemite

Road Trip to Yosemite: how to make the most of your trip with a pit stop in Stockton, California.

A road trip to Yosemite can be especially rewarding if you know how to make the most during your drive to the National Park. By planning the details of your trip well in advance, you will discover historical Yosemite treasures along the way. On your road trip, stop at these Stockton attractions and recreation areas.

Albert Bierstadt Paintings at the Haggin Museum

From fascinating history to incredible fine art; The Haggin Museum is recognized as one of Stockton’s oldest attractions and, to accompany your Yosemite road trip, check out Albert Bierstadt’s amazing collection of paintings, one in particular titled "Looking Up Yosemite Valley" is on display on a full-time basis at the museum. This breathtaking panorama of Yosemite Valley was once loaned to the White House and hung in the Roosevelt Room during Ronald Reagan’s first term. In addition, you will be mesmerized by the stunning new LED lighting, as the museum recently experienced a $2.5 million renovation of its fine art galleries in 2017.

Bonus Addition: From August 18 thru October 16, 2022, The Haggin Museum will feature the special exhibition Yosemite People, focusing on the complex and nuanced relationships between people and Yosemite’s natural wonders. Beautiful photographs taken by award-winning artist Jonas Kulikauskas will be on display for the public to witness, as well as historic images from Eadweard Muybridge, Ansel Adams, and Carleton Watkins.

Know Before You Go:
Parking near the museum is available for free. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 1:30pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. Admission to the museum can range anywhere between $5 to $8 and visitors are admitted free of charge on the first Saturday of the month.

John Muir Documents at University of the Pacific

Discover John Muir’s history and legacy through vibrant colors of artwork, fascinating documents, and unique untold stories at University of the Pacific’s main library. John Muir dedicated his life to preserving the Yosemite Valley, and the university similarly is devoted to preserving Muir’s legacy. Housed in the library’s basement is a collection of approximately 17,000 pieces of "John Muir Papers," the University of Pacific campus is known to house the largest collection of John Muir material in the world. The papers include journals, sketches, and photographs. You can even help the campus transcribe a few Muir journals! In addition, the campus was featured in classic films like "Flubber" starring Robin Williams and the action/adventure classic, "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Know Before You Go:
Free to the public, the University of the Pacific’s Holt-Atherton Special Collections Department is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm. The department encourages appointment by phone to experience the entire collection firsthand. Call (209) 946-2404 to schedule an appointment today.

World Peace Rose Garden at University Park

Grab lunch to go at one of Stockton’s top restaurants, as ranked by TripAdvisor, then throw a blanket on the grassy area by the lakeside to enjoy a heavy dose California sun at University Park’s World Peace Rose Garden. This is the perfect place to relax before you head back on the road! The site sits adjacent to the CSU Stanislaus-Stockton Center and has a nearby parking lot. With expansive lawns, fragrant rose blossoms, and a charming lake, United Park has a relaxing atmosphere that makes it the perfect place energize before you head back on the road.

Know Before You Go:
University Park is conveniently located on 102-acres in the medical and education district in Central Stockton. The roses are in bloom on and off throughout the season from mid-spring to fall, and the park is free to the public year-round sunrise to sunset.

Pixie Woods Children’s Park

For kids and adults alike, excitement abounds at Pixie Woods Amusement Park! This park continues its tradition of being a wonderland for the "young in age and the young at heart" and is the perfect destination for little ones to burn off all that bundled up energy! The park is conveniently situated next to Louis Park Softball Complex, adjacent to Interstate 5. The children’s park amenities include kiddie rides and fun-sized attractions, where imaginations can run wild with a ride on the Pixie Express, a spin on the old vintage carousel, or a float on the Pirate Lagoon on the Pixie Queen Boat. There are water and kid-themed play areas, as well as picnic tables. There is no outside food or beverages permitted in the park, but you are encouraged to visit Yum Yum House for delicious and nutritious snacks. Family-friendly is a recurring theme in Stockton, check out this list of fun things to do with the entire family!

Know Before You Go:
No outside food or drinks allowed in the park. Weather permitting, the children’s park is open May through October, timings vary from 12 noon to 5pm depending on the season. See the official schedule here to see hours. Adults must be accompanied by children, and children must be accompanied by adults to be admitted to the park.

Children’s Museum of Stockton

Yosemite has more than its share of stunning natural attractions, but sometimes the kids are eager for a little more than mountain vistas and a scenic drive. And for children who love hopping in and out of emergency vehicles and fire trucks, this museum is a must-visit destination. Get acquainted with Downtown Stockton where kiddos will relish the hands-on fun at the Children’s Museum of Stockton. The museum is dedicated to the educational enrichment through hands-on, interactive learning activities, and currently houses over 40 exhibits. Take a virtual tour of the museum to see for yourself. The museum sits right across the street from the Stockton Marina, which features a walkable promenade and sweeping picturesque views of Downtown Stockton. In addition, there’s also a nice amphitheater and warehouse with a couple of restaurants.

Know Before You Go:
Free onsite parking. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 9am to 4pm, Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Check with the museum for operating hours during exhibit removals by calling (209) 465-4386. Adults must be accompanied by children, and children must be accompanied by adults to be admitted to the museum. Adults and children (1 and older) are $6. Children under the age of 1 are free.

Experience More of Stockton

If you're looking to experience more of Stockton, check out our Experience Trails & Passes page. On it, you'll find our trails and passes that guide you through the local businesses and diverse experiences that are a huge part of the rich cultural here in Stockton. Whether it's hopping on the Stockton Art Trail or learning about historical locations & landmarks through the Brick City Bucket List, there's so much to take in on a visit to Stockton.

Where to Stay

Plenty of options are available for your Stockton stay depending on your budget. Stay at Downtown Stockton’s University Plaza Waterfront Hotel or Studio 6 Suites for a hop, skip, and a jump to Weber Point Events Center - make certain to pop by a few of the best places for a beer or a glass of wine. Find more places to stay in Stockton with this list of hotels.

Need more recommendations throughout Stockton? You can message us 7 days a week for assistance on shopping, dining, and things to do in Stockton.

Discover something to do in Stockton every day of the year by checking out our events calendar today, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, & TikTok - and be sure to use #VisitStockton during your visit!

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