This is no surprise to those who are proud to call Stockton home. Edging out Oakland, Sacramento, and New York City, Stockton offers a melting pot of intriguing cultures that stretches to the four corners of the city. Whether it is delicious food, welcoming shops, creative artists, or the numerous events celebrated in the city, resilient Stockton is home to inventive dreamers of all different backgrounds.
Below are a few examples of why the city earned this honorable distinction. It is also a sample list of how you can experience the colorful community of Stockton, California.
1. MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES
Stockton is proud to provide places that focus on the true stories of immigrants to our region.
- The Mexican cultural stories reside proudly at the Mexican Heritage Center & Gallery in Downtown Stockton. This spot provides generations of Mexican Americans a connection to the traditions of their ancestors as well as a resource for those interested in learning more.
Local tip: Don't miss the Dia de los Muertos Street Fiesta held each October.
- Inside the historic Newberry building, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Museum showcases the contributions that Filipino Americans have made to this nation, dating back to 1587. Stockton is proud to be the national home to this significant collection of historical items and stories. Additionally, the Little Manila Rising organization has led the preservation of the Little Manila Historic Site in Stockton.
- Stockton is also home to the Wat Dhammararam Cambodian Buddhist Temple, which houses over 90 colorful and larger than life jewel-encrusted statues that celebrate the life of the Cambodian Buddha. Free and open to the public during daylight hours, this display is the largest of its kind in California, featuring a spectacular 50-foot long recumbent Buddha.
2. SHOPS AND MARKETS
Stockton offers a multitude of grocery and shopping locations that introduce the community to diverse agriculture and trade.
- Sakura Japanese Groceries and Gifts is a family-owned Japanese grocery store. They provide a wide variety of Japanese foods and ingredients—as well as kitchen items, decorations, tools, and more.
Local tip: check out the sushi and bento meals, made fresh daily.
- For those in search of goods that are of Indian origin, the India Bazaar on Hammer Lane won't disappoint. Providing grocery, spices, and herbs as well as cloths, jewelry, and cooking pans, India Bazaar is a one-stop-shop for all your needs.
- Open year-round, SF Supermarket provides a wide variety of Asian imported groceries, as well as a mix of American and Hispanic products. This is a great place to find ingredients needed when experimenting with new Asian dishes as well as finding new favorite snacks from across the globe.
- Saturday mornings in Stockton belong to one of the best markets in California, the Downtown Stockton Asian Farmers’ Market. Started in 1979, this farmers’ market is considered to be one of the oldest and most successful in the state of California. Stocked full of flavor with unique herbs, produce, and more from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Korea, China, and India, you won't be disappointed.
A rich, welcoming setting and wonderfully diverse cuisine are the perfect ingredients for a sensational evening of dining.
- Papapavlos Bistro & Bar, located in Lincoln Center, is the perfect spot for Mediterranean flavor. You can expect delicious gyro meat, mouth-watering dolmathes, superb lamb dishes, and more.
Local tip: order the flaming cheese and get your camera ready!
- Thai Me Up, located on Stockton's Miracle Mile, delivers a wide variety of tasty Thai food, ranging from soup to tapas to seafood salad and pork belly. Additionally, the beautiful patio area gives you a lovely view.
- For an evening filled with a Latin essence, Xochimilco Cafe boasts a strong Mexican flavor. Found in Downtown Stockton, around the corner from the Bob Hope Theatre, Xochimilco is known for its crispy chicken tacos and sauce-soaked enchiladas, all made with homemade tortillas.
- For a dose of Northern Italian tradition and cuisine, head over to Gian's Delicatessan. Managed by the Bolognini family, the deli has aisles packed with imported pasta, olive oils, and specialty groceries. The kitchen is filled with fresh scents of homemade foccacia and pasta, preserving the heritage of “Old Italy.”Local tip: this is a cash-only establishment so be prepared.
4. CULTURAL FESTIVALS
The Travel Channel, and Anthony Bourdain, have taught us that food and festivals are two of the best ways to experience a culture. Stockton has an abundance of both within its borders. Here are just a few.
- The first Sunday in May, guests head to Weber Point for the Cinco De Mayo Family Festival, a day filled with Mexican American Culture featuring music, food, a parade, and family-oriented fun.
- On the first Sunday in June, the Jewish Food Fair takes place at Temple Israel. This celebration of Jewish culture, includes a brunch, a bakeshop, delicious food items, games, and tours of the temple.
- Black Family Day is a dedication to Stockton’s African American community. This unifying event features gospel music, job and health fairs, children’s activities, crafts, and plenty of food vendors offering hearty, flavorful food.
- Also providing some tasty sustenance in September is the Saint Basil’s Greek Festival. This event couples fine Greek cuisine and pastries with authentic Greek music and dancing, topping it off with tours of the church and choir performances.