Downtown Modesto

Downtown Modesto has seen much in the way of revitalization over the years, transforming itself into a vibrant destination for shopping, dining, entertainment and culture. A mix of historic buildings and new establishments overlook the pedestrian-friendly streets of this charming historic downtown district. Visitors take a look at some of the city’s local landmarks, including the Modesto Arch, the State Theatre, the flower clock and the Gallo Center for the Arts, while simultaneously browsing through the storefronts or taking a seat at one of the restaurants or coffeehouses.

While in the downtown area, plan a stop at the widely popular Farmers’ Markets. The 33-year-old Modesto Certified Farmer’s Market will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays through November 19, then on three more Saturdays in December. It is on 16th Street between H and I Streets, next to the public library. The 10th Street Certified Farmer’s Market will run from 4-8 p.m. Thursdays through October between H and I Streets, adjacent to the Gallo Center for the Arts. The markets feature farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, eggs and cheeses and an assortment of specialty items. Shoppers are also treated to live entertainment and demonstrations.

Today, Modesto serves as a regional retail center, drawing shoppers from throughout the northern San Joaquin Valley.

The city’s growth in recent years has bolstered its position as the hub of Stanislaus County. Annual taxable sales in Modesto total about $2.5 billion with total county taxable sales of about $7.1 billon. These impressive figures, along with Modesto’s rapid population growth, continue to attract retailers to the area to capitalize on this active market.

More than 40 shopping centers serve the city, including Vintage Faire Mall, with over 115 shops, cozy cafes and a variety of services. The McHenry Village also features many shops and restaurants.

Downtown Modesto, home of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, is in the midst of revitalization as a retail, entertainment and government center. Tenth Street Place offers the Brenden Theatre movie complex, retail shops and restaurants.

Public art enhances downtown Modesto’s charm. In Lucas Plaza is American Graffiti, a bronze sculpture by local artist Betty Saletta, which honors Modesto’s nostalgic “cruise” and pays tribute to Modesto’s most famous son, George Lucas, who produced the movie, American Graffiti, filmed locally, and later went on to Star Wars and other blockbuster film success. Another Saletta sculpture is The Paperboy, located in McClatchy Square next to the Modesto Bee.

Hungry? No worries, as Modesto hosts more than 200 delicious restaurants, coffeehouses, delis, pubs and other dining establishments. Local eateries serve up an eclectic selection of foods, including American classics, steak and seafood, BBQ, pizza and tasty California cuisine. Global diners also take advantage of a wealth of ethnic restaurants, with flavorful foods representing Mexico, Asia, India, Italy and the Mediterranean.