Things to Do in Vallejo CA
Local and regional attractions, great shopping and dining…there is much to see and do while in Vallejo.
One of the city’s biggest tourist draws is its rich heritage attractions. The city has worked hard to preserve its more than 160-year-old history. This work is evident in Vallejo’s many designated landmarks and well-maintained historical architecture in areas such as the Vallejo Heritage Home District (one of only four nationally registered districts west of the Mississippi), the St. Vincent’s Hill Historic District and Historic Old Town Vallejo. Among the area’s most notable landmarks include: the original State Capitol building, the Empress Theatre, the Masonic Temple, Old City Hall, and Mare Island, a designated National Historic Landmark.
Mare Island is currently undergoing a revitalization project that includes a modern mixed-use center with new retail, entertainment, commercial, office, industrial and residential development. At the same time, Mare Island’s heritage continues to be preserved in its National Historic Landmark District. This district features St. Peter’s Chapel, Quarters A & B and Building 46 – the latter of which currently houses the Artifacts Museum. The Mare Island Historic Park Foundation maintains these sites and is currently working to create waterfront ship museum displays as well.
The history of the former U.S. Naval Shipyard, as well as the history of the city of Vallejo, can also be experienced at the more than 25,000-square-foot Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum, located in historic Old City Hall. The museum hosts five galleries featuring a mixture of its permanent collection, local private collections, borrowed artifacts from Mare Island’s Artifacts Museum and traveling exhibitions.
While history remains an important aspect to life in Vallejo, it is not the only feature of this enterprising area. Vallejo is home to the family favorite Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, a great destination mixing theme park rides and entertainment with an assortment of animal attractions. If you’re coming to visit during the holiday season, don’t miss “Fright Fest” or “Winter in the Park” both classic events that won’t be outdone, anywhere! Most importantly, don’t miss the grand opening of the theme park’s newest ride, Superman Ultimate Flight, in 2012. This ride is guaranteed to have you saying, “Up, Up and Away!” Check out the details at www.SixFlagsDiscoveryonline.com for dates and times.
Visitors might also enjoy taking a trip a few miles up Interstate 80 to check out both the Jelly Belly Visitors Center and candy-making factory, and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and one won’t want to miss out on a day in San Francisco or a short trip “up valley” to visit the Napa and Sonoma wine countries. All are within 35 minutes of downtown Vallejo.
If shopping is your thing, Vallejo has you covered! Downtown Vallejo is chock-full of stores filled with everything from antiques and gift items to jewelry and clothing. More than 40 retailers make their home downtown, with the largest concentration located along Georgia Street. The central hub of Vallejo also hosts a year-round Farmers’ Market each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Georgia & Main. Other local retail hot spots include Gateway Plaza, Vallejo Plaza, Solano 80 Center and Tennessee Street.
After a long day of sightseeing, make sure to stop at one of Vallejo’s many restaurants. The city hosts dozens of delicious eateries serving up a wide variety of menus. The eclectic blend includes American favorites, California-inspired dishes, BBQ delights, fast food eats, Asian, Filipino and Italian-infused creations, among others.
For those staying in town for more than one day, the greater Vallejo area is home to several high-quality hotels and motels, as well as one bed and breakfast inn and rustic accommodations at area campgrounds and a local RV park. No matter the need or the budget, Vallejo area lodging facilities are great for every kind of traveler.
Downtown Vallejo Arts & Entertainment District
From concerts and theatre to highly anticipated community events, Vallejo is bursting with vibrant cultural outlets.
The Downtown Vallejo Arts & Entertainment District is a hot spot for local culture, featuring a fantastic mix of galleries, studios, shops and restaurants. The district is anchored by the Empress Theatre, a circa 1912 Beaux Arts-style theatre that has been completely restored to serve as a top center for the performing arts in the Bay Area. Today, this local landmark features an assortment of events, including musical, dance and theatrical performances as well as community events. The Empress Theatre is operated by the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation.
Another shining gem in our community is The Fetterly Playhouse for the Arts, managed by Vallejo Music Theatre. Fetterly Playhouse is home to Vallejo Symphony Orchestra and the Fetterly Gallery. Additional cultural organizations with a presence in town include the MIRA Theatre Guild at the Bay Terrace Theater (Vallejo’s first and longest-running community theatre), the Vallejo Choral Society, the Vallejo Artists Guild and the North Bay Opera.
The Vallejo area also presents an assortment of exciting annual events throughout the year. The Solano County Fair is a popular gathering occurring each year in Vallejo. Celebrated in August, the event brings thousands of guests who enjoy competitive exhibits, livestock competitions, live entertainment, carnival rides, food, beverages and much, much more. Additionally, communitywide events garner large local crowds each year and include the following celebrations: Juneteenth, July 4th, the Great Vallejo Ducky Derby, the Pirate Festival on the Vallejo Waterfront, the Wednesday Night Celebrations in downtown during the summer and the Mad Hatter Holiday Festival at Christmas time, just to name a few.
Visit the Vallejo Convention and Visitors Bureau website at www.visitvallejo.com to access an up to date calendar of events and gain further information on Vallejo’s many cultural offerings.