Downtown Lodi has been called the “jewel” of the city, and it’s easy to see why. With shops and restaurants that cater to locals and visitors of all ages, everyone is sure to have a great time day and night any time of the week.
In the last year a number of Downtown wine tasting rooms have opened, bringing the total to nine and offering a variety of local brands and unique atmospheres.
Lodi’s Wine Social has really started the Downtown wine room craze. Owned and operated by both the Sorelle and Six Hands wineries, Lodi’s Wine Social hosts several themed parties throughout the year, and features a different musical act every Friday and Saturday. If you stop in, be sure to try their ice cold wine slushies, prepared in lime and peach flavors, among others.
For a more relaxed wine room, take a few steps north on School Street and try out Weibel Family Vineyards. The Weibel family has brought the 1930s and ’40s back with an ambience that will make you feel like you are part of “The Great Gatsby.”
Venture further Downtown and try the wines at The Dancing Fox, Riaza, Jeremy Wine Company or Lodi Wine Cellars, among others.
More restaurants have opened Downtown, and are staying open later for those catching an evening movie at Lodi Stadium 12.
Porter’s Pub is the newest addition to School Street, serving up unique salads, and burgers, as well as a 7-pound tri-tip sandwich for the adventurous with huge stomachs. They also boast a menu with nearly 40 beers on a rotating schedule, as well a 20 wines and champagnes.
If you’re in the mood for something fast, flat and just the way you like it, try Smack Pie Pizza. Put anything you want on an 11-inch pizza for a little more than $10. Their 11-inch house pizzas are the same price.
Another restaurant is Take 27, offering up American restaurant fare. Come in and admire memorabilia from movies such as John Wayne’s “Hondo” or the Indiana Jones franchise while you enjoy Tuscan Stuffed Chicken, Caribbean Calamari, or “The Duke’s” Ribeye Steak.
Don’t forget some of Downtown’s long-time favorites, such as Rosewood Bar & Grill, Lodi Beer Co. or the Dancing Fox Winery and Bakery. For international flavors, try Saigon Grill, Shangri La Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar, Pamplona Tapas or Alebrijes Mexican Bistro.
Downtown Lodi isn’t just about food. Pret offers the latest fashion styles in women’s shirts, shoes and jackets, while Randall’s showcases the best in men’s attire. Randall’s also now has something for women, too, from jewelry to dresses and bathrobes.
Stop in at Renee’s Boutique at 9 W. Pine St. or Barbara’s Boutique at 8 N. School St. for more top-of-the-line in women’s clothing. If you still want great clothes but at an affordable price, Secondhand Rose at 14 N. School St. or Lodi Junction at 111S. School St. will definitely fit your budget. Smart Alic at 5 W. Pine St. will have accessories to complement what you buy from any clothing store Downtown.
Looking for unique decor to liven up your home? Visit bathandmore.com at 19 W. Pine St., which offers a variety of rustic amenities and accessories for any room in your house. Want to bring France into the house? Stop in at French at Heart or Avignon of France for cookbooks, clothing and artwork.
If you just want to admire artwork by local and international artists, stop in at the Knowlton Art Gallery at 115 S. School St. or Lodi Community Art Center at 110 W. Pine St., where every month features a different showcase at both galleries. If you want a treat with your showcase, head to Double Dip Gallery at 222 W. Pine St. for Gunther’s Ice Cream while you admire great art.
There’s plenty to do beyond eating and shopping.
Many Downtown businesses participate in “Live Music in Lodi!,” a weekly citywide event that brings everything from jazz to country and rock to some of the city’s best eateries and tasting rooms.
Rosewood and Fields Family Winery host live music on Fridays, while cellardoor, The Rusted Mic and Wine Social host live music Fridays and Saturdays.
There are several Downtown events throughout the year as well.
The Lodi Street Faire is held the first weekend in May and October, featuring more than 700 vendors. Stroll down Church Street for the latest and greatest in arts, crafts and accessories. Then walk back up School Street to find antiques of all shapes and sizes, from dinner sets to toys to furniture.
The Downtown Lodi Farmers Market draws hundreds every Thursday evening from May through September.
The Lodi District Chamber of Commerce hosts its Wine Stroll in April and October, at which you can shop at local stores and taste selections from some 20 local wineries all in one evening.
The Downtown Lodi Business Open House is held the weekend following Thanksgiving. Participating merchants offer discounts, treats and sometimes live music for the opening weekend of holiday shopping.
The Parade of Lights just might be the biggest event in Downtown Lodi, with some 80 entries decked out in Christmas lights traversing down Church and School Streets in December.
For more information on Downtown Lodi and its events, stop by the Visit Lodi! Conference and Visitors Bureau at 25 N. School St., Lodi, CA 95240. You can also go to www.visitlodi.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 209-356-1195.