With the advent of the vaccine, more people than ever are ready to get out and travel. But not everyone is prepared to get on a plane. Many people today are opting for staycations — vacations at home.
For those of us who live in Lodi, we are blessed with a multitude of fun and exciting things to experience in our city. So here are ten recommendations for how you can experience Lodi like a visitor.
1. Wineries, wineries, wineries
If you love wine, you no doubt have experienced our wineries. But have you tasted at all 50-plus tasting rooms? We recommend picking up a Wine Trail map and visit a winery a month. Or, if you prefer to cut to the chase and try several wineries at once, make your way to the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center, where you can taste six different Lodi wines on any given week. Don’t want to drive? Take the Lodi Sip Shuttle, a limousine, or hire a driver through Destination Drivers to customize your winery tour.
2. San Joaquin County Historical Museum
When was the last time that you were at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum? This popular, growing museum seated on 18 acres in beautiful Micke Grove Regional Park showcases the county’s traditions of ingenuity, innovation, and invention with an emphasis on agriculture. Learn the history of San Joaquin County, including its first peoples — the Miwok and Yokuts, as well as the story of the founding of Stockton by Capt. Charles Weber. Don’t miss the “Innovators in Agriculture” exhibit, where you can learn all about six of San Joaquin’s significant crops through hands-on interactive exhibits. Then wrap it all up with a walk along the Sunshine Trail, where panels and audio messages tell the story of the historical importance of habitats that reflect the valley and surrounding mountains.
3. Cycle Tours
If you love the outdoors and love to ride, stop by the Downtown Visitor Center and pick up a Bike Lodi Brochure. The brochure highlights 10 of Lodi’s most popular routes. And for those with a GPS for their bicycle, you can view and download over 26 Lodi routes at VisitLodi.com’s Cycling page.
Lodi isn’t just about wine anymore. With five breweries (four within the downtown and one on Industrial way), Lodi also has a thriving beer scene. Enjoy a pale ale, pilsner, stout, porter, fruit beer, a trendy IPA, and more in a lively old-world atmosphere or casual indoor-outdoor beer garden. With all the choices, you can quench your thirst for made-in-Lodi craft brews, food, and fun.
5. Dine Around
Lodi has so many excellent restaurants, from fine dining to ethnic cuisines to casual American. Enjoy a relaxing meal for two or try a dine-a-round. A dine-a-round includes walking (or driving) to two or three restaurants where you order a beverage and a course at each restaurant. If it is too much food, then split the course with your dining partner. It is a fun way to experience all that Lodi restaurants have to offer.
6. World of Wonders Science Museum
Visitors of all ages love the World of Wonders (WOW) Science Museum. Located downtown, visitors to the museum can learn about energy, electricity, magnetism, optics, and more through 70 hands-on exhibits. The 9,000-square-foot museum includes a 1,700-square-foot educational science classroom and even a science store. Great fun for the entire family!
7. Lodi Lake
Summer is almost here, and it is a great time to get out on the water. Rent a kayak, SUP, or take a river tour from Headwater’s Kayak. After Memorial Day, the beach is open, and any time of year is a great time to take a walk around the wilderness area trail where you will often see deer and other native wildlife.
8. Hutchins Street Square Performing Arts Theatre
If you want world-class entertainment, look no further than Hutchins Street Square. This city-owned and operated community center boasts a 789-seat, state-of-the-art theatre. Due to COVID-19, there are no performances in 2021, but there are plans for a concert series in 2022 that will include four-six performances from well-known national artists. Keep checking the HSS Box Office for more information or sign up for Parks and Rec notifications at https://www.lodi.gov/list.aspx.
9. Live Music
There is no shortage of live music in Lodi, so if you are looking to enjoy some appetizers while listening to live local musicians, you won’t have to travel far. Wineries offer music on the weekends year-round. For daily entertainment, make your way to the Towne House Lounge at Wine & Roses, where professional musicians provide a variety of music from light rock to light jazz. Add some light bites from the Lounge menu, and you will find out why music in the Lounge is a Lodi visitor favorite.
10. Stay Overnight
You do not need a special occasion to plan an overnight in Lodi. With a resort property, several bed and breakfast inns, as well as a variety of franchise favorites and independently owned lodging and vacation homes, you will find a property that suits your budget and your desires. Plan a romantic weekend with a couples massage and elegant dinner, or grab a few friends, rent a vacation home, get mani/pedis, shop the boutiques downtown, and grab a casual dinner. You do not have to travel far to feel like you are worlds away.
Nancy Beckman is VisitLodi President and CEO.