Modesto is a quaint city surrounded by rich farmlands in the San Joaquin Valley. It is in the Central Valley of California, located on River Tuolumne. The fertile farmland has been a blessing for the residents. They have fields of corn and poultry along with wineries. Hence, the farm-to-land culture is famous in the city. More or less, the city stands true to its meaning of “modest” with all the activities it has to provide. On the basis of this, plenty of nature-related, fun, artistic, historic & best things to do in Modesto CA have been found. Do not underestimate the fun the city has to offer. Modesto will surprise you with its vibrant culture of wine, music, cars, and greenery.
- What Can You do in Modesto CA?
- 1. Rent a Bike and Find Murals in the Streets of Modesto
- 2. Get Lost in the Pinks and Whites of Almond Blossom
- 3. Off-Roading at La Grange: Fun Things to do in Modesto for Adults
- 4. Buy a Contemporary Art Piece from Mistlin Gallery
- 5. Head Downtown for Modesto Art Walk
- 6. Parties and a Lot More at Mardi Gras
- 7. Modesto Porchfest Reflecting the True Street Culture
- 8. Dryden Park Golf Course for a Premium Experience
- 9. Participate in the Celebration of the Day of the Dead
- 10. Modesto Unplugged: Another Local Music Experience
- 11. Take Your Family to the Picnic at the Pops
- 12. Spend Your Weekend at the Shore of Don Pedro
- 13. Off-riding and Picnicking at Frank Raines – OHV
- 14. A Short Geography Class at Great Valley Museum of Natural History
- 15. Sneak-peek at the Graffiti USA Museum
- 16. Watch a Live Show at Gallo Center for the Arts
- 17. Relive the Victorian Era at McHenry Mansion
- 18. Funday at Funworks
- 19. Fine-Dine Date at Galletto Ristorante
- 20. Wildfire Public House for Every Cocktail Fan
- 21. Live the Cruising Culture of Modesto at Graffiti Summer
- 22. Go Cruising Downtown on Historic Graffiti Cruise Route
- 23. Experience the Nature at Dry Creek Trail
- 24. Solve the Mystery at Escape Modesto with Your Family
- 25. Mexican Brunch at Frida’s Taqueria Ajua
- 26. Spend the Last Day at Davis Community Park
- Where to Stay in Modesto CA?
- FAQs: Related Things To Do in Modesto, California
What Can You do in Modesto CA?
You will be surprised to know that the people of Modesto love their wine. Hence, this is worth exploring here. The cafes serve the best gourmet meals, fresh from the farm to the table. Walk down the lanes of the city to get a closer look at the murals, and make sure that you take some funky pictures for your social media profiles. This is not all. More activities and places to go in Modesto await you.
1. Rent a Bike and Find Murals in the Streets of Modesto
Murals are famous all over California. Modesto is no exception. The city walls are splashed with paints and are transformed into masterpieces by world-class mural artists. 2015 is a remarkable year when mural masters and artists who love creating colossal pieces were recruited. The downtown speaks volumes about this ethereal beauty and major attractions in Modesto.
There are over 125 public murals in Modesto which are a feast for the eyes. Every mural is unique and has the soul of the artist. Talented creators have worked day and night to dazzle the city with their art. The striking blue skies of this place are the perfect contrast to the colorful murals.
2. Get Lost in the Pinks and Whites of Almond Blossom
Almond trees blossom anytime between mid-February to mid-March. Book yourself a tour of the vast farms of almonds and get lost in the hues of the blossom. Roberts Ferry Gourmet and Rodin Farms are the two orchids open for walking, picnics, and taking wonderful shots. In the afternoon, you can take a break and go for a cheese tasting at Oakdale Cheese & Specialties.
Head to Stewart & Jasper Orchard shop in Village McHenry for wine tasting. You can even buy fresh and sweet almonds from the shop. Take an audio tour through the beautiful blossoms and learn everything about growing almonds. While you are there, take lessons about bee pollination at Zorro. A tour of Almond Blossom will be a wholesome venture for the family and is among the top things to do in Modesto.
3. Off-Roading at La Grange: Fun Things to do in Modesto for Adults
La Grange Vehicle Park is heaven for off-riders. This off-roading park is spread over 147 acres. The west side of the off-highway vehicle or OHV has four elaborate tracks and meticulously designed marked trails best for ATVs and motorcycles. The trails are designed for riders who are newbies, intermediate or have pro skills. Ride your 4WD on the eastern end of the park.
The west of the OHV has an open park with rugged terrain, mud pits, and other hurdles for fun. These top features of it further tell you what to do in Modesto’s La Grange:
- Picnic tables
- A motocross track
- Beginners & expert tracks for motorbikes
- A muddling area
- A playground
- Camping facilities
4. Buy a Contemporary Art Piece from Mistlin Gallery
Art is crucial to the identity of this city. Exploring the art styles and visiting exhibits are the unmissable Modesto things to do. A contemporary art enthusiast must visit the Mistlin Gallery. The artworks here are noteworthy and enhance the culture of Modesto. The gallery schedules monthly exhibits. New paintings in the museum are adding volumes to the rich history of art.
If you fancy buying artwork, then you may do so at the gallery. Plan a day when you can attend one of its exhibits and meet other art enthusiasts.
Note: Mistlin Gallery is famous for its complimentary art therapy as well. Try to make some time to know about it.
5. Head Downtown for Modesto Art Walk
Modesto Art Walk is held year-round on the third Thursday of every month. It will be an opportunity to indulge in the nightlife. The tour will be self-guided and you can visit places according to your taste. Several organizations, artists, groups, and businesses come together to feature their art in the art galleries. You will be able to appreciate the local art and contribute to the local community for its prosperity. The showcase of beautiful art genuinely elevates the mood downtown.
Tip: This Art Walk is completely free and a casual activity to add to your itinerary.
6. Parties and a Lot More at Mardi Gras
Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, popularly known as Mardi Gras, is a celebration of food, clothes, colors. You will be delighted to eat a lot of delicious food here.
Dress in bright colorful attire and get down the street. The streets are decorated and people come dressed in bold and fun outfits to celebrate Mardi Gras Parades. But this is beyond the parades in Modesto. The festival is a street party here and there are several activities arranged like walk tours, face painting, best-dressed competition, ramps, and much more for the ultimate fun time.
7. Modesto Porchfest Reflecting the True Street Culture
The first ever Porchfest in Modesto was held in 2017. Since then it has been a thing among the locals. Bike down the lanes of the city to attend a free music event on a porch. As the name suggests, this music event is a collection of porch parties throughout the city that place it amidst the top attractions in Modesto. The area includes the Downtown neighborhoods too.
Some generous hosts throw the music party, and local musicians get to perform at the driveway, porch, or patio of the owners. The Porchfest continues throughout the afternoon. Carry your food or go to the local cafe for your evening coffee.
8. Dryden Park Golf Course for a Premium Experience
When you are in the mood to go all fancy, drive to Dryden Park. This park has premium equipment, a well-maintained golf course, and supportive staff. The golf course is surrounded by pines and oaks as well as offers a splendid view. The medium-sized grass of the golf course is perfect for beginners and experts in traditional golf. Do not let the holiday come in the way of your practice. So, golfing is among the must-explore things to do in Modesto CA.
9. Participate in the Celebration of the Day of the Dead
The Spanish population in Modesto celebrates its traditional culture by celebrating Día de Muertos, otherwise known as the “Day of Dead“. According to the traditions, families build ofrendas (altars) which include photos, memorabilia, favorite foods, and beverages of the departed. The streets of downtown are decorated during Día de Muertos. It is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the history of the festival and have a fun time at the celebration downtown.
10. Modesto Unplugged: Another Local Music Experience
Given that you want to attend an intimate music event, then book your tickets for Modesto Unplugged. The event is organized downtown each month with limited seats for a slow musical evening. Music enthusiasts appreciate the event, as it offers a platform for local musicians to showcase their talent. It will be a delightful evening date with your partner, and for dinner, you can reserve a table at any fine dining downtown for Modesto things to do.
11. Take Your Family to the Picnic at the Pops
The motto of Picnic at the Pops is “A Celebration of Symphony & Song”. E. & J. Gallo Winery Grounds has been a contributor to organizing the picnic for the past 27 years. The community of people come together and merry-make with their families on the ground.
Picnic at the Pops will be ideal for you to go with your family. You do not have to worry about the food as you can pre-order from an authorized caterer. They will even have food trucks during the concert. Make sure to enjoy the music and have a fulfilling day.
12. Spend Your Weekend at the Shore of Don Pedro
To the east of Modesto, Don Pedro Lake is perched at the foothills of Sierra Nevada. The lake offers 160 miles of picturesque shoreline and several natural elements to enjoy. Adults head to the foothills to enjoy hiking, biking, boating, windsurfing, camping, fishing, house boating, and swimming.
Camping on the grounds of Don Pedro is one of the best things to do in Modesto California for adults. There are three campsites – Moccasin Point located on the east shoreline of the lake as well as Fleming Meadows and Blue Oaks to the West. Their agency even has arrangements for dispersed area camping. The prominent facilities at the campsite include hiking trails, group camping, shower room, restroom, and access to Wi-Fi.
13. Off-riding and Picnicking at Frank Raines – OHV
Take off-riding to the next level at Frank Raines Regional Park. The OHV is quite known for its rugged terrain and slopes, ideal for motorbikes and 4WDs. Their non-directional mud pit is for the ultimate experience. This non-motorized recreational center welcomes families. They can enjoy themselves at the picnic table and grill at the barbeque. With such exciting things to do in Modesto this weekend, families can have a great time.
Here, kids can play at the playground, or sports field, start a match at the volleyball court, and enjoy the off-riding trail at Frank Raines. Additionally, you can drive down to the OHV with campers and camp at the site. Thus, for families and those with kids, this is a remarkable place in the city.
14. A Short Geography Class at Great Valley Museum of Natural History
Your little one will be in awe at the Great Valley Museum of Natural History, situated within the bounds of Modesto Junior College. For little curious minds, it will be a land of discovery. The museum exhibits regional scientific findings and records scientific phenomena. The museum has earned its name for exhibiting the taxidermy of animals to a marvelous 4.9 feet model of Earth.
A portion of the museum exhibits plants indigenous to the Central Valley. Another area highlights the polar bear with stunning taxidermy. Other popular exhibits of the Great Valley Museum include native bird species along with artifacts of Native Americans. The museum is truly an oasis of knowledge.
15. Sneak-peek at the Graffiti USA Museum
Graffiti USA Museum is a work in progress but do not let that stop you from delving into the unique things to do in Modesto today. The museum is going to retell The cruising and car history of Modesto.
The exhibit of the Graffiti Museum includes vintage classic cars. Right now, the hits include three cars from American Graffiti. It has won over the locals even before the full glory. Go to the museum during the afternoon and take a tour. Interestingly, it will be free of cost but the place welcomes donations. You can even have your lunch or dinner at the museum. Do not miss out on the cool postcards, t-shirts, and classic souvenirs at the museum store.
16. Watch a Live Show at Gallo Center for the Arts
Gallo Center for the Arts is a prominent performing arts center in Modesto. People over here appreciate the well-lit and acoustically designed stage. The center organizes several classics and impressive events. If you love to watch live performances, then take a ticket and attend one of the shows to bless your soul. This center for art promotes the musical history and is one of the prominent Modesto attractions.
17. Relive the Victorian Era at McHenry Mansion
Built in 1883 by Robert and Matilda McHenry, McHenry Mansion reflects Victorian architecture in the streets. Stockton architect Jeremiah Robinson designed the Victoria mansion. As you step into the garden, you will be transported to the Victorian period. When visitors enter the main room, you get to sign the traditional guestbook. Visitors are debriefed about the history and owners of McHenry Mansion via a presentation.
Tip: It is ideal to drop by here in the morning hours. The mansion offers guided family-friendly tours to visitors for free.
18. Funday at Funworks
Kids love going to amusement parks. It is not only filled with joyful activities in this weekend but admission to the amusement park is also free. You just have to pay for the ticket for the activities you choose.
The popular activities of the amusement center are:
- Bumper cars
- Putt-Putt Mini Golf Course
- Highway 66 Bowling, Batting Cages
- Splashworks Pirate Ship Ride
- Climbing Wall
- Freddy’s Treehouse
Funworks has a pizza parlor that offers a wide variety to choose from. The toppings include bell pepper, beef, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, bacon, olive, Canadian bacon, and jalapeno. They even let you choose between classic red sauce or white garlic sauce. Right after the rides, this will be another thing to do to make your weekend memorable.
19. Fine-Dine Date at Galletto Ristorante
When you are trying to find places to go in Modesto for a dinner date, book a table at Galletto Ristorante, and you will not be disappointed. Locals upvote the restaurant for the best Italian food. The patio, music, staff behavior, the overall ambiance, and of course the food will be perfect for a date night. Couples can sip on the specially sourced wine from different parts of California and Italy along with their seven-course Italian meal.
20. Wildfire Public House for Every Cocktail Fan
There is no doubt that the party culture in Modesto, California, is quite groovy. Experience the electric atmosphere of Wildfire Public House with your friends when in town. The resto-bar is a hit among beer fans. There are over 20 taps of beer along with a special menu of drinks. The food at the restaurant will hit the right spot. There is also an outdoor patio by the fire pit, which is a fun option for evening parties.
While figuring out what to do in Modesto CA, at this bar, know the signature cocktail menu available:
- It’s Lit Margarita
- Johnny Gone Wild
- The Gincident
- Rose All Day Sangria
- Spring Fling Tini
- Spice of Life
21. Live the Cruising Culture of Modesto at Graffiti Summer
American Graffiti enthusiasts do not miss the Graffiti Summer. Events here are major Modesto attractions. The festival spans the month of June which is famous for celebrating the car culture of the Valley. The streets of the city have a spectacular sight for vintage car lovers. People all over Central Valley come to Modesto to participate in the festival and showcase their classic automobiles. Live performances double the fun of Graffiti Summer.
22. Go Cruising Downtown on Historic Graffiti Cruise Route
Interestingly, American graffiti resides in the soul of Modesto to date. The 10th and 11th Streets in downtown Modesto pave the Historic Cruise Route. George Lucas was inspired by the route and portrayed the cruising culture in his award-winning movie. Even today, you will find classic cars perched on the street of the cruising route. Cruising on classic vehicles is a part of the crazy things to do in Modesto for adults. You must rent a car and, if you are lucky, you can get your hands on a classic. The memory will forever be engraved in your mind and soul.
23. Experience the Nature at Dry Creek Trail
This trail begins near downtown and paves eastward through several parks along Dry Creek. It has a few roadway underpasses and footbridges. Locals use this trail and you will find people jogging, skating, biking, as well as walking. Rainwater is the source of Dry Creek. The level of water varies every season. Even when you find the creek dry, it looks surreal.
The area encompasses a variety of naturally grown vegetation, like indigenous oak to the east and eucalyptus on the western side of the trail. You will come across small animals and unique birds along the path. In winter, you can watch migratory birds. In the middle of the Dry Creek Trail, you can access East La Loma Park for free. The park has several amenities like a tennis court, frisbee golf course, restroom, parking, etc.
24. Solve the Mystery at Escape Modesto with Your Family
Everyone loves the idea of mystery rooms. Escape Modesto is the first ever escape room in the Valley and is on the list of things to do in Modesto California. This adventure-driven venue has an online reservation process that allows 5-12 participants into the escape room for 60 minutes. The escape room is well designed and the groups have to work hard to solve the mystery. It is recommended that only children above the age of 13 participate in mystery solving. The room has hints, riddles, clues, and escape plans. They are inclusive of King Tut’s Treasure, Prison Break 2.0, and Csi: Modesto.
25. Mexican Brunch at Frida’s Taqueria Ajua
Hispanics have approved the food of Frida’s Taqueria Ajua. The Mexican food of the restaurant has authentic flavors and correct notes of spices. It has an elaborate menu of Mexican food, drinks, and desserts. Fill yourself with spicy and tantalizing flavors at the restaurant. The top highlights of their menu are Torta, Morisqueta, Enchiladas Combo, Quesabritas, Carne Asada Plate, Sopes Caseros, Quesadillas, Menudo, and Tacos Dorados.
26. Spend the Last Day at Davis Community Park
It can get tiring after you have covered the most exciting things to do in Modesto CA with your loved ones. On the last day of your getaway, have a hearty breakfast and go to relax at Davis Community Park. It is one of the top-rated public parks in the city. This place features amenities like walking trails, volleyball, baseball diamond, football, tennis courts, swings, biking rides, gardens, ponds, picnic shade, a toddler play area, barbeque facilities, restrooms, etc. Spend your afternoon grilling at the barbeque station and play some music to mark the last day at Modesto.
Where to Stay in Modesto CA?
Without any doubt, Modesto attracts tourists every year. The city has built multiple accommodations to welcome all the tourists. There are several options under a budget, provided that you would love to save some extra bucks for accommodation. Consider staying at El Capitan Motel, Motel 6 Modesto, or Economy Inn to save those extra dollars. Upscaled travelers can have a super comfortable stay at Springhill Suites, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Residence Inn Modesto North, or DoubleTree by Hilton.
All in All
Cruise through an exciting life by walking down the mural streets and feeling the summer wind in this city. It can offer the finest experience of farm life. Families will love the museums, concerts, and amusement parks as well. Artistic souls will fall again in love with the contemporary art of the city as they explore the Best things to do in Modesto to plan a short or long trip. But despite what they choose, the trip will surely be fun.
FAQs: Related Things To Do in Modesto, California
Modesto is a city surrounded by vast agricultural lands. Go on the Almond Blossom Tour to experience the farm life of this place. For the weekends, you can go camping and hiking at Don Pedro Lake. Other amazing things to do in Modesto CA are participating in Modesto Art Walk and Mardi Gras.
This city is best known in the Central Valley for the movie American Graffiti. The award-winning movie highlights the cruising culture on the Historic Cruise Route downtown. People of Modesto love to flaunt their classic vehicles during Graffiti Summer.
Modesto has a rich history of art. Colossal murals cover the city walls. Therefore, you should go to the Mistlin Gallery to learn more about the contemporary art of this Californian city. Built in the 19th century, McHenry Mansion exhibits well-preserved Victorian architecture.
Kids love to spend time at amusement parks. Take your little ones to Funworks to participate in fun activities like bumping cars, batting cages, climbing walls, Fregg’s treehouse, etc. For a unique educational session, you should also go to the Great Valley Museum of Natural History.
Wildfire Public House is a popular restaurant in Modesto. The place is popular among the masses for its range of craft beer. The restaurant has a party ambiance, perfect for hanging out with friends. Counted as one of the attractions in Modesto, you can even sit by the fire pit on the patio.
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