If you haven’t been to downtown Modesto recently, you’ll be shocked by the revitalization that has taken place in the last few years. Although several historic buildings remain, there’s a new class of vibrant, eclectic establishments as well.
Historic downtown is a great place to spend the day shopping, dining, or relaxing with friends in the heart of the city. Enjoy strolling down the pedestrian-friendly, tree lined streets while exploring history and treasures.
As you stroll through downtown, you will notice the parks, historic statues, and various open-area entertainment including 10th St Plaza. This wonderful pedestrian only plaza is home to Brendan Theater, an 18-screen movie theater, live music during the summer, and culinary tastes from pizza to fine dining, from ice cream to freshly made chocolate.
If it’s entertainment you are looking for, be sure to visit The Fat Cat Music House and Lounge, a thirties-era show house which features the valley’s best live entertainment from music to comedy. The historic State Theater shows old, foreign & independent films as well as other concerts and events in a small, intimate setting. There is also the Townsend Opera Players, the Central West Ballet, and the Modesto Symphony Orchestra that provides shows throughout the year in the downtown area.
Modesto has definitely become proud of their art scene. There are five galleries downtown so whether you enjoy traditional, contemporary, ethnic, or cultural artifacts, you will certainly enjoy browsing the galleries, and perhaps finding something to add to your own art collection. Don’t miss the Third Thursday art walk – every third Thursday of the month, all downtown galleries come together for an art walk.
The culinary scene in downtown Modesto definitely makes an impact on the city. There are over 50 dining establishments within a ten-block radius with dining choices from California Cuisine, Continental, casual, up to a truly romantic dining experience.
If it’s history that you are looking for in the downtown area, Modesto has invested in the preservation of some of their oldest landmarks. The Modesto historic arch is located at Ninth and I Streets. This arch, that was the main thoroughfare into Modesto was erected in 1912 to promote economic development. Another great piece of their history is the Southern Pacific Depot. This was constructed in 1915 and today, the striking portico’s and long platform have been preserved as reminders of the city’s early love affair with the railway system. It now serves as the city’s transportation hub.
You’ll love the diversity of the parks, historic buildings, specialty shops, coffee shops, and fine dining all within walking distance. In downtown Modesto, there’s a great infusion of nostalgia vs modern. Plan an afternoon or evening and come visit downtown to see how Modesto has reinvented themselves.
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Ready for some kid time? Be sure to visit Modesto Funworks, a place that is truly fun for all ages.