While Lodi, California’s famous wineries are a favorite tourist attraction, its vibrant downtown has been winning raves lately, too. Restaurants, tasting rooms, art galleries and clothing boutiques make up its laid-back persona. So if you’re planning a visit to Lodi Wine Country, plan to spend a day exploring the brick-lined streets of downtown. Here are a few highlights:
- Tony Segale’s Double Dip Gallery
Perhaps half of your group wants to visit an art gallery, while the other half is ready for an ice-cream break. What to do? Go to Tony Segale’s Double Dip Gallery, where you can get a taste of fine art as well as Gunther’s Ice Cream (a local favorite) all in one place. If you’re interested in creating your own art, Double Dip also offers classes for artists of all ages – beginners and experts alike!
- Jeremy Wine Co.
Jeremy Wine Co. is one of 13 tasting rooms that have cropped up all over downtown Lodi, offering sips to visitors in relaxed surroundings. The owners harvest over 70 tons of grapes annually and serve the resulting wine in their tasting room—a former bank building—and courtyard, where you can also enjoy a side order of live music.
- Hutchins Street Square
For a small town, Lodi has a big cultural scene, much of it centered at this popular performing arts theater close to downtown. Have a leisurely dinner at a local restaurant, then stroll over to the theater, which features plays, ballet performances, live music and events year round.
- The Launchpad
Located close to downtown, this comic book shop is the place to browse and buy old comic book favorites or new titles. Besides series like Star Wars and Iron Man, the store also carries action figures, board games, trading cards and Games Workshop products, and there’s space in the back for gaming.
- Saigon Grill
Pho rice noodle soup, shrimp egg rolls, lemongrass chicken—if this lineup sounds luscious, make sure to put Saigon Grill, an authentic Vietnamese restaurant with an extensive mouthwatering menu, on your must-eat-at list when you visit downtown Lodi.
- World of Wonders Science Museum
You’ll plan to go to this hands-on museum for your kids, but you’ll leave realizing you loved it just as much. Science becomes entertainment when you build Lego cars engineered to go fast and straight down a ramp, manipulate clouds and rainbows, and take a peek inside your own eyeball!
- The Dancing Fox
You’ll be dancing too when you step into this winery/brewery/bakery/restaurant, which takes “house made” seriously. Drink a glass of wine from its local vineyard or try one of their house-brewed beers. Top it off with a pizza made with organic grain that’s milled—where else?—on the premises!
- Walldog Murals
Want to see amazing artwork without stepping into a museum or gallery? Just walk around Downtown Lodi. In commemoration of its 100th anniversary in May 2006, a group of artists called the Walldogs created nine colorful murals depicting the town’s fascinating heritage. Some of the murals are humorous, others historical, but all capture life as it was in Lodi.
- The Arch
Paris isn’t the only city with a famous arch. Lodi’s classic Mission Arch, topped with a 23-karat, gold-leaf-covered state bear, is a beloved focal point of the downtown area. The 40-foot arch was built in 1907 to provide a grand entrance to the site of the first Lodi Grape Festival.
- French at Heart Home and Garden
Francophiles will feel right at home in this charming French-themed gift shop that sells everything from mini candles shaped like the Eiffel Tower to stylish renderings of the national flag. There’s more magic to Lodi than what’s in your glass. To learn more about Downtown Lodi shops, restaurants, tasting rooms and attractions, check out VisitLodi.com! Published: January 2016 By Guest Blogger Nancy Mattia