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Can anyone tell me about the city of Davis, CA? Is it a nice place to live? Is there enough to do? I'm especially interested in cafes, bars, and the live music scene or lack thereof. Also, I've heard that the school community has kind of an icky frat-boy vibe. Is this true?

Thanks for any advice!

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Davis is probably more liberal than SF. (Friendly) 

buildings are clean and well taken care of! maintenance is fast and the management isn't on your back or anything like that. its a good place to live. 

The Arbors is also small dog friendly. I lived there both years and was very happy with the distance to campus, the amenities, and management. Karen (the manager) is the best, and the maintenance guy

I lived in Davis for a year and studied at UC Davis. My experience at the school wasn't that there was a frat boy vibe, exactly ... but I only took Latin classes so my perception may be skewed or it may have been an atypical experience. I was too young to participate in college social life at the time and am not in a position to say much about it.

Many -- I think most -- people who live in Davis absolutely adore it. It is a small, clean college town with a quirky, crunchy-yuppie (if that makes sense) feel. It is the bike capital of the US or something, so everyone rides bicycles. The downtown area, where UC Davis is located, is cute and has a minature-city (or very hip village) feel to it, with many small independent shops and lovely little streets with trees arching over them. The campus is nice, and there isn't much town/gown separation. There is a food co-op to which many people belong. Overall there seems to be a lot of community feeling in the town and the university. It does get really hot in the summer. It is a peaceful, serene, and sunny place and politically tends toward the liberal. There are a few cafes downtown where people hang out -- the Espresso Royale next to campus is especially nice. I remember the music scene consisting mostly of guitar-folk coffeehouse performers and generic punk bands, but things may have changed since then. The consensus is that it is a very nice place to live, with plenty to do.

That said, I hated it and was bored out of my mind. I felt like a complete space alien there. It really depends what sort of a person you are and what you like to do, as well as how you feel about insular communities. People in Davis sometimes refer to the "Davis bubble", the perfect little biosphere that is Davis: a clean, quiet, safe, pretty, socially aware, slightly arty and very quirky little oasis in the middle of the cultural wasteland that is the Central Valley. But the "bubble" thing is true in both good and bad ways: it can feel very isolated and homogenous. If it's at all possible, visit there and see what you think. I must emphasize that my experience wasn't typical and that most people fall in love with Davis. If you can't visit, speak or correspond with as many current students as you can.

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I'm the OP - Thanks so much for your reply! Sounds a lot like I had pictured it, and I can't wait to visit next month (only for one day, unfortunately). I totally hear you on the "Davis bubble"... sounds a lot like Boulder, CO in that respect (the nexus of crunchy-yuppies living in a safe liberal bubble, at least in my experience). Having always lived in big cities, I'm nervous that I, too, will be bored out of my mind. But I'm hoping when that happens I can just escape to SF or Yosemite for the weekend. Again, many thanks.

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There is a bus that shuttles between UC Davis and UC Berkeley once or twice a day, so if you get bored you can always go over to Berkeley for the day, there is plenty to do over there.

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daviswiki is AMAZING. i'm a current undergrad at Davis and that website is the MOST helpful thing ever. It replaced an older, yellow-pages type website, but it's much more honest :P

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  • 11 months later...

I did my undergrad degree at Davis and my boyfriend got his PhD there (so between us, we've spent many, many years in that valley town). In my experience, most people don't like it too much in the beginning, but it can be really fun once you meet people. The town is small, but people tend to have house parties and you can ride your bike to anywhere. There certainly are things that are annoying about it, but it is also friendly and safe. You run into the same people pretty often, so I found it easier to meet people and make friends there than when I did my master's in a larger city.

The people that complain the most tend to go back. I complained all the time and I still applied to go do a PhD there this fall.

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I've just been accepted to UC-Davis for PhD economics. I was wondering if anyone else had any feedback on living in Davis. How easy is it to get into Sacremento or drive to San Francisco? What types of things are there to do in the area? Is there some good outdoors type stuff? Thank you!

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I've never lived in Davis but I've driven through a lot and I've even stopped there a couple of times. (It's farm country, and they have killer deals on produce!)

Sacramento is close, maybe 10 miles. And because of the geography of the place, this doesn't mean 10 miles to the edge of the suburbs; it means 10 miles and then, boom! Suddenly you are in downtown. (The area between Davis & downtown Sac is all flood plain and therefore not built up at all.)

SF is farther, maybe 50 miles? I'm in a different part of the Bay Area, so I've never gone directly from SF to Davis. If you're going into SF on a weekend, you'll probably be fine; all the traffic will be going in the other direction. Never drive into SF on a Sunday night or out on a Friday. :( The first stretch (driving in) will be fine, but once you get to Vacaville it will be slooooow.

In any case you will probably want a car. You can take Amtrak (bus or rail) to Sacramento or Oakland (and from Oakland, BART to SF) but that is a terribly inefficient way to get around, not to mention expensive.

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Anyone have any comments on what areas of the town would be a good place to look for an apartment? I would prefer to be within a 10 min bike ride/15 min walk from campus (specifically the econ department if you are really familiar with the area!) Thanks!

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This is a pretty specific Davis question, but maybe someone out there may be able to help. My husband and I are seriously considering a move to Davis, but as we own our home where we are currently living, we are thinking of renting a house in Davis. Might anyone know if houses are readily available in Davis? I've scoured craigslist, and have some idea of what's out there, just wondering if anyone from Davis might have some tips or suggestion on where or how to look for houses to rent.

Thanks!

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Its hard to live anywhere in Davis that is not more than fifteen minutes from campus by bike. It's a pretty nice town. I don't live there, I live in Sacramento and commute. It's pretty easy. I usually drive, and from 8-10 a.m. it takes about twenty minutes. I carpool, which is a cheaper parking permit. I have taken the train. It is $7 one way. 10 ride pass is 40. There are also cheaper month-pass options. There is also a bus that operates between the Med Center in Sacramento and Davis. $10 dollars for 10 rides. I have also biked. I go pretty slow so it takes me about an hour and half to go the 15 miles. Many students, especially older students and transfer students choose to live in Sacramento. The apartment market is more open, cheaper, and better quality--most of the apartments in Davis have had only students living in them, and that takes a toll on the hardware. Culture-wise, it all depends on what you're into. Davis has a nice indy music scene, house parties, and your usual college fare. In Sacramento you have far more dining, pub/bar, club venues. Lastly, many students commute from the bay area. I'm not sure on the train-cost, that's something you'll have check--it's called the Amtrak Capital Corridor. Many students/professors who prefer to live in a more urban setting end up living in Oakland and riding the train. It ends up to be a good time to get work done.

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Davis gets a bad rap, but it's mostly from people who have never been there.

I loved my experience as an undergrad. The town is very suburban despite its undeserved reputation as a rural school. You can see Sacramento in the horizon from many town locations. It's apparently the second most educated town in the country, but I am unsure of the metric. The families who live here are very open and very friendly green-liberal-types. The town has gone out of its way to maintain a "progressive small town"feel.

There are many nice scenic walks and bike rides around town. The bike culture here is insane. If you are into bikes as I am, then you will be in heaven. I read a map once and the map showed that the town had more than 40 (!) parks where you bike around, walk, play softball, etc. Nice restaurants. Walking downtown is pleasant.

Weather: Varies between two extremes by California standards. Summer months are hot and dry (85-95deg av) and winters are cold and rainy (40s-50s days, 30s nights).

Where to go: I've lived in the Bay Area for all of my life, and many exciting things are in driving distance. San Francisco is 1.5 hours southwest, Sacramento is 15 minutes east, Napa range (for hiking) is 1 hour west, Napa valley is 1.5? hours west, the Sierras are 1.5 hours northeast, and Reno is 2.5 hours northeast. Indian casinos are within an hour by car.

Housing: The most expensive area is South Davis. North Davis is next. Students usually populate these two areas because these areas have shopping centers. West and East Davis are both in the lower in price, quieter, and less obnoxious (in my opinion). If you want to bike to campus, then live in South Davis or West Davis. These two areas have long, dedicated straightaway bike paths. You can bike to campus from just about everywhere since every street connects to a small bike path. Most people overestimate how often they will bike to campus, though, since the weather is rarely "perfect".

Houses are usually available but are variable in quality. Some of my friends had bad experiences with landlords trying to rip them off.

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I've just been accepted to UC-Davis for PhD economics. I was wondering if anyone else had any feedback on living in Davis. How easy is it to get into Sacremento or drive to San Francisco? What types of things are there to do in the area? Is there some good outdoors type stuff? Thank you!

I don't know if there is anything good right in Davis, but its location is one of the best for an outdoors activist with a car. It's right by the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Lake Tahoe is 2-2.5 hour drive away, which means that you can enjoy world class skiing, rafting, mountain biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities on weekends. This is generally lots of good outdoor stuff in California. A little further north (maybe 4-5 hour drive) is Redding which is by the lake and Mount Shasta, and the Redwoods national park, which are also worth exploring. Berkeley and San Francisco are 1 hour drive away. North of San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge is Marin County, with its picturesque cities of Sausalito and Tiburon, the Muir Woods park, California's wine country, mount Tamalpais, and the Point Reyes national seashore. Angel Island is a popular outdoor destination in the Bay Area. 2 hours further south from San Francisco is Monterey/Salinas/Carmel area with lots arts galleries, terrific aquarium, and plenty of outdoor activities again. Of course, there is plenty to see in San Francisco itself. It's easy to get to Sacramento from Davis. I have never been there, but many people generally describe it as relatively boring big city with nothing much to do or see. Though, I would assume it should have a decent airport and shopping.

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I lived in Davis for 2 years for a completely awesome M.A. program. The town was very convenient in that it was super bike friendly and flat. That said, I HATED Davis. I agree with another poster about feeling like an alien there. It is very cute and clean to the point of feeling like an alternate universe, a particularly white-washed alternate universe. I loved my program, but I felt the overall vibe of the campus to have a certain unique conservatism, not my particular cup of tea but alright for some people. In general the town if fairly liberal, outdoorsy, and organicy, which I found pretty nice. The restaurants in town were distinctly terrible. But you can find very good food in downtown Sacramento. The summers are unbareable, mostly in the upper 90s and often over 100 degrees for many days in a row. Luckily it is a dry heat. The summers also last close to 6 months of the year. The other 6 months, the weather is rather pleasant. Pretty much a very small town with not much to do, but it's a cute small town.

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Oh and I think I should also add my 2 cents about coffee shops in town. It seemed to me that several coffee shops were bordering on hostile towards students wanting to work in them. One popular one even had a portion sectioned off with warning signs stating that if students took out any work in those spots, they would be permanently banned from the coffee shop. On top of this, there are very few coffee shops in town to begin with, and finding a good study hub in the UCD library within weeks of finals was bordering on impossible because it was so packed with students. I strongly recommend making sure that your living space is quiet enough that you can comfortably work and study at home as your other options are often severely limited.

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Can anyone offer me an idea of how much it costs to live in Davis or Sacramento? I've heard that it's cheaper to live in Sacramento and commute, but even beyond that, is living there doable on a $15,000 stipend? I've been looking at the cost of living indexes on city-data.com and Davis and Sacramento are both quite high. I currently live on a stipend a little smaller than the one Davis is offering me, and even though the cost of living in my city is much lower, I barely squeak by. Are the cost-of-living indexes skewed by house prices? Or do most people have to take out loans or get second jobs to get by?

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Similarly, I am going to UC Davis in the fall and was hoping someone could tell me a little bit about how much living there costs. Online, it looks like most apartments are about 900-1000 per month, which is a lot for my stipend (although still doable). Are there other places that don't advertise? Also, is there a "cheaper" part of town?

PS. I refuse to live downtown. I like my peace and quiet :wink:

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Similarly, I am going to UC Davis in the fall and was hoping someone could tell me a little bit about how much living there costs. Online, it looks like most apartments are about 900-1000 per month, which is a lot for my stipend (although still doable). Are there other places that don't advertise? Also, is there a "cheaper" part of town?

PS. I refuse to live downtown. I like my peace and quiet :wink:

the cheapest part of davis is near Mace blvd, or southeast Davis. The next cheapest is West Davis. North Davis and South Davis are the most expensive because these areas are near convenient shopping malls (location is overrated, imo). Rent for your own room in a 3br runs 450-550. If you want cheap rent and your own private space, then you can live in Pacifico co-op, where you can rent a very small room and a meal plan for just over 500/month. Alternatively, locals often rent out rooms in their houses. Locals often rent rooms to grad students but not to undergrads. This is due to the the general belief that grad students are more reliable and responsible than are undergrads. Scour craigslist for the next few months for cheap living options.

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  • 10 months later...

Hey people

Wanted to revitalize this post, as I've got a couple of questions about Davis. I've been accepted to UC-Davis and the university has offered me a sort of middling stipend, certainly not small, but not huge either: $16,300/school year. Because it's a 5-year program, I anticipate that it will be pretty intense, and so I'm a little leery of even entertaining the prospect of full-time summer employment to earn extra dough, let alone working a part-time job during the school year.

How do people that live in Davis feel about this stipend as an amount of money to subsist on? If I attended UC-Davis, I would aim to live within walking distance of campus AND walking distance of a decent number of shops, restaurants, bars, etc. I understand that Davis has earned a reputation as really bike-friendly, so I'm sure I'd take advantage of that if I lived there, but I can't say I would want to bike every day of my life, so having walking as an option would be nice. Are there legitimate -- and plentiful -- options in the $500-$700 range?

On that note, a professor at Davis told me, if not in so many words, that a car is a near must-have. I don't have a car, and, after nine near-penniless months spent trying to find work since graduating last May, I am apprehensive about the prospect of getting (not to mention maintaining) one, as necessary funds will be coming out of the stipend. What do you think about this? I'm happy to use public transportation to get places and, besides, I am not the sort of person that will go stark raving mad if Friday night means local bars and not the big city.

The only expense I expect to have is travel -- to see family and the gf -- and this is definitely a priority. I am sure that someone out there has found them in a situation like this one in the past. I'd really appreciate any insight you might have.

Thanks, and all the best.

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Hey people

Wanted to revitalize this post, as I've got a couple of questions about Davis. I've been accepted to UC-Davis and the university has offered me a sort of middling stipend, certainly not small, but not huge either: $16,300/school year. Because it's a 5-year program, I anticipate that it will be pretty intense, and so I'm a little leery of even entertaining the prospect of full-time summer employment to earn extra dough, let alone working a part-time job during the school year.

How do people that live in Davis feel about this stipend as an amount of money to subsist on? If I attended UC-Davis, I would aim to live within walking distance of campus AND walking distance of a decent number of shops, restaurants, bars, etc. I understand that Davis has earned a reputation as really bike-friendly, so I'm sure I'd take advantage of that if I lived there, but I can't say I would want to bike every day of my life, so having walking as an option would be nice. Are there legitimate -- and plentiful -- options in the $500-$700 range?

On that note, a professor at Davis told me, if not in so many words, that a car is a near must-have. I don't have a car, and, after nine near-penniless months spent trying to find work since graduating last May, I am apprehensive about the prospect of getting (not to mention maintaining) one, as necessary funds will be coming out of the stipend. What do you think about this? I'm happy to use public transportation to get places and, besides, I am not the sort of person that will go stark raving mad if Friday night means local bars and not the big city.

The only expense I expect to have is travel -- to see family and the gf -- and this is definitely a priority. I am sure that someone out there has found them in a situation like this one in the past. I'd really appreciate any insight you might have.

Thanks, and all the best.

Congrats on getting into Davis!

My background: I attended Davis as an undergrad and am currently living there so you know I can be reliable.

The stipend you have is sufficient enough to live in Davis but I would not go out and eat downtown everyday on that type of pay because it can get very expensive. Understandably, apartments/houses closer to school and downtown Davis are considerably higher than surrounding areas and the range is closer to 600-800$. If you are looking for a 1 bedroom it will be considerably more. I've done some shopping around so I know the prices right now. If you wanna take a look at the pricing, go to the Davis Community Housing Listing(legitimate) or craigslist.

As for transportation, I pretty sure the reason why your professor mentioned that getting a car was "essential" was probably due to the fact that he/she lives in Sacramento. In that case you might want to invest in a car but since you plan on living downtown I don't see why you'll need it. And because you are choosing/wanting to live downtown you will most likely need a parking permit (Not to mention the parking permit for parking in the school). The parking permit will be pretty expensive per month so you are doing a favor by not buying a car.

Honestly it does get pretty boring here sometimes and it's nice to have a car to go to Sacramento/SF but there are alternative ways to get there. The Amtrak station is downtown as well so it's easy to get to anywhere you need. If you want to get to SF, the school offers a Fleet service for $7 or $9, I forgot the exact price one way to get Berkeley and subsequently to SF. If you need to get to the airport, the Yolo Bus takes you to the airport for free about once an hour so it's pretty easy to travel to anywhere you want conveniently.

Other than that, if you want to find out more about the city go to www.daviswiki.org and you'll find everything you need. If you have any other questions, please feel free to PM me if need be.

Edited by The Pseudo grad student
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Congrats on getting into Davis!

My background: I attended Davis as an undergrad and am currently living there so you know I can be reliable.

The stipend you have is sufficient enough to live in Davis but I would not go out and eat downtown everyday on that type of pay because it can get very expensive. Understandably, apartments/houses closer to school and downtown Davis are considerably higher than surrounding areas and the range is closer to 600-800$. If you are looking for a 1 bedroom it will be considerably more. I've done some shopping around so I know the prices right now. If you wanna take a look at the pricing, go to the Davis Community Housing Listing(legitimate) or craigslist.

As for transportation, I pretty sure the reason why your professor mentioned that getting a car was "essential" was probably due to the fact that he/she lives in Sacramento. In that case you might want to invest in a car but since you plan on living downtown I don't see why you'll need it. And because you are choosing/wanting to live downtown you will most likely need a parking permit (Not to mention the parking permit for parking in the school). The parking permit will be pretty expensive per month so you are doing a favor by not buying a car.

Honestly it does get pretty boring here sometimes and it's nice to have a car to go to Sacramento/SF but there are alternative ways to get there. The Amtrak station is downtown as well so it's easy to get to anywhere you need. If you want to get to SF, the school offers a Fleet service for $7 or $9, I forgot the exact price one way to get Berkeley and subsequently to SF. If you need to get to the airport, the Yolo Bus takes you to the airport for free about once an hour so it's pretty easy to travel to anywhere you want conveniently.

Other than that, if you want to find out more about the city go to www.daviswiki.org and you'll find everything you need. If you have any other questions, please feel free to PM me if need be.

Thanks very much! Good stuff -- if anyone has any other thoughts, please keep them coming. Cheers to all.

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Hey people

Wanted to revitalize this post, as I've got a couple of questions about Davis. I've been accepted to UC-Davis and the university has offered me a sort of middling stipend, certainly not small, but not huge either: $16,300/school year. Because it's a 5-year program, I anticipate that it will be pretty intense, and so I'm a little leery of even entertaining the prospect of full-time summer employment to earn extra dough, let alone working a part-time job during the school year.

How do people that live in Davis feel about this stipend as an amount of money to subsist on? If I attended UC-Davis, I would aim to live within walking distance of campus AND walking distance of a decent number of shops, restaurants, bars, etc. I understand that Davis has earned a reputation as really bike-friendly, so I'm sure I'd take advantage of that if I lived there, but I can't say I would want to bike every day of my life, so having walking as an option would be nice. Are there legitimate -- and plentiful -- options in the $500-$700 range?

On that note, a professor at Davis told me, if not in so many words, that a car is a near must-have. I don't have a car, and, after nine near-penniless months spent trying to find work since graduating last May, I am apprehensive about the prospect of getting (not to mention maintaining) one, as necessary funds will be coming out of the stipend. What do you think about this? I'm happy to use public transportation to get places and, besides, I am not the sort of person that will go stark raving mad if Friday night means local bars and not the big city.

The only expense I expect to have is travel -- to see family and the gf -- and this is definitely a priority. I am sure that someone out there has found them in a situation like this one in the past. I'd really appreciate any insight you might have.

Thanks, and all the best.

Hi, I also was just accepted to Davis and I'm strongly considering accepting the offer. Right now I'm living in West Sacramento so I wouldn't have to relocate, though I am thinking about moving over to the mixed-income lofts in Midtown Sacramento where I would pay just a bit more on rent, but be surrounded by everything I could ever ask for. I personally don't think I want to live in Davis, because I really like living close to Downtown and Midtown Sac and all the other great neighborhoods. I do have a car, but I rarely use it, as I bike commute to work. If I go to Davis I'll probably do a bike-bus combination commute, and I'm not anticipating that it'll be that much of a hassle--I understand why the professor said a car was "essential" since Davis is somewhat isolated and public transit isn't optimal in the area AND who doesn't want to sneak away to SF every once in awhile? But honestly, I think you would be ok, especially if you have a bike.

As for your stipend, I am an AmeriCorps member currently and make just a hair over $10k/year and I'm doing absolutely fine. My rent in West Sac, which is cheaper than just across the bridge in Downtown, is about $400 and it's a really nice neighborhood, and like I said it's just across the bridge from all the action, and I still have enough to buy all the delicious food and beer I want and to go out a few weekends a month. I'm not sure you'll find a rent price that low in Davis, though. It sounds like you've been surviving on a penniless lifestyle; 16k is more than enough once you get a good living situation locked down. So I would say, look at either West Sac or some of the affordable rental housing options in Sacramento--go to this link http://www.shra.org/WebReports/AffHousing/htmProjectListing.php for a list of options, but research the address to see what neighborhoods they're in, because some are in the hood.

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