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Davis is a city in Yolo County, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker. It is part of the SacramentomarkerArden-ArcademarkerRosevillemarker Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to estimates published by the US Census Bureau, the city had a total population of 62,724 in 2007 (60,308 in 2000). It is the largest city in Yolo County, and the 126th largest in the state, by population. Davis is known for its liberal politics, for having many bicycles and bike paths, and for the campus of the University of California, Davismarker. In 2006, Davis was ranked as the second most educated city (in terms of the percentage of residents with graduate degrees) in the United Statesmarker by CNN Money Magazine, after Arlingtonmarker, Virginiamarker.


Davis grew around a Southern Pacific Railroad depot built in 1868. It was then known as "Davisville," named for Jerome C. Davis, a prominent local farmer. However, the post office at Davisville shortened the town name to simply "Davis" in 1907. The name stuck, and the city of Davis was incorporated on March 28, 1917.

From its inception as a farming community, Davis has been known for its contributions to agriculture along with veterinary care and animal husbandry. Following the passage of the University Farm Bill in 1905 by the California State Legislature, Governor George Pardee selected Davis out of 50 other sites as the future home to the University of California's University Farm, officially opening to students in 1908. The farm, later renamed the Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture in 1922, was upgraded into the seventh UC campus, the University of California, Davismarker, in 1959. Contemporary Davis is also known for its contributions in the areas of biotechnology, medicine, and other life sciences.

Geography and environment


Davis is located at (38.553856, -121.738095) in Yolo County, California. The city is 18 km (11 mi) west of Sacramentomarker, 113 km (72 mi) northeast of San Franciscomarker, 619 km (385 mi) north of Los Angelesmarker, at the intersection of Interstate 80 and State Route 113. Neighboring towns include Dixonmarker, Wintersmarker, and Woodlandmarker.

Davis lies in the Sacramento Valley, the northern portion of the Central Valleymarker, in Northern California, at an elevation of about 16 m (52 ft) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.1 km2 (10.5 mi2). 27.1 km2 (10.4 mi2) of it is land and 0.1 km2 (0.04 mi2) of it (0.19%) is water.

The topography of Davis is very flat, which has helped Davis to become known as a haven for bicyclists.


The climate in Davis resembles that of nearby Sacramentomarker. Davis' climate is typical of that in California's Central Valley. The dry, hot summers and mild winters are typical of a Mediterranean climate. The Davis climate resembles a Csa Köppen climate system .


Davis is internally divided by two freeways (Interstate 80 and State Route 113), a north-south railroad, and several major roads. The city is unofficially divided into six main districts made up of smaller neighborhoods:
Part of the UC Davis Arboretum.

  • Central Davis, north of Fifth Street and Russell Boulevard, south of Covell Blvd., east of SR 113, and west of the railroad tracks running along G Street.
  • Downtown Davis, roughly the numbered-and-lettered grid north of I-80, south of Fifth Street, east of A Street, and west of the railroad tracks.
  • East Davis, north of I-80, south of Covell Blvd., and east of the railroad tracks, and includes Mace Ranch and Lake Alhambra Estates.
  • North Davis, north of Covell Blvd. between SR 113 and the railroad tracks.
  • South Davis, south of I-80, and includes Willowbank. El Macero, Californiamarker, although outside the city limits, is sometimes considered part of South Davis.
  • West Davis, north of I-80 and west of SR 113. West Davis includes Westwood, Evergreen, Aspen, Stonegate (west of Lake Boulevard and including Stonegate Lake and the Stonegate Country Club) and the eco-friendly Village Homesmarker development, known for its solar-powered houses.

The University of California, Davismarker is located south of Russell Boulevard and west of A Street and then south of 1st Street. The land occupied by the university is not incorporated within the boundaries of the city of Davis.


On November 14, 1984, the Davis City Council declared the city to be a nuclear free zone. Ironically, the university has had a nuclear facility on campus since 1966.


As of the United States 2000 Census , there were 60,308 people, 22,948 households, and 11,290 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,228.2/km2 (5,769.2/mi2). There were 23,617 housing units at an average density of 872.6/km2 (2,259.3/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.07% White, 2.35% Black or African American, 0.67% Native American, 17.5% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 4.26% from other races, and 4.87% from two or more races. 9.61% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 22,948 households out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.8% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.6% under the age of 18, 30.9% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,454, and the median income for a family was $74,051. Males had a median income of $51,189 versus $36,082 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,937. About 5.4% of families and 24.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 2.8% of those age 65 or over.

This city of approximately 62,000 people is home to a university campus of 31,000 students. Although the university's land is not incorporated within the city, many students live in city apartments.


Bikes in front of the Davis Amtrak station.
Bicycling has been a popular mode of transportation in Davis for decades, particularly among UC Davismarker students.

Bicycle infrastructure became a political issue in the 1960s, culminating in the election of a pro-bicycle majority to the City Council in 1966. By the early 1970s, Davis became a pioneer in the implementation of cycling facilities. As the city expands, new facilities are usually mandated. As a result, Davis residents today enjoy an extensive network of bike lanes, bike paths, and grade-separated bicycle crossings. The flat terrain and temperate climate are also conducive to bicycling.

Bicycle crossing over Covell Blvd.
In 2005 the Bicycle-Friendly Community program of the League of American Bicyclists recognized Davis as the first Platinum Level city in the U.S. In March 2006, Bicycling magazine named Davis the best small town for cycling in its compilation of "America's Best Biking Cities." Yet bicycling appears to be on the wane among Davis residents. From 1990 to 2000, the U.S. census reported a decline in the fraction of commuters traveling by bicycle, from 22 percent to 15 percent.

In 1994, 2001, and 2006 the UC Davis " Cal Aggie Cycling" Team won the national road cycling competition. The team also competes off-road and on the track, and has competed in the national competitions of these disciplines. In 2007, UC Davis also organized a record breaking bicycle parade numbering 913 bicycles.

Sights and culture

Whole Earth Festival

A continuous stream of bands, speakers and various workshops occurs throughout the weekend on each of WEF's three stages and other specialty areas. The majority of the festival is solar powered.

WEF is organized primarily by UC Davis students, in association with the Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD), Experimental College, and the university.

Picnic Day

Picnic Day is an annual event at the University of California, Davismarker and is always held on the third Saturday in April. It is the largest student-run event in the US. Picnic Day starts off with a parade, which features the UC Davis California Aggie Marching Band-uh!, and runs through campus and around downtown Davis and ends with the Battle of the Bands, which lasts until the last band stops playing (sometimes until 2 a.m.). There are over 150 free events and over 50,000 attend every year. Other highlights include: the Dachshund races, aka the Doxie Derby, held in the Pavilion; the Davis Rock Challenge, the Chemistry Magic Show, and the sheep dog trials. Many departments have exhibits and demonstrations, such as the Cole Facility, which until recently showed a fistulated cow (a cow that has been fitted with a plastic portal (a "fistula") into its digestive system to observe digestion processes). Its name was "Hole-y Cow".

Mondavi Center

The Mondavi Center, located on the UC Davis campus, is one of the biggest non-seasonal attractions to Davis. The Mondavi Center is a theater which hosts many world-class touring acts, including star performers such as Yo-Yo Ma and Cecilia Bartoli, and draws a large audience from Sacramento.

UC Davis Arboretum

The UC Davis Arboretummarker is an arboretum and botanical garden. Plants from all over the world grow in different sections of the park. There are notable oak and native plant collections and a small redwood grove. A small waterway spans the arboretum along the bed of the old North Fork of Putah Creek. Occasionally herons, kingfishers, and cormorants can be seen around the waterways, as well as the ever present ducks. Tours of the arboretum led by volunteer naturalists are often held for grade-school children.

Farmers market

The Davis Farmers Market is held every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. Participants sell a range of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, dairy and meat products (often from certified organic farms), crafts, and plants and flowers. From April to October, the market hosts Picnic in the Park, with musical events and food sold from restaurant stands.


Davis has one daily newspaper, the Davis Enterprise, founded in 1897. UC Davis also has a daily newspaper called the The California Aggie which covers campus, local and national news. There is a community television station (DCTV), along with numerous commercial stations broadcasting from nearby Sacramento. There are also two community radio stations: KDVSmarker 90.3 FM, on the University of California campus, and KDRT 95.7 FM, a subsidiary of DMA and one of the first low-power FM radio stations in the United States. Davis also has the world's largest English-language local wiki, DavisWiki.

Toad Tunnel

Entrance to the Toad Tunnel in front of the Post Office
Davis' Toad Tunnel is a wildlife crossing that was constructed in 1995 and has drawn much attention over the years, including a mention on The Daily Show. Because of the building of an overpass, animal lovers worried about toads being killed by cars commuting from South Davis to North Davis, since the toads hopped from one side of a dirt lot (which the overpass replaced) to the reservoir at the other end. After much controversy, a decision was made to build a toad tunnel, which runs beneath the Pole Line Road overpass which crosses Interstate 80. The project cost $14,000. The tunnel is 21 inches (53 cm) wide and 18 inches (46 cm) high.

The tunnel has created problems of its own. The toads originally refused to use the tunnel and so the tunnel was lit to encourage its use. The toads then died from the heat of the lamps inside the tunnel. Once through the tunnel, the toads also had to contend with birds who grew wise to the toad-producing hole in the ground. The exit to the toad tunnel has been decorated by the Post-Master to resemble a toad town.

Notable Davisites


University of California

The University of California, Davismarker, or UC Davis, a campus of the University of California, had an enrollment of 30,475 students as of Fall 2006, and is a major research university. UC Davis provides a major influence on the social and cultural life of the town.

D-Q University

Entrance and mural at D-Q University.
known as Deganawidah-Quetzalcoatl University and much smaller than UC Davis, D-Q University is a two-year institution located on Road 31 in Yolo County 6.7 miles (11 km) west of State Route 113. This is just west of Davis near the Yolo County Airportmarker. About four miles (6 km) to the west, the Road 31 exit from Interstate 505 is marked with cryptic signage, "DQU." The site is about 100 feet (30 m) above mean sea level (AMSL). NAD83 coordinates for the campus are

The curriculum is said to include heritage and traditional American Indian ceremonies. The 643 acres (2.6 km2) and 5 buildings were formerly a military reservation according to a National Park Service publication, Five Views. The full name of the school is included here so that readers can accurately identify the topic. According to some tribal members, use of the spelled-out name of the university can be offensive. People who want to be culturally respectful refer to the institution as D-Q University. Tribal members in appropriate circumstances may use the full name.

Other colleges

An off-campus branch of Sacramento City Collegemarker is located in Davis.

Public schools

Davis' public school system is administrated by the Davis Joint Unified School District.

The city has nine public elementary schools (North Davis, Birch Lane, Pioneer Elementary, Patwin, Cesar Chavez, Robert E. Willett, Marguerite Montgomery, Fred T. Korematsu at Mace Ranch, and Fairfield Elementary (which is outside the city limits but opened in 1866 and is Davis Joint Unified School District's oldest public school)). Davis has one school for independent study (Davis School for Independent Study), three public junior high schools (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Frances Harper), one main high school (Davis Senior High School), an alternative high school (Martin Luther King High School), and a small technology-based high school (Leonardo da Vinci High School). Cesar Chavez is a Spanish immersion school, with no English integration until the third grade. The junior high schools contain grades 7 through 9. Due to a decline in the school-age population in Davis, several of the elementary schools may be closed. Valley Oak was closed after the 2007-08 school year.

At one time, Chavez and Willett were incorporated together to provide elementary education K-6 to both English-speaking and Spanish immersion students in West Davis. Cesar Chavez served grades K-3 and was called West Davis Elementary, and Robert E. Willett (named for a long-time teacher at the school, now deceased) served grades 4-6 and was known as West Davis Intermediate. Willett now serves K-6 English speaking students, and Chavez supports the Spanish immersion program for K-6.

Sister cities

Davis has eight sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI), and the city of Davis:


  1. Davis: Historical Overview University of California History Retrieved on 02-17-08
  2. Nuclear Free Zone - Davis Wiki
  3. Crocker Nuclear Laboratory
  4. Retrieved on 05-15-07
  5. Retrieved on 05-15-07
  6. Retrieved on 05-15-07
  7. Retrieved on 05-15-07
  8. Retrieved on 05-15-07
  9. Davis Wiki
  10. UC Davis News & Information:: UC Davis Facts: Student Population Headcount, Fall 1997-2007

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