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Moving to Stockton: 10+ Things to Know Before You Do

Hall | Apr 19, 2017

Moving to Stockon is something that may appeal to a number of people for different reasons. Relocating there might be a good decision for some, but of course, you would want to do some research before you do. Hopefully, the information presented here will help you if are considering such a move.

How big is Stockton?

Stockton, California has a population of about 310,000 and is located around 83 miles east of San Francisco. Originally, it was something of a port with it’s proximity to the San Joaquin River. In fact, even today you can travel by boat on the local rivers to the San Francisco Bay delta, and navigate into the bay. You could go all the way to San Francisco, or up the Napa River.

What is the cost of housing?

One of the main reasons to move to Stockton for a person who is living in a larger city is the lower cost of housing. The median home value is about $230,000-$240,000 in Stockton. In San Francisco, that figure is closer to $1.1 million, so you can easily imagine how much more affordable living in Stockton is going to be. It might even be possible to find a condo in Stockton for less than $200,000, and if it is small for about $100,000. If Stockton is too large a city for you, there are smaller places like Lathrop, Lodi, Tracy, and Manteca in the surrounding area.

It should be noted that even at $1.1 million dollars, you probably won’t get that much in terms of square footage in San Francisco. What would you be able to buy in Stockton? Before we get to that, let’s stop off at a 3 BR 3,000 square foot house with an in-ground backyard swimming pool, and a dock on a lake for $479,000. At that price, you might also be able to get a largish home on several acres of land outside of Stockton.  What you get in Stockton for a million or so is most likely going to be a custom-built home on a very large lot, with 5-6 bedrooms and maybe a garage that can hold at least 3 cars. You will also be living in a quiet or very quiet neighborhood.

What might surprise you about Stockton?

Most people today probably don’t want to do that, but the fact that you could is only one of the surprising things to learn about Stockton. The University of the Pacific has its home in Stockton, and it had the first West Coast medical school. It is also known for its conservatory of music. The Dave Brubeck Institute is part of this university as well, and there is an annual Brubeck Festival held there. Educational opportunities to learn jazz are offered through the institute.

Who might I recognize from Stockton?

Stockton, California U of P

Chris Isaak, and Jasmine Jordan (an R&B singer) attended UoP, as did many other musicians. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis did for one year, and her mother (Janet Leigh) did before her.

That isn’t the only connection to the entertainment culture. UoP graduate students collaborated to make some mini-documentaries about George Lucas, who was from neighboring Modesto. Anyone in America has probably heard of the Star Wars movies and George Lucas was the creator of the early ones. His first successful movie was also one he made independently: American Grafitti. This ‘small’ film did very well at the box office and was about some of his experiences growing up and living in Modesto, which is a smaller town, about 30 miles south of Stockton.

What about the food?

Another positive thing about Stockton is that it is within the Central Valley, so there is plenty of fresh produce available. There are farmer’s markets in many towns and cities, but Stockton and the area around it have more than one, so residents can enjoy the farm to table experience.

The Downtown Stockton Asian Farmers’ Market is year round. The downtown Stockton farmer’s market is October through May. There are also farmer’s markets in Tracy and Lodi.

More specifically, Stockton is based in an agricultural area where well over 200 different crops are grown. So, at the local farmer’s markets and farm stands, you might be surprised to see what you can get. Some of the produce is seasonal and some is grown year round.

Asparagus is one of these vegetables, and there are about 15,000 acres of farmland for that one kind of produce. It is available most in the spring season. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, and cherries are too.

By summer, you will start to see tomatoes, squash, figs, grapes, and melons. In Fall, it’s pomegranates and pears, and by Winter you will see squash, apples, walnuts and almonds.

The reason you get so much abundance in this area is the soil quality of San Joaquin County and the weather.

Given what you have read so far about the multitude of fresh produce options in the Stockton area, would you be surprised to learn that there are a number of restaurants you might enjoy too.

Some of the top-rated ones are:

Thanh Thanh Sandwiches (Vietnamese)
Papa Urb’s Grill (Filipino)
Kabob and Gyro House
Que 225 Bar-B-Que
Louie’s Market
Smitty’s Wings and Things
Flavors of Korea
The Abbey Trappist Pub
Joe’s Pomodoro Pizza Cafe
Bento
The Omelet House
Siamese Street Thai
Boudin SF
Sherman’s Buffet 2
Ariana’s Kabob and Deli
El Patio
Seol Soon Dubu Tofu House
Mama’s Pho and Sandwiches
Royal Siam
Hilda’s Mexican Food
Mamas and Tapas
Go Falafel Greek Food
Yen Du Restaurant
Shan E Punjab

Thai Me Up
Pizzago
House of Shaw Espresso Cafe
Toyo Sushi
Flip’s Burgers
Thai Thai Restaurant
Market Tavern
Migley’s Public House
Victory Grill
Midtown Creperie and Cafe
Tacos Chapala
Genova Bakery
Cocoro Japanese Bistro & Sushi Bar
Quickly
China Village
Raw Sushi Bistro
Birrieria Jalisco
Irma’s Place

Impressed at all? This list is by no means complete; there are over 600 eateries in Stockton.

Grocery stores

Trader Joe’s
Podesto’s Market
Rancho San Miguel Market
Country Club Market
WinCo Foods
Sakura
Raley’s
Sun Wong Kee
Artesian Natural Foods
Grocery Outlet Bargain Market
Orlando’s Market and Deli
Island Gourmet Restaurant & Market
Lo’s Market
Petra Deli & Market

How about the schools?

According to Great Schools, the public schools in Stockton are rated about average.

The Stockton area has many higher education institutions:

Humphreys College
San Joaquin Delta College
University of the Pacific
Carrington College California, Stockton
Heald College
Kaplan College
Western Career College
Xavier College of Nursing
MTI Business College
Golden State School of Theology
Hollywood Beauty College
CSU Stanislaus – Stockton
National University
De Brabander California College of Nursing

What about Jobs?

Some of the top employers are:

Dameron Hospital
Division of Juvenile Justice
Foster Care Services
Inland Fly Service
Morada Produce
San Joaquin County Human Services
Prima Frutta Packing, Inc.
Inland Flying Services
O G Packing and Cold Storage
University of the Pacific
St. Joseph’s Cancer Center
Walmart Supercenter

How is the entertainment in Stockton?

The Bob Hope Theatre is a historical building dating to 1917 when it was the T&D Theatre. It was closed and taken down in about 1929 but later reconstructed. It opened again in 1930 to show movies. By 1973, it wasn’t making enough money to stay in business, so it closed.

It was re-opened again in 1996 and now it is still operating, with about 2,000 seats and a vintage organ from 1928.

In the old days, it was one of the largest theaters in the Central Valley and contained Italian marble. After it was closed in the 1970s, a couple bought it who saved it from demolition and it wound up on the National Register of Historical Places.

It was named after Bob Hope due to his friendship with Stockton native Alex Spanos. The two struck up a strong, lasting friendship after playing golf together in the late 1960s. Spanos also donated a very large sum of money to help keep the theater functioning.

Today it is a venue for both live shows and movies. The typical movie theaters and cineplexes operate in Stockton too.

Do you like festivals and other social events?

You might also be surprised at the number of festivals and arts or food events happening in Stockton and the surrounding area, each year. For example, in January there is a Restaurant Week in Stockton, with about 20 restaurants participating that offer fixed price menus. In Spring, there is an asparagus festival, Earth Day and Cinco De Mayo. There is also a fishing tournament, a food and Wine Festival in Lodi, an almond festival in Ripon, and cherry festival in Linden. These are just a very small sample of the events that take place yearly. Moving to Stockton won’t leave anyone in a state of cultural impoverishment.

Stockton is urban, with natural settings

At least 66 parks are open in this medium-sized city, so if you are of the mind to be moving to Stockton, and you like to be outdoors, then you might like it here. There are also some open spaces within the city that are not exactly parks, can be enjoyed too.

Oak Grove Regional
Victory Park
American Legion
Atherton
Michael Faklis
Caldwell
Fritz Grupe
Dentoni
BarkleyVille Dog Park
Oak Park
Matt Equinoa

Stockton is also only about 60 miles from Sonora, a small town in the Sierra foothills which many tourists like to visit. Yosemite is about 90 miles and Lake Tahoe is 155, so there are outstanding natural settings a Stockton resident can visit without too much difficulty.

Any water sports in Stockton?

Because Stockton is inland and in the Central Valley, one might assume it is landlocked, but this is not true at all. The San Joaquin River extends underneath the 5 freeway into a waterfront area near the downtown section. There is a marina there called the Stockton Downtown Marina and one across the waterway and closer to the freeway called 5-star Marina. If you were in a boat heading west, you would come to a small branch where the Stockton Yacht Club is located. Traveling a small distance further west, you would come upon Ladd’s Marina, and the RiverPoint Landing Marina-Resort. On the other side of the river, further west still, you would encounter the chance to stop at the Windmill Cover Bay & Grill.

A little north of Stockton there is also Village West Marina on White Slough, which also connects eventually to the larger delta.

As mentioned before, you can travel far enough on the San Joaquin to reach the SF Bay Area delta, which is an extensive wetlands areas with a vast network of water areas to explore.

Moving to Stockton might actually improve one’s quality of life, depending on your needs and preferences. If you lived in San Francisco or Los Angeles, you might spend most of your money on housing and have little left over to enjoy the local activities. You also might spend a lot time and energy commuting to and from work.

Bad Press

One thing about Stockton is that it gets a lot of bad press because commercial news outlets tend very much to report bad news. In other words: crime. They do this because it gets attention. Unfortunately, the excessive report of crime stories in an area can create a negative bias for the entire place, or most if it.

Stockton does not deserve a bad rap like it has received in the media. There are many good things about it, though they may be unknown, overlooked, dismissed or minimized.

This city’s population is growing slightly, which could be due to the number of people moving to Stockton, but it might also be happening because of the number of births outpacing the number of deaths.

Wineries?

Another thing you might not expect in the Stockton area is wineries, but there are over 80 of them in the region including in Lodi, and Manteca.

What about transportation?

Stockton has a public bus system and it can connect to the BART system in the Bay Area. This system has routes to surrounding small towns like Tracy, Lodi, Linden, Morada, French Camp, Woodbridge, Lathrop, Manteca, and Ripon. There is also a train called Ace Rail which goes from Stockton to Santa Clara and San Jose. An Amtrak train operates in Stockton too. Stockton also has an airport, with flights to Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego.

Texas A&M University conducted research about traffic in Stockton and found that congestion there is less than some metro areas with a similar population size. If you currently live in a larger or much larger city, moving to Stockton will probably allow you to move around more easily.

Is there storage?
Yes, we have a storage facility there and can answer any of your storage questions.

What is Near Stockton?

Sacramento — 49 miles
Napa — 73 miles
San Francisco — 83 miles
Yosemite — 94 miles
Lake Tahoe — 155 miles
Stockton — 182 miles
LA — 338 miles
San Diego — 457 miles

So, after reading this article, are you still interested in moving to Stockton?

Image Credits: 1. LPS 1, Public domain 2. Gene Wright, CC By-SA 3.0

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