Places To Visit and Things To Do In Arcata (2022)
Arcata is a Californian city located in the North Coast region, within the Humboldt County. It is a unique college town known for its affordable cost of living along with the off-the-gridders and hippie population. Arcata can be reached South of Redwood National and State Parks, and the geographical conditions of the city are quite different and unique from what is usually found in the other NorCal cities. Despite having lesser land area, the city of Arcata has so much to offer from beaches to dunes, redwood forest to history, and from vivid art to cultural scenes, the fun definitely does not end.
The city of Arcata is also home to the Humboldt State University, and naturally, it is one of the favorable chilling places for students. Being a bicycle-friendly town, it becomes pretty easy and fantastic to explore the famous sites while enjoying the authentic local vibes.
Popular Places to Visit in Arcata
If all this excites you and you are planning to visit the city someday soon, then peep into our list of Most Popular places to visit in Arcata. Have a look:
1. Arcata Community Forest
A few miles from cities downtown, the Arcata Community Forest is the very first place to explore right after you enter the city. This vast forest is spread over 790 acres with various elevations from 250 to 1010 feet. For its excellent forestry and rare settings, it is also titled as “model forest” of the United States. Visitors can access the forest in a number of ways, including the Fickle hill road, Hwy 101 heading north, E 12th street, or from an unmarked road at Bayview. The entire peaceful forestry range is filled with soaring redwoods (some of the oldest on earth as well), trail networks of multiple difficulty levels, and a bucolic landscape. Here one can walk, cycle, ride horses, drive mountain bikes, or even stay overnight at the Redwood Lodge. Everything within this Community Forest is gorgeous, and there are no chances that you will not droll over them. Image Source
2. Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary
Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary shows how innovative the city went and reformed a scenic and useful site in the form of the wastewater treatment facility. The wildlife sanctuary is spread over 307 acres situated along the Pacific Flyway. It comprises grasslands, mud land, freshwater, salt, brackish marshes, tidal sloughs, and an Interpretive Centre, and miles of walking and biking path. The sanctuary is also one of the major migratory routes for birds that breed in Mexico, Central and South America, and in the north and during winters in California. Conditioning that it is also the highest bird-populated coastal site between Washington and Bodega Harbours, welcoming thousands of migrant birds. An excellent one-hour walk or a bike ride amidst wildflowers, marsh, and birds all around is indeed one of the beautiful experiences.
3. Clam Beach County Park
A quick 10 minutes’ drive via US-101 N from downtown Arcata takes you towards the beautiful Clam Beach County Park. It is generally low on the crowd with a relaxed atmosphere and tranquillity in the air. The Park is operational for tent camping, RVs, and picnic facilities ideal for both day-trippers and overnight layovers. It though lacks in providing many amenities, but if you come here with all the arrangements beforehand, the location will surely excite and entertain you. A long beach from the Park will eventually lead you towards the truly glorifying and scenic Clam beach. Only make sure that if you are here in the dark, do take along a GPS device as finding the way back and forth can be really challenging and tricky.
4. Mad River Beach
7 miles from the city, Mad River Beach is another coastal spot to visit when in Arcata. With sandy, grassy dunes and breath-taking sunset views, everything here is simply beautiful and relaxing. However, the beach isn’t the only spot you can explore here, as the Mad River, along with the county park, awaits right adjacent to the beach. With its sizeable tidal influence, Mad River makes it an ideal spot for water activities like boating, paddle boating, kayaking, and canoeing. And if you are lucky enough, you can spot several birds around, along with peacocks blooming in their full glow. The beach is always less crowded and thus is ideal for you if you are seeking a peaceful place to visit in Arcata.
5. Natural History Museum, Humboldt State University
The HSU Natural History Museum is a family-friendly spot in Arcata, ideal for visitors of all age groups. The Museum is all about Natural history and education; though it is within a small building, the display here is definitely appreciative. Here you can watch a large display of Fossils, insects, birds, dinosaurs, and an excellent overview of life in Redwoods. Some highlights of the Museum, though, are the exhibition of prehistoric mammals that once survived in North America along with plants, wildlife tracking, and honeybees. The Museum is operational from Tuesday through Saturday with a bare minimum admission charge.
Popular Things To Do When In Arcata
Most Popular Things to do in Arcata, Have a look:
1. Watch the Kinetic Sculpture Race
Kinetic Sculpture Race is a local tradition of Arcata followed since the year 1969. It is also named Triathlon of the Art World, where the race goes all along three days. It moves through 50 miles over water, sand, mud, and land spanning over Humboldt County beaches, trails, and whatnot. The sculpture race begins at H Street & 9th Street, the Arcata Town Plaza sharp at 10:am, and ends at the South in Ferndale. There are several great spots to watch the race, including the Eureka Waterfront, Arcata Plaza, and the Main Street of Historic Ferndale. Out of all the events organized in Arcata, the Kinetic Sculpture race is definitely worth watching and enjoying.
2. Be a Part of Arts! Arcata
Arts! Arcata is a self-guided celebration of performing and visual arts organized at the Eureka Main Street. The event hosts several local artists and participants from the neighborhood who come along into space to showcase their art and enjoy a pop-up pizza event. If you are a visitor to Arcata or have recently shifted to the city, the Art event is undoubtedly the best opportunity for you to meet and gel up with the locals. Also, if you have even a slight interest in performing or visual art, you can register yourself and be an active part of the event.
3. Visit the Saturday’s Farmer’s Market
Another great opportunity to mix with the locals and see the real Arcata closely is via attending Saturday’s Farmer’s market. Being here is the best way to start your weekend, and you can shop for the freshest Humboldt-County-Grown to take along. The market is operational all year round no matter it shines or rains, opening up chances of exploration, fun, enjoyment, and experiences for both locals and visitors. Here you can shop for meat, plants, bakes good and almost all of the general eatables. There are several educational booths as well as teaching recipes and garden growing techniques. The market also hosts several events around the year, including Eat Local Challenge, pumpkin contests, Diversity days, Salsa competitions, and others. The grasslands here are open for a picnic in case you want to sit down and enjoy a snack or two.
4. Stop and Eat at the Kebab Café and Los Bagels
Arcata is home to some great restaurants, and the Kebab Café and Los Bagels are the highlights amongst them. True to its name, the Kebab café serves lip-smacking kebabs along with delicious falafel, burgers, homemade baklava, souvlaki kebab skewers, and halloumi cheese and authentic gyros. This affordable café is not only known for its food, but the interior décor as well is splendid here.
Moving towards Los Bagels, its emphasis on Jewish and Mexican traditions serving some of the best bagels you will ever try anywhere in the world. It is famous for its breakfast and lunch menu, and its chorizo, bread along with bagels, and lox and are simply splendid. Everything on their menu is freshly made and organic, from nicely stuffed sandwiches to toasted breakfast bagels with cream cheese. And even if you are gluten intolerant, they have a menu for you as well.