Modesto is a city in the Central Valley just 68 miles south of the state capital of Sacramento. Surrounded by fertile farmlands, of which dairy, poultry, and corn at the primary industries, Modesto enjoys a farm-to-table lifestyle. Top attractions include the Gallo Family Winery, the Gallo Center for the Arts, and the historic McHenry Mansion and McHenry Museum.
1. McHenry Mansion
© McHenry Mansion
The McHenry Mansion is a historic house museum that was once residence to prominent resident, Robert McHenry. Built-in 1883 in the Victorian-Italianate style, the museum is located in downtown Modesto and offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of Robert McHenry and his family during the early 1900s. After falling into disrepair, the McHenry Mansion was restored to its former glory and opened to the public in 1983 as a historical landmark and house museum with guided tours available. Docent-led tours begin at the Visitors Center with a short DVD presentation showcasing a brief history of the house and the family. Visitors then take a short walk to the main house where the guided tour begins. Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.
Corner of 15th & I Streets., Modesto, CA, Phone: 209-549-0428
2. Gallo Center for the Arts
© Gallo Center for the Arts
The Gallo Center for the Arts is a performing arts center that hosts a variety of artistic performances throughout the year. The center features two modern theaters - the 1,200-seat Rogers Theater and the smaller 400-seat Foster Family Theater, and is home to a variety of resident companies, including Central West Ballet, the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, and the Townsend Opera Players, along with the Modesto Community Concerts Association.
1000 I St, Modesto, CA 95354
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3. The State Theatre, Modesto, CA
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Situated in the heart of Modesto's revitalized downtown space, the State Theatre is a classic theater that shows old, foreign and independent films and hosts concerts and various events throughout the year. Opened in 1934 and dedicated to the citizens of Modesto, the State Theatre was founded to provide the community with a variety of entertainment in the form of live theater, film, and cultural events. Designed by noted architect S. Charles Lee, the 560-seat auditorium still boasts a beautiful Art Deco-era splendor with towering sconces, hand-painted murals, and gold-leafed embellishments dating back to 1934 when the theater opened. Today, the theater also features state-of-the-art technologies such as digital projection, theatrical lighting, a new PA sound system, however, still maintains a classic and elegant feel that harkens back to a bygone era.
1307 J St, Modesto, CA 95354, Phone: 209-527-4697
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4. John Thurman Field, Modesto, California
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John Thurman Field is a baseball stadium that can hold up to 4,000 people and is home to the Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team who play in the California League. Built in 1955, the stadium was named after California State Assemblyman John E. Thurman who was born in Modesto and hosts games throughout the season. Facilities at the stadium include ample parking for visitors, a Nuts Merchandise Store that sells Modesto Nuts merchandise, a carnival-atmosphere games area called the Fun Zone with a variety of games such as Bounce House, Inflatable Slide, Prize Wheel and Speed Pitch to keep the kids occupied, and several picnic areas along the left field foul line, which can be reserved for private functions.
601 Neece Dr, Modesto, CA 95351, (website link)
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5. McHenry Museum
© McHenry Museum
The McHenry Museum is a regional history museum that tells the story of the history and heritage of Modesto and the surrounding region. Set in a grand former library building dating back to 1912 just a block away from the McHenry Mansion, the McHenry Museum was established in 1972 and has been collecting and preserving that reflect the early life and culture of Modesto and Stanislaus County from its pioneer days through the mid-20th century ever since. The museum features hands-on exhibits and displays that highlight the historical significance of the Modesto area, including permanent exhibits such as a recreated blacksmith shop, a dentist's office, a general store, and hallmark items like original fire-fighting equipment, gold mining paraphernalia, and a collection of cattle brands from Stanislaus County.
1402 I St, Modesto, CA 95354, Phone: 209-577-5366, (website link)
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6. Great Valley Museum, Modesto, California
© Great Valley Museum
The Great Valley Museum is dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of the natural heritage and environment of the area and inspiring the community to take a greater interest in science. Located on the first floor of the Science Community Center on the west campus of Modesto Junior College, the GVM features a variety of science and biology-based exhibits, such as the natural history and various habitats of the Central Valley of California, a Discovery Room where visitors can explore the realm of science through hands-on activities, and live animal displays and shows. The Great Valley Museum is also home to a planetarium with a top-of-the-line star projector and projection system that provide spectacular displays of the night sky and full-dome planetarium films.
2201 Blue Gum Ave, Modesto, CA 95358, Phone: 209-575-6196, (website link)
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7. Modesto Arch, Modesto, CA
© City of Modesto - City Hall
The Modesto Arch is a centennial slogan arch at the intersection of 9th and I Streets that was initially built to welcome automobile drivers to Modesto. Built-in 1912 by the Modesto Businessmen’s Association, the arch bears the slogan and city motto, “Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health,” which is brightly illuminated by nearly 700 incandescent light bulbs. The arch was originally held up by two flagpoles on each of its columns, but they were removed due to rot and replaced with two Mediterranean cypress trees that now stand behind the columns and create an illusion of the original flagpoles' height and location.
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8. The Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route
© The Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route
The Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route celebrates the cruise or drag route that took place in the movie, American Graffiti, the first big film produced by Modesto native, George Lucas. The movie captured the first big weekend of cruising after school let out for the summer, which traditionally became ‘Graffiti Night’ in Modesto and saw crowds of people descending on the town to show their vintage cars and celebrate the spirit of cruising until it was banned in 1993. The Historic Cruise Route Tour starts and finishes at the Modesto Historic Cruise Route Walk of Fame in the 10th Street Plaza and follows the famous cruising route with historical stories along the way.
Modesto Historic Cruise Route Walk of Fame: 10th Street Plaza, 1010 10th Street, Phone: 209-526-5588
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9. Escape Modesto
© Escape Modesto
Escape Modesto offers a few hours of exhilarating fun for everyone. Escape rooms are fun adventure games whereby players solve a series of riddles by using clues and hints to complete all the objectives in a set time limit. The aim of the game is to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. It usually takes about an hour to get out of the escape room, and up to 10 participants are allowed per room. Escape Modesto caters for all types of events and functions, from corporate gatherings and team-building to birthday parties and celebrations.
912 11th St, Modesto, CA 95354, Phone: 209-324-5190
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10. Mistlin Gallery, Modesto, California
© Mistlin Gallery
The Mistlin Gallery is an art gallery in downtown Modesto that is run by the Central California Art Association as a space where regional artists to show and sell their artworks, as well as for the community to enjoy art classes and get more involved in the local arts scene. The Mistlin Gallery features a variety of permanent and rotating exhibitions of work, as well as offers educational programs and workshops for art-lovers of all ages. The Central California Art Association is an organization of artists and volunteers that work together to promote the visual arts and promote and provide art education and cultural opportunities for the local community.
1015 J St, Modesto, CA 95354, Phone: 209-529-3369
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11. Tuolumne River Trail, Modesto, California
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The Tuolumne River Trail is a 3.4-mile hiking trail that winds along the Tuolumne River in Modesto. Named for the river along which it is set, the hiking and biking trail loops through dense riverside woodlands and boasts spectacular views of the surrounding region's gorgeous landscapes. The trail also winds past the Tuolumne River Regional Park and is quite close to the Modesto City-County Airport on the northern leg of the loop. Primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding, the Tuolumne River Trail is best used from May until October.
Tioga Dr. and Legion Park Dr. and Tuolumne River Regional Park
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12. FUNWORKS! Modesto
© FUNWORKS! Modesto
FUNWORKS! Modesto is an amusement center that offers over 18 acres of fun-filled entertainment for children and their families. The family-centric amusement destination features an array of activities and adventures for children of all ages, including batting cages, go-karts, miniature golf, bowling, a Teddy Bear factory, a Splashworks Pirate Ride, and an XD Theater. There is an onsite restaurant that serves pizza and other favorite casual American fare and drinks, and FUNWORKS! caters for groups and special celebrations with various daily specials and all-inclusive packages. FUNWORKS! Modesto also hosts summer camps in season.
4307 Coffee Rd, Modesto, CA 95357, Phone: 209-549-7888
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13. Things to Do Near Me: Dewz Restaurant
© Dewz Restaurant
Dewz Restaurant is a family-owned fine dining establishment in Modesto that has been serving upmarket cuisine and libations for the past 20 years. The elegant restaurant boasts stylish décor and a sophisticated ambiance and serves a globally-inspired menu of contemporary cuisine that has been prepared using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Signature dishes include New Zealand Rack of Lamb with grilled oyster mushrooms and hazelnut-ricotta tortellini, and Crispy Skinned Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, with sautéed rainbow chard and almond. The refined cuisine is accompanied by an extensive list of fine wines from around the world, handcrafted cocktails, imported spirits, and craft beers. Dewz Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Sunday and breakfast on the weekends only.
1505 J St, Modesto, CA 95354, Phone: 209-549-1101
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14. Mike's Grillhouse, Modesto, California
© Mike's Grillhouse
Mike's Grillhouse is an easygoing family-friendly restaurant that serves casual cuisine and drinks in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. The menu is packed with freshly prepared dishes, made from scratch using the freshest ingredients, such as grilled chicken salads, fried calamari, hearty burgers, and prime cuts of steak, along with an array of sides and delectable desserts. Friendly staff serves food with flair and dishes are complemented by a range of easy-drinking wines, craft beers, soft drinks, and cocktails. Located on Pelandale Avenue, Mike's Grillhouse is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week and offers catering services for special events and functions.
3801 Pelandale Ave, Modesto, CA 95356, Phone: 209-545-4500
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15. Galletto Ristorante, Modesto, CA
© Galletto Ristorante
Galletto Ristorante is an elegant restaurant in the heart of Modesto that serves traditional seasonal Northern Italian cuisine and an extensive globally-inspired wine list in a refined, white-linen environment. The farm-to-table menu features a delicious array of authentic Italian dishes prepared from locally sourced ingredients and regional artisanal products such as cheeses, prime meat cuts, fresh seafood, and homegrown herbs, and is delicately balanced by a curated selection of a variety of outstanding wines from an ever-growing collection. Galletto Ristorante boasts private dining rooms for special events and functions and a beautiful outdoor dining area with a bocce court for alfresco dining in the warmer months.
1101 J St, Modesto, CA 95354, Phone: 209-523-4500
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16. The Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum
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Boasting 45,000 square feet of museum space, the Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum was established to showcase the “classic car culture” of Modesto as well as display some of the most prized and lovingly kept classic cars in the country. As the home of Geroge Lucas’ award-winning film, American Graffiti, the museum takes guests back in time to 1962 through its vintage interior complete with an operational classic diner replica. With a historic location to match its historic contents, the museum showcases vintage cars, replicas of 10th and 11th Street, the Modesto Radio History Exhibit, American Graffiti Memorabilia, and more.
601 N 9th Street, Modesto, California 95350, Phone: 209-409-8617, (website link)
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17. Boomers Modesto
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When life has got you tired and worn down, there’s nothing quite like refueling yourself with fun! At Boomers Modesto, this is exactly what you can do as the park unleashes fun and action-packed activities for the whole family. Boomers has a wide array of activities to enjoy including, but not limited to, theme park rides, Go Karting, arcade activities, and sports-related activities. Get your heart pumping on the Flame Thrower, experience the ultimate water battle in Bumper Boats, play a round of minigolf or enjoy a round at the batting cages. Boomers Modesto’s onsite restaurant also has delicious American-style food to keep visitors happy and full the entire day.
4215 Bangs Avenue, Modesto, California 95356, Phone: 209-545-5248
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The 17 Must-See Attractions in Modesto, California & Fun things to do near me today:
- 1. McHenry Mansion
- 2. Gallo Center for the Arts
- 3. The State Theatre, Modesto, CA
- 4. John Thurman Field, Modesto, California
- 5. McHenry Museum
- 6. Great Valley Museum, Modesto, California
- 7. Modesto Arch, Modesto, CA
- 8. The Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route
- 9. Escape Modesto
- 10. Mistlin Gallery, Modesto, California
- 11. Tuolumne River Trail, Modesto, California
- 12. FUNWORKS! Modesto
- 13. Things to Do Near Me: Dewz Restaurant
- 14. Mike's Grillhouse, Modesto, California
- 15. Galletto Ristorante, Modesto, CA
- 16. The Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum
- 17. Boomers Modesto