Pros & Cons of Living in Davis, CA

First some context: I am a New York native who lived in Southern California for ~8 years before moving to Davis for vet school and I’ve been here for over 2 years.


  • Lots of food options. Despite being a small town, there is no shortage of food. Everything from Thai, Chinese, Indian, Nepali, and Ethiopian and don’t forget Pizza, Burgers, Italian, etc.
  • Proximity to Fun Stuff: Within 1-2 hours drive there is
    • San Francisco
    • Napa & Sonoma Valley wine tasting
    • Lake Tahoe‘s skiing, camping and hiking
  • Bike Everywhere. Did you know Davis is also known as “Bike City, USA?” It’s true, there are bikes everywhere
  • Easy Commute. Other than biking, everything in Davis is pretty close and there is also a bus system that runs throughout the town.
  • Proximity to Airport. We are 20 minutes from the Sacramento Airport (SMF). This is pretty essential for me as traveling is a huge part of my life and also makes it easy for when family comes to visit. San Francisco’s airports (SFO & OAK) are also not too far away.
  • Dog Friendly. Sure it’s a vet school town, but there are dogs everywhere in Davis. There are lots of parks and there are always people out walking their dogs or sitting with their pooches at cafes downtown for a bite to eat or a cup of coffee.
  • Farmer’s Market. Wednesdays & Saturdays in Downtown Davis. It’s hard to miss and definitely draws a crowd!
  • Public Transport to San Francisco. You can take the Amtrak to San Francisco BART stops and have the city at your fingertips (no car or tolls required!)
  • Trader Joe’s. I consider this a big PRO considering that when I moved to Davis there was no TJ’s and I moved to Davis from a place where I had a TJ’s 2 blocks from my apartment!


  • Not much to do in Davis, itself. Sure we have multiple movie theaters, bars, and restaurants, but there’s not much excitement in town. What’s good is that when you’re a vet student, you can’t really afford to have too much distraction otherwise it becomes very difficult to devote your time to your studies.
  • Expensive housing. While not as expensive as SoCal or NY, it’s pretty high considering we’re in the Central Valley. If you want a price break, leave Davis and try Dixon or Woodland.
  • Very Flat. Makes biking easy, but I’m accustomed to a little topography. Seeing the hills of Winters on my way home form school does help, as does escaping to Tahoe or those crystal clear winter days when you can see the snow capped mountains of the Sierras in the distance past Sacramento.
  • Allergies. If you’ve never had allergies before, prepared to be introduced to them once you move here!

Pro or Con?

  • Small town. Not a major city and while close to Sacramento, even Sacramento isn’t a very big, happening city. San Francisco is an hour or so away and those who enjoy a big city will definitely want to escape every so often!
  • Lots of bars! I dare say there are 11 or so bars in downtown Davis. And for those of you who don’t know, Downtown Davis is not that big — think very small town (Streets A through G and 1 through 5 pretty much make up the “grid” of Downtown Davis).
  • Weather. Overall, the weather here is not much to complain about. Especially when compared to most of the other vet schools, we get less rain and no snow. The summers can be quite hot (though this past summer wasn’t so bad) and the winters can get dreary when you have multiple rainy days in a row (or week) but that means there’s excellent skiing not far away in Tahoe!
  • Shopping is a drive. The nearest mall is in Sacramento and while there is outlet shopping in Vacaville, there’s not much in Davis. We have grocery stores lots of bike shops and we recently got a Target, but not much else.
  • Lots of undergrads around. I definitely feel overwhelmed by the number of undergrads in this town as I came from a very small college, which is why I appreciate the fact that the vet school is a bit separated from the main UC Davis campus.

That’s all my opinion, of course. Feel free to add your own Pros & Cons in the comments below!