Stockton is a city in northern California, part of the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area which encompasses 12 counties. Stockton is the seat of government for San Joaquin County. The city covers approximately 62 square miles and has a population of 305,658 (2015 Census estimate).
Stockton’s modern history comes into focus with the arrival of European missionaries. However, Native Americans preceded them by at least 2,000 years, and descendants of these peoples inhabit the area yet today. The famous California Gold Rush brought Stockton into prominence as a seaport and critical link for supplies. The city’s namesake is Robert F. Stockton, a commodore in the U.S. Navy and a Senator from New Jersey.
Stockton’s climate is perfect for shorts and short sleeves, with mild temperatures, low relative humidity, and lots of sunshine. The average temperature overall is 62°F, and the thermometer rarely dips below 40°F. Snow is unheard of and rain is virtually non-existent during the summer. The extremely comfortable climate is ideal for outdoor activities. Tennis, anyone?
Stockton offers convenient choices for getting around town and around the Central Valley. The San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) provides bus service in the city. For rail service in the valley, ride the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) or Amtrak, with a connection to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). The Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK) is a hub for low-cost regional transport; Sacramento (SMF) is the nearest international airport. The primary corridors for ground travel are Interstate 5 and California 99, which are connected by California 4. The average commute for Stockton residents is about 27 minutes.
Stockton Cost of Living
According to Sperling’s calculations, you’ll pay about a 12 percent premium to live in Stockton compared to the average for all U.S. cities . The biggest factor is housing, which is about 24 percent higher here than elsewhere in the country. Unemployment is also higher than the nation’s average, as is the crime rate. To see how far your earnings will go in Stockton, use the links below.
The Stockton Unified School District operates 54 elementary and high schools with a total enrollment of about 40,000 students. The community also has more than two dozen private schools serving students from pre-K through high school. Choices for higher education abound, including the University of the Pacific. Located in the heart of Stockton, this four-year private school serves about 5,600 full-time students with undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
There are three hospitals in Stockton and another 12 within 30 miles. St. Joseph’s Medical Center is the largest acute care facility in the city, a not-for-profit institution with 337 beds and more than 600 physicians on staff. Dameron Hospital, also in the city, is known locally for leadership in orthopedics and top performance in joint replacement.
Stockton Real Estate
The most recent census data (2010) show about 101,225 housing units in Stockton. Of these, 49 percent are owner-occupied with a median valuation of just under $172,500. The median cost of ownership with a mortgage is $1,529 monthly ($399 without a mortgage). The median monthly rent is $946.
Among the three-star hotels, you’ll find in Stockton are the Courtyard Stockton, the Hilton Stockton, and the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel. All have a pool, restaurant, and free wi-fi. If your budget is modest, the Best Western Plus Heritage is a popular choice for discounted rooms— and it serves a free breakfast. For a luxurious stay, the Cottages on Armstrong in nearby Lodi is a B&B with superbly appointed, craftsman-style lodges.
With so many restaurants in Stockton, you’ll be hard pressed to choose. But that’s a good problem to have! For an exceptional meal, reserve a table at Midgley’s Public House where Chef Michael Midgley serves award-winning, American-fusion plates with inspired libation pairings. Locally grown and sourced foods are prepared to please at the Market Tavern, where you can enjoy a cocktail made from fresh-squeezed fruit. Chow down like a hungry monk at The Abbey, a Trappist pub whose signature burger is served on a toasted Genova Milkbun and topped with chipotle aioli, pickled onions, and Havarti cheese. Then slake your thirst with one of eight craft brews on their tap—or dozens more in bottles.
Stockton Things to Do
Stockton bills itself as “stocked full of flavor” in a nod to the many attractions and diversions it offers in California’s Central Valley. Although lesser known than other regions, the area is a gem in California’s crown as king of North America’s wine industry. So sip away. If you’re into bargain hunting, you will find plenty to keep you busy. Spend an hour or a day on Stockton’s Miracle Mile, a favorite destination for strolling, shopping, dining, and entertainment. The Haggin Museum lays claim to the area’s most popular attraction, with low-cost admission to splendid collections of art and historical artifacts.