What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Davis, CA?

Paige Hanawalt
by Paige Hanawalt

Considered an urban suburb of Sacramento, the close-knit community of Davis, CA has a lot to offer new residents. Lush with multiple parks and open spaces, Davis is a perfect slice of California living. As a university town, this little enclave of bicyclist aficionados is known for being progressive, welcoming, and friendly.

California is known for its sunny skies, laid-back living, and dedication to the arts. Davis certainly delivers!

World-renowned for its animal husbandry and veterinary school, Davis has been on the collegiate map of top institutions since 1908. The University of California, Davis has an acceptance rate of roughly 40%, making it one of the most competitive colleges to get into in the U.S.

In fact, many graduates of UC Davis stick around, making what could be a sleepy college town a bustling mini-metropolis of young, educated professionals. In Davis, you get the perfect mixture of big city and open country living.

With its more than ideal location, Davis is one of California’s best-kept secrets. The pros of living in Davis include its tight-knit community, its proximity to several major California cities, and its commitment to education. There may be a few flaws to living in Davis. Before packing your suitcase, you might want to consider the high cost of living and expensive housing market, its somewhat dull landscape, and its status as a crowded university town.

The quality of life in Davis is decidedly high. Read on to find out if “The Bicycle Capital of America” is right for you.

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Pros Of Living In Davis, CA

There are plenty of reasons Davis, CA would make a great place to live. Here are just a select few!

Davis Is A Close-Knit Community

Ask any resident and they’ll tell you that community culture is key to life in Davis. If you’re looking to live somewhere private, removed, and off the grid, Davis is decidedly not for. This is a town full of friendly and helpful people ready and willing to chitchat, meet up, and grow together.

A good chunk of the community is made up of UC students and graduates, making the median age for the city around 24. There is plenty to draw young families to Davis, however, including the city’s four swimming complexes, vast miles of greenbelts, and the various family-friendly festivals held all throughout the year.

Bicycle Haven

Nicknamed “The Bicycle Capital of America,” Davis is dedicated to being as bicycle-friendly as possible. Over 50% of UC students bike to get around and every major road has a bike lane. If you’re a cyclist, Davis is definitely the city for you!

In fact, Davis is home to the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. You’ll find pristine bike paths and crossing across the 10.5 miles of flat land that makes this little town perfect for two-wheeled traveling.

Weekly Farmer’s Mark

One of the quaintest aspects of life in Davis is the weekly Davis Farmers Market, held every Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Shoppers can purchase organic produce straight from the farmers that grow it. Surrounded by lush farmland, it isn’t hard to eat healthy in Davis.

Live entertainment, art by local and up-and-coming artists, and gourmet items are also available to shoppers and browsers at the weekly farmer’s market.

Check out the 10 fastest growing cities in California.


Contrary to popular belief, Davis is not in the middle of nowhere. Its prime location actually makes Davis one of the best places to live in southern California. If you’re looking for a mid-sized city with a small-town feel or a small town with an urban feel, Davis fits the bill.

Sacramento, San Francisco, and Tahoe are all well within just a few hours’ drive from Davis. Additionally, Davis is only 20 minutes away from the Sacramento Airport.

Here is a shortlist of just a few of the internationally renowned attractions within a day’s drive of Davis, California:

  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Alcatraz
  • Old Sacramento
  • Ghirardelli Square

Commitment to Education

The University of California, Davis is one of the number one universities in the country for veterinary science. UC graduates are among the top 50 college graduates to make a sustainable living wage over the next 20 years.

Compared to other city colleges of the same size, UC Davis is ranked both within the state of California and in the nation. Because Davis is such an interdependent community, the appreciation for education spreads outward from the university.

The school system in Davis is strong and nationally ranked.

Cons Of Living In Davis CA

Despite its many advantages, there are a few cons of living in Davis. When making the leap to pick up and move to a different state or city, it’s important to take into account all aspects of a new city.

High Cost of Living

When compared to the rest of the United States, California is by far one of the most expensive places to live. Groceries, utilities, entertainment, rent, insurance, all of these expenditures add up quickly no matter where you live, but especially in California.

Most Davis residents don’t own their own homes— they rent. Owning property in the city is just too expensive. Even though Davis is nowhere near as expensive as the San Francisco Bay Area, the cost of living is still pretty high.

Finding a decent home for less than $500,000 is almost impossible. If your price range is far lower than that five hundred grand, you’re looking at duplex and zero landscaping.

Lots Of Undergrads

Davis is, at the end of the day, primarily a university town. The city is filled to the brim with 20 somethings studying or graduating. If you’re looking to retire or start a family, you may have more of a difficult time fitting in, though it’s not impossible given how important the community is to the residents of Davis.

That in-between-stage of life can get a little bit lonely if you’re not an established career professional starting a family or an undergrad biking to class.

Flat Landscape

While the flat topography is ideal for biking— and by now we all know how important biking is in Davis— it can be a little dull. There are no mountains to traverse or beaches to explore in Davis. However, you’re close enough to places like Napa, San Francisco, and Monterey to keep things interesting.

Related Questions

Is Davis A Safe City?

You can rest easy because Davis is ranked in the top 50 safest cities in California. While the city has seen an uptick in the homeless population in recent years, most residents are comfortable leaving their doors unlocked.

How Far Is Davis, CA From The Beach?

If you’re going to move to Cali, you definitely want to at least be within a day’s drive of the beach! Here are just a few beaches close to Davis, CA:

  • McNears Beach (55 miles)
  • Paradise Cove (60 miles)
  • Aquatic Park (63 miles)

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What’s The Verdict?

It’s important to consider whether or not a university town will fit your lifestyle. If the answer is yes, then Davis is the perfect fit for you! With its emphasis on education, the environment, and strong community connection, Davis, CA just might be the place to call home.

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Paige Hanawalt
Paige Hanawalt

Paige is an elementary school librarian with a passion for writing. Her hobbies include reading an exorbitant amount of fantasy, slowly teaching herself to draw, and home decor. While she isn't the most talented artist or interior designer, what she lacks in skill she more than makes up for in enthusiasm. When she's not curled up with a book, you can certainly find her curled over the keyboard.

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