Arcata’s lovely downtown, expansive forests, and laid back style is sure to put a smile on anyone's face
Across the northern stretch of Humboldt Bay from Eureka, the colorful buildings of Arcata are clearly visible. The two cities are only minutes apart by highway, but are distinct in character. Originally named Union, Arcata's beginnings go back to the Gold Rush when she was a shipping and supply center for the miners on the Trinity River.
The docks are long gone, but Arcata retains (and celebrates) a sense of her uniqueness. Sprawling over the hillside above Arcata, Humboldt State University dominates the city and promotes a youthful, artistic and intellectual ambiance.
The Plaza, with its lawns, flowerbeds and statue of President McKinley, is the social and commercial center of Arcata. Delightful shops offering locally handcrafted merchandise, sports equipment, (kayaks, bikes, etc.) boutiques and restaurants line the Plaza. Arcata being a college town, the local bookstores and coffee houses are especially interesting.
Events: The Plaza is also the venue for numerous events including, the Kinetic Sculpture Race Starting Point (Memorial Day Weekend), the famous Oyster Festival (June), Pastels on the Plaza (October), Saturday farmers market on the plaza (seasonal) and the North Country Fair (September). Of particular note is the beautifully restored Jacoby's Storehouse, a California Historic Landmark.
The town also contains many restored Victorian homes-- You can take a self-guided (20) Victorian Homes walking tour, (drive or walk). Downloadable .pdf (or call Arcata Chamber 707-822-3619). Visit the Arcata Historical Society for a more in depth look at the history and architecture of Arcata.
The Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary (Access through South G and I Streets), offers quiet trails and superb birdwatching. This world-famous Marsh gives a unique view of an efficient, low-tech wastewater reclamation system as well as acres of mixed wildlife habitat.
MCKINLEYVILLE: * Hike or bike the Hammond Trail * Walk on the beach or hike/skate on a nearby paved trail at Clam Beach * View the world's tallest Totem pole located in the Safeway parking lot off of Central Ave.