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Community Profile: Everything’s waiting for you in downtown Woodland

By Tinka Davi

Velocity Island Park offers wakeboarding and skateboarding as well as other family friendly water activities.
Velocity Island Park offers wakeboarding and skateboarding as well as other family friendly water activities. Ed Andersen

Downtown Woodland. It is quickly becoming the civic, cultural and entertainment center for the city, said Kristy Wright, chief executive officer of the Woodland Chamber of Commerce.

“The city is in the final steps of approving an updated 2035 General Plan that promotes a broad mix of uses for our downtown,” she said.

“Right now it’s all about downtown.”

Teresa Flynn, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Doug Arnold Real Estate, enjoys working downtown.

“The office recently purchased and remodeled a building to be closer to downtown and the heartbeat,” she said. “Downtown is thriving and has really come back to life.”

There are new restaurants, entertainment venues and many local events such as food trucks, farmers market and other things where the community can get involved, Flynn said.

Wright pointed to several downtown spots — the state theater, Paddy’s Irish Pub and Morgan’s on Main — as part of the development downtown. A new hotel is planned and will be located across the street from the courthouse at the entrance to downtown.

“Developers are focused on revitalization and reuse of historically significant structures,” she said.

Other developments include the former Pearson’s Building at the corner of Second and Main streets and the “Tree House” Performance Center going in the 500 block of Main Street, she said.

The former police station has been renovated and opened a few weeks ago as the Theatre and Dance Annex (TADA) to the Woodland Opera House.

Tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet sessions are held there for ages three through adult, said Cathy Oliver, Opera House manager. It has studios, music room and offices.

“It’s beautiful,” said Oliver who is busy preparing for the Aug. 12 opening of “Footloose.”

Wright said, “Filled vacancies, ownership changes and the enthusiasm surrounding Woodland’s revival have left nothing lacking in the city’s culinary scene.”

She listed several spots: The Savory Café, Father Paddy’s Irish Pub, Guinevere’s Café & Bistro, the Blue Note Brewery and Uggavio Wine Bar.

“We are trying to keep up with all of the ribbon cuttings,” Wright said.

Special events downtown include Food Truck Mania the first Sunday of every month. Around a dozen trucks line 1st Street from Bush to Main streets from 4 to 8 p.m.

“They serve barbecue, lumpia, burgers and bacon, lots of bacon,” said Christy Hayes, who owns Kitchen428 and Mojo’s Lounge on First Street.

“Not a lot was open downtown on Sundays, but since the food trucks have come, we have tripled our business,” Hayes said.

“First Street is known as Fabulous First Street,” downtown shop owner Lacey Mares said. “It has the food trucks and the First Friday Art Walk.”

It’s the only side street off Main Street that has retail and more stores are opening there, she said.

“It’s a destination where people can come have lunch and shop or have dinner.”

Mares and husband, Tony, are co-owners of Well Stocked Kitchen, Home and Gentlemen on First Street. It carries cookware, baking items, dishware and organic spa items.

Gentlemen’s products — cigars, lighters, cutters, shaving creams — were added when they saw husbands waiting outside while their wives shopped. Now they come into the store and shop, too.

Realtor Flynn has lived in Woodland 20 years.

“I grew up in Lodi, which is a similar farm country like Woodland. I like being surrounded by agriculture and living in an agriculture-based community.”

It’s an affordable community with an easy commute to downtown Sacramento or Davis and people are moving from Davis because of the prices, Flynn said.

The community is growing.

“We have new-home developments on the east side of Woodland, close to I-5, Highway 113 and County Road 102 with 400-500 new homes in the beginning phases of development according to new-home builders,” Flynn said. “There’s a steady influx of visitors coming in.”

Flynn said she thought the new home communities would have an impact on resales, but they haven’t.

“The resale market is very strong in Woodland,” she said.

Sales are up 11 percent and it’s a sellers’ market with 1  1/2 months of inventory. That will grow in the coming months, then things should start to slow in fall and winter, she said.

“If people are thinking of selling, why not try to sell now?”

“Wild Wings, a lovely community with homes about 10 years old has 11 homes on the market. At the beginning of the year, there were two. It’s a gated community with two golf courses.”

New-home builders and communities include three in Spring Lake — Parkview by Taylor Morrison, Brookstone by Lennar, and Mayfair by Meritage Homes — and Arabella by D.R. Horton.

Woodland appeals to families and offers all kinds of sports including wakeboarding at nearby Velocity Island Park.

“There’s a lot going on,” Flynn said. The community rallies around the youth. The county fair is free and it’s a nice, wholesome place to have fun.”

People looking for homes in Woodland range from first-time buyers to retirees, Flynn said.

“I really like Woodland and raising kids here and I’m excited about our office’s move downtown.”

Visitors and residents are attracted to several Woodland destinations that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

To list just a few, they include the Downtown Woodland Historic District, the Woodland Opera House, also a California Historical Landmark, Dead Cat Alley where Woodland began as Yolo City, the Yolo County Courthouse, Gibson House, the historic mansion that’s now a museum, and the Woodland Public Library, California’s oldest-working Carnegie library which offers everything from storytime and tutoring to a Library Rose Club and “Sticks in the Stacks” knitting group.

On more than one occasion, people have told Wright that, “Walking the streets of Woodland is like a throwback in time. It’s charming.”

Tinka Davi is a freelance writer and editor based in Folsom.


Where: 20 miles west of Sacramento

Size: 14.5 square miles

Population: 56,065

Incorporated: 1871

Government: City Council/City Manager

County: Yolo County Seat


The Community Profiles spotlight Sacramento-area cities and neighborhoods weekly. This schedule is subject to change:

  • Granite Bay, Aug. 13
  • Arden Arcade, Aug. 20
  • Rancho Cordova, Aug. 27
  • Citrus Heights, Sept. 3
  • Greenhaven/Pocket, Sept. 10
  • Downtown Sacramento, Sept. 17
  • Tahoe Park, Sept. 24
  • Antelope, Oct. 1
  • Roseville, Oct. 8
  • Cameron Park, Oct. 15
  • Gold River, Oct. 22
  • East Sacramento, Oct. 29
  • Lincoln, Nov. 5
  • Fair Oaks, Nov. 12
  • West Sacramento, Nov. 19
  • Grass Valley, Nov. 26
  • Rocklin, Dec. 3
  • Auburn, Dec. 10
  • Placerville, Dec. 17


Julie Robledo, resale homes,

(916) 321-1295, jrobledo@sacbee.com

Roger Tafoya, new homes,

(916) 321-1373, rtafoya@sacbee.com