11 Things to Do in Lodi, CA

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  • on JANUARY 13, 2016
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Lodi is one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine regions in California, as well as being one of the most historic. A visit here can include tasting world-class wines, learning about the long history of the region, and enjoying some of the best bird watching in the state. We’ve put together a list of things to do in Lodi that will introduce to you every wonderful aspect of this community.

Wine Tasting

Lodi families have been growing wine grapes here since the 1800s, but the past 20 years have seen a stunning resurgence in the number and quality of wines being made. Over 85 wineries are now making wine in Lodi, and the number keeps growing. Lodi is renowned for its old vine Zinfandel, but also grows great Viognier, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. We recommend a few of the best below to help you discover this amazing wine region.

Image Source: Website

Mettler Family Vineyards
95240, 7889 E Harney Lane
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 369-3045
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 2 reviews
Reservations: Not required for groups of less than 10

The Mettler family has been growing grapes in Lodi for five generations, and recently worked with California universities to research which grape varieties grow best in Lodi’s climate, so you could say they know a bit about Lodi wine. They specialize in Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah, and the wines are all concentrated, elegant expressions of Lodi’s character. Their recently renovated tasting room offers a relaxing space to enjoy their wines and to learn about Lodi history and winemaking.
Insider tip: Take advantage of the SIP Shuttle, which offers a hop-on-hop-off service at 12 partner wineries and downtown Lodi locations. It’s a great way to enjoy wine country without the hassle of driving.

Image Source: Yelp

Michael David Winery
4580 W Highway 12
Lodi, CA 95242
(209) 368-7384
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 65 reviews
Reservations: Not required for groups of less than eight

Home to the “Zin-fully” delicious 7 Deadly Zins wine, Michael David Winery is a must-see on your tour of Lodi. The Phillips family has been farming Lodi land for 150 years, growing everything from vegetables to fruit, including wine grapes. Today they specialize in the grapes that grow best in Lodi, including rich and inky Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The tasting room is casual and welcoming, with an outdoor picnic area for enjoying sunny days.
Insider tip: Visit the farm’s bakery, café, or fruit stand for a snack to pair with your wines or a full-on lunch. Everything is in-season, farm-fresh, and baked or cooked on property.

Image Source: Yelp

Lodi Wine and Visitor Center
2545 W Turner Rd
Lodi, CA 95242
(209) 365-0621
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 63 reviews
Reservations: Not required

If you’re short on time and want to get a good sense of the wines in this burgeoning region, stop by the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center, where over 80 vintners pour their wines on a weekly rotation. The staff is incredibly knowledgable about the area and can draw you a map to the best wine spots based on your tastes. The tasting room is located on the beautiful grounds of the Wine & Roses Hotel and is close to hotels and restaurants, so be sure to explore a bit while you’re here.
Insider tip: Ask about the educational demonstration vineyard to learn about grape growing.

Shop Historic Downtown Lodi

Image Source: LodiChamber.com

Lodi’s historic downtown has been revived in the last 20 years to become a beautifully renovated hub for the local community and visitors alike. Wander in and out of quaint card shops, boutique clothing stores, old fashioned delis, and antique stores centered on School Street. The shady Sycamore trees and brick-laid streets create a relaxing atmosphere, and you’ll leave with a real sense of the community and some great souvenirs to remember your trip by.
Insider tip: Check out the up-and-coming Sacramento Street, just one block east of School Street, where a parking garage has been transformed into a hub of restaurants, boutiques, and bars.

Image Source: Yelp

Hutchins Street Square Performing Arts Theatre
125 S Hutchins St
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 333-5550

This performing arts theater, community center, conference center, and senior center rolled into one is an integral part of the Lodi community. Attend one of the weekly performances—everything from international orchestras to local talent night—or enjoy a dip in the heated pool.
Insider tip: There are a dozen restaurants within a few blocks of the theater, so park your car for the night and walk from dinner to a show, and then out again for some ice cream or a nightcap.

Image Source: Yelp

Lodi Lake
125 North Stockton St
Lodi, CA 95240
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 21 reviews

Hike, bike, swim, kayak, fish, or nature watch at this local natural gem, located right in the middle of town. Entrance and activities fees are low, and it’s a great way to get outside while staying close to the action of Lodi.
Insider tip: Take a chartered boat tour of the Mokelumne River to learn about the local wildlife. Food and beverages are allowed, so pack a picnic and make a day of it.

Bird Watching

Image Source: TripAdvisor

Isenberg Crane Reserve
Woodbridge Road
Lodi, CA 95242
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 30 reviews

Millions of birds migrate from Canada and Alaska to California’s Central Valley each winter, and many of them land in the nature preserves that surround Lodi. Greater and Lesser Sandhill Cranes, American White Pelican, Western Flycatcher, and many more can be seen in this spectacular migration area. Bird watching at Isenberg Crane Reserve is most popular in the fall and winter, so if you’re visiting during the off season a list of other nature preserves in the area can be found here.
Insider tip: Nearby Micke Grove Park also boasts an exotic animal zoo and a Japanese tea garden. Who says you have to leave California to see the world?

Image Source: Yelp

Historic Hill House Museum
826 Church St
Lodi, CA 95240

Get a sense for Lodi’s history at this charming museum. Open only on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., this historic home welcomes visitors who are interested in California history and Victorian architecture. It is one of the only historic Victorian houses in California to have all of its original interior and exterior in tact, down to the clothes and knick knacks inside the house.
Insider tip: Take a stroll around the neighborhood surrounding the house. It’s filled with a seamless blend of historic and contemporary homes and offers a unique look at the living history of Lodi.

Taste Lodi

Image Source: Yelp

Avenue Grill
506 W Lodi Ave
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 333-8006
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 63 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Nothing fancy, just the good stuff. Hearty American breakfasts and lunches are served here by a super friendly waitstaff. It’s not your typical sleek wine country restaurant—easy to miss as it’s tucked away in a shopping center—it’s mostly a local’s hangout. However, visitors in the know come here to fill up before heading out for a day of wine tasting.
Insider tip: The outdoor deck is dog-friendly, so bring your pooch!

Image Source: Yelp

Fiori’s Butcher Shoppe and Deli
400 W Lodi Ave
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 334-4121
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 30 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Joe and Barbara Fiori founded the butcher shop in 1983 to simply sell cured and marinated meats, and it soon expanded into a deli as customers requested more access to the phenomenal meats. They sell great sandwiches (the pesto chicken is a favorite) and salads, so grab lunch here on your way out to the nearby wineries or nature preserves. They also sell wines from local wineries, so you can stock up on favorites you’ve discovered, or try something new.
Insider tip: Fiori’s Butcher Shoppe and Deli developed their own seasoning to flavor their roast beef, pastrami, and beef jerky, and it’s become so famous that they now sell it by the bottle.

Image Source: Yelp

Zin Bistro
722 W Lodi Ave
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 224-8223
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 22 reviews
Reservations: Recommended on weekends

End the day with a romantic dinner at this hidden find. Located within an unassuming shopping center, there is nothing bland about Zin Bistro. The tiny restaurant serves classic American fare at reasonable prices, with an intimate and elegant atmosphere. They offer many off-the-menu specials each day, so be sure to ask your waiter about them.
Insider tip: Save room for the homemade chocolate mousse!

Whether you spend a day or a week in Lodi, you’ll come away charmed by the growing wine region’s deep history, strong community and incredible quality and diversity of wine.


WineCountry Collective

WineCountry is made up of a dedicated and passionate team of wine, food, and travel aficionados. We diligently explore regions, both near and far, to curate the best ideas and resources. Whether you're musing over your next wine escapade, planning a romantic weekend away, embracing the Wine Country lifestyle at home, or are simply looking to be entertained for a moment, trust us to be your comprehensive guide.