Immortalized by George Lucas’s 1950s nostalgia film, American Graffiti, Modesto is as alive with modern spirit as it once was with cruising and sock-hops. It’s centrally located between several of California’s bigger cities—90 miles north of Fresno, 92 miles east of San Francisco, 68 miles south of Sacramento, and 66 miles west of Yosemite National Park. Situated on the Tuolumne River and near the Stanislaus River, Modesto’s largest revenue sources are still agricultural, although it feels more like a small urban hub than a Cowtown. The recently renovated John Thurman Field is home to the Modesto Nuts baseball team, a feeder program for the Colorado Rockies. The annual X-Fest, an outdoor, 21 and over music festival featuring the world’s largest disco (covering four blocks of downtown) has drawn crowds from around the country since 2000.
Modesto Junior College is located in Modesto, while many students from California State University, Stanislaus to the south choose to commute from the neighboring town. Forbes ranked Modesto 8th in affordable housing, a huge win for area students looking for off-campus apartments.
Downtown has seen an urban renewal in recent years that make it a popular area for students and young professionals to live. It’s known for its variety of restaurants and night life, as well as its monthly Art Walk held on the third Thursday of every month.
Graceada Park neighborhood is defined by historic homes and buildings nestled cozily along tree-lined streets. The quaint neighborhood is also home to a series of parks, a bandshell, and other outdoor amenities that make it a favorite among Modesto citizens and visitors alike.
Other housing options exits along major thoroughfares through the northern section of town. Standiford Avenue is dotted with complexes that boast near proximity to Trader Joe’s and Vintage Faire Mall, while Pelandale Avenue offers a Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and Costco. Both roads connect to Hwy 90, allowing Cal State students easy access to Turlock.