I'm 65 and I lived in more that 2 dozens places on the East and West coasts. I've traveled while working to 26 countries. I've lived in Stockton since December 1981 and in the same house since January 1982. My wife and I raised four children here and I presently have 5 grandchildren living 5 minutes from my home. Stockton is very much a city of neighborhoods. How you live, your safety, noise level, traffic, school quality, people one meets,; in fact, almost every aspect of life is determined by your neighborhood. There are three school districts in the city but child success isn't determined just by school district. There is a quality junior college, a small respected private university, and an adjunct branch of a nearby state university. If Stockton lacks anything educationally, its a diversified choice of private k-12 schools. There are Catholic primary and high school, Protestant primary and high school but only one private non-denominational primary school and no high school. There are two high quality museums and a children's museum in Stockton.I live an an average neighborhood. I had a car window broken and in another vehicle a stereo robbed...more than 25 years ago. My son had a few bicycles stolen but so did I 50 years ago on Long Island. Stockton has more than its share of crime but crime is far more likely to occur in those parts of the city judged below average. Crime is not limited to Stockton Three weeks ago, a man I knew was shot and killed at a Taco Belle in Manteca. Stockton traffic is tolerable almost always but it can get a little congested by people traveling to and from work. Over the past 30 years, Stockton has become a bedroom community to Sacramento (45 minutes north) and the Bay Area (over 90 minutes to west). Stockton drivers can be careless rushing through amber lights and even stop signs resulting in nasty accidents but accidents aren't limited to Stockton. Stockton drivers aren't anywhere as rube as drivers anywhere in the Bay Area or Los Angeles. As a pedestrian, my wife was hit by a car and died 2 days later in Sonora. My house has never been robbed. My business was never robbed. I've experienced no vandalism. When I am out and about, people I don't know routinely nod or say hi (I smile a lot): Stockton is NOT New York.The single most important thing to remember is that Stockton has gang violence in below average neighborhoods and one would be wise to avoid then, even when driving, especially after dark. My son was political canvasing perhaps 6 years ago in one such neighborhood and he was mugged but not hurt. My grandson was sitting on a levee after midnight and he was mugged. When he resisted the three teens beat him up. Both incidents occurred in areas where neither should have been after dark. I grew up in NYC and came to California in fall 1974. I was taught urban awareness at a young age. I know I'm not invincible and there is never a time when I'm not aware of my surroundings. I never racially profile people, and I don't cross the street to avoid people. If Stockton has short comings, it is with local quality of life. Stockton city government seems opposed to any sort of nightlife. We have two cineplexes, no independent movie house playing art or foreign films, no quality nightclubs or small music venues, too many chain restaurants almost all that close at 9:00 PM or before on weeknights. There is a lot of music in Modesto and sacramento but driving 45 minutes seems inconvenient. Many people in the city seek entertainment around church-related event. We have small college basketball, volleyball, and baseball, and, professional baseball and hockey teams. We have 4 private golf courses, 3 municipal golf courses, and, each is quite different and quite nice. The city has a marvelous symphony, a professional opera every 18 months, a talented amateur theater group, a musical chorale, and, every conceivable type of youth and adult sports league. It has a new sports complex with roller rink, and a year round ice rink. Stockton is a port city on the eastern edge of the delta: Fishing, water fowl hunting, boating, sailing, water skiing, and jet skiing are popular during warm moths. The Lodi wine region is 10 minutes north of my house with at least 50 wineries to visit. Yosemite National Park is 3 hours to south-southeast, Monterey Bay is 90 minutes to south-southwest, San Francisco is 90 minutes to west, Lake Tahoe is 3 hours to northeast, Reno is 3,5 hours to northeast, and the Motherlode Gold Country is a hour to the east. Los Angeles in is 6 hours by freeway south. It requires a short drive to be out of the city in any direction.Stockton has embraced racial and ethnic diversification, with substantial, Hispanic, Southeast Asian, Sikh, Jewish, African American, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino populations. I've seen virtually no racially motivated difficulties in the city and except for routine gang violence, everyone seems to get along fine. As with most cities, local government is inept and corrupt (they've never seen a development they didn't love regardless how crappy it maybe and regardless of how slimy the developer might be). Water front development beginning in the late 90s and 2000s bankrupt the city but that portion of the downtown looks nice. The rest of original downtown is largely a mess. In my opinion, shopping opportunities are marginal with the focus on big box stores (3 Wal-Marts, 2 Targets, Costco, Lowes, Home Depot). These superstores have driven smaller entities out of business. There are two small indoor Malls, a lame Sears, JC Penny, and Macy; Dillards is the one upscale department store. It takes effort to find unique presents and if one seeks anything unusual one shops on the internet. There is one B&N bookstore that closes at 9:00 PM.If Stockton has faults it's with diversity of opportunities for recreation, night life, and cultural enrichment. There are many things to do but they tend to be limited in type, number, and scale. Stockton has 300,000 people and san Joaquin County almost 1 million. The primary industry is agriculture and from March to October organic and fresh vegetables are abundant. But the ag industry is not technology so available jobs are typically modest paying or seasonal. There are many retailing jobs but again these don't pay well. Stockton has marginal industrial development. Recently, we've seen the arrival of insurance facilities and because of its central location warehousing is a substantial employer. Stockton generally suffers from a lack of imagination and an inability for future planning. Thinking is almost always short term and little effort seems focused on unintended consequences. People aren't stupid; they observe this and become cynical. Perhaps a dozen families get what they want out of local government and usefulness of the larger population hardly merits serious consideration. For better or worse, the city seems content to have married itself to agriculture regardless of its short comings as an employer or desires to promote opportunities beyond itself. It is difficult for community non-profits to raise money and its been that way for decades. I honestly don't see this changing in the future. In the 1960s, the urban renewal wrecked downtown and the antagonism of community development for adaptive reuse of wonderfully unique pre-WWII buildings led to the destruction of a magnificent 19th century domed court house and dozens of other buildings. As late as 2000, city planners preferred demolishing old buildings and leaving empty lots as a means of 'banking' land for future development. The idea was beyond stupid. The city lost its chance to recreate a pre-war downtown district decades ago. Government permitted developers to open new malls in the mid-1950s far from downtown and consequently downtown fell into terminal decay. This led to a efforts to rehabilitate the waterfront and ultimate city bankruptcy.Evaluating cities as this web site tries to do is truthfully rubbish. To know and understand any city requires spending a lot of time there and understanding its culture. Stockton is a quiet city with plenty to do if you like the opportunities offered. It is one of the least expensive places to live while priding relatively easy access to surrounding areas. It rarely floods, doesn't have earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, or hurricanes. Traffic congestion occurs but it's short-lived. People are pleasant enough. And the city police aren't out of control. Being widely traveled I can say for sure: Stockton is neither the best nor worst place I've lived or visited. If moving here, I'd consider renting in an average neighborhood before chosing a permanent residence.
Stockton is one of the worst city I have ever been to, I want to warn everyone to stay away from this horrible city. They stole my moving truck taking everything I own, I hate this city and so should everyone else. I think the econo lodge should be destroyed, it is filthy, a hangout for the worst form of life, extremely dangerous, it is ready for a wrecking ball, and should be burned to the ground. STAY AWAY FROM STOCKTON CALIFORNIA!!!!
I was born and raised here and it is a terrible city to live in. I moved to Manteca, Ca when I turned 18 and it was slightly better, although there really was nothing to do there, however, there is slightly less crime. I moved to Sacramento at 24 and that was 100 times better than Stockton. The people in Stockton are the rudest, most selfish people you will ever meet. My sister had her cars stolen multiple times. My parents cars have been broken into. My brother in law was shot driving home from the county fair, minding his own business. The bank I had been doing my banking at was just robbed and a hostage was killed. Unless gangs and violence is your thing I urge you to look elsewhere for a place to live.
I lived in Sacramento for about five years. Sacramento is approximately an hour drive from Stockton. I used to pass through Stockton all the time when making the six hour drive to Los Angeles; Yosemite is only a short three hour drive too. Stockton is a quiet agricultural city that sits on Highway 99. Stockton is great place to visit and take a boat ride or you can ride your boat all the way from San Francisco to Stockton!
Stockton sits on the Delta and is a major shipping port. If you have things that you want to go from ocean to land via rail then Stockton is your town. They also have the Asparagus Festival every year which has all kinds of cool things to do. At the festival you can meet celebrity cooks, join in eating contests and purchase locally grown produce.
Unfortunately it is also the number one city in the country for single family home foreclosures. The summer heat is also a consideration to make when visiting Stockton--bring plenty of shorts.