Arcata is a city in the North Coast of California. Arcata is a small university town on the north end of Humboldt Bay. It is well known for its hippie counter culture, progressive politics, and vegetarian restaurants. Arcata is the perfect place to relax while enjoying fresh air, the ocean, and the tallest trees on Earth. The pace of things is quite calm here, with usually as many bicyclists or people on foot as cars go by.



Sometimes referred to as being "behind the Redwood Curtain", Arcata has a unique culture that prides itself on all things alternative, and on localism and self-reliance above most everything else.

Due to its tolerant residents, Arcata attracts a large transient population. Most of these people are harmless "dharma bums". Expect to be asked for change every so often, but don't feel pressured to give any.

Visitor information


Get in


By car

  • & : There are two highway to Arcata: the 101, which runs north and south. Arcata is 7 hours south of Portland and 5 hours north of San Francisco. Highway 299 runs to Redding, 3 hours east, where it connects to Interstate 5.
  • Check to see if there are road closures before traveling in and out of the area. In the winter months heavy rains can cause flooding and mudslides on the 101.

By bus


1 Arcata Transit Center, is Arcata's central bus station for the local city buses (A&MRTS) and other bus lines. The station is located at 925 'E' St, a couple of blocks east of the central plaza along 9th St. It is served by:

  • Amtrak Thruway Motor Coach (Rt #7). Connects McKinleyville (via Arcata, Eureka, Willits, Ukiah, Santa Rosa, Napa, Vallejo, etc) to the Amtrak San Jaoquins and Capitol Corridor trains in Martinez. Tickets on this bus are only available for connections to Amtrak trains.
  • Greyhound Lines, toll-free: +1 800 231-2222. Greyhound travels along the US Hwy 101 corridor to the Bay Area (Arcata, Eureka, Rio Dell, Garberville, Willits, Ukiah, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Oakland and San Francisco). Passengers transfer in Oakland or San Francisco to continue to additional destinations. Arcata is Greyhound's northern terminus for the US Hwy 101 corridor.
  • Redwood Transit System (RTS) (Humboldt County Transit Authority). County-operated transit system along US-Hwy 101 (Scotia, Rio Dell, Fortuna, Fields Landing, King Salmon, Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville, Westhaven, Trinidad) and along Hwy 299 (McKinleyville, Arcata, Blue Lake, Willow Creek). Passengers transfer to Trinity Transit in Willow Creek to continue to Weaverville in Trinity County. Passengers can continue towards Redding from Weaverville on another Trinity Transit bus.
  • Redwood Coast Transit Rt #20 (RCT) (Del Norte County Public Transit), +1 707 464-6400. Continues north along US Hwy 101 from Arcata to Smith River via Crescent City, Klamath Glen, Redwood NP visitors center, etc. in Del Norte County. Passengers transfer to the Oregon Point to continue to Brookings and Medford, Oregon from Crescent City or Smith River (check schedules).
  • Blue Lake Rancheria Transit, +1 707 668-5101. Connects Arcata to the communities of the Blue Lake Rancheria Indian Reservation around Blue Lake

By plane


Get around

  • Arcata is the perfect walking town. Park near the Arcata Plaza and walk to numerous book stores, shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and banks, all within a few blocks of each other. Walk a little further to visit Cal Poly Humboldt, the Arcata Community Forest, or the Arcata Marsh. A remarkable walking experience would be walking in the Community Forest alongside The Jolly Giant stream. Remember respecting Nature, it's precious here!
  • Bike lanes abound. Drivers are generally used to and tolerant of bicyclists sharing the road, but as always, ride safely. If your bike breaks down, then Revolution Bicycle Repair is probably your best bet to get it fixed.
  • The Arcata and Mad River Transit System (A&MRTS) operates the Red, Gold, and Orange bus routes in Arcata. The Red and Gold routes operate on Monday-Friday, and the Orange route operates on Saturday. There is no bus service on the A&MRTS on Sunday.


  • Every Saturday morning in the spring, summer, and fall there is a farmers market on the central plaza.
  • People-watching on the Plaza is always a popular choice. Feel free to kick back on the grass and view a cross-section of the people who make Arcata Arcata!
  • Arcata is filled with vintage Victorian homes that are well cared for. Drive through the streets of Arcata for a tour.
  • Right behind the university is the Arcata Community Forest. If you see one thing in Arcata, this should be it. The transition from the university housing to a rainforest filled with ferns, rare birds and other animals, and crisscrossing footpaths along and over wooded streams coursing around older-than-ancient redwood trees, is truly awe-inspiring.
  • 1 Cal Poly Humboldt Natural History Museum, 1242 G St., +1 707 826-4479. Humboldt State University Natural History Museum (Q17488243) on Wikidata Humboldt State University Natural History Museum on Wikipedia



Arcata is less than 10 minutes from several scenic beaches, which are perfect for family outings, surfing, skimboarding, and all other beach activities.

You can go on a stroll of Downtown and take a tour of the public sculptures.

  • 1 Cal Poly Humboldt (on the east side of Highway 101), +1 707 826-3011. California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (Q624560) on Wikidata California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt on Wikipedia
  • 2 Redwood Park. Great biking trails, also, hiking trails, and the best playgrounds in town.
  • 3 Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary, +1 707-826-2359. This world-famous sanctuary doubles as the town's sewage treatment plant. (It smells and looks better than it sounds). It has walking trails, an Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center and bird watching blinds. It is the home of Godwit Days. Free. Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant and Wildlife Sanctuary (Q4785259) on Wikidata Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant and Wildlife Sanctuary on Wikipedia
  • 4 Arcata plaza. One of the greatest features of this city and also one of the many reasons it is such a great college town. There are always events taking place here, from Farmers' Market to the annual Arcata Oyster Festival. The plaza is also the starting point for the Kinetic Sculpture Race, the original triathalon of the art world.


  • 1 Heart Bead, +1 (707) 826-9577. A happenin' bead store on the plaza where they help you create your own jewelry for free! Cool, artsy ladies are eager to offer ideas and creativity.
  • Northtown Books, H St (a block or so up from the plaza). Small but well stocked independent bookstore.
  • People's Records. Record shop on the Plaza specializing in used vinyl, but carry used CDs as well.
  • Tin Can Mailman (10th & H). Excellent two-story used bookstore.
  • Wildwood Music, I St (near 11th). Fretted and stringed instruments, sheet music, amplifiers, etc.
  • 2 YouthAbility Thrift Shop, 1309 10th St. (west of the plaza, past K St.), +1 707 822-5019. Open every day, see website for hours.. 5,000 square feet of clothes, books, housewares, furniture and craft supplies. A job training location for at-risk youth.
  • Ancient Arts, 1065 K St (between 10th & 11th), +1 707-825-8282. M-Sa noon-8PM. A mom-and-pop tattooing, piercing, art gallery that looks like a cross between a medieval freak show and a natural history museum.


  • Hey Juan's, G Street. Good burritos.
  • La Chiquita (kitty-corner from the Minor Theatre). A "taco truck" serving cheap, decent Mexican food. Hit up the BRC (bean, rice, cheese) for the most bang for your buck.
  • Wildflower Cafe, G Street. Well known for its great vegetarian food.
  • Wildberries Marketplace (13th & G). You can order a deli sandwich or a juice smoothie, or get soup, salad and olives from the bar. There is also an extensive cold case with freshly made dishes ranging from pasta and lasagna to fruit salads and many exotic specialties, as well as daily grilled meats, vegetables and tofu. There is seating at the front of the store, and along the side in a covered patio with a bayside view. Inside the store is also Ramone's Bakery, with lots of fresh breads and pastries, plus coffee and espresso.
  • Renata's Creperie, G street. Has awesome crepes.
  • Tomo, 8th Street (between G&H). Japanese food.
  • Arcata Pizza Deli (APD), H Street. Has burgers (meat and veggie), pizza, salads and the best Tofu Reuben around. Open late.
  • Stars, G Street. Has good burgers (beef and veggie) and the best malts in town.
  • The Alibi (on the Plaza). Has tasty diner fare and good breakfasts with vegetarian options. Rock music most weekends
  • Ritas (near Greenhouse Boardshop). Popular place in town that serves the widest variety of Mexican food in town. Their huaraches are tasty.
  • Moonrise Herbs. Has delicious organic soups and salads.
  • Live from New York (next door to Sushi Spot). Serves huge, tasty slices of pizza with yummy salad on the side. Or get a pie to go!
  • 1 Los Bagels, 1061 I St, +1 707-822-3150. Los Bagels combines a Jewish ethnic tradition with the customs and tastes of Mexico in an outdoor/indoor café that churns with multicultural excitement.



Night life


Arcata's nightlife is condensed into a few square blocks, which is great because you can bar hop without ever having to drive your car; the police like this as well.

There are a couple local venues to catch live music in town some nights, including a couple of the bars on the plaza and Humboldt Brewery (10th & I).

  • The Alibi. A good place to get a local manhattan with an orange twist.
  • The Humboldt Brewery. A great place to enjoy several of the award-winning micro brews from the Humboldt County area, though they no longer brew beer themselves.
  • Redwood Curtain Brewing Company (about 1.6km south of the main square). They do tours and have a tasting room. Their beer is available at several places in Arcata and Eureka.

Coffee shops

  • Planet Chai. Arcata's own local chai, is available at any of the town's coffeeshops.
  • Jitter Bean (9th & G).
  • Caffe Mokka (5th and J). Not only is it a small quiet coffee shop that often has live Celtic music, it is home to Arcata's hot tubs. Finnish Country Sauna and Tubs offers private tubs and saunas for solo or group bathers. It is a good idea to bring your own towels.
  • Cafe Brio, 8th St.






  • KSLG. Humboldts New Rock - Tune into stream
  • KHUM. Radio Without the Rules - Tune into stream
  • KHSU. Diverse Public Radio - Tune into stream
  • KMUD. Redwood Community Radio - Tune into stream

Go next

  • Redwood National and State Parks is only a 45-minute drive to the north, with the southern boundary near Orick. Arcata is a great jumping-off point for visiting the ancient ecosystems that are protected inside the park boundary.
Routes through Arcata
Crescent CityMcKinleyville  N  S  EurekaSanta Rosa
END  W  E  Blue LakeRedding

This city travel guide to Arcata is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.