Everything About Vacaville, CA


The land that is now Vacaville was originally inhabited by the Patwin Native Americans. The Patwin lived in the area for thousands of years prior to European settlement.

In 1842, Manuel Vaca and Juan Felipe Pena were granted the 12,230 acre Rancho Los Putos land grant by the Mexican governor. By 1850, Vaca had acquired the entire rancho and used it mainly as grazing land for his cattle.

In 1851, Vaca sold a small section of his land to William McDaniel, who built a house and opened a stage coach stop called McDaniel’s Station. This was the first business established in what would later become Vacaville.

In 1855, Vaca sold more of his land to a group of developers who planned to build a town. The developers asked Vaca to name their new town, and he agreed to name it after himself, originally spelling it “Vacaville”.

Vacaville was founded as a town in 1856 and continued to grow due to its location along a main transportation route between Sacramento and San Francisco.

In 1871, the Vaca Valley Railroad was built, connecting Vacaville to other nearby towns and boosting its economy. Fruit orchards and farms began to spread across the fertile Vacaville area in the late 1800s. The town was incorporated in 1892 and continued to develop as an important agricultural community.


Vacaville is located in central Solano County, between the Vaca Mountains to the south and the Suisun Bay to the north. It sits approximately 35 miles southwest of Sacramento and 55 miles northeast of San Francisco.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Vacaville has a total area of 28.3 square miles, of which 27.5 square miles is land and 0.89 square miles (3.15%) is water.

Major bodies of water in Vacaville include Alamo Creek, Arroyo Creek, Bucktown Creek, Coburn Slough, Horse Creek, Pine Tree Creek, and Ulatis Creek. The city has a number of lakes and reservoirs including Blue Rock Springs Reservoir, Lake Madigan, and Lake Rhoda.

Vacaville has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. It experiences an average of 55 days per year with temperatures exceeding 90°F.


Some of the main neighborhoods and district areas in Vacaville include:

  • Downtown: The historic downtown district features Old Town Vacaville with shops, restaurants, and community events.
  • Alamo Gardens: A residential area with single-family homes southwest of Downtown.
  • Bucktown: An older residential area with Craftsman bungalows near Alamo Creek.
  • Vaca Valley: A commercial and residential area along I-80 near the Nut Tree Plaza.
  • Allison-Brown: A community with houses, apartments, and shopping centers in the southeast part of the city.
  • Elmira: A neighborhood in the northeast section of Vacaville.
  • East Vacaville: A large master-planned community with homes, schools, and parks in the eastern area of the city.
  • Gibson Canyon: A hilly area in the southern part of Vacaville with large residential properties.
  • Lagoon Valley: A planned residential community surrounding a large central lake feature.


Vacaville has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate typical of inland California. Summers are hot and dry while winters are cool and wet.

The summer months from June to September see average highs in the low 90s°F with temperatures sometimes exceeding 100°F. Overnight lows during summer average in the high 50s.

Winter months are mild and wet, with average highs in the mid 50s°F and lows around 40°F. Vacaville gets nearly all of its annual rainfall during the winter, averaging about 22 inches per year.

The area frequently experiences morning and evening fog from the San Francisco Bay area that helps moderate temperatures. The influence of the marine layer keeps nights cooler in the summer and days warmer in the winter.


As of the 2020 census, there were 101,833 people and 34,466 households residing in Vacaville. The racial makeup of Vacaville was 66.1% White, 13.5% Asian, 11.6% Hispanic/Latino, 7.4% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, and 3.5% from other races.

The median age is 36.7 years old. 24.5% of the population is under age 18 while 12.7% is aged 65 or older.

The average household size is 2.94 people. Around 59.5% of households are family households.

Vacaville has seen rapid population growth in recent decades. Between 1990 and 2020, the city’s population grew by over 50%. Ongoing development of new housing has supported the increasing population.


The economy of Vacaville is driven by a few major industries including biotechnology, food processing, advanced manufacturing, logistics, and retail. Some of the largest employers in Vacaville are:

  • Genentech – Biotechnology and pharmaceutical company
  • Kaiser Permanente Medical Center – Regional hospital and medical offices
  • Nestle USA – Food and beverage manufacturing
  • Walmart Distribution Center – Major retail distribution hub
  • Mission Linen Supply – Industrial laundry services
  • Leisure Town Furniture – Furniture retailer and manufacturer
  • Nut Tree Airport – General aviation airport with industrial park

Vacaville serves as a bedroom community for people working in the nearby cities of Fairfield and Sacramento. Many residents commute to jobs in the Bay Area as well. Housing is more affordable compared to other parts of the region.

The median household income in Vacaville is around $89,000, which is above the national median income. However, 8.7% of the population lives below the poverty line.


Vacaville has a strong community culture focused around family, outdoor recreation, sports, and civic events. Some highlights include:

  • Outdoor recreation at Lagoon Valley Park, Pena Adobe Park, and Lake Solano Park with biking, hiking, and boating opportunities.
  • Youth sports through programs like Vacaville Youth Football, Vacaville Elite Soccer, and Vacaville Bulldogs Baseball.
  • Community events like the Fiesta Days Parade, Miss Vacaville Pageant, Food Truck Fiesta, and annual Christmas tree lighting.
  • Performing arts and entertainment at venues like the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre and 3 Stages at the Vacaville Opera House.
  • Museums such as the Vacaville Museum showcasing local history and the Ilah Hess Glass Art Gallery.
  • Farmers markets, cultural street fairs, and seasonal festivals around holidays.
  • Wineries, breweries, and distilleries offering tastings and entertainment.

The city has over 20 public parks and active community services and volunteer programs. There are also events and activities geared towards the large veteran population.

Colleges and Universities

There are several higher education institutions located within Vacaville:

Solano Community College is a public community college founded in 1945. It offers associate degrees, certificates, and transfer programs. Total enrollment is around 11,000 students. The main campus is located on 260 acres in northeast Vacaville.

Touro University California is a private graduate university focused on health sciences and education. It offers master’s and doctoral programs as well as professional certificates. The campus is located in southwest Vacaville.

California State Prison, Solano provides education programs to incarcerated students including vocational training, high school equivalency, and associate degrees.

University of Phoenix, Fairfield Campus has a learning center in Vacaville providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs mostly online.

Nearby colleges and universities located within driving distance of Vacaville include University of California, Davis, California State University, Sacramento, Brandman University, and others.


Vacaville is served by national and regional media outlets as well as local publications and radio:

Newspapers: The main local newspaper is the Vacaville Reporter. Residents also read regional papers like the Fairfield Daily Republic, Sacramento Bee, and San Francisco Chronicle.

Television: Vacaville gets TV channels from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento media markets including KPIX, KCRA, and others.

Radio: Local radio stations include KUIC 95.3 FM (country), KPLS 830 AM (variety), and KVON 1440 AM (news/talk).

Magazines: Local magazines include Vacaville Magazine, Solano County Black Chamber Magazine, and Travis Air Force Base publications.

Online media: The city government website Vacaville.com provides news and information to residents. Social media sites like Vacaville 411 and Nextdoor also connect local community members.


Vacaville is conveniently connected to surrounding cities by several major highways and roads:

  • Interstate 80 runs directly through the center of Vacaville, heading northeast towards Sacramento and southwest towards the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the main route used to get to and from Vacaville.
  • Interstate 505 connects I-80 just north of Vacaville to I-5 near Winters, providing access to Woodland and Sacramento.
  • California State Route 113 runs north-south through the western side of Vacaville leading to Dixon and Davis to the north and Fairfield to the south.
  • Nut Tree Parkway is an arterial road running parallel to I-80 that serves many shopping areas and connects neighborhoods.
  • Vaca Valley Parkway is another main east-west arterial road that intersects I-80 and routes traffic around central Vacaville.
  • Orange Drive, Merchant Street, and Monte Vista Avenue are some other major roads facilitating traffic within Vacaville.

Public transportation is provided by Vacaville City Coach with routes throughout the city as well as commuter service to Fairfield and Sacramento.

Major Landmarks

Some of the most notable landmarks in Vacaville include:

  • Nut Tree Plaza – An outdoor shopping center with restaurants, entertainment, and amenities adjacent to the Nut Tree Airport. It serves as a community gathering place.
  • Nut Tree Airport – A historic general aviation airport originally built in the 1920s. It was the home of the Nut Tree restaurant, candy shop, toy store, and more.
  • Veterans Memorial Building – Built in 1931, this historic auditorium hosts community events and performances in Downtown Vacaville.
  • Peni Adobe Park – Preserves the adobe home of early Vacaville settler Manuel Cabeza Vaca and includes a museum and cultural exhibits.
  • Lagoon Valley Park – A large 300-acre community park with lakes, trails, sports fields, and the Walter Graham Aquatic Center.
  • Three Oaks Community Center – An event venue and recreation facility located in a historic 1932 stone building.
  • Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre – A modern theater that opened in 2012 hosting concerts, theater, dance, and more.
  • Vacaville Premium Outlets – An outlet mall with 150+ brand name stores that attracts shoppers from around the region.
  • Suisun Valley Wine Country – Over a dozen wineries line this scenic valley just south of Vacaville.

Vacaville’s heritage as an early California town can be seen in its historic downtown buildings, while newer developments highlight its growth into a thriving modern community. The city strikes a balance between preserving local history and continuing progress.


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  • Take I-80 E from SF. After 55 mi, take exit 43A to I-505 N. Drive 15 mi, take exit 29 to Vaca Valley Pkwy. Turn right, go 3.5 mi. Turn left on Leisure Town Rd, destination on right after 0.9 mi.
  • From SF, take I-80 E. After 1 hr, take exit 43A to I-505 N. Go 15 mi, take exit 29 to Vaca Valley Pkwy. Turn right, go 3.5 mi. Turn left on Leisure Town Rd, destination 0.9 mi on right.
  • From SF on I-80 E, drive 55 mi. Take exit 43A to I-505 N. After 15 mi take exit 29 to Vaca Valley Pkwy. Turn right, go 3.5 mi. Turn left on Leisure Town Rd, drive 0.9 mi, destination on right.