Exploring the Major Landmarks of Vacaville, CA

Nestled between the rolling hills of California’s wine country, Vacaville is a charming city with many unique landmarks and attractions. Though often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors like Napa and Sonoma, Vacaville has plenty to offer visitors who take the time to explore its tree-lined streets and diverse neighborhoods. In this local’s guide, we’ll highlight some of the top landmarks that make Vacaville special.

Nut Tree Airport

Perhaps Vacaville’s most iconic and historic landmark is the Nut Tree Airport. Located just off Interstate 80, this small private airport was originally built in the 1940s alongside the Nut Tree restaurant and amusement park. For decades, the Nut Tree was a popular roadside stop for travelers driving between San Francisco and Sacramento. Families would enjoy a meal in the restaurant, ride the miniature train, and watch small aircraft take off and land at the airport.

Though the Nut Tree complex closed in the 1990s, the airport was preserved and still operates today offering chartered flights and pilot training. Vintage biplanes are often seen gracefully gliding by, hearkening back to the early days of aviation. The airport celebrates Vacaville’s aviation heritage and remains a unique landmark bridging the past and present.

Vacaville Premium Outlets

As one of Vacaville’s major shopping destinations, the Vacaville Premium Outlets are a modern city landmark drawing visitors from around the region. This large outdoor mall contains over 120 name-brand outlet stores ranging from fashion and apparel to housewares and sporting goods. Popular stores include Nike, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, and Calvin Klein.

The outlets are located off I-80 at the Nut Tree Road exit, making them a convenient shopping stop for those traveling between the Bay Area and Sacramento. Savings between 25-65% off regular retail prices make the Vacaville Premium Outlets a bargain hunter’s paradise. The outdoor setting is ideal for leisurely strolling the pedestrian walkways and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many dining options.

Lagoon Valley Park

For outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing, Lagoon Valley Park is one of Vacaville’s most scenic secrets. Encompassing over 800 acres of grasslands, oak woodlands, and seasonal marshes, this hidden gem offers hiking, biking, birdwatching and the chance to spot wildlife including deer, coyotes, and raptors.

The centerpiece of the park is the 30-acre Lagoon Lake, a warm water fishing hole stocked with catfish, bass, bluegill, and crappie. Anglers of all ages enjoy casting their lines from the shoreline or small fishing pier. Nature trails wind through fields of wildflowers in the springtime and showcase panoramic views of the coastal range. With its peaceful setting and abundance of flora and fauna, Lagoon Valley Park is an urban oasis celebrated by Vacaville locals.

Vacaville Town Square

As Vacaville’s downtown social hub, Town Square is both a community gathering space and popular city landmark. Anchored by the handsome Vacaville City Hall building, the square comes alive for frequent public events and festivals throughout the year.

During the summer, concerts and movies in the square draw crowds on warm evenings. The Vacaville Farmer’s Market sets up on Saturday mornings, offering farm-fresh produce and artisanal treats. Annual events like Fiesta Days, Hot August Bites, and Festival of Trees make Town Square a lively venue for residents and visitors alike.

Surrounded by restaurants, shops, and cafes with outdoor seating, Town Square is the perfect spot to unwind and experience Vacaville’s small-town charm. For both locals and tourists, the square serves as the spirited heart of downtown.

Leisure Town Road Wine Trail

Wine enthusiasts visiting Vacaville should be sure to follow the Leisure Town Road Wine Trail located just south of town. Lined with over a dozen wineries and tasting rooms, this scenic country road offers a relaxed way to experience the region’s robust wine culture.

Wineries along the route specialize in varietals such as Petite Sirah, Barbera, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel – many grown right on site using sustainable practices. Rustic vineyards and sprawling ranch estates provide a picturesque backdrop as you travel from winery to winery.

Popular stops include Barbera Country, McMillan Vineyards, Purple Pearl Vineyards and Paradise Valley Vineyard. The wineries are family-owned and offer intimate tasting experiences with the winemakers themselves. The Leisure Town Wine Trail is a hidden gem where visitors can sip award-winning wines while soaking up Vacaville’s natural beauty.

Vacaville Museum

To learn about Vacaville’s early beginnings, the Vacaville Museum is a historicol landmark operated by the Vacaville Heritage Council. Housed in a former Carnegie library built in 1908, the museum’s exhibits highlight various aspects of local heritage.

Permanent exhibits showcase Basketweavers from the Patwin Indians, Vacaville’s early farming roots, and the development of Vaca Valley into a modern city. Historic artifacts like an 1890s steam-powered traction engine built by local inventor George Morrill are proudly on display.

The museum also includes memorabilia from the once-famous Nut Tree complex that put Vacaville on the map as a popular roadside retreat. With its engaging exhibits and educational programs, the Vacaville Museum celebrates the city’s cultural landmarks and legacy.

Alamo Creek Hiking Trail

For scenic views of Vacaville from the foothills, the Alamo Creek Hiking Trail is a moderately challenging route wrapping around the edges of town. The well-maintained double track trail stretches over 5 miles as it climbs from Alamo Creek canyon up to the ridge tops.

Along the way, hikers are treated to panoramic vistas overlooking Vacaville, the Suisun Valley, and the rolling Coast Range mountains beyond. Wildflowers and oak trees line the path, which connects to other area trails for those seeking a longer trek. Interpretive signs describe the native plants and wildlife that thrive in this open space wilderness.

The Alamo Creek Trail is easily accessed from several neighborhoods on Vacaville’s east side. Offering a diverse landscape just steps from downtown, it’s a scenic natural landmark perfect for an invigorating hike or leisurely stroll.

Performing Arts Theatre

As Vacaville’s premier performing arts venue, the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre is both an architectural and cultural landmark for the city. Originally the Vacaville Opera House, this striking Spanish Revival-style building first opened in 1932.

After undergoing a major renovation and restoration in the early 2000s, the theater began operating as the Performing Arts Theatre. With its lavish interior details and intimate 750-seat auditorium, the venue is reminiscent of an Old Hollywood movie palace.

Today the theater hosts Broadway touring companies, well-known music acts, comedy shows, ballet and community theater productions. Upcoming shows are often featured on the classic marquee sign out front, making the Performing Arts Theatre easy to spot when driving down Main Street. For live entertainment in a historic setting, it’s one of Vacaville’s treasured landmarks.

Vacaville Skate Park

Known as one of the premier skate parks in Northern California, Vacaville Skate Park is an exciting landmark drawing extreme sports enthusiasts. Located in Lenahan Park, this sprawling concrete course contains numerous bowls, ramps, rails, and jumps catering to skaters and BMX riders of all skill levels.

Skaters come from across the region to ride the park’s signature features like a 14-foot superbowl, snake run, and treacherous tombstone. Contests and events held at the skate park attract pros and amateurs alike, further cementing Vacaville’s reputation as a skating destination.

With its street plaza design and smooth-riding terrain under palm trees, the Vacaville Skate Park is popular hangout celebrating youth culture and healthy action sports.

Browns Valley Trail

For a scenic hike near Vacaville’s southern edge, the Browns Valley Trail offers natural woodlands and a historic stone winery as landmarks along the route. Winding through Browns Valley itself, this 5-mile trail passes through a mix of oak forest, grasslands and riparian habitat with two small creek crossings.

Midway, hikers can explore the ruins of Elmira Winery, a once-thriving stone winery built in the late 1800s that lent the trail its nickname of “Winery Trail.” Further along are remnants of a pioneer-era flour mill and aqueduct channel diverting water to local farms. Other highlights include wildflower displays in spring and distant views of the Suisun Valley.

Rich in both natural and historic landmarks, the Browns Valley Trail appeals to nature lovers and history buffs alike. It provides an easy hike close to Vacaville with plenty to discover along the way.

Vacaville Community Veterans Memorial

Honoring Vacaville’s military veterans and service members is the moving Community Veterans Memorial. Dedicated in 1997, this open-air monument in Andrews Park pays tribute to the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces. Its centerpiece is a polished granite obelisk engraved with images from all military branches.

Surrounding the obelisk is a Walk of History lined with commemorative bricks honoring individual veterans. Grouped around this are five black granite pillars representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. The memorial is the site of annual Veterans Day ceremonies and other patriotic events.

With its prominent town center location, respectful design and emotional impact, the Veterans Memorial reminds residents and visitors alike of Vacaville’s strong sense of patriotism and support for the military.

Final Thoughts

This sampling of Vacaville’s top landmarks provides a glimpse into what makes the city special. From historic sites like the Nut Tree Airport to natural treasures like Lagoon Valley Park, Vacaville offers rewarding sights for visitors who choose to venture beyond the main highways.

Community gathering places like the Performing Arts Theatre and Town Square speak to the civic pride residents feel for their city. And outdoor attractions from wine trails to hiking satisfy active adventurers looking to explore Vacaville’s beautiful landscapes. With this local’s guide, start creating your own itinerary to uncover the best of Vacaville, California!


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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.