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From its arts and entertainment to its colleges, theres plenty to be proud of in Stockton
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Last weeks StocktonCon was deemed a success, drawing more than 13,500 fans during the two-day special event held at the Stockton Arena. - photo by Photo Contributed

Manuel Laguna shared his ideal day in downtown Stockton.

He not only was born and raised here but gives walking tours of the area as a member of the Stockton Downtown Alliance for the past 10 years.

“I would walk around the waterfront and then go to a jazz concert at Bob Hope (Fox) Theater,” said Laguna in the Official Visit Stockton Guide. “I would then have dinner at the Delta Bistro and Lounge at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel.”

I ran into Laguna on Thursday as he awaited an elevator at the historic 125 Bridge Place building. That’s the home for the past year of Visit Stockton. “I usually take the stairs but my knee is bothering me,” he said.

Living in the Port City is about taking the good with the bad. It seems as if those on the inside looking out will dwell on the latter. Take for example the recent Bank of the West robbery, the city filing for chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, or even the school shooting at Cleveland School of 25 years ago – these events made the national news.

As in everything in life, the good far outweigh the bad. Even in Stockton.

I’m also a product of the area, but spent a bulk of my adulthood in Fresno, where I half-jokingly say that there was no decent Mexican or Chinese restaurants.

I also missed the Delta and how it would often cool down the summer nights.

The Delta is home to the Port of Stockton – not to be confused with the Stockton Ports, the high-A California League baseball team (more on that).

Stockton’s uniqueness is boasting the only inland seaport in the U.S.

In the past 15 years, city leaders capitalized on the Deep Water Channel feature with a revitalization effort with the Stockton Marina & Joan Darrah Promenade (445 W. Weber Ave.), Weber Point Events Center (221 N. Center St.), Stockton Arena (248 W. Fremont St.), Banner Island Ballpark (403 W. Fremont St.), Regal City Centre Cinemas (222 N. El Dorado St,), University Plaza Waterfront Hotel (110 W. Fremont St.) and DeCarli Square (31 E. Channel St.).

The Stockton Arena just hosted StocktonCon and organizers were thrilled with the overwhelming turnout and enthusiasm.

All told, more than 13,500 fans turned out for the two-day event celebrating popular culture (comics, card games, video games, anime, science fiction, toys, television and movies). Celebrity guests from the big screen included Danny Glover, Richard Kiel, and Linda Blair, to name a few.

Speaking of the movies, Stockton was the film location for the original All the King’s Men (1949), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Fat City (1972), The World’s Greatest Athlete (1973), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Sure Thing (1985), and Flubber (1997), starring the late great Robin Williams.

In sports, the Stockton Arena is home of the East Coast Hockey League’s Stockton Thunder.

Since becoming an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, the Ports have been a pipeline of talent to Major League Baseball. Occasionally, the big leaguer – most recently, A’s right-fielder Josh Reddick – will pop into Stockton on a rehab assignment.

When it comes to Division I college action, the University of the Pacific plays a bonafide schedule since recently joining the West Coast Conference. Last season, the Spanos Center produced a near sellout when the men’s basketball team took on highly rated Gonzaga.

As for entertainment, legends such as Bill Cosby, B.B. King, and Jerry Seinfeld have played at the Bob Hope (Fox) Theater.

Stone Creek, Lincoln Village, Park West Place, Weberstown Mall, Sherwood Mall and the Miracle Mile are popular shopping destinations.

When it comes to dining out, the Miracle Mile alone has a diverse offering – The Abbey Trappist Pub (2353 Pacific Ave. #B), The AVE (2333 Pacific Ave.), Centrale Restaurant (1825 Pacific Ave.), Cocoro Japanese Bistro & Sushi (2105 Pacific Ave.), Midtown Creperie (2319 Pacific Ave.), Saigon Vietnamese Cuisine (1904 Pacific Ave.), Suzy’s Mexican Restaurant (120 W. Harding Way), Mile Wine Company (2313 Pacific Ave.), Whirlow’s Tossed and Grilled (1926 Pacific Ave.) and the Whisky Barrel Tavern (151 W. Alder St.), to name a few.

More information on what’s in and around Stockton can be found by logging on to or by calling 877.778.6258.