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A 24-hour getaway to Stockton, California’s other portside city

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When you live within driving — or BARTing — distance of San Francisco, it’s easy to forget Northern California has another portside city, one that’s less busy, less expensive and often easier to reach. Stockton is an up-and-comer with plenty to boast about, from big city attractions (think food trucks and shopping) to small town charms (homemade ice cream, anyone?).
Slip away from the Bay Area’s hustle and bustle to spend a day in Stockton, just a hop, skip and a jump away from home. Here’s the perfect itinerary for that jaunt.
10 a.m. Frittatas and sandos
It doesn’t take long to get to this city, especially when you’re zooming against traffic. Stop at Cast Iron Trading Co.  at 114 N. San Joaquin St. to fuel your day. Once known as Cast Iron Cheese, Eric Lee and Tommy Mogan’s eatery became popular with locals as a pop-up shop and street food vendor. Now they serve specialty coffees and housemade breakfast items from a brick-and-mortar downtown. Dine in or get it to go.
Cast Iron Trading serves everything from breakfast sandos to Lockeford’s spicy sausage sliders. Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group
Or take a detour to Midtown Creperie at 2319 Pacific Ave. This New Orleans-inspired gem serves crepes both savory and sweet — plus beignets!
Details:   www.facebook.com/CastIronTradingCo .;  midtowncreperie.com
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11 a.m. Makers and shops
Part maker’s market, part food festival, part concert in the park — there’s no other street fair quite like the 3-year-old Stockmarket. This every-other-month showing of artists, makers and entrepreneurs hocking their wares at Martin Luther King Plaza has continued to grow. It’s a one-stop shop to experience the sights, sounds, tastes and goods of Stockton.
The next Stockmarkets will be Aug. 11 and Oct. 13, so if you’re there another day, you’ll need to make other plans. Luckily, Stockton has some robust shopping centers, including Lincoln Center, where the clothes are posh and the housewares are on-trend.
Details:   www.stockmarketca.com ;  lincolncentershops.com.
Many of Stockton’s newest restaurants and shops are clustered in Lincoln Center. (VisitStockton.org) 
12 p.m. Bites and brews
Stockton is home to a fleet of street-food trucks that frequent downtown and the surrounding area. From gyros at Go Falafel Extra Virgin Greek Food to fine Cuban cuisine at Elsa’s Paladar, there’s a little bit of everything on wheels. Green Papaya, which was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive Ins & Dives,” brings a mix of Lao and Thai food.
Most of the trucks post locations on Facebook and tracking down a favorite is half the fun. Both Go Falafel ( www.facebook.com/GoFalafel4u ) and Elsa’s ( http://bit.ly/2M0FrRs)  are often parked on Pacific Avenue near Benjamin Holt Drive. Find Green Papaya’s truck and fast-casual restaurant at  www.facebook.com/greenpapayaft .
Then head for Channel Brewing Company  at 110 N. San Joaquin St., next to Cast Iron Trading. Four friends opened this brewpub last year, on a mission to brew good beer and encourage outdoor living. The Channel squad has seven brews on tap, ready to taste and featuring everything from a sour IPA to a blonde ale. Tip back a few, or grab a six-pack to go. The staff is required to be walking encyclopedias on the best places to hike, paddleboard and play disc golf nearby — so if you’re up for an adventure, don’t be afraid to ask.
Channel Brewing opened its tasting room last year in downtown Stockton. (Bay Area News Group) 
Still hungry? Every dessert is Instagram-worthy at Stockton’s House of Ice Cream at 947 N. El Dorado St., where the over-the-top treats are made fresh daily with locally sourced ingredients. Order up a crazy milkshake — horchata, perhaps, butter brittle or PB&J — served in a mason jar and topped with a doughnut.
Details: channelbrewing.co. ;  www.houseoficecream.net
3 p.m. Splashes and trails
How can you visit a portside city and not get in the water? The 180-acre Oak Grove Regional Park on Eight Mile Road is one of the best parks in the Central Valley. Hook a catfish in the 10-acre lake or rent a paddleboat ($6) and splash about. There’s disc golf, hiking trails, a nature center and picnic areas, too. Plus it’s pet friendly, although Fido ($1) will need a leash.
Rent a paddleboat and you can swan about the 10-acre lake in Stockton’s Oak Grove Regional Park in grand style. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group) 
Details:  4520 W. Eight Mille Road;  www.sjparks.com . Parking is $5-$10 (no credit cards).

6 p.m. Dinner and a show
Stockton’s food scene has taken off. It’s hard to go wrong with delectable eats from celebrity chef Michael Midgley and waterfront Mexican cuisine at Nena’s Mexican restaurant. If you’re looking for the perfect mix of casual and elegant, step into De Vega Brothers, a white-tablecloth Italian restaurant known for its traditional eats.
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Finish your evening at Stockton’s Bob Hope Theatre with a show — a comedian, perhaps, musician or classic movie. Built in 1930, this historic landmark blends modern technology with architectural wonders and classy decor. Don’t miss the 1,200-square-foot marble mosaic floor in the center of the lobby. You’ll find an event schedule at  StocktonLive.com  that ranges from epic Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd to ukulele legend Jake Shimabukuro and more.
Stockton’s Bob Hope Theatre dates back to 1930.  (VisitStockton) 
Details: Midgley’s is open daily at Lincoln Center;  www.midgleyspublichouse.com .   Find Nena’s Mexican Cuisine at 445 W. Weber Ave.; www.nenasmexicanrestaurant.com.  De Vega Brothers is at 5757 Pacific Ave.;  www.devegabrothers.com . The Bob Hope Theatre is at 242 E Main St.
11 p.m. Zzzzz’s
Hit the pillow at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, where the rooms are spacious and there’s room to lounge just steps from the Stockton Port and Banner Island Ballpark. Plus the hotel’s Delta Bistro serves a mimosa brunch on Sundays.
Details:  110 W. Fremont St.;  universityplazawaterfronthotel.com
Find more Stockton adventures at www.mercurynews.com/tag/stockton-travel.

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