Note: Given that I've only lived here a month, this naturally is not authoritative! I'm hopeful people will run with it. [And, in the process, maybe tell me about stuff I should know about?]

While many people come to Davis planning to live here for a long time, some of the population knows from the beginning that their time in Davis will be short.

Some examples are:

  • Visiting professors or scholars at UC Davis
  • Contract employees at local companies
  • Exchange students from other universities
  • Graduate students doing research in a campus lab or library

It's not easy to uproot for a short time, but this wiki includes links to a variety of topics that can make getting here, getting settled, and feeling less isolation a lot easier.

Finding a place to live

Once you've decided to spend some time here, you'll need to find a place in which to do it. This can be harder if you're not going to be here for the one year that is the duration of a typical lease.

You can find a place before you arrive

  • If you are a visiting scholar with a letter of invitation, you can stay in one of the three Visiting Scholar Apartments owned by the university for up to three months. Each of the apartments has a queen bed(s), large balcony, washer/dryer, full kitchen, TV, internet access, mail box, etc. They run $400-$450 per week. Included with rental is a campus parking pass. To check availability, make a reservation, and view more amenities, go to:
  • Craigslist for Sacramento includes ads that can be helpful, either under the sublet&temporary category or the rooms&shares category. You can also list your own ad, under housing wanted. Just use common sense and watch out for roommate scams.
  • You can contact managers of apartment complexes; if you are arriving mid-year, they may have some tenants who have left, and be happy to have you fill in the time remaining on their lease.
  • Other sources of classified ads:
  • The Housing Guide page may be helpful.
  • Services for International Students & Scholars (SISS) has his own bulletin which is weekly updated and for which you can suscribe here. It provides listings of items for sale, available housing and related items. If you want to have a message posted on your behalf, you will need to send your message to SISS at

* Cranbrook apartmentstakes part in the global units program, get info thru UCD

It can be worrying to rent an apartment sight unseen. It's probably better to have someone (like the person you're visiting in Davis) look at the apartment to verify it exists, before you send thousands of dollars through the mail.

Or you can arrive, and find a place after you get here

You'll want a place to stay while you're hunting.

Making sure everything's connected

If you've found a place in advance of arriving, it's good to ensure that it has lights and phone service. Cable and broadband internet service are also handy.

Bizarrely, some utilities will expect you to know your new ZIP code even though you've never lived here before. The Davis ZIP codes are 95616 and 95618. The ZIP Codes page provides more information on the parts of town encompassed by each.

  • Phone service: AT&T is the local phone provider. You can order service through their website or you can call them: 1-800-310-2355. They generally offer incentives such as "free installation" through their website, which may or may not be available by phone. They may require a deposit.
    • Or, you can just use your cellphone from back home. You could also subscribe to digital voice services through the cable company.
  • Power and gas: PG&E is the local power company. 1-800-PGE-5000. They may require a deposit.
  • Cable: Comcast is the local provider. You can order service through their website or by calling 1-800-266-2278. They may require a deposit.
  • Broadband providers are numerous. If you want to avoid comparison shopping, both DSL via AT&T or cable modem via Comcast are easy options; neither company has a minimum term requirement. Depending on where you end up living, it's likely that you'll have at least one neighbor who already has broadband and is willing to share it via WiFi. It'd be fair to offer to pay one-third to one-half that person's monthly internet fees. Also keep in mind that some apartment complexes offer free or paid internet services to tenants.

Making sure your mail gets to you.

  • For a short-term move, it's easiest to just have an email provider that lets you read your email here.
  • For your postal mail, the Postal Service can forward it, and you can sign up online. Do so a couple weeks in advance.

Getting to Davis, and getting around in Davis

  • You can take a Yolo County Yolobus to Davis from the nearest passenger airport, [SMF], in Sacramento. Or you can take the SuperShuttle, whose desk is right by the baggage claim area.
  • Amtrak serves Davis via its Capitol Corridor commuter route, which usefully connects Davis to the Bay Area. Davis is also served by long-distance Amtrak trains including the Coast Starlight, which runs north-south (Seattle, WA - Los Angeles, CA) and the California Zephyr, which runs east-west (Chicago, IL - Emeryville, CA). Connecting trains or buses to just about anywhere can be had from these routes.
  • You may need a car when you're here, or it at least may help for the first chunk of time that you're here. See Car rental.

Once you get here, you'll still need to get around. The Yolo County Visitors Bureau, which is at 604 2nd St., will give you tons of maps. 530-297-1900

  • If you're lucky enough to live downtown, you may never need to do anything but walk once you're comfortably settled.
  • Or, you can get a Bike, and join the hordes of cyclists in town.
  • There are are also city/university buses run by Unitrans. One important thing to know is that most buses don't run on Sundays.
  • If you're connected to UC Davis, you can take the Davis Berkeley Shuttle to that UC campus.

Having things to sit on, sleep on, cook with, and eat on

While it helps to have brought stuff from wherever you actually live, you've surely forgotten something.

It makes a lot of sense to get used stuff when you're only here short-term.

  • Craigslist includes several "for sale" categories, and also a useful items wanted category. It's hard to use craigslist successfully if you don't have a car, but some people will even come to you and bring stuff for you to buy. So much good karma!
  • Freecycling is a movement whereby people exchange stuff for free. This is also probably easier if you have a car.
  • Alternatives to Buying lists several options under "Furnishing your apartment" that may be helpful, especially if you're lucky enough to be arriving near either Moving Day or Freshmen Move Out Day.
  • There are a few Thrift Stores in town.
  • There's a used furniture store on L St. (creatively named L Street Furniture), but people on the wiki don't seem too impressed.

You may need some new stuff, too.

One annoying thing about Davis is that there is no downtown drugstore. The nearest one is a Rite Aid just north of campus.

You've gotta eat

Eventually, you'll move out

At the end of your time here, you'll need to wrap up your living situation, get rid of the stuff you don't need, get back your security deposit, close all your utility accounts, forward your mail, and go home. But the original author of this page is still here, so hopefully someone else will jump in and describe this process!

Or, you could always move here.


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2010-02-05 22:11:15   I needed a place to stay for only three months (Feb to May) and got a dozen replies on an ad I posted on Craigslist. Highly recommended. —LarryMacPhail