Most of Davis is fairly easy to navigate around via various means of transportation because a large portion of it was planned to follow a basic grid pattern. However, navigating through some parts of Davis can be difficult, as streets are not clearly differentiated, signage is inadequate, and many of Davis' streets have names that are completely unmemorable. It doesn't impede navigation much, but it makes giving directions difficult. Even then, it's useful to look at a map. If you get lost downtown, you can always look at the Downtown Map Signs.
Downtown Davis is on the grid system where lettered streets run north/south and numbered streets run east/west. On north/south streets, addresses start at the last numbered street. For example, on E street, the 300 block is between 3rd street and 4th street. The same applies to most north/south streets in Central and Downtown Davis. Some geocoding software still have issues on this simple grid, as the block between 3rd and 4th has addresses from 300 to 350, and the next block from 400 to 450.
From some locations, on a clear day, hills are visible to the west which can be useful in navigation.
In many areas of Davis, the street names conform to different themes. Some of these themes reflect the unique social climate of the community. For example, many streets in the Village Homes development are named after characters and places in The Hobbit. Other streets are named after prestigious universities. Other themes are fairly standard, such as a section of North Davis in which streets are named after different species of birds. Some streets have talking crosswalks.
Shortcuts allow you to get from point to point in non-obvious ways. Many cut across areas that are supposedly blocked to traffic (part of the planned growth), but are accessible to foot or bike traffic - or in some cases can be navigated with a vehicle.
- Downtown offers many local shops and is impossible to park in for any length of time.
- Central Davis is primarily housing, and includes Frat Row.
- West Davis is also largely housing with a small shopping center.
- South Davis is residential mixed with University offices and Freewayside businesses.
- North Davis has most of supermarkets to feed the town, and yet more housing.
- East Davis is confusing. Try to avoid it if you don't live there.
- UC Davis Campus is where much of Davis goes to work/school.
- The Outskirts is the large area of farm fields surrounding the town.
- See also Neighborhoods
Major east/west thoroughfares (listed north to south)
- Covell Boulevard — not to be confused with Cowell Boulevard (see Covell vs. Cowell)
- 8th Street — Divided into East and West 8th; the split occurs at A Street
- 5th Street — which turns into Russell Boulevard west of B Street, as City Hall is located at 23 Russell Blvd.
- Cowell Boulevard
Major north/south thoroughfares (listed west to east)
- Lake Boulevard
- Arthur Street
- Sycamore Lane
- Anderson Road — becomes La Rue Road south of Russell Boulevard.
- Oak Avenue
- F Street
- L Street
- Pole Line Road
- Mace Boulevard
Important connecting streets
- Richards Boulevard — connects South Davis with downtown via the underpass.
- Pole Line Road — connects South Davis with East Davis via an overpass.
Mace Boulevard — as Covell curves southward, it becomes Mace, which connects to South
- Arlington Boulevard — forks from Russell Boulevard to connect to the north part of West Davis
The UCD campus is closed to vehicle traffic, unless you happen to be there on official business. Bicycling or walking is your best bet for navigating campus. If you're visiting by car, there are many parking options (almost all paid). The main ways for vehicles to navigate around the edges of main campus:
- Russell Boulevard (north edge)
- La Rue Road (west side)
- La Rue Road / Old Davis Road / Mrak Hall Drive / Arboretum Drive (convoluted route around the south side)
- A Street (northbound only) and B Street (east edge)
If you've got a GPS and want to set a waypoint for downtown, the intersection of 3rd and G Street is 38º32'42" N, 121º44'21" W. If you're more into the whole compass thing, the declination is 14.21º (as of July 2010), but check here as it changes over time.