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15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Turlock, California

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Turlock, California, is the second largest city in Stanislaus County, located in the heart of California’s Central Valley region. Nearby cities in this corner of California include Modesto, Livingston, and Ceres.

It is believed the name “Turlock” originated from the Gaelic word “Turlough,” the name of a village in Ireland as found in James Payn’s story, “Bred in the Bone.” The city was founded in 1871 and was largely known for its grain farming and ranching.

Today, Turlock is still known as an agricultural hub, with almonds being the most abundant crop produced. However, the area also produces a high volume of walnuts, peaches, beans, and cherries and is also a major national supplier of chickens, eggs, milk, and turkeys.

The city’s success in agriculture and ranching is due, in part, to its Inland Mediterranean climate, with summers that are generally hot and dry and winters that are cooler and experience more rainfall. Many fun things to do in Turlock, California, revolve around farming and ranching.

Need that sweet, sweet Turlock info right now?! Review the list below to find some of Turlock, California’s best things to do!


  • Most significant landmark – Turlock Community Theatre
  • Park to visit – Donnelly Park
  • Free activity – Hilmar Cheese Company
  • Activity for kids – Stanislaus County Fairgrounds
  • Activity for adults – Rembrandt & Rosé
  • Place to eat – La Mo Restaurant
  • Nightlife – The Rail
  • Place to stayHampton Inn Turlock

Things to Do in Turlock, California

1. Turlock Historical Society Museum

Address: 108 S. Center Street, Turlock, CA 95380

The Turlock Historical Society Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing Turlock’s rich historical past. It contains 25 displays that detail the city’s founding, its economic progress, cultural history, and its family and community life over the past 150 years.

The museum building is more than 100 years old, and when it was built in 1910, it was the home of the Palace Meat Market. Since then, it has housed a barber shop, a deli, and a shoe repair business.

The building was given to the Turlock Historical Society in 1999, and in 2002, renovations were completed, which restored the structure to its original glory.

Today, the Turlock Historical Society Museum features a small gift shop in addition to the many exhibits. Admission is completely free, though hours of operation are limited, and the museum is generally only open on Saturdays.

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2. Pageo Lavender Farm

A lavender farm

Address: 11573 Golf Road, Turlock, CA 95380

The Pageo Lavender Farm is a delightful place to spend a relaxing afternoon. As a working farm, it grows two different types of lavender: Loddon Blue and Grosso. Loddon Blue is an English lavender used in many things ranging from cooking to bath products.

The Grosso lavender the farm produces is either sold fresh, distilled for lavender oil, or dried for sachets and soap making. This lavender is often used in aromatherapy and is both fragrant and beautiful!

The Pageo Lavender Farm also has a lovely gift shop and a lunch venue. The gift shop offers many of the farm’s homemade products as well as a selection of other unique crafts and gifts.

The farm’s restaurant includes tasty items such as fresh salads, soups, and sandwiches. If you visit the farm during June, you can also enjoy the splendor of the new lavender blooms and take pictures of the ‘gram!

3. Carnegie Arts Center

Carnegie Arts Center
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 250 N. Broadway St., Turlock, CA 95380

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Turlock is the Carnegie Arts Center. This colorful venue features rotating exhibits that cover topics including agriculture in Stanislaus County, what it means to be a hero, California inspiration, and work by local artists.

The art gallery also participates in community events, educational programs, lecture series, and other opportunities that the entire family can enjoy.

The Carnegie Arts Center is an excellent place to view a variety of artistic genres, and with new exhibits being offered regularly, visitors can enjoy pieces created using many different mediums.

Local art can also be purchased at the center’s gift shop. Visit the Carnegie Arts Center website for additional information on Carnegie’s programs, hours, admission fees, and exhibits.

See Related: Things to Do in Santa Maria

4. Hilmar Cheese Company

Hilmar Cheese Company Visitor Center exterior
Hilmar Cheese Company / Facebook

Address: 9001 North Lander Ave., Hilmar, CA 95324

One of the best things to do with kids in Turlock, California, is to visit the Hilmar Cheese Company! It may sound like a “cheesy” idea, but the factory offers more than just a chance to stare at cheddar.

Their state-of-the-art facility offers visitors a chance to tour the factory, learn about the cheese-making process, and sample a variety of their fresh cheeses. It also features a gift shop and dining venue, providing even more opportunities to enjoy Hilmar Cheeses.

Self-guided tours of the facility include hands-on exhibits, an “edutaining mooovie,” and fun cheese and ice cream-making information. Tours are free and can be enjoyed during normal operating hours.

For larger groups, scheduling a guided tour through special requests may be possible. For visitors wishing to stay nearby this unique destination, the Hampton Inn Turlock is just down the street!

The Hilmar Cheese Company also hosts special events, including ice-cream-making activities. A small fee may be required to participate in these extra events. For more information on all the cheese facility has to offer, visit their website!

5. Donnelly Park

Playground at Donnelly Park, Turlock
City of Turlock / City of Turlock

Address: 600 Pedras Road, Turlock, CA 95382

If you’re wondering what to do in Turlock, California, check out Donnelly Park. Known as the city’s “premier community park,” this lovely space occupies 40 acres and is perfect for a relaxing afternoon or a quick picnic between sightseeing venues.

Seventeen picnic areas are first come, first serve, each featuring a barbeque. It should be noted that only picnic sites with numbers are available to the general public. Those with no visible numbers are available by reservation only.

The park also features a small lake, complete with ducks and geese. Though swimming and fishing are prohibited, you can feed the lake’s feathered occupants.

In addition to these attractions, Donnelly Park has two playground areas, restrooms, open fields for playing, and a half-court basketball court. For those who prefer to relax on wheels, the park is home to the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park.

See Related: Things to Do in Merced

6. Turlock Golf and Country Club

Image of a golf course

Address: 10532 N. Golf Link Road, Turlock, CA 95380

Established in 1924, the Turlock Golf and Country Club features a challenging championship design and a beautiful 18-hole course. For golf enthusiasts, it is one of the top things to do in Turlock, California. In addition to the course, the grounds contain two putting greens, a wide chipping area, and a driving range with grass tees.

Visitors to the country club will also enjoy the excellent food at the Clubhouse. Menu items range from burgers and snacks to more elegant meals and cuisine. A cocktail lounge provides a relaxed environment with widescreen televisions, while the more formal Garden Room offers magnificent views of the golf course’s 18th hole.

In addition to these amenities, the Turlock Golf and Country Club provides a fully stocked golf shop featuring top brand-name apparel and equipment. PGA Professionals are also available for private, semi-private, and group lessons. Visit this link to learn more about the country club’s golf course and this link for more information regarding dining options.

7. University Art Gallery

University Art Gallery
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: One University Circle, Turlock, CA 95382

Stanislaus County and the City of Turlock are home to California State University, Stanislaus. In addition to the many academic programs and degrees available, Stanislaus State also offers students and visitors the opportunity to view a selection of art exhibits at The University Art Gallery.

The gallery is dedicated to maintaining artistic integrity and expression, showcasing art that inspires discussion, exploration, and examination. It focuses on contemporary art through hands-on experiences, exposure to different cultures, and direct interaction with professional contemporary artists.

The University Art Gallery rotates the exhibits on display to highlight a variety of topics and artists for discussion and study. It also participates in community events such as regional high school art shows, faculty art exhibits, etc.

See Related: Things to Do in Roseville, California 

8. Rembrandt & Rosé

Rembrandt & Rosé
Image source: TripAdvisor

Location: Turlock, CA

Rembrandt & Rosé is a paint-and-sip studio experience allowing visitors to explore their creativity while sipping their favorite drink. Though the studio does not offer or sell any alcohol (or have a permanent venue), they include everything guests need for their class or private party.

Glasses, aprons, a blank canvas, brushes, paint, and instruction are all provided as part of the Rembrandt & Rosé experience. The Rembrandt & Rosé website indicates visitors should call the number provided to hash out a physical address for your experience, as they are strictly mobile now. For more information, visit their website.

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9. Turlock Community Theatre

Address: 1574 E. Canal Dr., Turlock, CA 95380

The Turlock Community Theatre is one of the more unique things to do in Turlock, California. Professional entertainment and performing arts venue, the theatre features live game shows, musicians, symphonies, big band music, children’s productions, choral performances, live performances, dance productions, and comedians, all featuring huge names throughout the year!

Located near the original center of downtown Turlock, the theatre has been an important part of the city’s history since it first opened in 1925. Though a fire in 1979 severely damaged the structure, restoration began in 1986.

For more than a decade, local volunteers worked to bring the theatre back to its former glory and return it to a place of honor within the community. Today it is formally recognized as a historical landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to enjoying one of the shows or performances at the theatre, visitors can also experience a tour during normal business hours. Larger or private tours can be scheduled upon request. Visit their website to find out what’s showing at Turlock Community Theatre.

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10. Turlock Farmers Market

Image of farming products

Address: Main St between Palm and Center St., Turlock, CA

The Turlock Farmers Market is a uniquely Turlock, California experience! The abundance of local farms and ranches means the products sold at the market are fresh and beautifully represent some of the best of the area’s agriculture. Regular vendors generally come from Stanislaus and Merced Counties and include dairy farms, local artists and craftsmen, nearby ranches, and area chefs, bakers, and cooks.

The Turlock Farmers Market operates seasonally on Saturdays from May through October. The market sometimes hosts additional events, such as those by the Carnegie Arts Center and live music performances.

11. Great Valley Museum

Great Valley Museum
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 435 College Avenue, Modesto, CA 95350

Located on the Modesto Junior College campus, the Great Valley Museum features some amazing natural history exhibits! It also houses over 2-dozen live animals, including tarantulas, skinks, snakes, and more. The museum offers hands-on activities and learning opportunities to help visitors engage in the natural world around them.

The Great Valley Museum also features a planetarium with a Zeiss Skymaster ZKP-4 LED/fiber optic star projector. This amazing full-dome planetarium can provide views and show planetarium films for up to 100 guests at a time.

In addition to the planetarium, animals, and permanent exhibits, the Great Valley Museum also offers rotating exhibits highlighting some of the Central Valley region’s history, culture, and art.

Though this amazing museum is not located in Turlock, Modesto is only a 20-minute away. More information on these exhibits and the Great Valley Museum can be found on the website.

See Related: Best Museums in San Diego

12. Stanislaus County Fairgrounds

Stanislaus County Fair Entrance in Turlock, California
Stanislaus County Fair / Facebook

Address: 900 N. Broadway, Turlock, CA 95380

The Stanislaus County Fairgrounds doesn’t just host the awesome county fair but also hosts special events and activities year-round. These include the Tastes of The Valley wine and cheese event, where local farmers, growers, winemakers, and cheesemakers offer their favorite menu items to guests and visitors.

Other popular activities at the fairgrounds include live music, concerts, local agricultural events, truck and car shows, home improvement shows, motorcycle swap meets, seasonal and cultural festivals, and gem and mineral shows.

Located within the City of Turlock, the fairgrounds provide a fun atmosphere and convenient location for many of the county’s most enjoyable events!

13. Funworks Modesto

Funworks Modesto
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 4307 Coffee Rd., Modesto, CA 95355

Funworks Modesto is a great place for the whole family to play! Located about 20 minutes away in Modesto, California, this activity center offers games, attractions, and miniature golf. It’s all-around fun for all ages!

Race your friends and family on the Lightning Raceway, cool off on the Splashworks Pirate Ride, practice your baseball skills at the batting cages, knock down a few pins at the bowling alley, or make your stuffed animal at the Teddy Bear Factory.

Funworks in Modesto also offers a small restaurant and café that features everything from nachos and corndogs to pizza and funnel cakes.

The combination of arcade games, rides, attractions, and food makes this location an excellent place to have fun in Turlock. You can lodge at Home2 Suites By Hilton Turlock to consummate your experience.

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14. La Mo Café

La Mo Café
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 310 East Main Street, Turlock, CA 95380

The La Mo Café offers a unique opportunity to enjoy Latin-inspired fare with ingredients from many local Turlock farmers and vendors. The restaurant is known for its beautiful outdoor setting, specialty drinks, and healthy menu choices.

La Mo also features a coffee shop that serves a variety of pastries, loose-leaf teas, and third-wave specialty coffees. The shop makes its beverage syrups and flavorings in-house from scratch each day and uses only fresh, flavorful ingredients for an unforgettable experience.

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15. The Rail Bar & Lounge

Address: 2321-C West Main Street, Turlock, CA 95382

The Rail is a bar in Turlock, California that provides patrons with some of the best-rated nightlife in the city. It offers a selection of beer, wine, cocktails, and specialty Micheladas, which can be enjoyed while watching a sporting event on one of their televisions or participating in a friendly game of cards.

The Rail also features access to the Turlock Poker Room, where guests can play poker, blackjack, and other card games. Drinks from The Rail are brought to the card table so players can enjoy the game without interruption.

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How to Get Around Turlock, California

By Public Transportation

The Turlock Transit system offers several routes and stops throughout the city of Turlock. The website provides a convenient destination planner that helps you plan your route and even provides real-time tracking.

The downside to the transit system is that it currently only runs Monday-Saturday and keeps mostly daytime hours. For more information, click here.

Merced, California, offers a regional transit system with a Turlock commuter. This bus runs from the city of Merced to Turlock and includes several different stops within Turlock. For more information on the bus schedule, stops, and days/hours of operation, visit this page.

By Car

As with many places in California, a car is always the most convenient form of transportation within Turlock. Since destinations are spread across the city, a car is often the fastest and easiest way to get from one point to another. Getting a rental car squared away ahead of time with someone like Kayak is a good bet.

Places to Stay in Turlock

1. Comfort Suites Turlock Top Recommendation

This all-suite hotel offers guests smartly appointed rooms with plenty of space to relax or work, plus all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay. Each suite features a sofa bed and flat-screen cable TV, perfect for kicking back after a long day. You'll also enjoy free Wi-Fi access, so you can stay connected while on the go. And when it's time to rest, our rooms offer plush beds with pillow-top mattresses for a good night's sleep.

2. Hampton Inn by Hilton Turlock

The Hampton Inn by Hilton Turlock is the perfect place to stay for those who want to explore everything that Turlock has to offer. Set in Turlock, just 22 km from Modesto, this hotel features an outdoor pool and fitness centre, as well as free private parking. All of the rooms at the Hampton Inn by Hilton Turlock come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a coffee machine, a refrigerator, and an en suite bathroom with a hairdryer.

3. Sunrise Inn

Sunrise Inn is the perfect place to stay whether you're in Turlock for business or pleasure. The rooms are spacious and clean, with all the amenities you need to make your stay comfortable. And the best part is that Sunrise Inn is centrally located, so you can easily access everything Turlock has to offer. If you're looking for a hotel that's convenient to everything, look no further than Sunrise Inn. We're just a short drive from Freeway 99 and the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, and we're close to popular attractions like Valley View Plaza Shopping Centre and Atch Pedretti Park.


What is Turlock, California, known for?

Turlock is mostly known for its agriculture, farming, and ranching. This is illustrated by the many agricultural-based things to do, including the farmer’s market, Hilmar Cheese Company, and Pageo Lavender Farm. It is also known for its art museums, arts center, and community theatre.

Is Turlock, California, worth visiting?

Yes! Turlock offers everything from movies at the Regal Cinemas to good music at one of its many special events. It also features live entertainment at a variety of venues and a glimpse into the California agricultural landscape.

What are the best free things to do in Turlock, California?

Turlock has many things you can enjoy free of charge. These include Donnelly Park, the local farmers market, the Hilmar Cheese Company, and picnic tables and playgrounds at one of the city’s many other local parks.

What are some of the best things to do in Turlock, California, with kids?

Take a tour at the Hilmar Cheese Company, visit one of the local art museums, enjoy a picnic at Donnelly Park, or take in a show at the Turlock Community Theatre. Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy all these activities have to offer!

What is the weather like in Turlock, California?

Summers in Turlock are mostly hot and dry, while winters are generally cool and wet. Though temperatures during the warmer months can get as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the average stays in the mid-90s. The average temperatures in the winter generally stay in the 40s and 50s but have gotten as cold as 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

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