Arcata is a small university town on the north end of Humboldt Bay. It is well known for its hippie counterculture, progressive politics, and vegetarian restaurants. Arcata is the perfect place to relax and enjoy life the way it should be, enjoying fresh air and an unbeatable natural environment. The pace of things is a little calmer here, with usually as many bicyclists or people on foot as cars go by. Sometimes referred to as being "behind the Redwood Curtain", Arcata has a unique culture that makes you realize that the "outside" world may not have all the answers.
Due to its temperate climate and tolerant residents, Arcata attracts a large transient population, many of whom you will find on the Plaza. Expect to be asked for change every two minutes. Feel free to say no.
There are basically only 2 roads in. You can come from the south or north on the 101 or you can come west on the 299. Highway 36 is an alternative approach to Humboldt County but is quite rough compared to the other two routes. Arcata is 5 hours north of San Francisco, 3 hours west of Redding and 7 hours south of Portland.
Be advised of road closures before traveling in and out of the area. In the winter months heavy rains can cause flooding and mudslides on both US 101 and CA 299. In the summer and fall wildfires may close 299 as well. Most of the time the closures are for less than 24 hours, but occasionally can last for a couple days.
The main Arcta bus station is centrally located on 925 'E' St just a couple blocks to the east from the NE corner of the plaza along 9th St, next to US Hwy 101. The station serves as a central bus station for the local A&MRTS (Arcata & Mad River Transit System), county operated HTA (Humboldt Transit Authority or Redwood Transit System) buses, Greyhound, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach and the Redwood COAST Transit bus (going north to Crescent City). There are no actual trains in Arcata but the Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach buses are the closest thing to a train available as they are a continuation of Amtrak train routes.
A&RMTS (Arcata & Mad River Transit System), . operates local buses in around Arcata on three routes:edit
The 'Gold Line' serves downtown, Humboldt State University, the northern neighborhoods of Sunset, Westwood, Pacific Manor and Valley West. (Operates Weekdays ONLY)
The 'Red Line' goes over to downtown, west of downtown to Greyview, Humboldt State University and SE to Sunny Brae (Operates Weekdays ONLY)
The 'Orange Line' combines the above two routes into one on Saturdays ONLY
HTA (Humboldt Transit Authority or Redwood Transit System), 133 V St, Eureka, ☎ 707 443-0826, . operates (local) buses between cities and towns in Humboldt County on four routes:edit
#101 Mainline Route (US Hwy 101) Daily service between Scotia (South End of the line), Rio Dell, Fortuna, Fields Landing, King Salmon, Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville, Westhaven & Trinidad (North end of the line) along US Hwy 101
Willow Creek-Arcata Route Daily Service between Arcata & Willow Creek along Hwy 299. Transfer to Trinity Transit in Willow Creek for onward travel to Weaverville and Redding and the K/T Net bus to Hoopa in the Yurok Indian Tribe (north of Willow Creek) at the Hwy 299 & Hwy 96 junction.
Southern Humboldt Intercity Transit Weekdays only between Garberville, Redwood, Phillipsville, South Fork, Myers Flat, Weott, Rio Dell, Fortuna and Eureka
Southern Humboldt Local System Local Deviated fixed-route service in South Fork, Phillipsville, Redway, Garberville and Benbow on weekdays only.
Blue Lake Ranchera Transit, . operates buses between to/from the nearby Blue Lake Ranchera Indian Reservationedit
Greyhound & Amtrak Thruway, 925 E St, ☎ +1 707 825-8934, . Both Greyhound and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach Rt#7 have curbside service at the same location. Greyhound goes down to San Francisco via Eureka, Willits, Santa Rosa and Oakland along US-101. The Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach runs the same route as Greyhound except it has more stops along US-101 and terminates in Martinez with onward connections to the San Joaquin Train. The next nearest station for the Amtrak Coast Starlightand the Greyhound bus traveling along I-5 between Portland & Sacramento is in Redding. To get there by bus passengers take the willowcreek RTS bus to Willow Creek (multi-line stop at the interesection of Hwy 96 & 299, ask driver). In Willow Creek, transfer to the Trinity Transit bus to Weaverville where you transfer again to another bus to Redding. It costs $10 from Redding to Weaverville, another $10 from Weaverville to Willow Creek, and $4 from Willow Creek to Arcata. Fares are paid in cash when you get on the bus; there are no advance reservations. The buses for this route do not run on weekends, so plan accordinglyedit
Redwood COAST Transit Rt #20, ☎ (707) 464-6400. Goes north to the Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River via Crescent City in Del Norte County to the north along US Hwy-101. There is no Greyhound bus service north of Arcata along US Hwy 101. It's all served by local county operated buses on limited schedules.edit
The Arcata/Eureka airport (ICAO: KACV)  is actually located in McKinleyville 6 miles (10km) north of Arcata on the 101. Most of the airport serves private general aviation flights. Currently Skywest operating as United Express (to/from San Francisco) is the only commercial carrier available. The Redwood Transit "#101 Mainline Route" also makes a stop into the airport on its way to Trinidad and Scotia. Take the southbound bus going towards Scotia to get into downtown Arcata (see above under "By Bus").
Arcata is the perfect walking town. Park near the Plaza and walk to numerous book stores, shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and banks, all within a few blocks of each other. Walk a little further to visit the Arcata Community Forest, university, or marsh.
Bike lanes abound. Loaner bikes can be checked out of the bike library, in the North Coast Co-op employee parking lot.
Three local bus lines (HTA, A&MRTS, Blue Lake Transit) cover the outer reaches of Arcata and run until 10PM on weekdays. Students with an HSU ID ride for free on A&MRTS and HTA.
Regarding transportation, the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCOAG) is currently revising its Regional Transit Plan, a process occuring every two years which affects the City of Arcata. There is a "Rails to Trails" movement to use existing railroad tracks along the eastern edge of Humboldt Bay for promoting safe bicycle and pedestrian recreation and commuting between Arcata and Eureka. In opposition is an effort to bring back the railroad to promote the movement of goods from north to south, paralleling Highway 101. An additional effort is being made to change the use of the local railroad tracks from movement of goods to movement of people as a light-rail system to reduce automotive transport to and from the main service sector--the neighboring city of Eureka.
Redwood National and State Parks is only a 45 minute drive to the north, with the southern boundary near Orick. Arcata is a great jumping-off point for visiting the ancient ecosystems that are protected inside the park boundary.
Humboldt State University is on the east side of Highway 101.
Great biking trails in Redwood Park; also, hiking trails, and the best playgrounds in town.
The world-famous Arcata Marsh Bird Sanctuary doubles as the town's sewage treatment plant. (It smells and looks better than it sounds). It has walking trails, an Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center and bird watching blinds. It is the home of Godwit Days.
The Arcata plaza is one of the greatest features of this city and also one of the many reasons it is such a great college town. There are always events taking place here, from Farmers' Market to the annual Oyster Festival. The plaza is also the starting point for the Kinetic Sculpture Race.
Arcata is less than 10 minutes from several scenic beaches, which are perfect for family outings, surfing, skimboarding, and all other beach activities.
You can go on a stroll of Downtown and take a tour of the recently installed public sculptures.
Heart Bead, 830 'G' St (middle of the block along 'G' St between 8th & 9th, east side of the plaza), ☎ 707 826-9577, . A happenin' bead store on the plaza where they help you create your own jewelry for free! Cool, artsy ladies are eager to offer ideas and creativity. edit
Northtown Books, 957 'H' St, ☎ 707 822-2834, . small but well stocked independent bookstore located on 'H' St a block or so up from the plaza.edit
Peoples Records, 725 'G' St (middle of the block at the southside of the plaza), ☎ 707 822-7625, . a record shop on the plaza specializing in used vinyl, but carry used CD's as welledit
St Vincent DePaul Store, 513 'K' St (NE corner of 'K' St & 5th, one block north of Samoa Blvd (4th St/CA-Hwy 255)), ☎ 707 822-6946. thrift store, with the usual assortment of clothes, furniture, appliances and kitchenwareedit
Tin Can Mailman, 1000 'H' St (10th & H St), ☎ 707 822-1307, . Excellent bookstore in a two-story buildingedit
Wildwood Music, 1027 'I' St (along 'I' St between 10th & 11th at middle of block). Fretted and stringed instruments, sheet music, amplifiers, etc.edit
Angels of Hope Thrift Store, 1309 11th St. (West of the plaza, past K St.), ☎ 707 822-5019, . Open every day, see website for hours.. 5,000 square feet of clothes, books, housewares, furniture and craft supplies. A job training location for at-risk youth.edit
Ancient Arts, 1065 K Street (between 10th & 11th), ☎ 707-825-8282, . M-Sat 12-8. A mom-and-pop tattooing/piercing/art gallery that looks like a cross between a medieval freak show and a natural history museum.edit
Willow, 761 8th st (south side of the plaza next to peoples records). 10-6. This is a good clothing store on the plaza that has new and consignment gems, the best dollar rack and probably retail store in town. They got everything from the classic patagonia and hemp solution stuff to new boutique stuff in the frontedit
Scoops, 1068 'I' St (off I and 11th, across from los bagels), . lavendar honey vanilla ice cream. Enough saidedit
Hey Juans Burritos, 1642 1/2 'G' St (Along G St between 16th & 17th St, east of Hwy 101), ☎ (707) 822-8433. is goodedit
La Chiquita, 1021 i St (10th & i St, a block west of the Minor Theater), ☎ (707) 826-0310. is a "taco truck" serving cheap, decent Mexican food. Hit up the BRC (bean, rice, cheese) for the most bang for your buck.edit
Wildflower Cafe & Bakery, 1604 'G' St (NE corner of G St & 16th St), ☎ (707) 822-0360, . 9AM to 3PM Daily; 5:30PM to 9:30PM Sun-Tue & Thur-Sat. is well known for its great vegetarian food.edit
Wildberries Marketplace, 747 13th St (13th & G St), . 6AM to 12AM daily. You can order a deli sandwich or a juice smoothie, or get soup, salad and olives from the bar. There is also an extensive cold case with freshly made dishes ranging from pasta and lasagna to fruit salads and many exotic specialties, as well as daily grilled meats, vegetables and tofu. There is seating at the front of the store, and along the side in a covered patio with a bayside view. Inside the store is also Ramone's Bakery, with lots of fresh breads and pastries, plus coffee and espresso.edit
Renatas Creperie, 1030 G St (G St & 10th St), ☎ (707) 825-8783. Tue-Sun 8AM to 3PM; Re-open 5PM to 9PM Fri & Sat only. Awesome crepes.edit
Tomo Japanese Restaurant, 708 9th St (Inisde the Hotel Arcata north of the plaza), ☎ (707) 822-1414, . Mon-Sat 11:30AM to 2PM; Sun 5PM to 9PM. Japanese foodedit
Arcata Pizza & Deli, 1057 H St (Along 10th St between G & H St, by alley entrance), ☎ (707) 822-4650. has burgers (meat and veggie), pizza, salads and the best Tofu Reuben around. Open late.edit
Stars Hamburgers, 1535 G St (Along G St between 15th & 16th, opposite US Hwy 101 from Humboldt State University campus), ☎ (707) 826-1379. Mon-Fri 11AM-7PM; Sat 11AM-8PM; Sun 12PM to 6PM. has good burgers (beef and veggie) and the best malts in town. The creator of the Nickelodeon TV show Spongebob based the Krusty Krab off of his experience working here. edit
The Alibi, 744 9th St (north of the plaza), ☎ (707) 822-3731, . 8AM to 2AM daily. The Alibi on the Plaza has tasty diner fare and good breakfasts with vegetarian options. Rock music most weekendsedit
Ritas, 855 8th St (near Greenhouse Boardshop), ☎ 707 822-1010, . They serve the best Mexican food in town!edit
Moonrise Herbs, 826 G St (Along 'G' St between 8th & 9th, across the street from the SE side of the main plaza), ☎ (707) 822-5296, . Sun 11AM to 5PM; Mon-Sat 10AM to 6PM. They have delicious organic soups and saladsedit
Three Foods Cafe, 835 'J' St (Along 'J' St between 8th & 9th, a couple blocks west of the plaza), ☎ (707) 822-9474, . ... has eclectic ethnic food in a cozy atmosphere.edit
Pauls Live from New York, 670 9th Ave, #102 (Along 9th Ave between F & G St, a block east from the NE corner of the plaza), ☎ (707) 822-6199, . Sun 12PM to 9PM; Mon-Thur 11:30AM to 9PM; Fri-Sat 11:30AM to 10PM. next door to Sushi Spot, serves huge, tasty slices of pizza with yummy salad on the side. Or get a pie to go!edit
Los Bagels, 1061 I Street , Arcata CA, ☎ 707-822-3150, . Los Bagels combines a Jewish ethnic tradition with the customs and tastes of Mexico in an outdoor/indoor café that churns with multicultural excitement.edit
Dons Donuts Pizza & Deli, 933 H St (Along H Street, just NW of the plaza), ☎ (707) 822-6465. Open 24hr/7 days. A great place to people watch if you're out late.edit
Because its so rural, Arcata is pretty much shut down after nine o'clock, but if you are set on staying up late...
The Alibi is a good place to get a local manhattan with an orange twist.
The Humboldt Brewery is a great place to enjoy several of the award-winning micro brews from the Humboldt County area, though they no longer brew beer themselves.
Redwood Curtain Brewing Company is located about 1.6km south of the main square. They do tours and have a tasting room. Redwood Curtain website. Their beer is available at several places in Arcata and Eureka.
Sidelines is more popular among the locals but also a fun and exciting bar for anyone to enjoy.
Planet Chai, Arcata's own local chai, is available at any of the town's coffeeshops.
There are a couple local venues to catch live music in town some nights, including a couple of the bars on the plaza, Humboldt Brewery (10th & I), Muddy Waters and The Metro on G St., as well as Mosgo's coffee shop in the Westwood neighborhood on Alliance Rd.
Toby and Jack's is a laid-back place to meet your friends for a drink.
Wildberries Marketplace is always open until midnight - they have a deli and bakery, Ramone's.
If you enjoy a quieter atmosphere check out Caffe Mokka on 5th and J. Not only is it a small quiet coffee shop that often has live Celtic music, it is home to Arcata's hot tubs. Finnish Country Sauna and Tubs offers private tubs and saunas for solo or group bathers. I suggest you bring your own towels.
Jitterbean Coffee, 900 G St, #102 (9th & G St, NE of the plaza), ☎ (707) 822-0671, . Mon-Fri 6:30AM to 6:00PM; Sat-Sun 7AM to 5PM. edit
Cafe Mokka, 495 J St (SW corner of 5th & J St, one block up from Samoa Blvd (Hwy 255)), ☎ (707) 822-2228, . Sun-Thur 12PM to 9PM; Fri-Sat 12PM to 1AM. It's both a small quiet coffee shop that often has live Celtic music and home to Arcata's hot tubs. Finnish Country Sauna and Tubs offers private tubs and saunas for solo or group bathers. I suggest you bring your own towels.edit
Mosgos, 2461 Alliance Rd, ☎ (707) 826-1195. Mon-Fri 7AM to 7PM; Sat-Sun 8AM to 7PM. edit
Espresso 101 (Valley West off Giuntoli)
Cafe Brio, 791 G St (8th & G St, opposite side of 8th St from the SE corner of the plaza), ☎ (707) 822-5922, . Mon-Fri 7AM to 5PM, 6PM to 9PM; Sat-Sun 8AM to 4PM, 6PM to 9PM. edit
Days Inn Arcata, 4975 Valley West Blvd, ☎ +1 707 822-4861, . The Days Inn Arcata offers attractive amenities in California’s famed North Coastline region, home of the giant redwood trees. Enjoy an indoor swimming pool, hearty California breakfast and dining at the hotel restaurant, plus complimentary wireless Internet.edit
Best Western Arcata Inn, 4827 Valley West Boulevard, ☎ +1 707 826-0313 (fax: +1 707 826-0365), . edit
Fairwinds Motel, 1674 G St, ☎ +1 707 822-4824, . 5 minutes walk to Humboldt University, walk to downtown in minutes, Free wifi, No pets.edit
Hotel Arcata, Arcata Plaza Downtown, ☎ +1 707 826-0217, . Right in downtown near all the good shops. Historic landmark with great old photos of town in every hallway.edit
Motel 6 Arcata - Humboldt University, 4755 Valley West Boulevard, ☎ +1 707 822-7061 (fax: +1 707 822-4827), . edit