Many diverse elements contribute to the mix that is the city of Arcata. Founded in 1850 as Union Town, Arcata originally served as a depot and base camp for the gold fields in the Trinity Alps to the east and lumber camps all around. At present, Arcata has an economy that includes tourism, education, manufacturing, a healthy retail base and various service industries. The resident population is an intriguing combination of students, senior citizens, artists and all manner of working folk. With a population of around 17,000, Arcata is a wonderful place to spend a few days. The city center is Arcata Plaza, around which the community turns. Once home to grazing cows and pack animals, today the Plaza serves as the central focus of commercial and festive activities.
Things to Do
Close to beaches, the forest, and home to a marsh bird sanctuary, there are outdoor opportunities everywhere. For those who want to enjoy some nightlife there is theater, live music, dancing, numerous taverns and restaurants in town. There are events happening year-round like Arts! Arcata held on the second Friday of each month. This is an open house for local businesses and artists featuring musical performances, dance, demonstrations and fine arts by Humboldt County artisans. Arcata is home to the Minor Theatre, the oldest continuously run movie theater in the country. The Fourth of July celebrations should not be missed in Arcata as the whole town comes out to party with barbecues, music, food, baseball and other old-fashioned, small-town pleasures.