Skip to main content

Get to know Arcata

Arcata is a charming college town at the north end of Humboldt Bay. Originally called Union, it served as the port of entry to gold fields along the Klamath River and its tributaries, though timber quickly surpassed mining as the area’s main vocation. Beloved writer Bret Harte lived in town in the 1850s, briefly editing the local newspaper. Arcata also claims California’s first railroad, the Arcata and Mad River, which hauled logs down from the woods to be loaded onto lumber schooners. Today, Arcata is best known as the home of Cal Poly Humboldt, but the town's vibrant past and exciting future carries universal appeal. Arcata Plaza, the center of the downtown proper, teems with bars, restaurants, coffee houses, and a field day of indie shopping, with even more just 10 minutes away in Eureka. Arcata Community Forest, assembled from old logging tracts, adds an extensive network of lush hiking trails.

Nearby Neighborhoods:

Living in Humboldt County

Nestled above Mendocino County at the extreme north end of California’s rugged coastline, Humboldt County is closer to Oregon than the Bay Area, though their economies have been linked for centuries. Its towering redwoods helped build San Francisco and tame the Wild West, the product of a thriving logging industry that’s been the area’s lifeblood since the Gold Rush. While it’s still active today, Humboldt has since diversified with other cash crops, including a burgeoning tourism scene. Eureka, the county seat, boasts eclectic shopping, pristine Victorian architecture, and the Port of Humboldt Bay, which lies shielded from ocean waters by the Samoa Peninsula. Humboldt Redwoods State Park contains 53,000 acres of towering forest, 17,000 of which comprise the largest stand of old-growth Sequoia Sempervirens on the planet. Two colleges, Cal Poly Humboldt (formerly Humboldt State) and College of the Redwoods, keep the region infused with fresh energy and ideas.