Stockton

California's first inland port—connected since 1933 to San Francisco via a 60-mile-long deepwater channel—is wedged between Interstate 5 and Highway 99, on the eastern end of the Sacramento River delta. Stockton, founded during the gold rush as a way station for miners traveling from San Francisco to the Mother Lode and now a city of 298,000, is where many of the valley's agricultural products begin their journey to other parts of the world. The city has attempted to spruce up its riverfront area downtown, including building a spiffy minor-league baseball park for the Stockton Ports, but there still remains room for improvement.

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