Visitor FAQ

When is the Peddlers Fair?
The Benicia Peddler’s Fair is on the second Saturday of August in downtown Benicia.

When is the Fine Arts and Crafts Fair?
Always the third Saturday in September in downtown Benicia.

Do individual artists have open studios? Are certain studios open regular hours?
Many of the spaces in the historical Arsenal district are live/work studios, and there are artist studios throughout Benicia. Artists are often present in their studios, but their studios are not always open to the public. We would encourage you to contact the artists and set up an appointment to see their work.

There are two annual Open Studios events: The Benicia Artists Open Studios the first weekend of May, which includes artists all over town, and the Arsenal Artists Open Studios the first weekend in December in the historic Benicia Arsenal area. For more information on Open Studios, visit Arts Benicia.

Where are most of the artists located within the Arsenal?
Artists are located throughout the Arsenal on both Tyler and Jackson streets. There are also several contemporary galleries on First Street.

How long has the Depot at the end of First Street been there?
The Depot was brought to Benicia from Banta, which is close to Tracy, via barge on the Strait. It has been in Benicia since 1902.

Did the railroad come down First Street?
No, the tracks are next to the Depot, on the Strait side of the building. The trains traveled to the end of the pier, where the largest ferries at that time, the Solano and the Contra Costa, carried the entire train across the water to Port Costa, where they continued on to Oakland.

When was Benicia the state capital?
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park is a California state park. The park is dedicated to California’s third capitol building, where the California State Legislature convened from February 3, 1853 to February 24, 1854. It is the only pre-Sacramento capitol building still standing today.

The Benicia Capitol State Historic Park is open Thursdays, noon-4:00 p.m., and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for self-guided tours. Please call before your visit for updated tour times, or to reserve a school or group tour. Tickets are $3 for adults, $2 for youth ages 6-17 years, and children ages 5 years and under are free. (707) 745-3385.

Where did Jack London hang out while he lived in Benicia?
The Jurgensen Old Corner Saloon, formerly located next to the railroad depot, was a favorite “haunt” for London and provided material for his books John Barleycorn and Tales of the Fish Patrol. The Saloon no longer exists near the waterfront, but the second story of the building was moved to West E and First streets approximately 15 years ago.

Did Benicia have any industry in its early days?
Yes. There were tanneries, canneries, creameries, equipment manufacturing, shipbuilding, military-related operations and other businesses. Learn more about Benicia’s history on our History page.