It’s time to face facts: Stockton isn’t the excitement-filled city it once was some years ago.
From the days of Golfland to weekend nights at Hammer Skate and Naughty Nick’s, the city was once a gold mine of family-fun activities for all ages, without overwhelming big-city crowds.
Unfortunately, on the average day or night, the only things to do in Stockton now are eat different foods and see a movie.
The city is always encouraging people to #VisitStockton, yet we have little to offer besides a couple of museums, bowling alleys, and movie theaters many people are scared to go to due to high crime rates in the areas.
In 2007, The Record wrote about the local teenage community literally mourning the loss of the great Naughty Nick’s Pizza.
Naughty Nick’s was a pizzeria and arcade located in North Stockton that was a popular hangout spot for people of all ages.
It offered 150 different video games, prize booths, 27 billiard tables, music and, of course, pizza and ice cream.
The real question is, since these businesses have closed down, why has nobody tried to reopen anything like it?
We may no longer have have these once cherished activities in town, but in more recent years, Stockton has certainly upped its game as far as unique eating spots such as: Dream Ice Cream Parlor, Cast Iron Trading Co., Squeeze Burger and a few new pokè and ramen restaurants.
But aside from good eats, there are things we can do to make Stockton the more entertaining city it’s always had the potential to be.
For instance, opening a new roller rink on the North Side of town, similar to what Hammer Skate was.
This roller-skating rink was successful in the past, and because of the nostalgia associated with its name, people would be ecstatic to have a recreation of it to take their friends and family to.
Although we do have the Stockton Indoor Sports Complex, it is hidden all the way on the east side of town, and a lot of people don’t know about it.
It also wouldn’t hurt to have a place similar to Naughty Nick’s for young people to hang out that doesn’t require a whole lot of parental supervision.
Things like this, along with just having more exciting local events in general, is what Stockton needs to keep its residents entertained and — potentially — away from danger on the streets.
Another place Stockton does have is the Teen Impact Center downtown where they strive to keep teens off the streets with activities such as bowling, a rock climbing wall and various other classes and things to keep young people occupied.
Stockton should search for more ways like this to keep the public amused the way it was some years ago, so people will focus less on the crime and more on the city’s liveliness.