Life in Davis...
It is a peaceful and safe little town, and its great for spending time outdoors jogging, biking, swimming, studying whatever. My two favorite images are probably the farmer's market and the arboretum. Of course, the rec pool is pretty nice too (largest free form pool west of something or other).The night life centers more around barbeques with friends and a few local bars than anything else. In my opinion, the local township has kindofa love/hate relationship with the school and itself--especially now that Davis is becoming an expensive "country" haven for SF and Sacramento yuppies turned parents. It was a really big event when the Gap opened in 1999, and it did bring protesters.
This is my impression. Davis is a little bit of a wannabe. It really wants to be everything that Berkeley and Ann Arbor are, and it trys really hard to get there (ie. the latest push has been to go Division 1 with sports etc. and who can forget the Whole Earth Festival every spring which is basically a bunch of commercialized hippies trying to make a buck selling crap). Those other two towns? They don't have to try, they just get it. No one is ever going to say "Berkeley/Ann Arbor is like Davis" It will always be the inverse. And I feel like Davis sometimes feels more isolated simply because it is sort of near SF--when you get bored you feel a bit like you are being taunted, and missing out on something awesome. But hey, that might just have been 19 yr old me.
That said--I got an AMAZING undergrad education there. It really is one of academia's best kept secrets. People just don't know how great of a school it really is.
One more thing--the restaurant industry doesn't have much to offer, but you can definitely get great wine so near to Napa!Ok, I hope my frankness didn't influence anyone too much.