A helping hand for the local Hmong and Southeast Asian Communities, Lao Family Community Empowerment strives to empower and provide outreach for those who need it. Since forming in 1984, the organization has helped Hmong refugees in Northern California find stability, education, and a sense of community through its specialized programs and health initiatives. Lao also puts on the Stockton Hmong New Year Celebration each year to help preserve and showcase cultural traditions.
Yoga, wine, and local cuisine converge at the Yoga and Zin Festival, an annual conference held at the modern Hilton Stockton hotel. Over the course of two days, attendees can discuss the art of asanas at a yoga conference, sample food and wine from more than 20 establishments, and attend a celebratory wine dinner. The event is held in September to celebrate both national yoga month and California-wine month.
Mike Johnson started at Dolphin Scuba Center & Swim School as an entry-level staffer but soon turned his lifelong passion for water into a promising career. Quickly, he became the manager and, at the tender age of 21, the owner of the store—a water-exploration supplier originally founded as a swim school almost 40 years ago.
Today, the PADI five-star facility boasts one of the largest selections of underwater gear in North America, including top brands of scuba, swimming, and snorkeling equipment. Johnson and his team still offer private, one-on-one swimming lessons with certified lifeguard instructors but have branched out into scuba classes. Introductory courses work their way up to professional-level training, all within a pool heated to 92 degrees—the exact temperature of the president’s nightly bath. Students can even test out their newfound skills during scuba-diving trips to the likes of Mexico, the Philippines, and Fiji.
Automatic scoring screens hover above West Lane Bowl's polished hardwood floors, allowing players to focus solely on sending balls on a collision course. Inside the spacious facility, families and pros alike compete during 10-frame series as the coffee shop serves wings, burgers, and pizzas and the sports bar welcomes players into its TV-filled enclave for a cocktail or a game of billiards. Those celebrating a birthday or successful weaning off of bumper bowling can gather in the private party rooms for cake and festivities between games and send guests home with swag-filled goody bags purchased from West Lane Bowl's pro shop.
In both 2010 and 2013, Bikram Yoga Central Valley's Stockton location was named Best Yoga Studio by San Joaquin magazine and KCRA 3 A-List. Despite the acclaim, owner Helena Monica and her staff have kept their noses to the grindstone.
Each day, sometimes as early as 5:30 a.m., they welcome students into a sweltering studio and lead them through Bikram yoga's traditional series of 26 postures, two breathing exercises, and one conga line. The benefits of the heat and movements are plenty. Students can reduce stress, sweat out toxins, increase their strength and flexibility, and tone their bodies.
Up to 30 players can battle in Zaps Zone's 6,200-square-foot multilevel arena. They can choose from 12 different game modes, including base mode, free-for-all, and team free-for-all, all of which are more fun and challenging than using the guns to pick up disks in games of tiddlywinks. Between games, vistors nosh on pizza and hot dogs at the snack bar and catch up on the latest sports scores on the three 50-inch televisions. Meanwhile, tykes hop around in the inflatable bounce castles.