Downtown is the seat of government in the area, with the County Courts administrative buildings, the District Attorney's office and City Hall.  Downtown is also the finance and banking center for Merced County, as well as the hub of culture and performing arts, with several galleries and two live performing arts theatres.  Downtown retains Merced's largest concentration of fine restaurants and a substatial share of the professional office market.

Retail:  Downtown Merced is going through the biggest boom in interest and activity in years. Many new businesses have opened and more are on the way. Within the last 6 months, 24 new businesses have opened their doors in Downtown. Those businesses include Coffee Bandits, Little Pink Boxes bakery, Stilettos and Spurs Salon, The Armory men's wear and Krazy Beautiful, a women's boutique.

UC Merced:  UC Merced leases 40,000 sq. ft. of office space in the Downtown core.  As UC Merced’s population grows, students and professors alike are making their mark in Downtown Merced.  Whether it is checking out the nightlife or opening a business and investing in the community, more of the UC Merced crowd is finding its way to the heart of the City.

Revitalization Efforts:  As a revitalized neighborhood, Downtown Merced features millions of dollars in investment over the past two decades. These investments include a bank headquarters, an arts center, two multi-level parking garages with retail spaces, a complex of professional offices, and Mainplace Merced, the $15 million, block-long multiplex movie theatre and retail spaces. Other investments include the restoration of the Merced Theatre, a mixed use retail/lofts project, a University of California headquarters, and street and alley improvements.

Community Events:  Downtown Merced is the premier location for community festivals and events.  Yearly events include:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. ParadeBob Hart Square
  • Youth Sports Parade
  • Cap & Town
  • Market on Main
  • Year Around Farmer's Market
  • Central Valley Crossroads Car Show
  • Homecoming Parade
  • Veteran's Day Parade
  • Christmas Parade


Opportunities:  There are many opportunities for the right mix of entrepreneurs and new businesses in Downtown Merced. Property owners are open to new ideas and are willing to negotiate leases for as low as $0.50/SqFt in some cases.  For more information, contact the Office of Economic Development.