The city's annual Architectural Festival honors Modesto's history as a testing ground for mid-century modern architecture during the 1940s and '50s.
The city's official motto, "Water Wealth Contentment Health," is emblazoned on the downtown Modesto Arch, which is featured in local photographs and postcards.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for 2011, which interviews 1,000 participants about their jobs, finances, physical health, emotional state of mind and communities, ranked Modesto 126 out of the 190 cities surveyed.
In December 2009, Forbes ranked Modesto 48th out of 100 among "Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities".
Modesto is served by one of the busiest rail corridors in the country.
The Amtrak San Joaquin makes eight daily stops on the route between Oakland and Bakersfield, and four stops daily on the route between Sacramento and Bakersfield.