HomeChamberMembershipLos Banos Chamber of CommerceCalendarCity of Los BanosContact Us

The City We Serve: Los Banos

Local eateries aplenty - Photo by Charles Guest
Local restaurants serve outstanding fare - Photo by Charles Guest

The City of Los Banos is located in the heart of the state in the fertile San Joaquin Valley we are very proud of our family-oriented community, which has managed to maintained its small-town atmosphere while accommodating growth. The City of Los Banos population is 36,211 and is situated on the west side of Merced County.

Conveniently located in the center of California, Los Banos is about two hours from the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and Yosemite National Park. Monterey and San Jose are accessible in one and a half hours. The San Joaquin’s Valley’s major cities of Stockton and Fresno are reachable in one hour.

Los Banos has access to three major Highway. Interstate I-5, Highway 152 and Highway 165. Highway 99 is a easy 30 minute Highway drive from Los Banos.

A little History

The legendary Cattle Baron Henry Miller owned over 3,000,000 acres of land, stretching

Los Banos honors veterans - Photos by Charles Guest
Los Banos honors veterans - Photo by Charles Guest

through Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California.  From among all these land holdings he opted to found the town of Los Banos as his company headquarters because of its location as the “crossroads of California”.

The City of Los Banos is located in the heart of the state in the fertile San Joaquin Valley.  We are very proud of our family-oriented community, which has managed to maintain its small-town atmosphere while accommodating growth. The City of Los Banos population is 36,211 and is situated on the west side of Merced County; it’s the second largest city in the county.

The average temperature in January is 360; in July the average is 960.  The average rainfall is 9.6 inches; it is 120 feet above sea level. The average home price $135,000. (Sept’12).

Conveniently located in the center of California, Los Banos is about two hours from the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and Yosemite National Park. Monterey and San Jose are accessible in one and a half hours. The San Joaquin’s Valley’s major cities of Stockton and Fresno are reachable in one hour. Nine million people live within a 3 hour drive of Los Banos; 2.3 million people live within a 75 mile radius. 

Some have called Los Banos "The Crossroads" because State Highways 33, 152, and 165 pass through the city; Interstate 5 skirts its western boundaries and it’s an easy 30 minute drive to Highway 99.

The name “Los Banos” came from a Franciscan monk’s missionary trips to the valley from Mission San Juan Bautista back in the early 1800’s. On the route from San Juan Bautista, Padre Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta discovered pools of water in the rocks at the summit of the mountains in a little creek bed that flowed down into the San Joaquin Valley. At these baths or pools he camped overnight with his band of friendly Indians from the Mission. Reports of these baths led to the local ranchers naming the creek "El Arroyo de Los Banos del Padre Arroyo." As folks in those days didn't’t like a lot of words, the name of those spring baths became "Los Banos Crick." Once the post office was established we became Los Banos (without a tilde). Los Banos is often referred to as “Banus”.

With 89 community clubs/organizations, 27 churches, 51 parks, 26 playgrounds, numerous state & county parks, state and federal wildlife preserves, plus a multiplex cinema there’s always something to do in Los Banos! Our City Parks & Recreation offer recreational services for groups of ALL ages, and we have an active Arts Council.  Los Banos has been home to the Merced County Spring Fair (formerly May Day Fair) for near 100 years!

Public Services

The Los Banos Police Department has 56 full time and 7 part time employees.  Support

Los Banos Fire Department at work - Photo by Charles Guest
Los Banos Fire Department at work - Photo by Charles Guest

service is available from the Merced County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol with stations located in the City. 

The Los Banos Fire Department maintains 2 fire stations, has 32 volunteer fire fighters and 18 full time staff.  The department operates four (4) front line engines, one reserve engine, one OES engine, one ladder truck, two rescue units, water tender, and other service vehicles. Four Merced County units are also stationed in Los Banos. 

Local Government

Los Banos, incorporated in 1907, operates with a Council-Manager form of government. We have 4 Council members and a Mayor.  City Council meets the first and third Wednesday of each month in City Hall at 520 J Street.  Meetings are televised. The council members serve four year terms while the Mayor serves two years. Along with the Mayor, two of the four council seats are up for election at the general elections on even numbered years. The City Clerk and Treasurer are also elected positions and serve four-year terms.

Los Banos is in District 5 of the Merced County Board Supervisors, District 12 of the California State Senate, District 17 of the California State Assembly, and District 18 of the US House of Representatives.

Education

Los Banos is home to 7 elementary schools (K-6 grade), 5 charter schools, 3 parochial schools, a junior high, a continuation

Fishing and Fun Day - Photo by Charles Guest
Fishing and Fun Day at a nearby reservoir - Photo by Charles Guest

high school, an adult school, 2 high schools, and a media center. The Los Banos campus of Merced Community College opened in 2007. California’s newest University, UC Merced (opened 2005), California State University Fresno (Fresno State), and California State University Stanislaus (Stan State – Turlock) are all within easy commuting distance.

Tidbits

Los Banos offers 12 hotel/motels within the City Limits, one auditorium that seats 1,085; three exhibit halls with a total capacity of 2,000 and 3 arenas that can seat over 4,000 at our

Merced County Spring Fairgrounds. Our Community Center has a “Grand Room” that seats 350, an arts and craft room, fitness room, game room, multipurpose room, quiet room, and BBQ area.

Los Banos has a vibrant, historic downtown shopping center with our famous drug store counter & 7 major neighborhood shopping centers.  We have 4 banks, a credit union, and a finance & thrift. 

                                                            California’s Central Valley

The Central Valley is 400 mi long, 40-60 miles wide; Los Banos is almost the geographic center of CA.

Major agricultural commodities produced are milk products, sugar beets, tomatoes, dried fruit, nuts, cotton, meat, melons.  The Central Valley is a major supplier of gravel & sand as well.

Styilized map of Los Banos' location - Developed by MemorablePlaces.com
Stylized map of Los Banos' location - Developed by MemorablePlaces.com

Reader's Choice Award 4th of July Fireworks Los Banos Tomato Festival Safety Fair Christmas Evening Downtown
Fall Street Faire Chamber Mixer Wine Stroll Spring Street Faire Christmas Parade