Located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Merced is often referred to as the “Gateway to Yosemite” due to its proximity to the renowned national park. Founded during the California Gold Rush, Merced has grown into a bustling community with a rich agricultural history. The Merced River, which the city is named after, flows through offering picturesque views and recreational opportunities. The University of California, Merced, has brought renewed energy and growth to the city. The historic Merced Theatre and the Merced County Courthouse Museum provide glimpses into the city’s storied past. State Route 99 and State Route 140 serve as major arteries connecting Merced to surrounding areas. With a balance of natural beauty and urban amenities, Merced remains a prominent city in California’s Central Valley.