The progressive and dynamic leading city of Merced is characterized by a youthful and diverse population. Lovely neighborhoods feature a pleasing blend of Victorian-era homes with majestic tree-shaded drives. The vibrant, revitalized downtown district features a number of contemporary developments. Recreational amenities are outstanding, including bike paths that are among the finest in any American city. Meandering streams, panoramic lakes, abundant parks, and well-managed sports facilities promote a healthy and active lifestyle. The city offers an active and well-developed cultural community, a vibrant new campus for the University of California, extensive shopping and services, respected schools, and urban amenities that are typically only found in significantly larger cities. The city's status as the commercial, entertainment, cultural, and governmental hub for a regional population has no doubt driven much of the quality development.