- Stockton Symphony is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California (founded in 1926), after the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
- University of the Pacific is known for its music conservatory and for being the home of the Brubeck Institute, named after Dave Brubeck, a Pacific alumnus and jazz piano legend. The institute maintains an archive of Brubeck's work and offers a fellowship program for young musicians. The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet is composed of Pacific students and tours widely.
- San Joaquin Delta College has a growing jazz program and is home to several official and unofficial jazz bands composed of Delta and Pacific students and faculty. Christian Life College offers Associate and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Christian Music.
- Stockton is the birthplace of Chris Isaak.
Stockton hosts several live music venues, including:
- Stockton Arena, which is home to several sports teams, and has hosted nationally known entertainers such as Gwen Stefani, Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood and Bob Dylan. The annual Apollo Night talent show draws about 1,500 people to the Stockton Civic Memorial Auditorium (1925) to watch performances by aspiring Northern California musicians.
The Stockton Ports Baseball Team play their home games at Banner Island Ballpark, a 5,000 seat facility built for the team in downtown Stockton. The Ports played their home games at Billy Hebert Field from 1953-2004. The Ports have been a single A team in Stockton since 1946 in the California Minor Leagues. Stockton has minor league baseball dating back to 1886. The Ports have produced 244 Major League players including Gary Sheffield, Dan Plesac, Doug Jones, Pat Listach, and Stockton's own Dallas Braden among others. The Ports have eleven championships and are currently the A class team for the Oakland Athletics. The Ports had the best win-loss percentage in all Minor League Baseball in the 1980s.
A 10,000 seat arena, Stockton Arena, located in Downtown Stockton, opened in December 2005 and was the home of the Stockton Thunder professional hockey team (ECHL) for 10 years. The team has moved to the East Coast in a realignment of the American Hockey League and the Arena is now the home of the Stockton Heat, a venture and affiliate of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League.
Stockton is home to the oldest NASCAR certified race track West of the Mississippi. The Stockton 99 Speedway opened in 1947 and is a quarter mile oval paved track with grandstands that can accommodate 5,000 spectators.
Stockton's designation for Little League Baseball is District 8, which has 12 leagues of teams within the city. Stockton also has several softball leagues including Stockton Girls Softball Association, and Port City Softball League, each having several hundred members.
Rowing Regatta featuring Junior, Collegiate and Master Level Rowing & Sculling Competition is organized by the University of the Pacific annually on the Stockton's Deep Water Channel. Teams from throughout Northern California compete in this Olympic sport which is also the oldest collegiate sport in the United States.
Stockton hosts a wide variety of sports events every year: from resident hockey, baseball and soccer games through basketball at the University of the Pacific and at the Stockton Arena; golf championships at two 18-hole courses and a Par 3 Executive Course; rowing, sailing and fishing on the Delta and the Stockton Channel; martial arts and cage fighting. There are four public golf courses open year-round, Van Buskirk, Swenson, and The Reserve at Spanos Park and Elkhorn Golf Course. Private courses include The Stockton Golf & Country Club, Oakmoore, and Brookside Golf & Country Club.
Stockton is one of a handful of cities that lays claim to being the inspiration for Casey at the Bat. The University of the Pacific was the summer home of the San Francisco 49ers Summer Training Camp from 1998 through 2002.
Stockton is also the base of UFC fighters Nick and Nate Diaz. Nick, a middleweight in the UFC, is the former WEC and Strikeforce Welterweight champion, while Nate is one of the top 5 ranked UFC lightweights and the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 5. Both brothers are Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts under Cesar Gracie and operate a school in Stockton which teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu to children and youth.