The city was originally supposed to be named Dicksonville, after local citizen Thomas Dickson whose land had been donated to create a railroad depot. The first rail shipment of merchandise from San Francisco arrived in 1872 mistakenly addressed to “Dixon,” and the new spelling has been used since mainly out of "simplicity." Dixon is also home to the May Fair, the longest running annual fair in the state of California. It is held at the Dixon Fairgrounds in May, with the four day event ending each year on Mother's Day.
Dixon is also the home of the Gymboree Corporation's only Distribution Center, servicing all stores and customers around the world.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.7 square miles (17.3 km²), of which, 6.6 square miles (17.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.90%) is water. In the year 2007 Dixon housed the World's Largest Cornfed Farmers Maze (deemed by the Guinness Book of World Records)
There were 5,073 households out of which 47.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.0% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.9% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.17 and the average family size was 3.45.
In the city the population is concentrated among adults 25 to 44 (32.2%) and children under age 18 (32%). Only 8.5% of the population is aged 18 to 24; 20.0% from 45 to 64; and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $54,472, and the median income for a family was $58,849. Males had a median income of $42,286 versus $30,378 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,139. About 5.2% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.
The Union Pacific Railroad mainline between Oakland and Sacramento also passes through Dixon. This line was owned by Southern Pacific Railroad until its merger with Union Pacific on September 11, 1996. The track was constructed in 1868 by the California Pacific Railroad.
Amtrak Capitol Corridor also passes through Dixon over the UP mainline but the nearest station stops are at Davis and Fairfield/Suisun. Amtrak's California Zephyr and Coast Starlight also pass through Dixon without stopping.
In 2006, the City of Dixon finished construction on a train station near downtown Dixon. However, there are currently no scheduled stops at the station.