The Bay Area offers unparalleled activities for you and yours - we all know that. There’s North Bay; South Bay; the vibrant City life...however, let’s shed some light on one of the least understood areas of our great region: that mystical and ‘boring’ area of suburbs that you’re gonna call home. There is so much to keep a body busy out here that you won’t have time for even a fraction of it! Here are some ideas to get the wheels turning:
Public Art in Walnut Creek:
Bedford Gallery puts on calendar-worthy art exhibits on the regular!
Dinner Under the Stars:
Yep, you can picnic anywhere but, can you be seated outdoors with proper table cloths, service, a meal and entertainment? Wente Vineyards (and, oh, the outlets are down that way, too...as well as “Curry Pizza” (yes, I just said that) has a summer concert line up where you can dine and wine under the stars with throwback performances a la the Mountain Winery.
Water-Wise and Stunning:
Ruth Bancroft Garden is a kid’s fieldtrip, sure -- but, stop by for adult inspiration anytime you need a bit of joy (and nature) in your life. An oasis on the way the route of your daily errands!
Off-Road Biking Adventure that Requires NO Time Budgeting:
You don’t ONLY have to be a weekend warrior when you figure out where Lime Ridge is. Scored a 4.3 out of a 5.0 on respected mountain biking sites; there’s no excuse to wait for Saturday!
Rando Concert Vibes:
Yes, there are rando concert vibes out here. One venue that books Janet Jackson, Deftones, Luke Bryan, I Love the 90’s, Hall & Oates, Snoop...and more? Concord Pavilion
Drive-In While You Still Can!
Well, you won’t see this in San Francisco or Berkeley. A good old fashioned drive in, open 365 days a year. We all know we “should do it before it’s gone,” but really. Do it before it’s gone! And, look, it’s one more thing that Concord brings to the table. Gotta give props where due: Solano Drive-in Theater
Perfect Local Hiking:
Native flora & fauna within steps of civilization. Must be on a ‘to do’ list. Shell Ridge Open Space IS the definitive example of what the landscape was like pre-construction.
Pot Pie that Doesn’t Go in Your Oven
Chicken pot pies, “Mac ‘n Cheese Mondays”, “Wings ‘n Whiskey”. You like it. There’s also PARKING - so there’s not an excuse in the book that will work not to go. Chicken Pie Shop is in Walnut Creek - you can even hit it up after a trip to Target.
Cheap Seats for Sports? Yes, Please:
Got a brood of kids to entertain and your pocketbook won’t sustain Cal, Warriors, 9’ers or Giants? Saint Mary’s has an excellent line up and you can get the kids in on the action for a fraction of the price (ahem, $10 for adults and $5 for kids!). Volleyball, soccer, football, tennis! Saint Mary’s Gaels for the Win!
Bone Marrow & Cabernet? Foodies Unite:
Where do you go when you want some elevated cuisine but you...just...don’t...want...to go back...into the city? Va de Vi Bistro is a fan favorite and has menu items to ease that special craving. Date night, girl’s night, or stop at the bar for a snack on your own. It’s all good.
Back in Time for an Afternoon (or An Evening)!:
One of the East Bay’s best restaurants is tucked away in one of its least known communities. Reservations required (you won’t get in) at Bull Valley Roadhouse. This is Conde Naste rated; 20 minutes away and a world apart. Pre-prohibition vibes and nothing but good memories!
Have You Ever Had Your Mind Blown in the Suburbs?
Be prepared. Even if you don’t like cars - this is a special treat! The Blackhawk Auto Museum has a mind blowing collection of cars that began as a private collection and has become a hidden gem. Still not convinced looking at cars is worth your time? Then go to one of the all out parties that get hosted there. We promise; you like these cars.
Musicals, Ballet and Theater? It’s here:
You do not have to retreat from the suburbs to enjoy a night out. I repeat: you do not have to retreat from the suburbs to enjoy a night out. Keep your eye on whatever calendars you like but Lesher Center needs to be one of them. Multiple theaters with a rotation of content from comedy to dance to ballet and theater. It’s all here. Without a bridge toll.
Casual Riders Only; You Won’t Put this one into Strava:
Start anywhere you want on Iron Horse Trail (ideally in Walnut Creek, headed south towards Danville) with a set of wheels (beach cruisers welcome) and head out for brunch with friends and family while earning your mimosa. Look out for Peasant’s Courtyard, Katrina Rozelle or Sideboard (props to Diablo Magazine for making the suggestions) and then roll home at a pace 50% slower than how you arrived.
Get Your Groove On:
It’s not your favorite club, it’s not the fanciest club, there’s no bottle service. But guess what, there is a line, there is great music and the drinks are strong. By the end of the night you’ll be bumping and grinding with random strangers (it’s that small) but I’ve never had a better night out with a husband or friends - and, holler, you don’t have to pay for an Uber to the City. You will come to love this. Kinda small, kinda hidden, SpoonTonic will liven up any weekend, promise.
Sports Bar Reco:
For a down home sports bar pick, ask your handyman where he goes! (You know he’s got great taste in sports bars, he’s the best ‘dude’ you know)... Pick 6 in Pleasanton. Worth the drive, just the right noise level and good food and beer vs. price point (aka “not too expensive”!)
Shaking Beef Shake Down
You want to get behind the suburbs. The lawn is so...nice to have. But, sometimes you’re just yeaarrning for a little *extra*! We hear you, transplants, we hear you. Head to the Slanted Door or Momo’s, Walnut Creek when you want the nostalgia from swiping your way to the family and ‘forever’ home. It’s not quite the same but really, neither are you.
Best Park Ever
You think you don’t want to get in your car and head farther east and then south (gasp! Past Costco even!) but you do. Rancho San Ramon Park - splash pad, zip line, enough said. Water is on come April 1st through summer - that’s HALF of the year you have a bomb place to take your kids to get the willies out!