Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Benicia, CA

  • Published 2022/06/29

Did you know Benicia is renowned as the gem of the Bay Area?

Benicia is a waterside tourist destination in Solano County, California, and is home to several excellent attractions that highlight the city’s rich history and culture.

This city ensures a wonderful laid-back holiday with its spectacular waterfront location.

The many Museums and Galleries in Benicia, such as the HQ Gallery, Benicia Historical Museum, and Benicia Fire Museum, are some tourist attractions that travelers are delighted to see.

Likewise, the city features a vibrant arts scene and food and retail facilities.

Take a moment to experience this seaside paradise and discover the best things to do in Benicia, CA.

See the Benicia Clocktower

Exterior of the Benicia Clocktower

Eugene Zelenko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Benicia Clocktower, located at the Port of Benicia’s entrance, is striking.

Built in 1859 from native sandstone found in Benicia, the Clock Tower is a three-story structure that serves as part of the US Military Arsenal.

Unfortunately, the Clock Tower only has two surviving levels due to a fire in 1912.

Structure of the Benicia Clocktower

Eugene Zelenko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Still, it is a magnificent structure that appears in numerous images as a symbol of Benicia.

Visitors may observe the Benicia Clocktower and tour the space’s interior every Tuesday.

The Benicia Clocktower is also primarily utilized for various events such as weddings, conferences, dances, and other gatherings.

Appreciate Visual Arts at the Arts Benicia

Arts Benicia is a non-profit art center dedicated to the creative arts.

Appreciating creativity and innovation, they host exhibits, educational events, courses, and chances to engage with the community.

The objective of Arts Benicia is to inspire, educate, and nourish Benicia’s cultural life, primarily through visual arts.

Arts Benicia frequently accepts applications for juried exhibits and unique events accessible to all artists.

It also offers art workshops where you may learn new skills and express your creativity.

Arts Benicia is dedicated to delivering interactive art programs for youngsters and teenagers.

Eat Out with Friends at Sailor Jack’s

Sailor Jack’s was named after famed writer Jack London.

Likewise, the restaurant used to be the historical residence of a sea captain.

It’s only fitting that this historic structure now houses a superb seafood restaurant that highlights the best coastal California cuisine.

Their seasonally changing cuisine provides a little of everything at lunchtime, dinner, and weekend brunch on the gorgeous Carquinez Straits.

Customers may enjoy a handmade drink, a glass or two of wine from the well-selected wine selection, or a delectable meal.

Enjoy your meal on the waterfront terrace or in the beautiful dining rooms with a view of the Carquinez Strait.

Sailor Jack’s is Benicia’s best seafood restaurant, serving California-style seafood.

Explore the HQ Gallery

HQ Gallery is a dynamic fine arts establishment with notable prominence in the local arts culture.

You can find it in the downtown area of Benicia, near the river and harbor.

HQ Gallery features the work of more than 25 artists.

It features known and upcoming artists working in various mediums such as acrylics, collage, ceramics, charcoals and inks.

You can also find works in clay, digital art, drawings and illustrations, metal, media, oil, photography, and watercolor.

Tourists to HQ Gallery may see some of the remarkable masterpieces these artists have created and perhaps bring them home as a special gift.

Stroll around the Benicia Historical Museum

Exterior of the Benicia Historical Museum

Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The city of Benicia has a unique role in California history as the state’s former capital and the home of camel experimentation in the mid-18th century.

The Benicia Historical Museum provides academic activities that make history come to life for the most extraordinary hands-on experience possible.

Side facade of Benicia Historical Museum

Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tourists to the Benicia Historical Museum will see historical relics and exhibits housed in the Camel Barn.

It got its name from the animals living there during the Civil War when the US military transported camels from the Middle East.

Visit the Benicia Historical Museum to learn more about the city’s history and view its exhibitions.

Enjoy a Meal at the Rellik Tavern

In central Benicia, the Rellik Tavern is an elegant family-owned establishment.

Since 2009, its mission has been to give customers a fantastic time through its creative cocktails, local microbrews, and extensive wine selection.

All of these are made with only the best ingredients to provide the most delectable and distinctive flavors possible.

The tavern offers coffee in the mornings and a place to hang out at night with excellent cocktails, artisanal beers, and over 50 kinds of wine.

They have been a strong supporter of the arts community, displaying works by members of Arts Benicia and hosting local artists and musicians to entertain their customers.

Open mic nights, quizzes, and specialized decade nights are among the tavern’s unique weekly activities.

Order a Beer at Lucca Bar & Grill

Guests may enjoy gastro-pub-style meals at Lucca Bar & Grill.

They have a complete bar with an extensive drink selection made with fresh seasonal fruits and spices.

They also have 20 beers on tap that they change regularly to keep things interesting.

They also feature a wine selection with around 35 wines in a mixture of varietals, with the bulk of their wines coming from California.

Lucca Bar & Grill is Benicia’s first outdoor music establishment and its only beer garden, open from March until the first Friday of December.

Buy a Drink at Bruehol Brewing

From the patio-friendly Helles Lager pilsner to the full-bodied Black Ale with overtones of roasted chocolate and coffee, Bruehol Brewing’s main beer types are healthy and tasty.

Four homebrewers and friends who shared a passion for good beer founded Bruehol Brewing in 2014.

Bruehol Brewing also features various beers on tap at all times, ranging from seasonal classics to experimental new kinds.

Skilled and experienced brewers thoughtfully craft each beer by hand.

They understand that craft beer takes a while and aren’t hesitant to put in the effort.

It is known for its German-style pilsners, lagers, West Coast-style ales, and a range of IPAs.

If you enjoy beer and are looking for a great venue to get up with friends for a drink, this is the place to go.

Discover Firefighting History at Benicia Fire Museum

Established in 1847, the Benicia Volunteer Firemen Incorporated is California’s oldest continuously operating volunteer fire department.

The Benicia Volunteer Firemen Incorporated and the Benicia Fire Department collaborated to establish the Benicia Fire Museum in 1981.

Hundreds of fire department equipment are displayed at the Museum.

Volunteers in Benicia still preserve some vintage engines, which you can see at the museum and special events year-round.

The old Benicia Arsenal Military Reservation’s fire apparatus is also on exhibit.

The museum’s collection demonstrates how firefighting evolved through time by introducing machines such as a hand pump and increasingly modern fire engines.

The displays tell funny and enlightening stories of the firefighters who fought ceaselessly to defend their city.

Don’t miss out on learning more about Benicia’s history at Benicia Fire Museum.

Breathe Fresh Air at Benicia State Recreation Area

Gorgeous bayside trail at Benicia State Recreation Area

San Francisco Bay Trail Project, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Benicia State Recreation Area has nearly 2.5 miles of paved trails perfect for walking, bicycling, roller skating, and bringing a leashed dog for a walk.

It first opened in 1957 and spanned over 400 acres of beaches and highlands.

With its tidal wetlands and magnificent fauna, this state park is one of the best locations to visit in Benicia for people looking to escape the city.

Benicia State Recreation Area is only a few kilometers from some of the city’s most exciting and famous tourist attractions.

The wetlands of the Benicia State Recreation Area are home to a diverse range of wildlife, such as birds and animals like river otters, beavers, coyotes, and muskrats.

Relax as you stroll through the Benicia State Recreation Area, seeing various animals and taking in the scenery.

Take a Class at Happy Life Pottery and Gallery

Happy Life Pottery and Gallery is located in Benicia, California, and they don’t only sell ceramics.

Still, they have a wide range of art and jewelry from local, regional, and international artists.

They also have a range of home and gift products to add to the mix, making their choices more exciting and diverse.

Happy Life Pottery and Gallery is the place to go in Benicia if you enjoy pottery and want to understand how to create it.

Learn introductory wheel throwing, glassware art, and jewelry making at the gallery.

You may do other ceramic tasks in the studio or at home.

All of these workshops are designed to educate you on a specific pottery technique that will help you create your own collection of gorgeous art pieces in the future.

You may also book the gallery for a private party.

Watch the Sunset at Benicia Public Pier & Beach

The public pier in Benicia runs the shoreline along the Carquinez Strait, with trees, picturesque sights, and benches.

This is a great place to go if you’re looking for free things to do in Benicia.

Walking down the waterfront, visitors will see everything from fishers to yachts just off the shore.

The beach by the pier is a peaceful location to soak up the sun and enjoy the scenery.

Locals and travelers go to the beach on vacations and on sunny days.

People and their four-legged companions love to dip their toes in the sea and play on the sand.

With its beautiful vistas, Benicia Public Pier & Beach is a great place to get some fresh air and maybe do some sightseeing in Benenica.

You may take the long stroll along the pier and then head to the beach, where you’ll find plenty to do.

See the gorgeous sunset from this pier for an unforgettable visit.

Purchase Healthy Food at Benicia Certified Farmers Market

This farmer’s market, located in the center of Downtown Benicia, is open from April through October.

Visitors to the Benicia Certified Farmer’s Market can sample local cuisine and products from local farmers and producers.

Not only are there fresh vegetables and flowers for sale under the market’s tents, but there are also several food vendors where visitors may grab a piece of street food while checking out the stalls.

Both tourists and locals will delight in the Benicia Certified Farmers Market.

Benicia Certified Farmers Market is a must-visit in Benicia if you’re seeking a place to buy healthy food and souvenirs to bring home.

Dine at Bella Siena

Bella Siena is a fine dining establishment with a friendly environment and world-class service.

The founders of Bella Siena pay homage to the beautiful brick city of Siena, Italy, by drawing inspiration from Benicia’s Tannery building and its stunning brick walls.

From the lounge, dining room, or delightful courtyard terrace at Bella Siena, you may take in magnificent views of the Carquinez Strait.

In Benicia, Bella Siena serves various distinctive and inventive meals inspired by classic Italian and innovative Californian cuisine.

Fresh salads, flavorful portions of pasta, filling meat/seafood dinners, and imaginative daily specials are among the menu’s seasonal highlights.

Bella Siena has an excellent wine variety at reasonable costs.

Bella Siena is a fantastic Benicia restaurant you must visit!

Taste Italian Cusuines at Venticellos Ristorante Italiano

Venticellos Ristorante Italiano is the perfect place to dine if you’re searching for new Italian eateries.

It opened in 2004 and boasts an extensive cuisine featuring the tastes of Southern and Northern Italy.

This restaurant also offers unlimited mimosas during brunch on weekends.

Venticellos serves cuisine from Northern and Southern Italy, with a menu that includes freshly prepared soups, delectable salads, veal, chicken, beef, vegetarian entrees, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and desserts.

There is a variety of beer and wine to choose from at Venticellos.

On top of that, its dining room is a fantastic location for birthday parties and other special occasions.

Venticellos Ristorante Italiano will satisfy your appetite whether you’re stopping by for a lunch special or a hearty family meal.

Final Thoughts

Benicia tourists may expect delightful weather, a beautiful waterfront, museums, markets, and a strong artist community.

Benicia’s history is defined by its rich maritime heritage, as well as outdoor and indoor tourism attractions for both locals and visitors.

There are several places to visit, ranging from restaurants to breweries.

So, take inspiration from this list of the best things to do in Benicia, California.

Start planning your vacation now!

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