Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Pittsburg, CA

  • Published 2022/11/26

The beautiful city of Pittsburg in Contra Costa County, California, has a rich history dating back to 1839 when it was originally settled.

Its former names were New York of the Pacific, New York Landing, and Black Diamond, each having a meaningful story.

In February 1911, it became “Pittsburg” without “h” in honor of Pitåtsburgh, Pennsylvania, as they shared a common heritage of the steel and mining industry.

Pittsburg is tucked east of the San Francisco Bay Area and lies in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s meeting point.

According to the 2020 census, the city is home to 76,416 people, and it’s their pleasure to welcome visitors who want to see the area’s magnificence.

Watch the latest films, peruse fascinating exhibits, visit landscaped parks, go hiking on the trails, experience water adventures, and appease your cravings.

Whether you prefer indoor attractions or outdoor exploration, there’s something that should fit your requirements in this city.

Here are the best things to do in Pittsburg, California:

Learn about the Local History at the Pittsburg Historical Museum

Delve into the local history and culture when you visit the Pittsburg Historical Museum nestled downtown in the former Pittsburg Post Dispatch building.

Since 1961, the Pittsburg Historical Society has operated the museum, collecting and preserving memorabilia to educate people about the area’s rich historical heritage.

Marvel at the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts, garments, photographs, videos, documents, and other items with significance to the city’s history.

Some exhibits that might draw your attention include the Sports Hall of Fame, Theater Room, and Military Room.

The museum has a fully equipped kitchen and tons of items for sale, including T-shirts, afghans, mugs, and books.

History buffs like you may also participate in the special events hosted by the fascinating museum throughout the year.

Find Good Books at Railroad Book Depot

Walk a bit from the Pittsburg Historical Museum, and you’ll find Railroad Book Depot, the city’s only independent bookstore.

The Pittsburg Arts and Community Foundation owns and runs the non-profit bookstore to support its mission to promote literacy and visual and performing arts.

Here, you’ll find a wide variety of free, new, and used books, gift items, greeting cards, accessories, sports apparel, and more at affordable prices.

The bookstore offers free Wi-Fi and seating for readers.

Railroad Book Depot hosts public book signings, allowing you to meet many local authors and get signed copies of their books.

There are also clubs and events such as movie nights, poetry readings, and events for kids and adults.

Watch New Movie Releases at Maya Cinemas

Maya Cinemas is one of the places to be for your perfect date, fun family entertainment, and a night out with friends.

This roadside movie theater on Century Boulevard takes moviegoers to an unrivaled cinematic experience while watching first-run movies.

It has some of the latest technologies in cinemas with RealD 3D generation of entertainment, MPX large format, and Dolby Atmos sound, which immerses you fully into the movie you’re watching.

What adds to an ultimate movie experience are features such as reclining seats, concessions, and subscription rewards.

If you’re excited to catch the newest releases, purchase tickets now in their app, website, or box office.

Don’t miss this high-end cinema in Pittsburg, located along Century Road, an eight-minute drive from Downtown Pittsburg.

Experience Water Adventures at the Pittsburg Marina

Head to Marina Boulevard to visit the Pittsburg Marina if you’re yearning for water recreation activities such as stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.

Tucked at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River, this 575-slip municipal marina is often called the “Gateway to the Delta.”

Its strategic setting provides boaters easy access to the upper delta region and the San Francisco Bay.

They offer stand-up paddle board and kayak rentals in the summer so you and your loved ones can create incredible waterfront adventures together.

If you’re not in the mood to indulge in the waters, you can do heaps of other things in the area, such as strolling, jogging, and bicycling.

The spot’s amenities include free public boat launch facilities, an accessible public kayak launch ramp, fuel docks with cheap fuel prices, and more.

There are also restaurants within walking distance, a dockside market, and public transportation.

Events also take place at the Pittsburg Marina, including the annual Pittsburg Fishing Derby.

Watch the Kiteboarding Competition at Riverview Park

If you prefer a beautiful park with a picturesque vista of the waters, the four-acre Riverview Park is the perfect place for you.

At this small community park, you can enjoy a family or group outing here and let your kids keep busy at the playground.

Stroll the cement trail to the riprap jetty and watch the beautiful water views.

The park is a popular spot for fishing, so bring a rod if you’ve got some angling skills or want to try fishing.

Aside from that, it is also a famous kiteboarding launch for seasoned or professional kiteboarders.

In June, watch the annual Delta Board Meeting Kiteboard Competition hosted at this site.

You can find Riverview Park right along the edge of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta.

Grab a Hearty Meal at New Mecca Cafe

The New Mecca Cafe is a top-rated restaurant founded by Guillermo “Bill” Muñiz, a world-class cyclist, in the 1960s.

The New Mecca Cafe has been a caterer of choice to the San Francisco Giants and 49ers, the Oakland Athletics, and the MLB All-Star Games when they were in the city in 1984.

There are plenty of delicious food items to degust at this retro-style eatery, including those under the special and combination plates on their menu.

You should try some of their stand-out items, such as bean dip with meat, potato soup, chilaquiles, and super burrito.

Find the New Mecca Cafe on Railroad Avenue near several attractions and enjoy a satisfying meal with your family or friends.

The restaurant is open for indoor dining, open-air dining, catering, and takeout.

Let the Kids Enjoy at Small World Park

For intimate quality time with the family, visit Small World Park, an eight-acre amusement park on Harbor Street.

Perfect for kids aged 12 and under, they’ll enjoy the playground structures and mini-carnival rides featuring a carousel, a train that circles the park, a spinning whale, a zipline, and a Ferris wheel.

You’ll enjoy various outdoor activities, such as crawdad fishing in a pond and picnicking in ample green spaces and shaded areas from trees.

You’ll also find a rentable castle for parties and other special events.

Check out numerous fun events here, including the annual Halloween Bash, Green Foot Print Festival, and National Night Out.

Whether it’s a weekend picnic or just letting the kids play for an hour or two, there’s something to cherish when you visit this family-friendly park.

Note, though, that it opens seasonally from April through October each year, with an admission fee, except for those children under one year.

Spot Some Animals at Buchanan Park

Buchanan Park, situated at the corner of Harbor Street and Buchanan Road, is one of the city’s largest and oldest community parks spanning over 16 acres.

A trip to this beautiful park allows you to enjoy plenty of things outdoors, such as picnicking, playing horseshoes or bocce, strolling the walkways, and relaxing.

There are two play areas for the kids: a tot lot with baby swings and a large playground for children aged five and older.

In the central part of the park nestles a huge pond with fountains wherein visitors can enjoy feeding the ducks or watching the resident turtles.

The place is dog-friendly and great for wildlife viewing or birdwatching, as it is home to various animals, including geese and ducks.

At the park, you’ll also find Buchanan Swimming Center, the Community Center, and a snack shack adjoining the pool, which has been a staple of the community since the 1980s.

Chug Down a Beer at E.J. Phair Brewing Company

If you’re looking for some of the tastiest beers in the city, look no further than E.J. Phair Brewing Company.

It makes delicious craft beers while serving good food in a charming, rustic environment.

Hang out with your best pals as you delight in its flagship selections, like the award-winning Shorty’s Revenge Amber and the famous Ditzy Blonde Ale.

Don’t forget to try its food items like mouthwatering wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, or salads.

Fun events and live music add to your splendid pint night at E.J. Phair Brewing Company.

You can locate its excellent brewery and charming taproom in a historic building on Cumberland Street in Old Town Pittsburg.

Catch a Show at the Historic California Theatre

The California Theatre has been a staple of the New York Landing Historic District in Old Town Pittsburg since 1920, showing the best vaudeville acts and Hollywood films.

Like many elegant theaters in Bay Area during that time, A.W. Cornelius designed the California Theatre in a classic revival style and became a landmark.

Later, it was modernized to incorporate art deco features.

In 1954, the theater sat unattended, closed, and suffered damages, but it underwent planning and restoration to bring the grandeur of the original.

Finally, it reopened its doors in 2013 as a community-based performing arts theater providing a great entertainment experience to its guests.

Don’t miss watching fabulous shows in a charmingly quaint atmosphere at the historic California Theatre, which stands at 351 Railroad Avenue.

Show Your Holiday Spirit at John Buckley Square

Stopping by John Buckley Square is so easy because it’s just on Railroad Avenue between the 5th and 6th streets across from the Pittsburg Historical Museum.

This multi-purpose community park opened in 2016 and serves as a gathering place for community events like festivals.

It becomes a lively spectacle when the holiday season kicks off, celebrating the annual Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony with a stunning tree decorated with hundreds of lights.

The festivity features hot chocolate, kids’ face painting, crafts, holiday music, a visit from Santa, and more fun.

Other events that have been held here include Pittsburg Car Show and Eats & Beats Food Truck, featuring delicious food, great music, and family fun.

There are also many excellent dining and shopping options nearby.

Play Ball Games at Highlands Ranch Park

Completed in the fall of 2006, the 10-acre Highlands Ranch Park is one of the great places to enjoy outdoor opportunities.

Team up with your pals and break up some sweat by playing ball games or ball sports such as tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, or baseball.

Take a leisurely walk on the cement trail that follows the park’s perimeter.

You may also have an outing here because it has ample space, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and a play area with different features for toddlers to 12.

Make sure not to leave your furry friends at home since there’s a large dog park section here.

The well-maintained park includes a drinking fountain, a parking space, benches, and restrooms.

Whether you’re up for the morning sun or afternoon relaxation, there’s something to amuse yourself at Highlands Ranch Park.

If you’re interested in visiting this spot, you’ll find it along Buchanan Road.

Join the Celebration during the Festa Italia

The taste, sound, and culture of Italy are the highlights of the Festa Italia in Pittsburg, which you can experience in June at John Buckley Square.

It is a three-day street festival where all ethnicities gather and celebrate Italian heritage and culture in the city.

Take great delight in authentic, diverse Italian food, wine, beer, live music, entertainment, and more.

Kids can enjoy the kids’ zone featuring children’s activities and games.

You can even bring your leashed pets to this family-friendly event.

Easy and convenient street parking and restrooms are also available for attendees.

Go Hiking or Biking at Stoneman Trailhead

If you’re looking for a stellar place to sweat out and explore the great outdoors, Stoneman Trailhead should fit your demands.

Hiking and biking are popular recreation activities at this massive park, which is also ideal for horseback riding.

The trailhead offers access to various trails, including one that leads to the summit of the majestic Mount Diablo.

If you’re not into long hikes, there are several shorter trails that loop around the trailhead, presenting striking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

While taking a break, appreciate the beauty of nature and admire the wildlife you’ll spot within the place, like birds.

Like many parks within the city, Stoneman Trailhead is also an ideal spot for family or group picnics.

The trailhead’s name stems from John Stoneman, an early area settler known for his work in building bridges and roads.

Stoneman Trailhead is situated along John Henry Johnson Parkway.

Watch a Baseball Game at City Park

Located at Railroad Avenue and Civic Avenue, this first city-owned park was established in the 1920s, covering 28 acres.

City Park has a sports complex with seven ball fields: three adult baseball or softball fields and four youth baseball or softball fields.

There’s a soccer field, basketball court, and a playground.

The community park’s soccer and baseball fields are lighted for night games, which you might want to visit with your kids if you’re fond of watching such games.

You can also head to Taqueria Acatlan, a Mexican restaurant within City Park, to enjoy some treats like tacos and burritos.

Final Thoughts

The beautiful city of Pittsburg is one of the great places you should visit at least once.

It is brimming with attractions, including fascinating exhibits, waterfront views, community parks, and family-friendly events.

So, if you get the chance, enjoy the best things to do in Pittsburg, California, with your loved ones.

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