Perched in the San Francisco's East Bay region in the golden state of California, Walnut Creek is one of the best small cities in the country. It is located about only 16 miles away from Oakland and at an intersection of San Jose and Sacramento accessible by the area’s rapid transport system, which makes it a perfect gateway to all the lovely neighbouring cities. This quaint and charming city is a cultural and commercial hub with plenty of stunningly lush nature miles and miles of spectacular nature hiking and numerous stunning vantage points. The vibrant Downtown area, charming galleries, fantastic museums, terrific breweries, scrumptious Californian food, and lovely parks are just very few of the attractions in the city. This culturally rich city has tonnes of places to see and things to do. Here are 20 of the best things to do when you visit the delightful town of Walnut Creek.
Stroll Around The Town
Walnut is a charmingly picturesque town in the golden state of California with tonnes to see and explore. This small town is full of incredible culture and incredibly beautiful green space. The small size of the city makes it just perfect for exploring on foot. Walking is one of the best ways to explore small towns; you can see and experience the true essence of the city in its unsung glorious gems. You can also discover the best places to eat, shop, and drink while strolling around the town. You can truly appreciate the stunning architecture and the lovely tree-lined boulevards while roaming around. Long walks in the beautiful and sunny streets of this Californian city will refresh your mind and body.
Visit The Lindsay Wildlife Experience
Founded in 1955, The Lindsay Wildlife Experience is a wildlife rehabilitation centre as well as a family museum located in Walnut Creek’s Larkey Park. Formerly known as Lindsay Wildlife Museum, it was the first wildlife hospital in the United States of America, and it is one of the oldest wildlife rehabilitation centres in the country. It is an independent non-profit organisation that treats and rehabilitates more than 6000 orphaned and injured animals every year. The centre also provides one of a kind experience to the visitors by offering unique events, exhibits, and programs such as live bee centre, children's discovery room, behind-the-scenes Wildlife Hospital experience, underground habitat exploration area, and more. There is a quaint gift shop on the premises as well where you can buy souvenirs for just a couple of bucks.
Go Shopping in Downtown
Walnut Creek is a great place to enjoy some retail therapy, but the Downtown area has the most variety of shops along with some hidden gems. You will find all kinds of shops, from jewellery shops to boutiques. After shopping, you can charge your batteries by eating mouth-watering from amazing restaurants located at just a stone’s throw away.
Enjoy a Relaxing Afternoon at The Ruth Bancroft Garden
The Ruth Bancroft Garden is an acclaimed botanical garden covering an area of 2.5-acre. The dry garden was the first of its kind to be conserved by the Garden Conservancy of America. The stunning flora of the garden consists of an extensive collection of over 2,000 shrubs, trees, cactus, and succulents native to South Africa, Chile, Australia, Mexico, and obviously, California. The lovely drought-tolerant style of the garden is a unique feature that makes it eco-friendly. There are various workshops and programs hosted here to educate the visitors and create awareness. You can also buy your plants to start your own garden.
Enjoy a Show or Two At The Lesher Center for the Arts
The Lesher Center for the Arts is an arts venue with three separate intimate theatres for different events. The centre has four different venues inside it, including George and Sonja Vukasin Theatre that can accommodate about 133 visitors, the Del Valle Theatre with 384 seats, the Margaret Lesher Theatre with 300 seats, and the Hofmann Theatre with whopping 785 seats. The venue hosts more than 900 performances and productions along with over 350,000 visitors every year. You can enjoy various productions from local and travelling theatre companies along with concerts, film screenings, dance troupes, musicals, and much more. So make sure to catch a show or two at the Lesher Center for the Arts when you visit the lovely Walnut Creek.
Buy Rare and Collectible Books at Swan’s Fine Books
Swan’s Fine Books is a quaint book store located on Broadway Street in Walnut Creek. The book store offers an excellent collection of sp many rare, interesting, used, collectable books. You can even find first editions of California’s history books. It is a heaven for all the bibliophiles. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly and if you do not know what to choose, the staff will assist you in finding your perfect book.
Visit The Gardens at Heather Farm
Overlooking the magnificent Mount Diablo, The Gardens at Heather Farm is a public garden and an educational centre in Walnut Creek. It was initially founded in 1968 to enhance the natural beauty of Ygnacio Valley and make the outdoors more welcoming. It now consists of a meadow garden, a butterfly garden, a children’s garden, riparian garden, black pine garden, waterfall garden, stroll garden, and so many more gardens focusing on different plants and aesthetics. The environment here is very peaceful with lovely flora surrounding you and fantastic views of the rolling hills. It is a perfect spot to enjoy a lovely picnic in the delightful Californian weather.
Take a Guided Tour of The Shadelands Ranch Museum
The Shadelands Ranch Museum honours and preserves the ranch home of Hiram Penniman, an early settler of Walnut Creek. The ranch was built in redwood-framed Colonial Revival architectural style in 1903. The museum showcases the local history of the town and the Pennimans through artefacts, a library of archives, exhibits, and displays. It is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular tourist attraction. You can take a guided tour of the estate led by enthusiastic and docent volunteers to know more about the ranch and its history.
Go Back in Time at Old Borges Ranch
Perched in the beautiful foothills of the stunning Mount Diablo, Old Borges Ranch is a historic cattle ranch. The ranch was built by the Borges family in 1899 and is located only a 15 minute drive away in Alamo. It covers an area of over 1,000 acres and consists of about seven restored and original buildings that provides a glimpse into the olden days of simpler times. It gives a chance for visitors to see what life was like during early farming and settlement. In addition to the ranch complex, there are several dog-friendly nature trails where you can enjoy hiking, biking, or even horseback riding with impressive views.
Enjoy a Picnic At Civic Park
Civic Park is a charming 10-acre public park with incredible views and lovely gardens. This beautifully landscaped garden features art studios, community centre, playgrounds, and areas designated for picnics. In winters, the park offers a skating rink where the visitors can enjoy ice skating. The park is a green oasis in the middle of the city with a serene environment. With its picturesque views, tranquil atmosphere, and beautiful greenery, it is perfect for enjoying a picnic on a sunny day.
Stunning Panoramic Views from Diablo Hills Regional Park
Located on the foothills of Mount Diablo, Diablo Hills Regional Park is a public park covering an area of about 1,060 acres. It provides breathtakingly stunning views of the sweeping hills. It is also a gateway to the Mount Diablo State Park and Walnut Creek Open Space. The park features hiking trails, picnic areas, sports fields, and more. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the extraordinary panoramic views of the mountain and its surroundings.
Check Out Impressive Artworks At Valley Art Gallery
Opened in 1949, Valley Art Gallery is one of the most reputable art galleries of the East Bay. It is a non-profit organisation that is maintained by volunteers, and their philosophy is that art improves the quality of life of people. It hosts educational programs in local schools to educate people and encourage art education. The gallery is excellently curated and showcases the artworks from more than 150 emerging and established local artists in a very innovative and impressive way. You can buy the displayed paintings or even rent them. The gallery offers an inexpensive way to own and experience different pieces of art by renting them.
Hike with your Pup at Shell Ridge Open Space
Shell Ridge Open Space stretches from the stunning foothills of Mount Diablo to the downtown district of Walnut Creek. The open space covers an area of more than 1400 acres and has nature trails for biking, hiking, or horseback riding. The Old Borges Ranch is also situated in the Shell Ridge Open Space. The trails are dog-friendly too, so you can, and your pooch can hike while appreciating the impressive surroundings.
Spend an Afternoon at Boundary Oak Golf Course
Boundary Oak Golf Course is a public golf course with spectacular views of the Mount Diablo. This 18-hole course is one of the most top-rated public golf courses in Northern California. You can even take golf lessons from trained and professional instructors by booking the lessons on site. The Clubhouse at Boundary Oak also serves delectable food in the in-house restaurant. The staff is excellent and accommodating and will assist you in every way possible. Visit the Boundary Oak Golf Course and enjoy golfing while relishing the terrific panoramic views of the surroundings.
Eat Freshly Baked Bread and Pastries At A Sweet Affair Bakery
A Sweet Affair Bakery is a bakery in Walnut Creek that serves freshly-baked goods since 1984. All the baked items, including the bread and the pastries, are made at the bakery from scratch without adding any preservatives. You can see fresh items being made in front of your eyes. Make sure to visit this lovely bakery and try their scrumptious delicacies.
Dine at Va de Vi Bistro and Wine Bar
Va de Vi Bistro and Wine Bar is a fantastic eatery that serves eclectic small plates paired and wine from an extensive list. Since 2005, it has been voted as one of the top 100 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dine at the Va de Vi Bistro and Wine Bar to eat excellent food paired with wine from their fantastic selection.
Drink Delicious Beers at Calicraft Brewing Company
Calicraft Brewing Company is a brewery and taproom that makes and serves delicious beers. The brewery also hosts various events such as trivia nights and live music performances to entertain the customers. They do not serve food, but there are food trucks parked outside the brewery from where you can buy food to pair with your beer. Calicraft Brewing Company serves fantastic beers but do not forget to try The City IPA, Coast Kolsch, The Bay Double IPA, and Oaktown American Brown Ale.
Eat Mouth-Watering Seafood At Scott's Seafood Restaurant
Scott’s Seafood Restaurant is a local seafood chain and it is a regional favourite. It was opened in 1976 as a seafood diner, but now it also offers champagne brunches and daily happy hours. However, it is famous because of its scrumptious seafood prepared with fresh and the finest local ingredients. On Sundays, the restaurant hosts a jazz brunch with live musicians and delicious seafood. Stop by Scott’s Seafood Restaraunt to eat classic Californian seafood.
Eat and Drink at The Stadium Pub
Stadium Pub is Walnut Creek’s oldest sports bar, and it is the perfect place to enjoy drinks while watching a game. The pub has a full food menu along with a full bar serving Belgian beers along with draft beers. Make sure to try the BLT sandwich, garlic fries, and fish tacos with their extensive selection of beers.
Stay at the Diablo Mountain Inn
Diablo Mountain Inn is a delightful place to stay when you visit the town. It provides several amenities to make your stay as worthwhile and as comfortable as possible. The hotel is also pet-friendly, so you can explore the city with your four-legged and companion and stay here.
Walnut Creek is a beautiful Californian city that will definitely win you over. What are you waiting for? Visit Walnut Creek and do not forget to tell us your favourite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this charming city.