Once in a while, like any human being, I feel the need to stir things up a bit and change my routine without worrying about budget, long security lines at the airport, or jet lag. So what do I do? I have what I call “sleepovers” at my aunt and uncles’ house in Walnut Creek.
Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, about an hour away from Mountain View. You can read about my hometown HERE. Walnut Creek is located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area and away from the hustle bustle of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. With a total estimated population of 67,673, Walnut Creek serves as a hub for its neighboring cities because of its location at the junction of Interstate 680 and San Francisco/Oakland 24 freeway and its accessibility by BART. It is a perfect city for a weekend away and close enough from anywhere in the Bay Area so one doesn’t have to deal with the issues of travel. A car is all you need. Today, I will focus on this little quaint town.
Walnut Creek is great for shopping. It is also great for antiquing, but since I don’t own a home yet, I focus my consumer efforts on clothes and other personal items. Downtown Walnut Creek is an impressive location with a wide selection of department stores and standalone stores and to suit any taste and lifestyle. My favorite stores such as Zara’s, Anthropologie, Kendra Scott and designer stores like Coach and Kate Spade are all here. There is even a giant Apple store for those of you who like to play around with gadgets. You can easily spend an afternoon here soaking in the California sun and enjoying spending money on your favorite mechanize. The open shopping areas are well-kept with flowers, plants, fountains and plenty of bricked sidewalks to do some window-shopping.
The restaurants in Downtown Walnut Creek are also pretty decent. I have eaten at Tomatina and California Pizza Kitchen (hey, I love me some Italian food) and I wasn’t disappointed. There is Cheesecake Factory, which has a long wait on weekends and plenty of healthier options available as well such as True Food. There is even a movie theater right in the middle of downtown so you can catch the latest flick. One problem with this area is the parking. Although, it is not an issue on weekdays, on weekends, it gets quite crowded and you probably will end up paying for garage parking.
Another gem of a place is the Ruth Bancroft Garden. About 15-20 minutes from downtown, it is a notable place to spend an hour or two here. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a public dry garden about 2.5 acres, featuring a unique display of succulents, cacti, and other drought-tolerant plants as well as California natives. It costs about $10/person to visit and you can hold events on the weekends. It is a great space if you want to bring your dog (on a leash, of course) or kids. My favorite spot was this lotus pond in the middle of the garden. There is even a nursey where you can purchase succulents and cacti (although at slightly higher prices). Bring a hat or an umbrella and plenty of sunscreen. I highly recommend this place and get a tour if you can.
There are many events in Walnut Creek all through the year, but since I don’t live there, I haven’t had a chance to experience them. There are Wednesday events, Arts & Wine type festivals and even weekly food trucks! One of events I want to visit is the Octoberfest. I know Octoberfest is known for its beer (which I don’t drink), but there are other cool activities that I can partake in. There is live music, an auto show, kids’ play area, gourmet food exhibitions, harvest themed arts and crafts. This year the festival will take place on October 14th-15th weekend.
Well, I hope you learned a little bit about this local gem in Bay Area, California. If you ever visit this place, think about me. Happy Traveling!