Do you have out-of-town guests? Wondering what to show them without leaving this side of the Caldecott Tunnel?
Try these tips:
For the fashionista:
- , Broadway Plaza, downtown Walnut Creek and downtown Danville all have unique-to-the area stores with plenty of options to please the most discerning shopper.
- Venture further into downtown Walnut Creek for some great vintage hunting grounds, such as Labels on North Main Street. In downtown Danville, there also are several shops in which customers will find designer seconds and vintage clothing and accessories, including the on Hartz Avenue.
For the great outdoors lover:
- Mount Diablo State Park. The stormy weather may prevent you from getting to the top, but there are things to do lower down, such as at Rock City.
- Other outposts around the mountain, such as the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, are interesting spots.
- The Lafayette Reservoir has great views and a wonderful walking path.
- The Gardens at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek have 3.5 acres with 24 demonstration gardens to explore.
- in San Ramon is a 7.5-acre natural oasis in the middle of suburbia.
- The Iron Horse Trail is a great place for a walk.
For the history buff:
- The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is all decked out for .
- Don't miss Blackhawk Museum's European Train Enthusiast annual display.
- Forest Hill Farms Historic Park and the adjacent Glass House museum in San Ramon is another great spot. Don't miss the barn with vintage tractors—a treat for kids and adults alike.
- John Muir National Historical site in Martinez is a quick trip and very easy to get to. The property includes Muir's 17-room mansion, plus a historic adobe house. Climb all the way through the attic to the bell tower for a great view.
- Dublin Heritage Park and Museum is also close and gives a window into the area's pioneer past.
- Take a walk around downtown Danville (see attached pdf) or Pleasanton.
For the literary buff:
- Eugene O'Neil National Historic site. The home of the only U.S. playwright to win the Nobel Prize is in Danville, and can be visited by reservation or on Saturdays without reservations.
- Independent bookstores or are great destinations to indulge a bibliophile.
For the foodie:
- Really where not to take this guest? Choices are plentiful. Highlights are , , , , and , which will forever be known as "the restaurant in the movie 'Mrs. Doubtfire.' "
- For breakfast, don't miss , , , Pascal French Oven and Valley Medlyn's.
- Walnut Creek is also a foodie haven, with a multicultural flair, including Havana, Il Fornaio and Va Da Vi. For a distinctly American meal, visit Lark Creek and Bing Crosby's. For a great steak, visit Ruth's Chris Steak House, Flemings or Vic Stewart's.
- To pick up some gourmet goodies, visit Draeger's in Blackhawk Plaza.
For a touch of "local color":
- Elliot's Bar,, , , the new and are spots to mingle with locals in Danville. In neighboring San Ramon, is another spot.
For the solitude seeker:
- offers stunning views and beautiful grounds with nooks to explore. Check in at the gift shop in the main building and the volunteers will acquaint you with the grounds. There also are short hikes that work well for children.
- Walking a labyrinth can provide time to think. There are four labyrinths around town, click to read more about them.
For the wine lover:
- There are several wine bars in Danville, including The Vine at Bridges, Tannins at the Livery and Stomp Wine Lounge.
- You don't need to go all the way to Napa and Sonoma to get a wine country experience. Take a quick drive to the Livermore wine country.
For guests with kids in tow:
- I recently wrote about what when the weather turns stormy, and the suggestions work well for antsy little visitors as well.
Enjoy your guests!