With the intersection of the Sacramento to San Jose I-680 and the San Francisco to Oakland SR-24 highways at its center, Walnut Creek is a diverse city with a little bit of everything that makes California so appealing. From its beautiful surrounding hillsides to its thriving historic downtown, this Contra Costa County city truly deserves its ‘Jewel of the East Bay’ nickname.
From multi-acre ranches to exquisite contemporary estates, Walnut Creek’s real estate is as diverse as the city’s attractions. Prominent architectural styles include Mediterranean, traditional, and contemporary styles. The city’s demographics encompass all age groups in almost equal measure, giving it the perfect blend of youthful vitality and a reassuring sense of being a place that many residents never want to leave. Two BART stations and unbeatable highway access makes it easy to travel anywhere within the Bay Area.
Among the hundred-plus year-old buildings of Walnut Creek’s thriving downtown, discover a dining scene that is as eclectic as it is enticing. Highlights include Catalan cuisine with exceptional wine pairings at Va de Vi, creative Asian fare from Chef Jon Lee at Kacha Thai Bistro, magnificent wine and seafood at Walnut Creek Yacht Club, and outstanding authentic Italian food at Il Fornaio and Ottavio. Another downtown hotspot is the upmarket Broadway Plaza. In operation since the 1950s, this open-air shopping center features an array of fashion boutiques and national retailers.
Walnut Creek is also a hotspot for arts and culture. The Lesher Arts Center touts itself as “the premier arts destination of Contra Costa County.” With three performance spaces and the 3,500-square-foot Bedford Gallery showcasing both contemporary and classic art, it’s hard to argue with that description. The Festival Opera Association regularly stages performances at the Lesher Center along with free shows in Civic Park.
Other high-culture Walnut Creek institutions include the California Symphony, Diablo Ballet, and the Center REPertory Company. Wide-ranging civic arts education programs provide residents with instruction on everything from ceramics and sculpture to painting and photography, plus drama and dance.
The city also holds the distinction of owning more open land than any other Californian community. Along with numerous parks and sports facilities, Walnut Creek is home to the beautiful 2.5-acre Ruth Bancroft Garden. Around 2,000 species of cacti, succulents, and other dry plants are on display here. There are a total of 16 outdoor parks and trails within Walnut Creek. The largest is Mount Diablo State Park, which covers 20,000 acres of trails over stunning scenery.
Walnut Creek residents enjoy access to a variety of excellent schools through the Walnut Creek Elementary, Mt. Diablo Unified, and Acalanes Union High School Districts.
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