Things to Do in Walnut Creek, CA
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in Walnut Creek, CA. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in California are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
In Walnut Creek, culture is not something that happens behind the plush velvet curtains of a premier theater box or after the last drops drain from a vintage bottle of wine. Music and art are accessible to anyone who takes an interest. Opera, for example, may call to mind images of women with big hair and men wearing boutonnieres, but Walnut Creek’s Festival Opera is trying to draw in a more diverse audience and younger performers.
Walnut Creek’s Bedford Gallery showcases the best in historic, modern and contemporary visual arts. This 3,500-square-foot facility is dedicated to educating and inspiring the community to appreciate the arts through its public programs and daily tours.
The idea of going to the opera may call to mind images of large women with big hair and piercing voices and men wearing boutonnieres, but Walnut Creek’s Festival Opera is trying to draw in a more diverse audience and younger performers. Founded in 1991, the company is dedicated to putting on quality performances at low ticket prices for the up-and-coming East Bay Area. It stages operas in the park and holds community galas, performing such classics as Carmen and Don Giovanni.
Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum provides visitors a glimpse into the history of Walnut Creek. Since it opened to the public in 1972, the museum has been a popular stop for history enthusiasts. Built by Walnut Creek pioneer Hiram Penniman in 1903, this redwood-framed house contains interesting local artifacts, including government documents, photographs and newspapers, many of which belonged to the Pennimans.
If you were to visit Walnut Creek and eat chicken fingers and French fries for dinner every night, it would be no one’s fault but your own. Sure, snacking is practically in the city’s name (if you like walnuts, that is), but the edible landscape is notable for both its high quality and wide diversity. Among popular travel aid TripAdvisor.com’s Top 10 diner-rated eateries in the city, no less than eight distinct cuisines are represented. The Number One choice is Tullio’s, an Italian joint with allegedly show-stopping veal picata, but more eclectic temptations follow.
Seattle has Starbucks. Walnut Creek has Peet's. Peet’s Coffee and Tea has been the start of many mornings since it was opened by Alfred Peet in 1966. Born in Holland, Peet was appalled at the low quality of American coffee and set out to change that. He ended up sparking a revolution in specialty coffees and teas. He even mentored other coffee entrepreneurs including the coffeemakers who would go on to establish Starbucks.
Tired of the same old boring burger? The Counter in Walnut Creek, CA, has the solution to the bland burger blahs. With their custom built burgers, the choices are up to you.
In many suburban communities, the concept of “recreation” doesn’t extend much past sitting on the porches, watching the neighborhood kids ride their bikes. Not so in Walnut Creek, where it seems like there are as many activities as there are folks in the town. The city’s recreation department offers dozens of classes and clubs for eager learners of all ages. Kids can get their feet wet in everything from space exploration to engineering with Legos, and adults can dance their hearts out to the Argentine Tango or take a Jazzercise class.
The Gardens at Heather Farm provide a beautifully unique horticultural experience just outside of downtown Walnut Creek. Located on six acres, the gardens exist to inspire and educate the community on effective gardening methods and the importance of protecting the environment. By visiting one of the 24 demonstration gardens and learning centers scattered throughout the gardens or by taking part in a garden tour, visitors are sure to enjoy the scenic beauty all around them.
Those of a mechanical persuasion won’t want to miss the 60-year-old Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society. Founded in 1948, this nonprofit organization provides visitors with a chance to enjoy intricately designed model train lines. The society’s opus, the Diablo Valley Lines Railroad, is a permanent 54 x 32-foot layout built by club members containing more than 4,300 feet of hand-laid track, complete with mountains, on 175,000 individual railroad ties.
Set against the foothills of Walnut Creek's Mount Diablo, Boundary Oak Golf Course is a picturesque place to enjoy a round of golf. Designed by Robert Muir Graves and built in 1969, this 18-hole course draws both golfing experts and novices. As one of the top rated public golf courses in northern California, Boundary Oak offers a full pro shop as well as a driving range with 60 stalls.
Get up close and personal with California’s wildlife at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. More than 50 non-releasable native California animals are on exhibit for visitors to enjoy. Daily activities at the museum include a petting circle, a live animal encounters show and other demonstrations. The museum hosts school groups, Scouts, birthday parties, and even adults for educational programs about animal preservation.