Best Places to Live

Walnut Creek, CA

Population: 66,799
Photo: Mitch Tobias

Although it is next door to the foodie mecca that is the San Francisco Bay Area, the cozy community of Walnut Creek, CA, has enough culinary heft to stand on its own.

Its annual Art and Wine Festival, recognized by the Contra Costa Times as East Bay’s Best Outdoor Festival, draws 100,000 visitors annually to sample award-winning local and regional wines and microbrews and delicacies from dozens of local restaurants.

Some eateries worth more than just a taste include tapas favorite Va De Vi and the Zagat-rated Italian mainstay Prima, which features one of the most extensive and distinguished wine collections in the world.

Walnut Creek dining also boasts a bit of star power – guitarist Carlos Santana is a partner at Maria Maria, the regional Mexican restaurant chain that began here and is named for the musician's 1999 hit song.

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