Easily accessible by the BART rapid transit system, Walnut Creek is one of the East Bay’s most populous regional centers, situated close to Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland.
The California Symphony, the Diablo Ballet, and the Lesher Center for the Arts are just a few of the world-class arts institutions based in the city.
Below are the 10 best things to do in Walnut Creek.
1. Walnut Creek, California’s Lesher Center for the Arts
The Lesher Center for the Arts, located in the historic Nuthouse gallery and performance complex that first opened its doors in 1967, is Walnut Creek’s finest arts venue.
The City of Walnut Creek now oversees more than 900 events and performances annually at the center, which attracts more than 350,000 visitors.
The center features four theaters: the spacious 785-seat Hofmann Theatre, the traditional 297-seat Margaret Lesher Theatre, the cozy 133-seat George and Sonja Vukasin Theatre, and the flexible 384-seat Del Valle Theatre, perfect for movie nights and business presentations.
There are performances of theater, music, dance, comedy, and improvement every week of the year, from both nationally traveling organizations and local production groups.
The center also features the Bedford Art Gallery and other restaurants and bars.
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2. Walnut Creek, California’s Heather Farm Gardens
The Gardens at Heather Farm were established in 1968 to promote public appreciation of the Ygnacio Valley’s natural beauty and wealth and to make outdoor activities available to all Walnut Creek residents without charging an entrance fee.
Free self-guided tours of the center’s more than two dozen cultivated garden areas are available, and they are open to the public every day during daylight hours (with the exception of weddings and other private special events).
These areas include a native plant garden, a rose garden with more than a thousand majestic blooms, and an All-American Seed select demonstration garden.
A grove of trees suited to the Mediterranean climate, a greenhouse and nursery, and a waterfall garden including 11 individual waterfalls are all part of the landscaping.
3. Outdoor Adventures: Whitewater Rafting Day Trips in California, Walnut Creek
As a Sunset Magazine Best of the West attraction,.
All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting Day Trips offer visitors the chance to experience whitewater rafting on 10 of the Golden State’s best rivers, including Cherry Creek, the United States’ most challenging river accessible through commercial tours.
Having been created in 1962 by George Armstrong, the company is now widely recognized as the most experienced and highly regarded rafting service in the state.
Guided trips along the Middle and South Forks of the American River, as well as journeys down the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne River, are just a few of the more than 25 different types of tours offered.
There are trips for everyone, from novices just getting their feet wet to experienced rafters looking for a new challenge.
4. Visit the Downtown Mall
The downtown section of Walnut Creek is where you will find the city’s best selection of shops, as well as some unique finds.
Multiple shopping centers and entertainment venues may be found in this area.
Some have even said that Walnut Creek’s downtown is the best place to go shopping in all of the East Bay areas around San Francisco.
Shops ranging from jewelry boutiques to department stores are all within easy walking distance.
To refuel after a day of retail therapy in Downtown Walnut Creek, try one of the many fantastic eateries located within walking distance.
5. Spend Some Time at the Ruth Bancroft Garden and Relax
The Ruth Bancroft Garden, which spans 2.5 acres and can be found along Bancroft Road, is a well-regarded botanical garden.
The Garden Conservancy of America was the first organization to preserve a dry garden.
Over 2,000 species of South African, Chilean, Australian, Mexican, and, of course, Californian shrubs, trees, cacti, and succulents make up the garden’s beautiful vegetation.
Its beautiful drought-resistant design is one of a kind and helps the environment.
Visitors can participate in several informative and thought-provoking workshops and other events designed to raise their level of consciousness.
Plants for a home garden can also be purchased.
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6. Swan’s Fine Books is the place to go for Collectible and Rare Books
Ygnacio Valley Road is home to the charming bookstore Swan’s Fine Books.
The used and collectible bookshelves are stocked with a variety of unique finds.
There are even early editions of literature about California’s history.
Every bookworm will feel at home here.
Swan’s Fine Books is a very well-informed and helpful staff that would gladly help you choose the perfect read if you are at a loss.
7. Waste Time at Civic Park with a Picnic
Located off Civic Road, the beautiful Civic Park spans a whopping 10 acres and features stunning scenery and beautiful landscaping.
There are art studios, a community center, playgrounds, and picnic spots in this gorgeously designed park.
During the colder months, it transforms into an ice skating rink.
The park’s peaceful setting is like a breath of fresh air in the center of the bustling city. Civic Park is ideal for a picnic on a bright day because of its scenic vistas, peaceful mood, and lush foliage.
8. Go on a hike with Fido at Shell Ridge
The beautiful Mount Diablo foothills meet the heart of Walnut Creek along Shell Ridge.
It can be found in the vicinity of Castle Rock Road.
Trails for biking, hiking, and equestrian riding wind across the open space’s 1,400+ acres of land.
Location: in the heart of Shell Ridge, at Old Borges Ranch.
You can take your dog on a hike with you and see the beautiful scenery without worrying about him being too tired.
9. California’s Borges Ranch is in Walnut Creek
Established in 1899 as a cattle ranch by early California resident Francisco Borges, Borges Ranch is now a regional park and public ranch covering 15 acres.
To this day, the ranch’s original barns, corrals, and blacksmith shops remain standing thanks to the ranch’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
The ranch is still utilized to keep farm animals, which are supervised by the Pleasant Hill 4-H Club.
Visitors can take free guided tours of the ranch once a month, in addition to self-guided tours available daily during daylight hours.
The Patrick Hanna Grove Picnic Area features an amphitheater and a seasonal pond in addition to day-use picnic tables.
10. Park of the Diablo Hills Region
There is a public park in the San Francisco Bay Area covering 1,060 acres, and it’s called Diablo Hills Regional Park.
It’s a great place to see the beautiful Diablo Foothills and it also acts as a gateway to the Walnut Creek Open Space and Mt. Diablo State Park.
Accessible from Interstate 680, the park is home to Castle Rock Recreation Area, which provides a wide range of outdoor activities for day-trippers while also providing breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
In the spring and summer, the park is filled with seasonal wildflowers that make for excellent photo possibilities.
Open space for cycling, hiking, horseback riding, and animal observation is accessible, although the park itself lacks visitor facilities.
Large organizations and gatherings that want to use the park’s picnic areas can have them set up for them.