With different ages and interests in the mix, family outings can be tough to plan. Fortunately in Concord, a range of activities will ensure satisfaction for everyone—from temperamental toddlers to adventurous adults. Take your pick from these fun, family-friendly pursuits in one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most dynamic destinations.
1. Amusement Parks
For an adrenaline-pumping way to soak up the California sunshine, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor has it all, including the four-plus-story Honolulu Half-Pipe or the Cliffhanger’s exhilarating 70-foot plummet, an enticing offering for older kids craving high-flying adventure. Kids of all ages can go at their own pace in Splashwater Island, a colossal, multi-level, water-play area. With seven rides and free admission (you buy tickets to go on individual rides), Pixieland Amusement Park is a perfect fit for families with toddlers. A Concord institution since 1955, Pixieland will delight little ones with favorites like the antique carousel, teacups, Dragon Roller Coaster, and the famous Pixieland Express Train.
2. Jump Around
Popular for elementary school-age birthday parties as well as wet-weather fun, Pump it Up is a warehouse full of inflatable bouncy houses. Another popular spot on the kid-party circuit is Sky High Sports. Older kiddos also will love its basketball-size court filled with trampolines, as well as an enormous foam pit.
3. Indoor Climbing
If your family is all about fitness, check out Diablo Rock Gym. In addition to an impressive variety of indoor rock-climbing terrain for all levels, Diablo Rock Gym offers bouldering, yoga, fitness, and more. Aspiring rock hounds can even learn to climb, while a CrossFit program offers a way to jump-start your fitness goals.
4. The Veranda
If the weather is a little too toasty, and everybody seems to have a different agenda in mind for the day, head over to The Veranda. Conveniently located off Highway 680, this stylish and contemporary outdoor shopping center, which opened in 2017, features trendy eateries, a state-of-the-art IMAX theatre, children’s play area, and a full lineup of retail stores.
5. Go Hiking and Play Outside
If your family’s idea of fun involves getting back to nature, Concord has you covered. Lime Ridge Open Space is a Concord gem that will satisfy the most avid hikers and curious little ones. Spanning 1,226 acres with 25 miles of trails, Lime Ridge offers a relaxing respite from the urban hustle and bustle, with rolling hills that turn brilliant green and burst with wildflowers in the spring.
In addition, Concord boasts a bounty of local parks. Check out Hillcrest Community Park’s 26 acres, including athletic fields, a model airplane flying area, and picnic spots. This park is also home to Matteo’s Dream, one of the few playgrounds in the nation that embraces children with sensory and other disabilities.
6. Get Pedaling
Closer to the urban core is the Iron Horse Trail, which starts in Concord near Highway 4. Suitable for strolling or bike riding, the 32-mile trail connects residential and commercial areas, business parks, schools, public transportation, open spaces and parks, regional trails, and community facilities. It’s a convenient way to explore the region without getting into a car.
7. Exploring Rock City at Mt. Diablo
The granddaddy of outdoor recreation in the Concord area is Mount Diablo, the impossible-to-miss, 3,848-foot peak that provides endless entertainment for nature enthusiasts. While this solitary mountaintop attracts expert hikers and bicyclists, families will enjoy driving to the summit for breathtaking views and the engaging visitor center (which houses the mountain’s actual summit!). Another fascinating geological spot is Rock City, where nature trails, sandstone caves, and boulders are perfect for exploring.
8. Kid-Friendly Eats
No matter what activity you choose, a food stop is a must when kids are in tow. In Concord, there’s very little you can’t find to satiate a rumbling stomach, but there are a few places that even those with the pickiest of palates will appreciate. Chuck E. Cheese is the ultimate kid-friendly eatery; in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone without little ones here. In addition to pizza and other casual fare, Chuck E. Cheese offers video and kiddie arcade games, an hourly show starring the mouse mascot himself, and high-energy birthday parties.
A Concord institution for special occasions, but just as much fun on any day is Benihana located in the Willows Shopping Center. For more than 30 years, groups of friends and family have enjoyed Benihana’s mouth-watering, Asian-centric dishes theatrically prepared at a communal hibachi table. Kids will especially love the onion volcano and “beating heart” made of fried rice.
With tasty and affordable pizza served in a casual, family-friendly setting, Skipolini’s is a local favorite that has gained a certain amount of national fame for its Prego Pizza. (Legend has it that this pizza, bedecked with 13 toppings including extra onion and garlic, will induce labor in pregnant women close to their due date.) For hamburgers, Fuddruckers is always a hit with the fam, as it’s easy to customize burgers with just the right toppings for every taste in the group.
9. Laser Tag and Other Indoor Fun
Need an activity to entertain a group of energetic kids on a rainy day? Look no further than Q-Zar. They’ll enjoy an action-packed game of laser tag, with options for a five-hour fun pack or an all-day pass. At Round1, you’ll find all kinds of indoor activities, including bowling lanes, billiards, arcade games, a kid’s play zone with climbing structures, and even karaoke for the more adventurous.
10. Go Old-School With a Drive-In Movie
For timeless family entertainment, the Solano Drive-In is one of the few drive-ins remaining in Northern California. Open 365 days a year, it combines a nostalgic movie-going experience with the latest digital technology for crystal clear picture and sound. Grab a bite from the concession stand while the kids take a break between double features at the playground and arcades.
Written by Karen Bakar for Matcha in partnership with Visit Concord.