2 Perfect Days in Concord: How to Have a Romantic Weekend in the East Bay
Adventure, Dine and Unwind with your Significant Other
Couples hardly need a reason to treat themselves to a few days of romantic rest and relaxation, and Concord is a convenient getaway, right in the heart of the East Bay Area. When I’m looking for some no-fuss couples time, I know it’s as simple as getting on BART and heading to the downtown Concord station where my partner and I can enjoy the city’s mixture of outdoor recreation opportunities, a thriving restaurant scene, and diverse entertainment options. For those with a car, it’s just a quick ride away. To make it easy for couples looking for their own spontaneous trip to Concord, here’s my East Bay guide for a romantic weekend in Concord.
Day 1: Art, Ice Skating and Dining Out Ease into the weekend with a quick bite and an espresso at Concord’s newly opened—and aptly named—Coffee Shop in The Veranda shopping center. Spacious outdoor seating and a hip vibe make this cafe ideal for kicking off a romantic weekend. Next head to the aRt Cottage, an art gallery and studio in downtown Concord, where you can enjoy freee exhibits by local artists.
For a fun and different way to spend the afternoon, check the schedule of paint lessons with Mountain Air Art. The lessons rotate location, typically hosted at local wineries, bars, and restaurants throughout Contra Costa and Calaveras Counties. Painting parties include instruction, supplies and the canvas that you’ll get to take home after creating your masterpiece. For those with a sweet tooth, consider learning how to make chocolate from the masters. Acclaimed chocolatiers Rachel and Michael Dunn hold hands-on chocolate workshops, in which you’ll make your own treats. You’ll be guided through the intricacies of dipping and decorating a wide variety of confections—and take the finished product home.
After unleashing your creativity, head back to The Veranda shopping center for ice skating at its seasonal outdoor rink, open November through February. Tickets include skate rentals and get you a generous 90 minutes on the rink any time throughout the day. Toast to your successes on the ice with a nice glass of wine or craft beer at the Residual Sugar Wine Bar located right there at The Veranda. This sleek, soft-lit bar imparts nothing short of a romantic feel, featuring an elegant wall display of their extensive wine collection from around the world and a cozy fire pit on the patio. If you don’t visit during the winter, check out Concord’s annual events held throughout the year.
Keep the date going strong with dinner at one of the restaurants in Todos Santos Plaza. Lima is a good way to experience the cuisine of Peru. The restaurant created by award-winning chef and restaurateur John Marquez is known for its fresh ingredients and creative takes on traditional Peruvian dishes. Enjoy a cocktail at the lively bar or sit down at either the indoor or outdoor sections of the restaurant. After dinner, take a stroll over to Vinne’s, where you can listen to some live music.
After dinner, relax in comfort at one of Concord’s nine hotels. The centrally located Hilton or easygoing luxury you’ll find at the Crowne Plaza are perfect for a romantic weekend.
Day 2: Sunny Strolls, Retro Movies, and Wining & Dining
Start your Sunday off right with a laid-back brunch at one of the emerging local favorites in Concord: Lido Bar & Grill. Their chorizo potatoes and eggs benedict are surefire winners, and don’t hold back from splitting an order of the cinnamon roll French toast—you may even want a Bloody Mary to really kick-start the day.
After brunch, take advantage of the pleasant weather in Concord with a stroll through Markham Nature Park & Arboretum. This 16-acre park provides an easy way to enjoy nature in the heart of the city, complete with a perfectly manicured rose garden for that undeniably romantic flair.
Then treat yourselves by dropping into Epidemic Ales, the city’s shining craft brewery, for an afternoon pint or tasting flight to share. The friendly atmosphere and pub games on the patio may make it tough to pull away from the brewery, but it’s worth it to move on to the evening entertainment: catching a movie at the West Wind Drive-In. Nothing says fun date night like reclining the seats and settling in for a flick at this retro drive-in. Though the setting may be something entirely out of yesteryear, the theatre plays the latest releases with full audio streaming directly through your car’s radio.
After the movie, keep up the romantic vibes by heading to Luna Ristorante, perfect for wining and dining in Concord. Centrally located in Todos Santos Plaza, this cozy bistro features artistic Italian dishes and an array of imported wines in a tasteful ambiance. While savoring their homemade pasta and fresh meat and seafood, try to save room for a treat from their impressive dessert menu—its classic Italian cannoli are hard to ignore.
Enjoy another night at your Concord hotel to get the most out of your romantic weekend—you’ll be happy you did!