Concord, California, located just 30 miles east of San Francisco, embodies many of the best aspects of Bay Area cities: thriving art and foodie scenes, a diverse community, and easy access to the outdoors.
It also serves a convenient hub to California’s wine country and the region’s other attractions. A quick getaway to Concord is fun, easy, and perfectly situated for a weekend trip. Here’s how to get the most out of your time there.
Where to Fuel Up
Shake off the work week with an energizing breakfast at downtown Concord’s Acay Café. Choose from a tempting menu of Brazilian acai bowls, smoothies, juices, wraps, and crepes for a healthy and satisfying start to the weekend.
Art, Mountains, and Craft Beer
After breakfast head to Mount Diablo State Park, less than 20 miles from downtown Concord. The 3,850-foot Mount Diablo dominates the skyline as one of the tallest peaks in the Bay Area, and you’ll find ample opportunity for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and road biking (entrance fees apply). The Donner Creek Loop is a local go-to hiking trail, or opt for the Mount Diablo Summit Trail if you’re exploring the park on a mountain bike.
Once you’ve tired yourself out on the trails, treat yourself to a cold pint at the Hop Grenade Taproom in downtown’s Todos Santos Plaza. Sample your way through its rotating list of primarily local craft brews. Be sure to refuel with the crave-worthy pub fare, like Bavarian pretzels and sausage bites. For those who enjoy craft beer, the Concord Beer Trail will help you sample all the area has to offer. As an added bonus, those staying at area hotels can get free sample flights at participating breweries.
Pull away from the taps for a quick trip to the aRt Cottage (just two blocks away) before it closes at 5 p.m. This eclectic little art gallery features monthly exhibits from local Bay Area artists in an unfussy atmosphere that makes it all the more inviting (and there’s no entrance fee).
Global Cuisine, Concord Style
Stroll back to Todos Santos Plaza for your choice of restaurants for dinner. In a diverse city like Concord, global cuisine reigns supreme. You’ll find international flavors ranging from Thai to Mexican to Indian within a block of the plaza. If you’re looking for a meal that breaks away from the norm,head to Lima for authentic Peruvian food with a modern twist. Indulge in classics like fresh ceviche, lomo saltado, or arroz con mariscos served alongside a pisco sour or chicha morada, a refreshing Peruvian juice made from purple corn.
Where to Stay
When you’re ready to call it a night, cozy up in one of the nine hotels in Concord. The Concord Hilton tops the list for travelers looking for a touch of luxury—heated outdoor pool and fire pit on the patio included.
Where to Fuel Up
Roll into Day 2 with a leisurely brunch at Canasta Kitchen. This modern Mexican café boasts mouthwatering comfort foods like huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, dulce de leche pancakes, and Mexican eggs benedict. Plus, who could say no to horchata coffee?
Bikes, Parks, and Historic Sites
Finish up your last cup of coffee and get ready to tour Concord by bike with a cruise along the Contra Costa Canal Trail. This paved, multi-use trail makes a horseshoe shape around Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Martinez (14 miles total), passing several parks and shopping centers along the way. Start your ride a few miles from downtown up Willow Pass Road, where you’ll find the mostly flat cycle trail following along its namesake canal. Check out the Encina Bicycle Centers Concord location if you’re in need of a bike rental.
One of the best places to stop along the cycle trail is the 1,226-acre Lime Ridge Open Space. This regional park features 25 miles of trails (including some for mountain bikes) if you’re feeling like really working up a sweat. Either way, the park makes for a quiet place to relax and enjoy the California sun. Continue on the Contra Costa Canal Trail to explore more parks (like Heather Farm in Walnut Creek or Hidden Lakes Open Space in Martinez) or head back to the car.
Then, venture slightly off-the-beaten-path to the John Muir National Historic Site in nearby Martinez. Learn how John Muir, the country’s foremost naturalist and conservationist, came to be known as the “Father of the National Park Service” as you tour his former home and the surrounding acreage of oak trees and grasslands (there’s no entrance fee).
Burgers and Brews
Make your way back to Concord by driving six miles to Epidemic Ales, the quirky craft brewery at the north end of town. Order a tasting flight to sample their offbeat creations, like the Zombrew IPA and Affliction Amber Ale. Bonus points: This warehouse brewery features a dog-friendly patio complete with heaters for the chillier months.
Close out the weekend with a surefire dinner choice: burgers. A Bay Area staple started in San Francisco, Super Duper Burgers hits the spot with build-your-own creations served between artisan buns baked in SF. Save room for dessert here: A local creamery supplies the soft serve for their ice cream cones and milkshakes.
Unfortunately, it’s time to head home. But as you’ll have discovered, Concord is just a short drive away when you’re ready for the next escape.
Written by Jenna Herzog for RootsRated Media in partnership with Visit Concord.