Did you know that more than half (55%) of Americans left vacation time on the table at the end of the year? That’s a total of 768 million unused vacation days every year!
In fact, these are days that most of us have earned and when they are completely forfeited (which was the case for 236 million in 2018), you are essentially donating an average of $571 in free work time to your employer.
National #PlanYourVacationDay, is celebrated on the last Tuesday in January, to highlight the importance of taking time off to travel—both for your personal health and well-being and for the overall economic prosperity of our nation. This day is celebrated at the beginning of the year, on January 28th this year, to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the whole year at the start of the year—and inspire them to use those days to travel.
Located in the bustling San Francisco Bay Area, Concord, California is a trip worth planning! Concord, CA enjoys an easy-going culture and a wide variety of community gatherings—in other words, there’s always a reason to visit the city. Nine hotels offer visitors plenty of opportunities to make a weekend trip and fully immerse yourself in Concord any time of the year.
Here are 10 of the best activities to do year round in Concord, CA
1. Climb to the Top of Mount Diablo
Just 20 miles southwest of Concord, the 3,850-foot Mount Diablo looms over the skyline as one of the tallest peaks in the San Francisco Bay Area. Home to hiking trails, mountain biking, road biking, camping, and rock climbing, Mount Diablo State Park is a veritable treasure trove of outdoor recreation in the East Bay. From Concord, you can access a handful of the park’s hiking trails from the Mitchell Canyon Road or drive on North Gate Road to Mount Diablo’s summit with ample hiking and picnic opportunities along the way.
2. Tour the Wineries
Concord, California is part of Contra Costa County, a prolific wine-growing region that is home to some century-old plantings of Zinfandel, Mourvedre and Carignane that produce rustic, earthy and leathery styles of red wine. Located just 35 miles from Napa, 45 miles from Sonoma, and 35 miles from the Livermore Valley, Concord is an ideal basecamp for wine lovers to enjoy the world-class vineyards of the region. Napa Valley needs no introduction to vintage aficionados, with more than 400 wineries dotting the idyllic green landscape famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon and equally exceptional cuisine. Just one valley to the west of Napa lies Sonoma, where yet another 100-plus wineries and first-rate culinary experiences await. The lesser-known Livermore Valley viticulture region offers a quiet ambiance amidst golden California hills for sipping bold reds and elegant whites.
For family-friendly summer fun, look no further than Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord. Water slides, an interactive splash playground, wave pool, and lazy river make Six Flags a surefire way to fill a summer day with laughter and priceless childhood memories. When the park closes for the season, swap for winter-themed family amusement by skating at the open-air ice rink in The Veranda shopping center (open from November until February). A ticket gets you 90 minutes of skate time on the nearly 3,500-square-foot rink at any point during its daily operating hours.
4. See a Concert
Concord is home to one of the East Bay Area’s top concert venues: the Concord Pavilion. This 12,500-seat outdoor amphitheater hosts a year-round array of performers, from hard rock to hip-hop to classic R&B. For the full Concord Pavilion experience, pack a picnic with a blanket and beach chairs, and you’ll feel like the performers have come to your own backyard.
5. Explore the Craft Beer & Wine Scene
Whether enjoying a tasting flight on a sunny patio or sipping a heart-warming glass of Zinfandel come winter, a visit to one of Concord’s local breweries and Wine bars won’t disappoint. In the center of downtown, E.J. Phair Brewing Company & Alehouse serves up its award-winning ales (don’t miss the crisp Ditzy Blonde) and lagers alongside an impressive list of guest beers in a downright homely pub with just the right comfort food to match the warm atmosphere. Located in The Veranda shopping center, Residual Sugar Wine Bar brings together one of a kind, indigenous wine varieties from France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Austria and beyond. At the northern end of town, Epidemic Ales lives out their “Beer Today, Apocalypse Tomorrow” motto with creative brews and festive events throughout the year. Plate & Vine, located inside the Concord Hilton Hotel, offers an elevated culinary experience for anyone looking to enjoy a glass of wine and a meal. To go with the beverage of your choice, you’ll also find a thriving restaurant scene in Concord, with global cuisine that will satisfy any craving.
6. Enjoy Nature in the Heart of the City
In 1981, a small group of Concord locals with a shared passion for nature joined together with the goal of cultivating a public garden full of unique trees, shrubs, and plants. Today the Markham Nature Park and Arboretum is a wonderful place for a serene stroll in a natural oasis. Admission is free and you’ll find international gardens with a wide variety of plant life thanks to Concord’s pleasant climate and don’t miss the wonderful rose gardens. Take a quiet walk under the shade of the native trees and enjoy the beauty of it all.
7. Relax at Todos Santos Park and Plaza
All year round, Todos Santos Plaza is the epicenter of dining, shopping, and community events in Concord. The Farmer’s Market comes to the plaza every week in every season, with the additional fun of live performances during the Music and Market Series at evening markets in the summer. July evenings bring free Tuesday Night Blues performances. The annual Independence Day celebration combines entertainment and fireworks, and in December, it’s where the city kicks off the holidays with the official city Tree Lighting, Mayor’s Sing-Along, and Santa’s Grand Arrival.
8. Mountain Biking and Hiking at Lime Ridge Open Space
Each season comes with its own advantages for enjoying the trails in this beautiful, undeveloped area on the southeastern edge of Concord. Easily accessible with a short drive from downtown or by bike via the regional cycle paths, this 1,226-acre park boasts 25 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers. You can spend the day exploring the area and still not see it all.
9. Go Golfing
The two public golf courses in Concord offer tee times year round, which means you’ll never have to worry about an offseason. Situated at the northern end of town, Diablo Creek Golf Course features lush, manicured greens on its 18-hole course, complete with long fairways and water hazards for that extra challenge. Meanwhile, Buchanan Fields in the west part of town is a fun nine-hole course that’s perfect for those who enjoy a quicker game.
10. See What’s New at the aRt Cottage
Located in downtown Concord, the aRt Cottage gallery highlights local Bay Area artists with monthly rotating exhibits of photography, painting, sculpture, and ceramics. With an unfussy and relaxed atmosphere, the aRt Cottage is ideal for a casual drop-in when strolling downtown any time of year (it’s open Tuesday through Saturday afternoons).