Calling all nature lovers! Concord is home to fantastic scenic parks, trails and gardens just waiting to be explored.
Start your day off with breakfast at The Vineyards restaurant at Crowne Plaza Hotel and be sure to ask for Chef Derek's special Huevos Rancheros featuring his famous, homemade green chile sauce. This Denver, Colorado transplant knows southwest cuisine and you really can’t go wrong with any of his creations.
Nature lovers will also enjoy the lovely, tranquil setting inside the hotel’s atrium, which is abundant with living trees, koi ponds and skylights.
After breakfast, you’ll likely want to venture out and explore the area’s spectacular scenic hills, trails and panoramic views. First stop on the agenda: Lime Ridge Open Space. This 1,226-acre park of quintessentially Californian grasslands and rolling hills is just the spot for a hike or bike ride. Situated along the southern edge of Concord, Lime Ridge is accessible via various trailheads in Concord and Walnut Creek. The park’s 25 miles of established trails weave throughout the area, giving visitors the opportunity to hike or bike as far as they please.
On the way back, stop by The Willows shopping center for lunch on the patio at Eureka! This fun, casually modern dining establishment specializes in “American classics with a twist” that includes appetizers, sandwiches, salads, burgers and tacos. You can also choose from 40 craft beers on tap -- or indulge in a slice of their famous Bourbon Barrel Cake.
If you’re up for some leisurely afternoon adventure, take in Concord’s beautiful Markham Nature Park and Arboretum. Located in the heart of the city, this 16-acre oasis of greenery welcomes the public to stroll through its expertly designed gardens. With free admission 365 days a year from dawn until dusk, the park is an inviting place to explore groves of native trees, the active nursery, international garden full of unique plants, rose garden, and community vegetable garden. Don’t miss the self-guided Markham Tree Walk, which introduces visitors to 45 different tree species native to California.
Head back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel for a dip in the pool and spa, then enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail before you venture back out for a night on the town.
Do the evening up right in Todos Santos Plaza, the historic center of Concord’s downtown. Most locals consider it the heart of the Concord community. Stroll the restaurants, shops, and bars that surround this 2.5-acre public park that hosts many of Concord’s year-round and annual events including the popular Music & Market series during the summer months.
Great restaurants abound in the square, so choose whatever suits your cravings of the moment: For authentic Peruvian cuisine, snag a seat at the outdoor patio at Lima, or try Luna Ristorante, famous for their homemade Italian dishes and romantic atmosphere. If a craft beer and tasty pub fare sounds like just the ticket, pull up a chair and chill out at E.J. Phair Brewing Company. Or, you can always savor the night air and grab some delicious Indian take out at Naan 'n' Curry. Enjoy it picnic-style in the park.
After dinner, keep strolling and enjoy a cup or cone of tasty ice cream from Cream or Loard's of Concord, both conveniently located in the square.
If a morning bike ride sounds good, you’re in luck. First, pick up some coffee and delicious a homemade bagel or breakfast sandwich at Sunrise Bagels Cafe. For bike rentals, the folks at Encina Bicycle Centers in Concord will be happy to help get you rolling.
From there, hop on to the Contra Costa Canal Trail, a 14-mile paved route through Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Martinez. The trail is open to cyclists, pedestrians, and horseback riders every day from 5 am to 10 pm. Generally flat and entirely wheelchair accessible, the pathway is easily accessible from various spots around Concord.
How about a burger for lunch? Try Super Duper Burgers or Nations Giant Hamburgers -- or go plant-based at Next Level Burgers. For a complete list of delicious burger stops, check out Concord's Burger Trail (Tip: You really can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose)
Or, for a lighter option, drop in the The Lettuce Inn, a popular Concord spot for delicious organic and vegetarian options. The menu offers a range of soups, sandwich wraps and salads that, according to the restaurant’s many fans, “tastes too good to be healthy.”
After lunch, enjoy a visit to the historic Galindo Home and Gardens. Built in 1856, this Victorian ranch house was one of few of its kind in the county at the time, and it was home to four generations of the Galindo family. After being acquired by the Concord Historical Society in 2010, the property opened to the public for house tours and walks through the surrounding gardens. The gardens feature paved walking paths to admire the various trees on the grounds—from redwoods to palms to oaks— along with benches and arbors.
To cap off a great visit, head over to The Veranda shopping center and enjoy some deliciously inspired Mexican food at Puesto. Whether you dine inside for the stylish décor, or enjoy the evening air outside on the patio, you will love their unique margaritas, cocktails, tacos and other house specialties.
After dinner, catch a movie next door at the Veranda Luxe Cinema and IMAX or head back to the Crowne and relax with a nightcap on the patio.