Danville is a suburban town in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area, nestled in the valley between Mount Diablo and the Las Trampas ridges. Formerly a farming community that was home to a Southern Pacific Railroad station and later the playwright Eugene O'Neill, it is now a wealthy suburb with lots of greenery and has been rated the safest city in California.
Interstate 680 is the only highway through the town of Danville. From Oakland, take Highway 24 east through the Caldecott tunnel, then follow 680 south from Walnut Creek. From the South Bay, take 680 north.
County Connection buses serve Danville from the Walnut Creek and Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations and from San Ramon. If you're coming from Oakland or San Francisco, Walnut Creek BART is the most convenient connection point.
By bike or foot
- 1 Iron Horse Trail. Formerly the railroad for the Southern Pacific railroad, the Iron Horse Trail is a paved multi-use trail that runs through downtown Danville, down to Dublin and Pleasanton in the south and Concord and Walnut Creek in the north.
It is also possible to hike to Danville from Moraga via Harvey Ranch Preserve, the Carr Ranch Loop Trail, Rocky Ridge, and Las Trampas Regional Wilderness; this requires an EBMUD permit and is a long, steep, challenging trek with rewarding views.
Danville is small enough that most of the downtown area can be accessed on foot. However, the town is spread out enough that moving from one area to another will typically require a car.
- 1 Blackhawk Automotive Museum, email@example.com. A showpiece museum in the Blackhawk Plaza area.
- 2 Eugene O'Neill Tao House, ☏ . By reservation only:. After you make a reservation a bus will pick you up and shuttle you to the Tao House. Nestled in the hills of Danville and overlooking a vast expanse of 680 acres, Tao House was the home of American playwright Eugene O'Neill. O'Neill, who is the only American playwright to receive the Nobel Prize, is best known for his startling use of dramatic realism, which is mostly associated with the Russian and Scandinavian stage. Most of O'Neill's work focuses on people on the fringes of society or on his own unhappy life. Interesting for visitors to Tao House, O'Neill employed feng shui (decades before it was trendy) in the design of the house, where he lived from 1937 until 1944. His intention was to write a cycle of eleven plays based on one American family while at the house. Instead, his chronic depression and alcoholism worsened and he was unable to complete the cycle. Still, three of his best-known and more personal plays, The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten, were written at Tao House.
- 3 Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Avenue. Tu–F 1–4PM, Sa 10AM–1PM, Su noon–3PM. A local area history museum is housed in the old train depot in the downtown area. $5 for adults, $3 for children/students/seniors, $10 for families, children under 5 free.
- 1 Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. Several residential streets in west Danville provide direct access to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, a 5,342-acre regional park that spans Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
- A good hike starts from 2 Ringtail Cat Staging Area, following the ridge in a rough semicircle via 3 Eagle Peak until you descend to the 4 Del Amigo Trailhead. Mossy greenery gives way to grassy ridges dotted with oak trees and beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Bird calls mingle with the smell of bay laurel and, at least in the rainy season, the tinkling of brooks. Assuming you do the most direct route between those three points, the hike is 4.6 miles (7.4 km) and should take about three hours if you're a strong hiker. Both trailheads are within walking distance of bus stops served by the hourly 21/321 bus, and the Del Amigo trailhead is about a 20-minute walk from downtown Danville. Trail signs are inconsistent at best and some forks are hard to spot, so use a smartphone map app to help you navigate. Parts of the trail are steep and can be slippery after rain – wear boots.
- 5 Osage Station Park, Brookside Drive. The site of many youth soccer and baseball games, Osage is home to a running track, memorial rose garden, playground and fountains, and expansive views of Mt. Diablo.
- 6 Sycamore Valley Park, Camino Tassajara. The park has 3 lanes to play boche ball, a playground, and artificial turf fields, as well as access to hiking trails.
Danville has a quaint downtown with interesting shops and eateries. In the Blackhawk area, a large shopping mall, 1 Blackhawk Plaza, features high-end shops, excellent restaurants, and the Blackhawk Auto Museum. Blackhawk Plaza is not reachable by public transit, unless you want to join the local middle and high schoolers on the one bus per schoolday that goes nearby.
While good ethnic cuisines are available around town, the best eateries lean towards Western cuisine.
In Downtown on Hartz Avenue, there are high-end dining options like 1 The Peasant and the Pear and 2 Bridges eateries. If you are looking for a local favorite, you might want to try 3 Domenico's or 4 Pete's Brass Rail for lunch, which are more affordable. Somewhere in between is 5 Blossom and Root, which serves delicious plant-based cuisine with fast, attentive service. The area near San Ramon Valley High School features many simple budget options for lunch.
High end dining options are also available outside of the downtown area. The Livery, a plaza just south of downtown, is host to 6 Forbes Mill, a steakhouse. Just over the I-680 freeway from the Livery is 7 Cafe Esin. 8 Blackhawk Grille is a staple in Blackhawk Plaza.
- 1 Elliott's Bar, 369 Hartz Avenue. A local watering-hole that was established in 1907. It has cheap domestic beer, shuffleboard, and a patio in the back.
- Pete's Brass Rail, 201 Hartz Avenue. Large selection of beers with food available as well. (See the preceding Eat section for more information about places to eat in Danville.)
- 2 Stiletto's (McGah's), 148 East Prospect Avenue, ☏ . Lively piano bar.
- Mount Diablo State Park is a 20,000-acre park. It borders Danville to the north and provides great hiking opportunities on a mountain that dominates the landscape for most of central and eastern Contra Costa County. It offers an incredible viewshed, with views on clear days stretching 181 miles to Mount Lassen.
- Dublin — this city to the south of Danville has the shamrock as its symbol.
- Pleasanton is a city with a historic downtown area and restaurants, somewhat like Danville.
- Livermore is the largest city in the Tri-Valley, with several internationally-known wineries like Wente and Concannon Vineyards.
- Walnut Creek – larger city just north of Danville with a wider range of shopping.
|Routes through Danville|
|Concord ← Walnut Creek ←||N S||→ San Ramon → San Jose|
|Concord ← Walnut Creek ←||N S||→ San Ramon → Pleasanton|