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Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is one of the wealthiest cities of its type, with many upscale restaurants and historic districts. Due to the area's Mediterranean climate, vineyards can be found in the countryside, along with oak tree-covered hills, hot summer weather, and fairly mild winter weather.
Pleasanton has changed greatly in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, but it has managed to maintain a cowboy-town appearance. Most avenues are tree-lined. Although traffic along some streets can be busy, others are surprisingly quiet. However, the really unusual thing about the town is that, despite the buildings that look like they came straight out of a Western, Pleasanton's location near the Silicon Valley gives it a cosmopolitan feeling: Mexican restaurants, Italian restaurants, Turkish restaurants, Asian restaurants, and American-style restaurants are within a mile of each other.
Pleasanton is not even Pleasanton's real name. It was supposed to be incorporated as Pleasonton, named after the major general. However, when Pleasonton and several other towns wanted to be called the same name (such as Pleasanton in Texas), they actually spelled it as "Pleasanton", what it is today.
Pleasanton was originally known as Alisal, and has been known as Murray Township at times as well.
These days, Pleasanton has become the town's accepted name, as most locals assume it is a portmanteau of the words "pleasant" and "town".
Pleasanton has changed dramatically over the years, once being a popular location for bandits and now being one of the wealthiest cities in the country. The area began to be developed in 1844, and was established in 1850.
Some of the original landowners, such as Kottinger, have streets named after them. Naming streets after landowners is common in Pleasanton, even in more recent housing developments.
The city began to boom in the 1910s, when it became one of California's prime centers for filming, much like that of Hollywood today. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, for example, was filmed in 1917 in Pleasanton. However, the population began to take off in the 1960s, and the population more than tripled to 18,000 in 1970.
Pleasanton's population has continued to grow, and now more than 80,000 people live in Pleasanton. It has a large historic district with a downtown, along with historic homes and church between First and Third Streets.
Pleasanton is west of Livermore and south of Dublin in the Bay Area in California. When road traffic is good, Pleasanton is about one hour away from San Francisco, 30 minutes from Oakland, and two hours from the state capital, Sacramento. It is surrounded by mountains, including Mount Diablo to the north. Most mountainous regions are protected as East Bay Regional Parklands.
The town is fairly close to Santa Clara County, an area well-known for technology. Some Pleasantonians commute to areas in the South Bay and the Peninsula, while others live and work in the Tri-Valley.
Pleasanton is also only a couple hours from the Napa Valley Wine Country. Therefore, parts of the town and nearby Livermore have several square miles of vineyards, especially in the southeast. Mansions and wineries are scattered across this region.
Pleasanton is a good medium between several major regions, and tourists will find it a decent jumping-off point for the coast, San Francisco area, Silicon Valley, the Central Valley, and the Napa/Sonoma region.
Pleasanton is a somewhat diverse city. Although two-thirds of the population is white, more than twenty percent of Pleasantonians are Asian. About ten percent of the population is Hispanic. Unlike many diverse cities, however, there are no specific cultural communities. Instead, most of the town's population blends in, and you will find people of numerous nationalities in close company.
According to Wikipedia, non-Hispanic Whites make up about three-fifths of the population, non-Hispanic Asians make up 23% of the population, and those who consider themselves to be Hispanic make up about one-tenths of the population. Unlike many other cities in the Bay Area, though, the African-American population is small, making up less than 2% of the population.
Apart from 1 Stoneridge Creek, a retirement community, Pleasanton has a young population. Due to the high cost of living and nearness to jobs in Silicon Valley, many who retire eventually move to cheaper locations in other parts of the country.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Pleasanton's climate, although Mediterranean, is not far from a desert climate. Precipitation can be more than 20 in (510 mm) per year in wet years, but only about 5 inches a year in dry years. Most of the rain occurs during the winter months.
Pleasanton heavily relies on irrigation to keep the trees and gardens alive.
Pleasanton's climate varies depending on the year. For example, in 2013-2015, it experienced California's extreme drought conditions, and local reservoirs almost completely dried up. However, in the winter of 2016-2017, the reservoirs filled, and in Lake Oroville about a hundred miles to the northeast, the reservoir overflowed onto the emergency spillway, which then broke.
Temperatures can pass 110 °F (43 °C) in summer, but can drop below freezing in winter. The best months to visit are April, May, and October, when temperatures are reasonable and there is still almost no rain.
Like many places along the Pacific coasts, June can be a hotter month than usually expected. June is the second highest month for record temperatures in Pleasanton, behind September. July and August get moderately hot almost every day in Pleasanton, but do not often get to the same record high temperatures as June and September.
The highest temperature Pleasanton has ever reached officially is an oven-hot 115 °F (46 °C), although in the east of the town where temperatures are generally the most extreme, it can get even hotter.
For visitor information, visit the 2 Pleasanton Library. Located near Old Bernal Avenue, the library has a main information desk where they answer questions. One can also visit the nearby 3 Civic Center Building for information about the town. However, these buildings are eventually going to be moved to the new civic center, which will be on Pleasanton Avenue. They are planned to be merged into one main building, along with the police station, near Bernal Community Park.
Numerous bookstores and other stores around Pleasanton sell a Pleasanton history book, which goes through the history of the city in detail.
Although a regional airport is located in Livermore, the best airports within range of Pleasanton are in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. These airports, with good traffic, should be less than two hours driving distance from Pleasanton.
San Francisco Airport
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the largest of these airports. However, from San Francisco one must get to Pleasanton - doing this by car involves taking several busy freeways with numerous complex intersections, which would definitely be challenging for those who have not been to the area before. Alternatively, SFO has a BART station.
Oakland Airport (OAK IATA) is a smaller airport in Oakland, California, significantly closer to Pleasanton. The airport is connected to BART by a people mover, and it has a decent expressway that connects it to the rest of the area. The loop road at the airport also makes getting in and out by car relatively easy. Once you're on I-580 east, getting to Pleasanton is fairly simple.
San Jose Airport
San Jose Airport (SJC IATA) has also been upgraded to a major airport in recent years. During afternoons, the I-680 (the freeway that connects San Jose to Pleasanton and Concord) can take hours driving northbound.
Car is, for the most part, the best mode of travel for getting into Pleasanton.
There are two freeways in Pleasanton: I-580 (northern side), and I-680 (western side). There roads branch off from I-80, which in turn crosses the United States.
I-580 and I-680 can get terribly busy, however. For example, I-680 from San Jose to Pleasanton, which should only take about forty minutes, can take well over an hour. Both freeways are steep and somewhat twisty outside of the town as well, however, only worsening the traffic problems.
CA-84 is a California highway which is going through road work, which will continue into the 2020s. They are expanding the road from a two-lane road to a four-lane expressway. It goes along the eastern boundary of Pleasanton near Livermore, and meets Pleasanton roads at Vineyard Avenue, Stanley Boulevard, and Jack London Boulevard (Stoneridge Drive).
Several roads connect Tracy with Livermore, from which one can get to Pleasanton. These include I-580, along with Tesla Road (J2), Altamont Pass Road, and Patterson Pass Road. Many of these country roads, however, are single-lane and twisty in places.
On the west side, a twisty road called Niles Canyon Road (part of CA-84) connects the Fremont area with Sunol, a town to the south of Pleasanton. From Sunol, one can take Foothill Road, Pleasanton-Sunol Road, I-680, or CA-84 to get to Pleasanton.
Several roads in Dublin continue into Pleasanton under other names: Dougherty Road becomes Hopyard Road, Tassajara Road becomes Santa Rita Road, San Ramon Road becomes Foothill Road, Fallon Road becomes El Charro Road, and Hacienda Road crosses the I-580.
Due to the hilly terrain, most roads into Pleasanton are either too narrow for bike lanes or are freeways, so there are not many good opportunities for biking into Pleasanton. The best roads with bicycle lanes are Pleasanton-Sunol Road in the south and Vineyard Avenue in the east.
The Dublin/Pleasanton and West Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations offer routes to Oakland and onward to San Francisco and San Francisco International Airport. (Map to right, Pleasanton is in the far east)
BART trains are quite fast (about 50 mph), similar to the speed of cars when traffic is good. As you can see on the map to the right, most of the BART trains go to San Francisco and Oakland. The Dublin/Pleasanton line eventually connects with the Fremont lines, goes through Oakland, under the San Francisco Bay, through San Francisco, and ends in Millbrae. There are numerous stations, however, where the train will stop for a few minutes each time. It then goes on for a few minutes, and stops again.
There have been BART-related crimes.
The Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) is a train service that goes from Pleasanton to places nearby including Stockton and San Jose. It only runs 4 times a day each direction - southbound in the morning and northbound in the afternoon.
There are connecting local buses. For example, Bus 10R runs from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to downtown Pleasanton (continuing to Livermore) with a 15-minute frequency during the day.
The city is fairly easy to navigate - the roads are laid out in a gridlike pattern with very straightforward intersections.
Pleasanton has a very walkable and compact historic downtown area. The center of downtown is Main Street, from Bernal Ave on the south (anchored by City Hall on Old Bernal) to Arroyo del Valle on the north, about eight blocks, and the various side streets on either side of Main. The Pleasanton Downtown Association provides directions on how to get to downtown from various points. The historic residential district also has very walkable streets, although there steep hills in this section of town.
Northern Pleasanton was once a swamp, so when the area was developed, canals were dug. Along the canals are 4 trails for cyclists and walkers. However, many of the canal banks collapsed during the 2016-2017 rainy season, and maintenance and closures continue through 2017.
The trails to avoid are those near I-680, for they are certainly not peaceful.
Except for the 5 Iron Horse Trail and other trails mentioned above, navigating by foot outside of downtown is difficult. Pleasanton is miles wide and miles from north to south, so it can take hours to get from Hacienda Business Park to downtown alone. Although sidewalks are found along roads around Pleasanton, they are rarely walked on except just before and just after school.
Driving is relatively easy in Pleasanton, and parking is plentiful. I-680 skirts the western side of the urban area with three exits (Sunol Blvd, Bernal Ave, and Stoneridge Dr) and I-580 defines the northern boundary of the City of Pleasanton with four exits (Hopyard Rd, Hacienda Dr, Santa Rita Rd, and El Charro Rd). Going south on Santa Rita Rd, after about 2-3 miles south of I-580, it turns into Main St, which leads to downtown. Going south on Hopyard Rd, it turns after 3-4 miles south of I-580 into Division St, which leads shortly to Saint Mary St, which terminates at Main St in downtown.
Pleasanton, especially since the creation of Hacienda Business Park, has numerous wide roads that are very easy to drive along. Parking lots are spacious, especially in shopping malls, due to flatter ground and plenty of extra space. However, parking in downtown is tricky - especially along Main Street.
Generally, don't try to park along Main Street or First Street, since these roads are narrow and busy, making them hard to park on. Minor streets with better parking are often only a short distance from busy, congested roads.
Main Street and downtown in general can be disastrous for parking during the Alameda County Fair, when people park in downtown to avoid parking fees in the fair parking area itself. Parking can also be a problem, especially in minor streets, during the fall, when fallen leaves cover parking spaces and trees cover lighting and signage.
Generally, parking in the Hacienda Business Park region is located in shopping malls. Parking lots are large, with more room than there are cars.
Major roads in Pleasanton include (these roads are two lanes on each side at least at their widest point):
- Santa Rita Road: goes from I-580 to downtown Pleasanton, becoming Main Street at the southern end.
- Hopyard Road: runs somewhat parallel with Santa Rita Road, and eventually becomes Division Street and leads into downtown Pleasanton
- Stanley Boulevard, First Street, and Sunol Boulevard: three names for different parts of the same road. Sunol Boulevard goes from I-680 to downtown, First Street crosses downtown, and Stanley Boulevard goes past Shadow Cliffs and the quarries to Livermore
Other roads, excluding surface streets in housing developments:
- Main Street: slow road, better for pedestrians than cars; in 2018, this road was repaved and some maintenance work was done to it
- First Street: see Stanley Boulevard
- Pleasanton-Sunol Road: connects Pleasanton near Sunol Boulevard to downtown Sunol
Several transit companies serve the Pleasanton area. The main bus operator is WHEELS, which goes to Dublin and Livermore, as well as the BART stations. The County Connection has a few buses in Pleasanton. There is also reverse peak service from Pleasanton to Modesto, traveling to Modesto in the morning and returning to Dublin/Pleasanton Bart station in the afternoon; the fare is $11 one-way or $13 round-trip (must be in the same day).
The city has a good cycling network. Several trails, for walkers and cyclists, are found along canals in the northwest of the city.
Work has been done on creating a bicycle network in downtown, but so far it has been unsuccessful since the roads are mostly too busy for cyclists. There are bicycle racks on West Angela Street (near the intersection with Main Street) and more bicycle racks by the Firehouse Theater.
Plans are also being made to connect the Pleasanton and Livermore bicycle networks, since Livermore also has a good cycling network. As of 2018, a paved trail is being constructed along East Vineyard Avenue in Livermore, from which a dirt trail runs parallel with western Vineyard Avenue into Pleasanton.
Pleasanton has numerous historic sights in the downtown area. These are generally in two sections: the commercial section along Main Street and the residential section along First and Second Streets.
The commercial district on Main Street is about half a mile long. This is centered at the intersection of Angela and Main Streets, near the Farmer's Market. However, it extends to the north from this intersection as well, including a major junction where Ray Street, Saint John Street, and Main Street meet (Oasis and the Rose Hotel are at this intersection). Pedestrians are often seen strolling through downtown, often before or after having a meal at a restaurant.
The residential district, the historic side of which is southeast of Main Street, is not as long as Main Street but has more depth. If one goes southeast from Main Street, First Street marks the transition from commercial to residential, which continues to be historic into Second Street and on to Third Street. After this point, the houses are more recent constructions, although some of them are still very beautiful.
Other attractions are somewhat out-liers, such as Kottinger's Barn and Museum on Main. These are generally historic buildings which have since been converted into something they originally weren't. The Firehouse Arts Center, for example, was a fire department building before it was transformed into a theater and art gallery in recent years.
Until the civic center project is completed, there will be few parks and gardens around downtown Pleasanton. However, groups such as the East Bay Parks District have purchased significant portions of land in the area, which are now open to the public.
These parks give outsiders and city inhabitants an idea of what the Pleasanton area used to look like before more recent developments. The parks are characterized by ranch country - the reason you won't find many farms in the Pleasanton area today. Mostly, the country areas are either oak forests in canyons and cooler, wetter places, and open grassland in more isolated, drier locations. Pleasanton Ridge is a good example of this combination - often, one side of a ridge will be completely covered in oak trees, and the other side is almost barren.
Shadow cliffs is a notable exception, since it is situated along the Arroyo Del Valle and several lakes. This means that trees can grow in the area, while they could not survive in other areas because it is too dry.
Due to Pleasanton's location (nestled between Livermore, Dublin, and Sunol), there are few possible areas for parkland in comparison to its neighbors. For parkland, the best option is the area south of Livermore, which includes 4,000-foot mountains like Mount Hamilton, and hundreds of square miles of parkland in places like Henry Coe State Park.
Museums & historic sights
- 1 Abandoned Railroad. Before being rerouted to the northwest of downtown Pleasanton, the railroad used to run right through the downtown area. You can still see the railroad crossing signs on West Angela Street, for example, in the Farmer's Market. Some of the railroad tracks are still visible near the Firehouse Theater, and a longer section of abandoned railroad can be seen along Sunol Boulevard to the south of downtown Pleasanton.
- 2 Kottinger's Barn, 200 Ray Street, Pleasanton, CA (Take First Street to Ray Street; turn onto Ray Street towards downtown Pleasanton). Kottinger's Barn, built in 1852, was once a jail that held such famous bandits prisoner such as Joaquin Murrieta. The building's thick walls and barred windows are an interesting contrast to the small shop and potted plants which now exist at the location.
- 3 Museum on Main (Pleasanton Museum), 603 Main St (Go along Main Street, near Blue Agave), ☎ . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. This museum features Pleasanton's history with numerous historic items, maps, and more, some of which date to Native American times. There are also exhibits for things around the area, such as Pleasanton's filming history. These change every few months. Free, donations welcome.
- 4 Pleasanton Commercial District, Main Street (Follow Santa Rita road south from I-580, or take Sunol Boulevard east from I-680.). The commercial district of downtown Pleasanton is based around Main Street, a slow two-lane road with shops and restaurants. The road is better for pedestrians than drivers, since the road gets very busy. Some of the buildings are older than others - new buildings are still being added along Main Street, while others have long histories as various companies. The best and most expensive of restaurants are generally in downtown Pleasanton, although there are some other good restaurants in other parts of the City. One can explore downtown for free, but businesses are mostly on the expensive side.
- 5 Pleasanton Historic Residential District, Second Street (Take First Street to Neal Street, and take Neal Street in the direction of the homes). Along with the historic buildings in commercial district of downtown Pleasanton, there are several blocks of well-maintained older homes which are accessible along Neal Street to the south of downtown. Particularly around Lighthouse Baptist Church, there are several homes dating back to the 1800s. Many of these buildings have nice gardens, along avenues of tall trees. The area has a lot of steep hills, similar to that of San Francisco, so walking around the area could be strenuous to some.
- 6 Pleasanton Sign Arch, Main Street just north of Division Street. The inscription readsː "Originally installed by the Women's Improvement Club in 1932, the Pleasanton Sign have become a familiar landmark and prominent symbol of the community. In 2005, the sign underwent a complete restoration, and was rededicated by the City Council on April 8th."
- 7 Main Street Green, 895 Main Street (Junction of Main Street and Del Valle Parkway). There is a statue in this small park at the northern end of downtown. A path goes to the Arroyo del Valle creek that runs alongside the park.
- 8 Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave (one block east of Main St, opposite Division St, in the downtown), ☎ (Information), (Box Office). Opened in 2010, the Firehouse Arts Center is the City of Pleasanton's historic 1929 Fire House One renovated and expanded into an arts center featuring the 230-seat Firehouse Theater, Harrington Gallery of fine arts, two large arts classrooms, and a grand lobby for receptions and events. The transformed facility also offers a pedestrian connection from Main Street to the expanded Lions Wayside Park.
- Numerous murals. There are several beautiful murals and wall drawings scattered around downtown Pleasanton. Near Strizzi's Restaurant is a 9 mural of the Tri-Valley. Another mural, portraying a street scene, is at 10 Valley Plumbing. These murals often make what would normally be boring walls some of the most interesting in the town.
- 11 Hacienda Business Park, Owens Drive (A large portion of northern Pleasanton is Hacienda Business Park). This isn't the best place for travelers to visit if they don't have much time on their hands, but it's an interesting place to visit if you do not know what else to do with yourself. Two factors are what make Hacienda Business Park interesting: the architecture of the street signs and the business park's history. First, the unusual traffic lights and street signs are gigantic square structures that are built across the roads, and they are accentuated by what immediately surrounds them. Second, the history of the park: Hacienda Business Park was built around the 1980s when Pleasanton began to look like it does today, and Hacienda Business Park replaced ranching and farming country. Within a few years, what is now northern Pleasanton went from being countryside to an important part of the City of Pleasanton. However, the plans of the developers to turn Hacienda Business Park into one of the world's great business parks did not succeed - the wide boulevards in the business park are surprisingly empty, giving the business park a near-abandoned feeling sometimes.
Every summer Pleasanton hosts the Alameda County Fair, the main repeated event in Pleasanton. However, Pleasanton has numerous other events, including on the music scene, which has continued to grow in recent years.
Pleasanton hosts many activities along Main Street. Such activities include the Third Thursdays Art Walk: these are important, even for those who are not attending the events, because they often result in Main Street or Angela Street road closures.
Pleasanton, like neighbor Livermore, has a surprisingly strong jazz scene. Major jazz events include the monthly Inklings concerts, which are free and open to the public.
Although some of the local parks are owned by the city government, most of the larger parks are owned by the EBRPD, which stands for the "East Bay Regional Parks District". The EBRPD owns a couple parks in Pleasanton, including Pleasanton Ridge and Shadow Cliffs, but also owns several other parks in the greater Tri-Valley, including Del Valle, Brushy Peak Regional Preserve, and Morgan Territory.
Parks & major trails
- 1 Alviso Adobe Community Park, 3465 Old Foothill Rd. (west of Foothill Road about 0.5 miles north of Bernal Ave), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Su 10AM-4PM. Opened in 2008, this restored community park gives visitors a glimpse of the history of the Amador Valley, including interpretive displays of early Ohlone culture before the Spanish arrival, the years of Ranchos managing herds of cattle on the 9,000 acres (3,600 hectares) Rancho Santa Rita Mexican Land Grant, and a replica of an American Meadowlark Dairy in the early to mid-20th century. The star focus of this interpretative park is a rare original American adobe house, constructed in 1854 by Francisco Alviso, that was continuously in use until 1969. The Alviso Adobe is restored and on display furnished as it would have been in the 1920s. Visitor center/dairy has activities for kids; grounds have tables for picnics. Parking at south end. Free.
- 2 Augustin Bernal Park, 8200 Golden Eagle Way (Golden Eagle Way can be accessed from Foothill Road). This is a Pleasanton city park located next to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. It is similar in almost every aspect to its neighbor, except that it's smaller.
- 3 Bernal Community Park, 7001 Pleasanton Ave. (Take Valley Avenue to Pleasanton Avenue (South). This part of Pleasanton Avenue is under construction, and will eventually connect with Bernal Avenue near downtown.). Bernal Community Park is part of a larger plan to move the civic center from Old Bernal Avenue to Pleasanton Avenue towards the south of the city. Although this new civic center has not been constructed, the local park has been constructed. It includes a small area of newly-planted oak woodlands, along with a sports park. Free.
- 4 Brushy Peak Regional Preserve, Laughlin Road (Laughlin Road is accessible from Northfront (Altamont Pass) Road; however, part of Laughlin Road is a one-lane road). Brushy Peak Regional Preserve is an EBRPD park northeast of Livermore. The trails do not lead to the top of the peak, but they go around the general area. There are a few trails in the park, and the main loop is about four or five miles in length.
- 5 Callippe Preserve (Callippe Golf Course), 8500 Clubhouse Dr. (Take Sunol Boulevard south, take a left onto Pleasanton-Sunol Road, turn left on Happy Valley Road, and make a right onto Westbridge Lane. Follow the road until it ends at a parking lot in the golf course). Callippe Preserve is known to most Pleasantonians as a golf course; however, there is a nearly 4-mile trail around the golf course and local ranching areas. The trail can get muddy in winter, though, and is not easy to find. But it does give those from outside of Pleasanton an idea of the local flora and countryside in general. Trail is free.
- Del Valle Regional Park. This park is closer to Livermore than Pleasanton but is still well under an hour's drive from anywhere in either city. At the center of this EBRPD park is Lake Del Valle, but there are several beautiful rock formations in the park as well. There are scores of miles of trails in the park that go through the hills and mountains surrounding Lake Del Valle, and the park works as a gateway to the Ohlone Trail, which leads in the direction of one of the Bay Area's most popular climbs, Mission Peak.
- 6 Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, Morgan Territory Road (Follow the narrow, twisty Morgan Territory Road to the mountain pass). This is a fairly large park with many miles of hiking trails that is north of Livermore. Morgan Territory, as it is usually called, consists of some oak woodlands, streams, canyons, and grass-covered plateaus.
- 7 Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, Foothill Road (Take Sunol Boulevard out of Pleasanton; when you reach the entrance to the Castlewood community, make a left on Foothill Road and follow it for about one mile.). This regional park features the mountainous ranching country of the Diablo Range in California. The park has miles of rugged country, including oak forests and grasslands. The highest ridges are about 2,100 feet; most of the ridges are at least 1,000 feet.
- 8 Shadow Cliffs, 2500 Stanley Boulevard (Take Stanley Boulevard east toward Livermore). The park was once part of the quarry, but the excavated land is now Shadow Cliffs Lake. It includes a couple miles of trails around the lake. However, be prepared for the strong barbecue odors encountered around the grills near the lake.
- 9 Sunol Regional Wilderness, Geary Road or Welsh Road (Drive down Calaveras Road south from Pleasanton). This large wilderness area is a popular, fairly easy-to-reach park south of Pleasanton. Several trails lead from the park's trailheads into the mountain ranges around the park. There is a Sunol Regional Wilderness visitor center near Geary Road. Sunol Wilderness is connected to Del Valle Regional Park and Mission Peak via the Ohlone Regional Wilderness Trail.
Arts & entertainment
- 3rd Thursdays Art Walk, Downtown Pleasanton (From 580: Exit Santa Rita, head south following signs to downtown. From 680: exit Bernal, head east following the signs to downtown.), ☎ . 6:30PM-9PM. The 3rd Thursdays MerchantArts Walk is a collaborative event bringing together local downtown merchants, arts groups and area artists in an effort to continue adding interesting and lively events to Downtown Pleasanton. It's a nice walk, on a nice evening, and an opportunity to join the community, support local artists and help this community thrive. Free.
- 10 Alameda County Fair (Alameda County Fairgrounds), 4501 Pleasanton Avenue (Entrances along Valley Avenue near Koll Center Parkway). The fair has been at Alameda County Fairgrounds every summer since 1912. You can also plan a morning & go behind the scenes to experience the exciting world of thoroughbred racing at the Eddie Rich Racing Stable. There are car shows and horse races at the fairgrounds annually.
- 11 Jazz at Inklings (Pleasanton Jazz Society), 530 Main Street (Concerts are held in the Inklings Events Room). 7-9PM on most concert nights. In the Events Room (Common Room) behind Inklings Coffee & Tea, jazz concerts are held, generally once a month. Various musicians, from around the Bay Area and occasionally from other parts of the country, perform. Free.
- 12 Concerts in the Park, 4501 First St (Near Pleasanton downtown). The concerts are held weekly on Friday nights in the summer. They feature a wide range of musical genres and are open to the public at Delucchi Park. People often come several hours early to get a spot in the park. Free.
Although these are not quite the equivalent of Yosemite and Yellowstone, they are places to go if you want to play sports or take children to the playground.
- 13 Ken Mercer Sports Park, 5800 Parkside Drive. This is a more than half-mile-long city park dedicated completely to sports activities. A few summer camps operate here.
Golf & country clubs
- 14 Callippe Golf Course, 8500 Clubhouse Dr. (Take Happy Valley Road from Pleasanton Sunol Road.), ☎ . A golf course, restaurant, and hiking destination in the south of Pleasanton. In the Happy Valley region, the countryside is beautiful. You can also hike in the region.
- 15 Castlewood Country Club, 707 Country Club Cir (Accessible via Castlewood Drive), ☎ . A first-class country club located in the Foothills community in western Pleasanton. For those who have money to spend and to want to have the finest experience possible in Pleasanton, this is the place to go. It is situated on the side of Pleasanton Ridge, not very far from the regional park, although it is not along the road to the park.
- 16 Ruby Hill Country Club, 3400 W Ruby Hill Dr (Accessed from Ruby Hill Boulevard or Ruby Hill Drive). Another first-class country club, this time in the wine country in eastern Pleasanton. It is in a gated community.
Although Pleasanton isn't a beach town, there are still places to take time relaxing. Pleasanton's historic residential district is nearly always peaceful - especially along Second Street and onwards, you could almost think that no-one was living there.
Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park and Shadow Cliffs Regional Park are not the best places to relax. For relaxation in parklands, the best place to go is Livermore. In Livermore, 6 Sycamore Grove has beautiful trails featuring woodlands, historic buildings, and hills in the south. There are numerous benches around the park, so feel free to bring a snack and enjoy the peacefulness of the sycamore and olive groves.
Pleasanton and Livermore are working on a trail network for cyclists and pedestrians. Portions of Livermore's trail network are already complete; the trails mostly contain gentle slopes in nice countryside, ranchlands, and vineyards - a good area to escape the busyness of ordinary life. The trail network is accessible from the Sycamore Grove Staging Area. When the Pleasanton section is complete along 7 Old Vineyard Avenue, the trail network in the region will grow even more.
Once the headquarters of Safeway Stores (before they were purchased a few years ago), Pleasanton abounds in grocery stores. There are two Safeway Stores in Pleasanton, along with a Trader Joe's and a Ranch 99. Stoneridge Mall is a large mall in the north of town. It is near Hacienda Business Park, like Rosewood Plaza. Downtown Pleasanton is, of course, to the south.
- 1 Gold N Time, 3500 Bernal Ave # 135 (Vintage Hills Mall, which is near the intersection of Tawny Drive and Bernal Avenue). Small shop that sells watches and repairs them.
- 2 Gregory Frame Shoppe, 800 Main Street (At the northern end of downtown), ☎ . This shop is recognized by the beautiful flowers on the front side of the building that faces Main Street. The shop itself is also an interesting building, being covered by white paint and being somewhat built upon a slope.
- 3 Pleasanton Farmers' Market, West Angela Street, Pleasanton, California. Saturday mornings. Farmer's Market operates every Saturday morning on the section of West Angela Street between Main Street and First Street. They close this section of Angela Street so you can walk along it and buy food items, donate to causes, or learn about elections or events in the booths that go along this closed section of the street.
- 4 Rick's Picks, 719 Main St. It is the kind of store where you can find all kinds of things, odd little bits and pieces, for reduced prices. Numerous bargains.
- 5 Rosewood Plaza, Rosewood Drive, Pleasanton, California (Near Santa Rita Road). Rosewood Plaza is a neighborhood center with several stores. Inexpensive.
- 6 Stoneridge Mall, 1 Stoneridge Mall Rd (Take Stoneridge Drive to Stoneridge Mall Road. Follow Stoneridge Mall Road, and it will take you around the shopping mall, and there are huge numbers of parking spaces). Main shopping mall in Pleasanton. It's an enclosed regional mall with Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears, J.C. Penney, and Apple stores.
- 7 Studio 7 Art Gallery, 400 Main St. Art gallery store which features paintings of local country scenes, such as views of Mount Diablo, and some city scenes like San Francisco.
- 8 Towne Center Books, 555 Main St (Next to the Chase Bank). It's the main downtown bookstore. The store is divided into two sections, with adult books in the front, and children's books and games in the back.
- The city also has a Wal-Mart, Kohl's, and Home Depot in the north of the town. There are also two Safeway stores, both towards the southern side of town.
Pleasanton has a wide range of restaurants, particularly along Main Street. What is mid-range for Pleasanton would probably be considered expensive in many places, due to Pleasanton's high cost of living.
Pleasanton's restaurant styles include some cuisines that are rare in much of the country, such as Mediterranean and Arabian food. There are also some Indian restaurants in Pleasanton.
- 1 Albertos Cantina, 435 Main St. This is your usual Mexican-American restaurant, whether you like it or not. They serve tortilla chips upon your arrival at the restaurant and practically anyone who saw the menu could tell that the food was Mexican. Due to the cantina's low prices compared to other Pleasanton restaurants, Alberto's Cantina is a popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Pleasanton. Inexpensive.
- 2 Chicago's Umpires Grill, 6003 W. Las Positas Blvd, ☎ . Enjoy a delicious Italian Beef or any of the creative sandwiches this Chicago style eatery has to Offer. Famous not only for its food, but also as the place leading thoroughbred jockey, Martin Garcia, once carved sandwiches.
- 3 Cocina, 55 West Angela Street (Near the old railroad), ☎ . Meals are available for less than $10.
- 4 Rancho Grande Taqueria, 2707 Hopyard Rd. Mexican restaurant. Less than $10 for a main course.
- 5 Sultans Kebab, 6654 Koll Center Pkwy #205. Around $10 for an entree.
- 6 Andy & Yu's, 348 St. Mary Street (Near Main Street), ☎ . The name quite accurately defines the restaurant: it's Chinese-American, with Chinese food but a Western atmosphere. Most meals in the $10s; however, some cost more.
- 7 Blue Fox Cuisine, 5681 Gibraltar Drive. Indian cuisine. Although only $10 for an entree, it's a little more when you add a few dollars for bread and rice.
- 8 Chianti Reserve, 436 Main Street (Near the Main-Angela junction), ☎ . Most dinner meals are in the $10s.
- 9 Experience Burma Restaurant, 220 Division Street. Burmese restaurant that is just off Main Street.
- 10 India Garden, 210 Rose Ave (Just off Main Street). This is a rather interesting restaurant because it probably is the most aroma-producing eatery in Pleasanton. In the $10s for an entree - of course, rice and bread would be more.
- 11 Jim's Country-Style Restaurant, 5400 Sunol Boulevard. This American restaurant is in the same shopping mall as the Raley's grocery store, which is a fairly short distance south of downtown Pleasanton on Sunol Boulevard.
- 12 Oasis Lounge, 780 Main St (Across from Rose Hotel). Serves Mediterranean food and drink in downtown Pleasanton. Oasis has been in Pleasanton for many years and has a good location in downtown, although very limited parking in its main parking lot. There is a lot of seating for the indoor section of the restaurant and also some seating in a garden setting outside the restaurant. However, the downside with sitting outside is you get the sound of all the traffic that goes along Ray Street into downtown Pleasanton, then turns left onto Main Street for a short section (right in front of the Oasis Restaurant), and then turns right onto St. John Street toward Peters Avenue.
- 13 Pastas Trattoria, 405 Main St. Italian restaurant in downtown Pleasanton.
- 14 Prime Poke, 349 Main St (This restaurant is close to the junction of Main and Angela Streets and where the Fontina Restaurant used to be). This is a Hawaiian fish restaurant. Generally in the low $10s.
- 15 Rising Loafer Cafe, 428 Main Street. This is a traditional American cafe/restaurant. Their emphasis is largely on breakfast, and they serve breakfast dishes like bacon, eggs, and sausages. Their lunch meals still have the traditional American influence, although they do include plenty of sandwiches on their lunch menu.
- 16 Senro Sushi, 30 Neal Street #110 (This restaurant is somewhat hard to find. It is quite close to the ridiculously-named "Alameda Transportation Corridor", which is in fact where the railroad used to go before it was diverted to the other side of downtown - most of it is now either just gravel or has been converted into parking), ☎ .
- 17 Sweet & Savory, 5685 Gibraltar Drive (In the Hacienda Business Park area of Pleasanton), ☎ . Monday-Friday 6:30 AM - 3 PM. Some lunch meals under $10.
- 18 Taste of Sing-Ma, 824 Main Street (Next to Main Street Brewery at the northern end of downtown Pleasanton), ☎ .
- 19 Wayne's Sushi Bistro, 3500 Bernal Ave #130 (Near the Vintage Hills Mall and at the intersection of Bernal Avenue and Tawny Drive). A Japanese restaurant that's towards the outskirts of Pleasanton, rather than in the center of town.
- 20 Baci, 500 Main Street. This restaurant is on a street corner in Pleasanton downtown's Main Street; it is one of several Pleasanton restaurants that has outdoor seating along the sidewalk. There are also a few interesting structures outside their restaurant that have fires burning inside them to keep outdoor restaurant customers warm during the late evening. Pasta dishes are generally $20 or $30; most seafood/steaks are more than $30.
- 21 Barone's Restaurant, 475 St. John St. (Close to Main Street and the Rose Hotel). It's an upscale, expensive Italian restaurant in downtown Pleasanton with event space. On some Friday nights, there is live music at Barone's. Entrees can cost up to $40.
- 22 Blue Agave, 625 Main St. (On Main Street near the Pleasanton sign and Museum on Main). They serve upscale Mexican food in downtown Pleasanton in the building next to Museum on Main. Blue Agave is easily recognized by its large seating area in front of the restaurant and the restaurant building's bright colors.
- 23 Hap's Original, 122 West Neal St. Hap's has an old-school cocktail sign visible from Main Street. From there you might think it's an old watering hole until you walk up to the restaurant, and the upscale nature of the establishment becomes evident. This is an American Steak House, with fantastic steaks and somewhat pricey side dishes. Meals are ala carte. Stop in the bar for a Manhattan before dinner. Moderately expensive.
- 24 Lokanta Restaurant, 443 Main St, ☎ . Lokanta is a fairly high-end restaurant in downtown Pleasanton. Lokanta serves Mediterranean food, primary Greek and Turkish, and is open at both breakfast and dinner. Their restaurant includes four areas where you can sit down and eat: in front of the restaurant, the main part of the restaurant (location of the kitchen), a room behind the front room with a bar and large windows, and an alley next to the restaurant with several tables.
- 25 Nonni's, 425 Main Street (Next to Frontier Spice Restaurant; there is a parking lot behind the restaurant and a pathway that leads from that parking lot to a section of Main Street just next to Nonni's). European food with French, English, and Italian elements. Most dinner meals are just under $30.
- 26 Salt Craft, 377 Mary Street (At the Peters Avenue-Mary Street Junction). This restaurant isn't right on Main Street, but it has quickly become of the most popular restaurants in downtown Pleasanton. Much of the restaurant's seating is outdoors in front of the main restaurant building. Salt Craft's menu consists of Italian-American cooking and more modern cuisine. Most meals are either $18 or $27; salads and other appetizers are an extra charge.
- 27 Strizzi's, 649 Main Street (At the same junction as downtown's only gas station). Serves traditional Italian food. There are other locations in Livermore and Fremont.
- 28 Tri-Valley Bistro, 519 Main Street. American food, mostly non-vegetarian dishes. Ranges from low $20s to low $30s.
Pleasanton is at the edge of Livermore wine country. Eastern Pleasanton, in particular, is somewhat similar to Napa Valley Wine Country.
- 1 Inklings Coffee & Tea, 530 Main Street. Inklings Coffee & Tea serves coffee, tea, soft drinks, and some snacks. It's a large coffee shop with many separate sections that are called rooms, including rooms with names like "The Wardrobe" and "The Common Room", where the Jazz at Inklings concerts are hosted, along with other events. Prices are what you would expect at Peet's or any other coffee shop.
Pubs and wine bars
- 2 Cellar Door, 4469 Railroad Avenue (On Railroad Avenue behind Inklings Coffee and close to the Firehouse Arts Center). This wine bar serves wine, beer, and some food items, which include flatbreads, chili, and hamburgers. In front of the wine bar is a fairly large patio area, and behind this is the wine bar itself. The wine bar is laid out like a restaurant, and the back part of the wine bar has curtains that can be pulled across to separate the two sections of the business. Sometimes, there is live music, and live music usually takes place behind the front window farthest from the bar.
- 3 Main Street Brewery, 830 Main Street, ☎ . If you're looking for Pleasanton's cosmopolitan side, this is not the place to go, but if you're looking for a lively atmosphere and live music, the Main Street Brewery is a good place to go. Rock, pop, and blues music groups are often live here, along with performances by a local jazz singer, Karen Marguth, and the Moving Parts band.
- 4 McKay's Beer Garden, 252 Main Street (Southern end of Main Street), ☎ . This is a building towards the southern end of downtown. In the front is a nice patio area where statues were displayed before the beer garden was established.
- 5 Pairings Cellars, 310 Main St. This place has all the modern technology and systems you can imagine and being at this wine bar really makes you feel like you're in a first-class establishment. Don't be surprised if it's expensive, though.
- 6 Sabio on Main, 501 Main St (Pastime Plaza), ☎ . This is a tapas bar and eatery in the Pastime Plaza.
- 7 The Hop Yard American Alehouse & Grill, 3015 Hopyard Rd, ☎ . Lots of beers on tap, mostly American microbrews but including imports. Good food that is nothing to write home about (burgers, salads), but the beer is worth the trip. Outdoor seating fills up in the warmer months.
- 8 Rubino Estates Winery, 1188 Vineyard Ave. (Along Vineyard Avenue; closer to Pleasanton than Ruby Hill). Much like that of Ruby Hill Winery.
- 9 Ruby Hill Winery, 400 Vineyard Avenue (Just of CA-84, or take Vineyard Avenue out of Pleasanton). Beautiful, upscale winery in the east of Pleasanton. The region is much like that of Napa and Livermore Wine Country, backed by vineyards and mansions.
Pleasanton's hotels are mostly in the north of the town, although the Rose Hotel is in the downtown.
- 2 Courtyard Pleasanton (Marriott Pleasanton), 5059 Hopyard Rd, ☎ , fax: .
- 3 Four Points by Sheraton Pleasanton, 5115 Hopyard Rd, ☎ .
- 4 Larkspur Landing Pleasanton, 5535 Johnson Dr, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Outdoor spa, fitness room, laundry facility and free shuttle within 5-mile (8 km) radius.
- 5 Pleasanton Marriott, 11950 Dublin Canyon Blvd. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
- 6 Residence Inn Pleasanton, 11920 Dublin Canyon Rd, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 7 Sheraton Pleasanton Hotel, 5990 Stoneridge Mall Rd, ☎ .
- 8 Summerfield Suites Pleasanton Hotel (Hyatt), 4545 Chabot Dr, ☎ , fax: .
- 9 Rose Hotel, 807 Main Street, Pleasanton, California (At the intersection of Saint John Street and Main Street and across from the US Bank and Oasis Restaurant). The Rose Hotel is one of Pleasanton's most beautiful buildings because of its height and large size, making it the closest thing in Pleasanton to the type of expensive hotels you would find in the downtowns of many popular tourist destinations. There is an entrance to the building along Main Street and there is parking for the hotel on the first floor of the building itself. Expensive.
On the whole, Pleasanton is a safe city. The most dangerous locations in Pleasanton are toward the edges of the city - Vineyard Avenue, on the east of the city, has a high speed limit and turns without good curbs, and accidents have occurred around certain corners.
When driving in country areas, deer will often jump over a high fence onto the road, and that can be problematic when someone is driving along that piece of road. The same is true with raccoons and other smaller animals, but of course this does not pose so much danger to drivers.
Cyclists should be careful about going on the wide, country roads, for sure - people often drive recklessly and often crash into fences or anything along the sides of the road. Also avoid cycling in downtown - the roads are busy, cycling lanes (if they exist!) are narrow, and pedestrians often walk along the sidewalks. Cycling is best done on the numerous bike trails around town.
Pleasanton seems, unless you know the Pleasonton story, to have reason behind its name - it is one of America's safest towns. Even at night, you could walk in almost any part of the town with no worry whatsoever about crime. The little crime in the area generally comes from inhabitants of larger cities in Alameda County.
One problem in Pleasanton and Livermore is drunk driving. With numerous wineries in the area, people will often drive from one to another and drink at each one, and their condition rapidly deteriorates, sometimes leading to serious accidents when they drive home.
Generally, although the city is very safe, the safest parts of town are in the downtown area.
Outside of Pleasanton is probably more dangerous than inside the city. The East Bay has small colonies of mountain lions, although these generally stay away from populated places and parklands, at least during the day.
When you see a mountain lion and it is acting threateningly towards you (which isn't very common, by the way), act the opposite way you would act to a bear. With bears, advice is often to make yourself as small as possible. However, with mountain lions, your best chance is to scare them off. By making yourself look large and by throwing stones, the mountain lions are most likely to work out that you're more powerful than they are, and they will go away.
Rattlesnakes can also be a problem outside of the city itself. Generally, you can avoid rattlesnakes by walking in the center of trails (so you can see them). If it's not in a good position for attack, you'll have time to get away from the rattlesnakes. If the snake is coiled, then it’s angry and ready for attack, so get away as fast as possible. Do not attempt to take pictures of the snake within several feet of it. Rattlesnakes can spring surprisingly far and use their venom before you can get away, so make sure you are extremely careful in any parks and country areas.
Pleasanton downtown has its own wi-fi. Most restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels will also have their own wi-fi. The area is also covered by XFINITY internet connectivity for those who have an XFINITY account.
There are several local newspapers, such as the 8 Independent newspaper based in Livermore, and the 9 Pleasanton Weekly newspaper based in Pleasanton. A magazine commonly seen at storefronts and coffee shops is the 10 Alive Magazine, linked here to the Peet's Coffee location with Alive magazines in Pleasanton.
The Independent and the Pleasanton Weekly also have websites where news articles can be read without charge.
The main 11 Pleasanton Post Office is on Black Avenue quite close to downtown Pleasanton; however, there is another post office in the northern part of town.
Generally, coping in Pleasanton shouldn't be much harder than it would be anywhere else, although the wide boulevards (of which there are many in the north near Hacienda Business Park) can sometimes be overwhelming, and this could be especially true for visitors.
There is a major hospital and 12 heliport along northern Santa Rita Road. It is the main hospital in town.
In Dublin just across the I-580 (on Tassajara Road) is a 13 ValleyCare Urgent Care center. This is useful for those who have sudden ailments, although there are often long waits for care and the urgent care center does not do major operations - just relatively simple care.
- Livermore is in some ways similar to Pleasanton, but is still different. While Pleasanton has many historic sights, Livermore has an abundance of wineries, vineyards, and large areas of mountains and parks. The city has about 8,000 more people in Pleasanton, and is an interesting contrast.
- Just south of Livermore is Del Valle Regional Park, which is a large regional park with several campsites and a large reservoir, Lake Del Valle. From the top of some of the ridges are beautiful views of the lake and in other locations high cliffs. Del Valle is also a gateway into some even wilder country at Ohlone Regional Wilderness.
- Mount Hamilton, also known as Lick Observatory, is south of Ohlone, and can be accessed via either Livermore, Patterson, or San Jose. Particularly from the eastern side, the drive is a lonely one. However, once you reach the top Mount Hamilton and look around you, the long, tiring drive was worth it. The 4,000-foot-high village and observatory has views of San Jose and possibly the Sierra Nevada in good weather conditions.
- Farther south of Mount Hamilton, Del Valle, and Ohlone is some of the loneliest country in California at Henry Coe State Park. Miles and miles of trails lead deep into the Diablo Range wilderness and mountains covered in pine trees.
- San Francisco, in many ways, need not be explained. It is the home of several piers, cable cars, and the Golden Gate Bridge, and is less than two hours from Pleasanton - that is, in good traffic. (The freeways into San Francisco are traffic jams much of the time.)
- San Jose is one of California's largest and fastest-expanding cities, with a population of more than a million. It is home to several museums, along with Alviso, a coastal town which was once a thriving port but is now the home of a nature reserve.
- Concord is, along with Walnut Creek, an area with many shops and more nightlife than Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley region.
- Sunol is a small village south of Pleasanton with some unique attractions. One of these is the locally-famous Sunol Water Tower, which is for a few hours on some days, and the passenger train which runs from Sunol to Niles on weekends.
- Mount Diablo is a dramatically-situated mountain to the north of Pleasanton. Although it is less than 4,000 feet, its prominence enables it to be seen from as much as a hundred miles away.
- Mount Hamilton is a tiny village located on a 4,000-foot mountain and is only accessible by a couple of slow, twisty roads. There is a scientific observatory at the top, along with a museum and a gift shop.
|Routes through Pleasanton|
|Oakland ← Castro Valley ←||W E||→ Livermore → Tracy|
|Concord ← Dublin ←||N S||→ Fremont → San Jose|