Concord, California: Discover the Best Things to Do in this Bay Area Hidden Gem

Julie Diebolt Price Avatar

Things to Do in Concord California - Mural in Interior Courtyard at Visit Concord.
Mural in Interior Courtyard at Visit Concord. Photo Credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Nestled in the Bay Area of Northern California, Concord offers a slice of suburbia with the pulsing heartbeat of San Francisco just a short drive away. This city offers a rich tapestry of cultures and history to keep tourists entertained, and locals engaged in their community.

Concord is only 30 miles east of San Francisco. Driving over the iconic San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge offers breathtaking views of the city’s skyline and bay.

The City of Concord, in Contra Costa County, is surrounded by charming towns and cities, including bustling Walnut Creek, seven miles to the south, known for its shopping and dining, and scenic Pleasant Hill, three miles to the southwest, offering many parks and recreational activities. Towards the northwest, Martinez is known for its architecture because the downtown shops retain early 20th-century facades, and some homes are over 125 years old.

Read More: Best Bay Area Weekend Getaways

Things to Do in Concord California - Map of Concord Inside Visit Concord.
Map of Concord Inside Visit Concord. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

So, why should you consider a visit to Concord? Beyond its strategic location and welcoming community, Concord boasts a variety of attractions. I enjoyed a fun-filled 24 hours of discovery in Concord, including food, entertainment, outdoor activities, and cultural destinations.

Visit Concord hosted me, but all opinions are my own.

Things to Do in Concord California - Salvio Pacheco Square.
Salvio Pacheco Square. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Downtown Concord

Don Juan Salvio Pacheco II, a California ranchero and soldier, founded the City of Concord in 1869. It was known then as Todos Santos. In 2018, a statue honoring Pacheco was installed in Todos Santos Plaza.

Things to Do in Concord California - Todos Santos Plaza.
Todos Santos Plaza. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The heart of Downtown Concord is Todos Santos Plaza. Surrounded by Grant Street, Willow Pass Road, Mt. Diablo Street, and Salvio Street, the 2.5-acre plaza is a gathering place for the community. Todos Santo Plaza hosts a farmer’s market and summer concerts and boasts free plaza-wide wifi, picnic tables, a kid’s playground, and benches to relax under the trees.

Shiva Murugan Temple

The Shiva Murugan Temple, a Hindu temple initially established in a small wood-framed house in San Francisco in 1957, may have been the first Hindu Temple of its kind opened in America.

By 1988, the number of devotees had outgrown the tiny house, and the temple moved to a larger site in Concord–a house of worship first owned by Lutherans and later by Greek Orthodox.

Over the years, the temple management has brought priests from India to oversee the daily Hindu rituals and provide the Hindu community with religious and cultural services.

The Shiva Murugan Temple is four blocks from Todos Santos Plaza in downtown Concord.

Galindo Home Museum & Gardens

The Galindo House and Gardens, less than a mile from Todos Santos Plaza, is a 19th-century house built in 1856 by Don Francisco Galindo and his wife, Maria Dolores Manuela (Pacheco) Galindo. Maria was the daughter of Salvio Pacheco, the founder of Concord. The house stands out as one of the last Victorian ranch houses in Contra Costa County and is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

The Galindo family lived in the house since it was constructed in 1854. When Ruth Galindo passed away in 1999, she bequeathed the home to the City of Concord and all its contents to the Concord Historical Society. The Society stored everything until the house was renovated in 2012 when they moved everything back in.

An ADA lift was put in, and the property was made accessible for people with disabilities.

The house is open to the public for docent-led tours on Sundays from 1 to 4 pm and other times by appointment.

Things to Do in Concord California - Seeing the Future mural by John Horton.
Seeing the Future mural by John Horton. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Arts and Culture

Public artworks throughout the city embody the essence of Concord.

Things to Do in Concord California - Rabbit, Rabbit by Emily Ding.
Rabbit, Rabbit by Emily Ding. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Creative Concord launched in June 2022. The yearly performing and visual arts celebration highlights diverse styles, cultures, and themes. Since 2022, twelve large-scale contemporary murals have been installed, and three dynamic sculptures illuminated at night have been displayed. You can download the self-guided Mural + Sculpture map at the Creative Concord website. You can make it a walking tour or drive it in your vehicle.

Things to Do in Concord California - Lead the Way by Emily Ding.
Lead the Way by Emily Ding. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

aRt Cottage

The aRt Cottage is an art studio and gallery that displays two- and three-dimensional artworks by Bay Area artists. It is just two and a half blocks north of Todos Santos Plaza.

Things to Do in Concord California - Markham Nature Park and Arboretum Arbor.
Markham Nature Park and Arboretum Arbor. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Markham Nature Park and Arboretum

Open daily from dawn till dusk, 365 days a year, the Markham Nature Park & Arboretum is a 17-acre nature island near downtown Concord. The compact demonstration gardens surround the bud Hansen Arbor and provide quiet respite and a pleasant place for a stroll.

Things to Do in Concord California - Markham Nature Park and Arboretum Bee Markham Gardens.
Markham Nature Park and Arboretum Bee Markham Gardens. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Newhall Community Park

Newhall Community Park features bocce courts, a dog park, picnic areas, playgrounds, ponds, and sports fields. The 126-acre Park is bounded by the Galindo Creek, and a Vietnam War Memorial graces the vista point.

Things to Do in Concord California - Jazz Mafia Performance at The Veranda.
Jazz Mafia Performance at The Veranda. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The Veranda Shopping Center

The Veranda is a great place to relax, shop, eat great food, and enjoy live music. It has beautiful buildings, lush landscaping, and lovely water features.

When I visited in the fall, I was thrilled by the gorgeous surroundings and entertainment. We had front-row seats at Vibes at The Veranda and enjoyed the Jazz Mafia performance. To top it off, we were treated like VIPs when our after-dinner drinks and desserts were served during the performance.

Kid-Friendly Activities

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord

Six Flags Hurricane Concord offers family-friendly experiences with thrilling water rides, slides, a relaxing lazy river, and a wave pool. This Bay Area’s largest water park is open from May through September. Kid-friendly attractions include the Caribbean Cove, a tropical theme park area with multiple spray fountains, jets, geysers, and a shallow pool for wading and splashing.

Pixieland Amusement Park

Pixieland Amusement Park, “where little kids have big fun!” is an outdoor park that provides family fun with the Express Train, Red Baron Airplane rides, party packages, and group field trips.

Mount Diablo State Park

The verdant expanse of Mount Diablo State Park is a great place for horseback riding, biking, and hiking. Staging areas offer picnic areas, restrooms, and drinking water.

Diablo Foothills

The Diablo Foothills offers abundant open land for nature studies and countless hiking trails. Originally, local tribal people were the primary labor force on large Mexican cattle ranches, which included the Diablo Foothills. Over 1,000 acres are bounded by East Bay landforms–the Castle Rocks of Mt. Diablo and the undulating “camelback” ridges of the Shell Ridge.

Diablo Foothills contains the 15-acre Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area and offers a bathhouse with showers and changing rooms.

Contra Costa Canal Trail

The Contra Costa Canal Trail, a point-to-point trail near Concord, is an easy route popular for birding, road biking, and running. Four miles south of Concord, park at the Willow Pass Community Park on Willow Pass Road.

Toyota Concord Pavilion

The Toyota Concord Pavilion, owned by the City of Concord and operated by Live Nation, has a capacity of 12,500 people. It is used for concerts, community events, festivals, and local high school graduations. Located five miles southeast of Concord, the setting is rolling hills and lush greenery, and the seating design guarantees excellent sightlines.

Concord Drive-In

Family-owned and operated since 1952, West Wind Drive-In is the world’s largest drive-in movie theater chain. Its mix of old-school drive-in vibes and the latest technology of digital images on giant screens allows you to trip down memory lane with high-quality concession snacks.

Open Saturday and Sunday during the day as the Concord Market sells fresh produce and drive-in movie theater at night, West Wind Drive-Ins also hosts fun events for the whole family year-round. Pajama Parties, car shows, special screenings, and free movies on Customer Appreciation Night elevate the drive-in experience.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial

Dedicated in 1994, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial recognizes the dead of the Port Chicago disaster, a deadly munitions explosion of the ship SS E.A. Bryan in 1944. Three hundred twenty sailors and civilians were killed when the ammunition and bombs exploded while being loaded. Most of the deaths were African American sailors because they were working for the racially-segregated military. This event led to the largest Naval mutiny in USA history and desegregation following the war.

The National Park Service administers the memorial.

Diablo Creek Golf Course

On the way to the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, the Diablo Creek Golf Course is open daily at sunrise. This public 18-hole golf course also has a putting green, a pro shop, a lighted driving range, the Sports Bar & Grill, and a rental party area. The course features five lakes, wide fairways, and large, slow greens.

ATG Escape Rooms

TripAdvisor rates ATG Escape Rooms #1 for Fun and Games in Concord. With the biggest Escape Rooms in the Bay Area, ATG Escape Rooms can accommodate 30 of your friends, family, or co-workers in a Multimedia Party Center for rent. Everything from a kitchen and flatscreen TV to a Karaoke system will make a memorable, fun, and entertaining experience.

Diablo Rock Gym

The Diablo Rock Gym is a destination for healthy, motivated people. It offers 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, bouldering, yoga, fitness, and classes to get you started, prepare you for a belay test, or perfect your style. They also have programs for kids.

Where to Stay in Concord

We stayed at the Hilton Concord, part of Hilton Hotels & Resorts. It’s conveniently located next to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord and The Veranda Mall, close to the Sunvalley Shopping Center, and two miles from downtown, the Concord BART station and Todos Santos Plaza.

Things to Do in Concord California - El Original Concord Taco Trail.
El Original Concord Taco Trail. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Dining in Concord

We had some great meals in Concord. Read more about it here.

Julie Diebolt Price Avatar
Julie Diebolt Price is an award-winning professional photographer, educator, author, and travel writer. She writes about two things – photography and travel (along with a little food and beverage). Julie educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures.
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