Things to Do in Concord, California

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Located less than 30 miles from San Francisco, you can discover many things to do in Concord. Here are the best things to do in Concord, California.

There are many things to do in Concord. During a recent conversation with the helpful team at the Visit Concord office, I was asked, “Are you going to visit any other town on your journey?” My reply, “No, I just want to explore your community in-depth.” I could sense the smile on the other side of the phone; they must have recognized that I wanted to learn about their community.

Concord is 29 miles from San Francisco, 32 miles from Napa Valley, and 43 miles from Sonoma. Visitors often overlook this lovely historic town. It is easy to travel on Bart, which stops in Concord and is only a short drive from the San Francisco Airport. My trip was a bit different; I traveled 450 miles from Palm Springs on a road trip. Why? Because I am an explorer. I felt Concord had a story to tell, and I was right. Here are my favorite things to do in Concord, CA.

Concord California Welcome Sign. Photo courtesy of Visit Concord

Things to Do in Concord—Dining After a Road Trip

After the drive, I looked forward to stopping and having a nice meal and was not disappointed. Doppio Zero’s has a beautiful veranda with a view of the nearby fountain. I decided to celebrate the uneventful drive with a glass of Champagne, taking my time and sipping it slowly while taking in my surroundings.

I do not make Lasagna for myself, so I chose to have some at this Italian restaurant. Oh my! The flavors filled my mouth and tantalized my taste buds. This satisfying meal was the perfect way to end my day.

Dinner at Doppio Zero in The Veranda Shopping Center. Photo by Kathy Condon

Award Winning Todos Santos Plaza

I parked the car and headed to the Visit Concord office to check in with staff. I turned the corner, and there was one of the most beautiful city-center scenes I have ever witnessed. Todos Santos Plaza is a 2.5-acre area with a lush green flowering landscape, beautiful Spanish architecture, and a three-level fountain that added to its beauty.

Upon further investigation, I learned that the American Planning Association named this Plaza one of three great places in California. I could hear children laughing from the nearby playground and watched while other kids chose to sit and relax on benches and read. The Plaza recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Fountain in Todos Santos Plaza. Photo by Kathy Condon

Take an Early Morning Historical Walk

The cool morning air drew me back to Todos Santos Plaza the following day. I sipped my coffee while sitting on one of the benches near a giant flowering bougainvillea and then planned a shortened tour of more than 25 historical sites within walking distance. The Visit Concord office is in the Todos Santos Plaza, so I stopped to get a map.

One of my favorite stops was the Bibber House. It was exquisite, with two outside verandas and columns that added to its grandeur. Built in 1912, I can only imagine the parties and events that took place here over the years. I arrived too early and could not go inside and see the beautiful wood paneling or the staircase that graced the inside entrance. The Bibber House was a home for generations, but now it is used for business.

Take time for a leisurely historical walk through the tree-laden streets. I don’t know if I have ever seen a California town with so many trees; you’ll find them throughout the city.

Bibber House on Historic Walk. Photo by Kathy Condon

Discover Murals in Unexpected Places

If you like treasure hunts, you will enjoy picking up the Creative Concord Mural Map at the Visitors Center. During my visit, I discovered that nine contemporary murals were in the process of being created by professional artists. Keep your eyes open to find older murals gracing the walls of buildings scattered throughout the city. They often represent a historical aspect of the community.

Last Mural under the auspices of Creative Concord. Photo by Kathy Condon

The Shopping Center has Everything You Need

Maybe I haven’t been shopping enough lately, but The Veranda in Concord was one of the most beautiful and extensive shopping centers I have ever explored. The Veranda is adjacent to the older mall, The Willows, which hosts popular brands like REI, Fuddruckers, Half-Price Books, and Benihana. The Veranda’s white architecture sparkles in Concord’s sunlight. The walkways are broad and meander throughout the complex, dotted with grass, fountains, and refreshing ponds. Benches scattered throughout the complex are a terrific perch to sit and watch the people. Watching families spend time together, licking ice cream cones, and frolicking on the jungle gym was wonderful.

Name brands like Barnes Noble, Banana Republic, T.J. Maxx, Sephora, and Urban Remedy have lovely, well-lit stores showcasing their products. Restaurants are abundant. You can find just about any cuisine you like or want to try. Concord’s population is diverse, with Burmese, Indian, Mexican, Peruvian, Himalayan, and Italian residents. The area’s cuisine represents its diversification.

A view of the complex at The Veranda shopping mall. Photo by Kathy Condon

Things to Do in Concord—Seek out the Plentiful Events

While in Concord, I was fortunate to experience Head West Market Place. Think Etsy in person. Although some name brands attend this Head West, most big brands scatter amongst the other event locations in San Francisco and northern California. The owner’s goal is to provide accessible, affordable physical space so people can contact consumers directly. Vendors set up on the perimeter of Todos Santos Plaza, so you are free to lounge on the grass and lick your ice cream cone nearby.

If you love jazz, keep an eye open for the performers at various venues, including outdoor patios, the Concord Pavilion, and coffee houses. Did you know the Concord Pavilion holds 12,500 people and books musical events such as Dirks Bentley and the Backstreet Boys? With its proximity to populated areas, the Pavilion is considered one of the premier outdoor venues in California. Farmer’s markets are another fun event, they are held year-round in Todos Santos Plaza on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, June through September.

Head West Vendor in Todos Santos Plaza. Photo by Kathy Condon

Things to Do in Concord—Fantastic Dining

Visit Concord won California’s top tourism marketing award for its Taco Trail, which has 40-plus stops. The thought of that many tacos and Mexican food within three days was not high on my agenda. However, I did stop at Taqueria Marcos. This newly remodeled restaurant with industrial-like décor proved to be an excellent choice. Please keep your eyes open in the strip mall, or you will miss it. The fajita mix came steaming and sizzling hot, and I enjoyed every morsel. If you do the Taco Trail, I recommend making this one of your stops.

Molli Restaurant and Lounge, located just off Todos Santos Square, was the perfect place to have dinner with a friend who joined me from nearby Livermore. The restaurant is newly updated, quiet, and boasts an excellent staff. While the menu was pretty limited for full entrees, there was an array of tapas.

I enjoyed a quiet breakfast on the outside patio of a Concord tree-lined street at Bay Leaf. You will find your standard breakfast fare, but worth the effort to locate the spot for the ambiance. I know this desert rat (what we call ourselves when we live in the desert) was happy to be surrounded by greenery. It was an excellent way to start my day.

Bay Leaf Cafe on Concord Street. Photo by Kathy Condon

It was snack time, so I started looking for a Cinnaholic because I am a cinnamon lover. Cinnaholic was showcased on Shark Tank a few years ago for its gluten-free and sugar-free cinnamon rolls. Now it is a franchise throughout the country, and, fortunately for me, Concord has one off the town square. The one topped with peaches looked appetizing, so I chose it. Let’s say it’s a good thing there isn’t a Cinnaholic near me.

Discover Great Places to Lay Your Head at Night in Concord

My three-day stay at the Hilton Concord was superb, and I was immediately impressed with the staff. Watching how they interacted with each other and treated me made me think they loved their work. After a fun exchange with the staff, I took my key and headed to my lovely room.

The king-sized bed was comfy, and the linens felt good after a shower and a day of exploring. The lounge chair near the window was a lovely touch, and I could look out over the city. The hotel’s location was within walking distance from The Veranda, so there were no excuses for not buying a gift or wondering where to get something you forgot to bring on the road trip.

Concord Hilton Across from The Veranda. Photo by Kathy Condon

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When You Visit Concord, CA

When I headed to Concord, California, I didn’t know what to expect. After three days, I am convinced that I merely scratched the surface of what this small but mighty city has to offer. Since I was there at the beginning of the week, I found that most wineries were closed; most were open Wednesday through Sunday. Despite this, there are plenty of things to do in Concord—from wine tastings and distilleries to hiking on surrounding trails. My timing for some art galleries was off; thus, I look forward to returning and delving deeper into the art scene and exploring more of the cultural heritage that makes up the community. Do I recommend you go to Concord and stay a while? Yes! I am confident you will learn as much as I did during my visit.

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Things to Do in Concord, California

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