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FTC Disclaimer: I had the honor of working with Visit Concord in exchange for coverage on this wonderful destination. All opinions are my own, and as always, I strive for full honesty and transparency. Happy reading!
In Northern California, a traveler will encounter several small gems on their journey. Of course, San Francisco is the most popular destination. The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, cable cars zipping down sweeping hills, unique neighborhoods, and more attract visitors from all across the globe.
However, even though I have lots of love and fond memories visiting the “big” destinations such as San Francisco, the traveler in me is still drawn to “off the beaten path” (sorry, I know the term is so cliche) towns and cities that don’t always grace the covers of Travel + Leisure.
When I visited Concord in the hot summer months, I seriously wondered how this amazing place never made it on my radar for so long. I loved Concord so, so much, and want to share the joy with you.
So! If you’re planning on a Northern California trip, I want to tell you that you ought to make the drive to Concord.
Concord CA is worth visiting for a ton of great reasons, and a visit here will add a lot of life and magic (and fantastic food) to your vacation.
9 Reasons Concord CA is Worth Visiting
Still not sold yet on whether you ought to visit Concord or not? What if you only have 7 days in Northern California and already have a jam-packed itinerary?
Read on to discover these 9 reasons why visiting Concord CA is worth it! I hope you’re super excited and ready to book by the time you reach the end of this post!
Easy San Francisco Escape for a Weekend
Are you worried about going to Concord CA all the way from San Francisco? Don’t be! Concord is a wonderful weekend getaway that’s also connected to accessible and reliable public transportation! Win/win!
Now don’t get me wrong. I love visiting San Francisco as a solo traveler. However, escaping the “big city” is always a delight, and Concord is the perfect option for someone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle.
The Concord BART station is a centrally located rail stop on the yellow Pittsburg/Bay Point–SFO/Millbrae line. This line has stops throughout the city of San Francisco, as well as a stop at San Francisco International Airport. Check schedules ahead of time, of course.
Going to Concord from San Francisco is a breeze.
Diverse Food Options
Unsurprisingly, my stomach especially adored Concord CA. So. Many. Wonderful. Food. Options.
If you’re a foodie visiting California, then seriously you need to come to Concord and sample all the food options. You will find a variety of cuisines ranging from local delicacies to sushi to tacos and so much more!
Of course, it’s impossible to try every great restaurant in Concord, so you need to plan and read reviews, and then make reservations at your favorites ahead of time. I have a few fantastic recommendations listed here to get you started!
Food Recommendations in Concord
- Concord Farmers Market: In the warmer months, Concord Farmers Market is the best way to support local farmers and vendors. Fresh produce is absolutely everywhere. Just looking at the ruby red strawberries made my mouth water. Be sure to check schedules ahead of time to see if the farmers market is in town on your visit to Concord CA.
- Doppio Zero: Located in the gorgeous outdoor Veranda shopping center, Doppio Zero is a southern Italian restaurant and pizzeria that will steal your heart (and tummy). The brick oven pizzas are absolute perfection. I loved sitting at the friendly and scenic bar.
- Lima: Want to try some authentic Peruvian food? Then look no further than Lima. I had a very pleasant experience sipping Inca Kola at the outdoor dining patio near Todos Santos Plaza. In particular, the veggies are so savory and packed with unique spices.
- Mikuni: This sushi restaurant is another wonderful food option in the Veranda shopping center. Mikuni had a fun and friendly bar that’s perfect for solo travelers! Not to mention, the fish was incredibly fresh and flavorful! Yummy!
- Taco Trail: If you want to go on a foodie adventure, then you need to explore Concord’s Taco Trail on your vacation. You can visit forty (yes, forty) incredible family-run taquerias. Stop by the visitors center for a map and go on a delicious taco-filled adventure! Your stomach will love you for it!
Hurricane Harbor Fun
Visiting Concord CA in summer? Ohhhh, you’re ready for a real treat, then. Pack your bathing suits and towels, my friends, and embrace your inner child at Hurricane Harbor.
At Hurricane Harbor, you can hit up thrill seeking water slides or relax in the lazy river under the sun. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. Hurricane Harbor has something to offer every single type of visitor.
As for me, chilling in the lagoon and people-watching was simply the perfect way to spend an afternoon! The waterfalls hitting my back felt like a massage!
Just make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time, and be prepared to pay for locker storage to keep items such as your phone safe and dry.
Lots and Lots of Incredible Desserts
Guh, I fell in love with all the dessert options available in Concord CA. Seriously, I have an insatiable sweet tooth that rules my daily diet (what can you do), and Concord’s desserts made me very, very happy indeed.
Alpine Pastry teleported me to the mountains of Switzerland through their homemade pastries and cakes. The old-fashioned pastry joint has been a Concord staple for nearly 50 years, and upon entering this warm and cozy bakery smelling of sugar, it’s easy to see why locals love Alpine Pastry.
In addition, Crumbl Cookies is another great option that sells huge delicious cookies. But wanna know the best part? The menu rotates every single week, so you’ll be surprised with 4-5 unique and special flavors each time you visit the bakery! The surprise is almost as fun as the taste!
Lots and Lots of Incredible Beer
Okay, raise your hand if you are smitten with craft beers? If so, then Concord CA is definitely the destination for you! You’ll find plenty of breweries and bars that serve local beers.
I had a blast sampling beers at The Hop Grenade Taproom & Bottle Shop. The bartenders are passion and knowledgeable about all the brews, so feel free to ask them a lot of questions and try a variety of beers. You can also buy some really awesome merchandise at the shop too! I got a ton of wonderful souvenirs here.
Embrace Your Inner Artist
As a traveler, I like doing whatever I can to support local artists. Art is so vital to any thriving community, after all. And Concord’s art scene doesn’t disappoint.
At aRt Cottage, you’ll discover one of the coolest galleries in the entire Bay Area. Just the outside of this cottage is so beautiful and zen (the flowers, bright paint, and cool ceramics impressed me) that you feel a sense of awe approaching the small building.
At aRt Cottage, visitors can admire local exhibits and even enroll in weekend workshops to practice their watercolor skills! So embrace your inner creative powers, and pick up a paintbrush. Everyone is welcome here – even beginners.
Home to A Delightful Bookstore
Concord CA is worth visiting just because of Half Price Books – which is one of the best bookstores that I’ve ever spent time in! I had such a great time here!
This large, family-owned chain has several locations. I have such a soft spot for used books, and seriously could’ve spent hours looking through the shelves. Half Price Books is perfect for the intellectual traveler looking to find unique copies of their favorite books.
Not to mention, the staff themselves are really proud of the book collection here too, and will do whatever they can to help you find the perfect books for you! Happy exploring!
Safe and Solo Travel Friendly
As for those of you visiting California alone, Concord is great for solo travelers in my humble opinion. I felt super safe going anywhere in town and never felt uncomfortable.
Furthermore, I liked that I could travel alone in Concord without any judgement. Whether you’re sitting at the bar or hitting the water slides, Concord is an easy place to blend in as a solo traveler. I also struck up some conversations with locals and everyone was super duper welcoming. I even had a two hour conversation with a local bus driver at one of the bars! Swapping stories with locals is truly what makes travel memorable.
All in all, Concord is a very comfortable and safe place to visit. Usual common sense applies, but don’t waste time worrying about your safety and security.
Natural Beautiful Everywhere
Concord might be a small city, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find natural beauty everywhere in the Concord area. If you’re visiting Concord in summer, I personally recommend you go into nature early in the morning when heat is less likely to be an issue.
If you’re passionate about hiking, then you will definitely want to visit Mt. Diablo State Park. Research some hiking trails ahead of time, and then enjoy the parks waterfalls and valleys, and take time to admire Mt. Diablo’s majesty.
However, even if you’re not a hardcore hiker, Concord still has natural beauty that you can enjoy. For example, Markham Regional Arboretum Society is a lovely non-profit right in the city of Concord. You’ll see forty-five different species of trees as you explore the park, including trees from all across the globe. Markham Nature Park is truly a peaceful experience that will make you feel like you’ve been teleported to a mysterious forest in the middle of nowhere!
Concord CA Travel Tips
I hope I was able to convince you why Concord CA is worth visiting! So are you ready to book your trip? Awesome!
I wanted to wrap up this post with some essential travel tips for when you visit Concord CA. Over all, the largest city in Contra Costa County has wonderful tourism infrastructure and doesn’t take too much planning to navigate, but it’s much better to be safe than sorry!
In particular, this guide will conclude with transportation and hotel advice.
How to Get Around
It’s not too hard to get around Concord.
For the most freedom, you will need to rent a car since public transportation is mostly limited to the BART. Sure, the BART is better than nothing, but as a tourist, you will mostly use the train as transportation back and forth from San Francisco, or to go to the airport. The BART doesn’t go around Concord itself. Hence why having your own car is useful.
However, I also understand that renting a car is expensive and stressful in a lot of ways. I have good news, though! Rideshares are readily available in Concord. On my trip, I didn’t have my own car and instead used Uber the entire time. I never had to wait more than ten minutes for a ride, and it was easy for me to get around the immediate area with no troubles at all.
Go with whatever mode of transportation that you feel most comfortable with. It’s your vacation.
Where to Stay
On my own trip to Concord, I stayed at Hilton Concord and absolutely loved it! What a beautiful hotel! As a guest, you’ll enjoy plenty of amenities, including a pool, for less the price than San Francisco. The front desk was also very kind and helpful, and took their time answering all my questions — which I appreciated as a solo traveler.
Last but not least, I think Hilton Concord the perfect hotel, especially in the summer. Why? Because you can walk right to Hurricane Harbor! Yes, you correctly read that statement. You can walk to an amazing waterpark and not have to fret about paying for parking. Not one batted an eye as I strutted down the street with a towel thrown over my shoulder, haha!
I hope this post helps you plan an extraordinary trip to Concord CA. This city is absolutely worth visiting, and will surprise you by how awesome it is! Happy travels! As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have about going to Concord CA.