Rolling Hills & Small Town Thrills: 15 Best Things To Do In Concord, CA

things to do in concord california
| 4 min read

Concord, California is 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of San Francisco. And with a population of about 129,000, it is the largest city in Contra Costa County, where it lies. In this mainly residential area, you’re never too far from open green space, yet also surrounded by pretty emerald-hued hills. Concord, though significant in size, in many ways has the feel of a small town. So, when planning your big Northern California escape, here’s a list of the best things to do in the intimate, relaxing atmosphere of Concord, California.

1. West Wind Solano Drive-In

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Whats better then one movie you ask? Why thats easy...2 Movies for one low price! We still have a few more days of...

Posted by West Wind Drive-In and Public Market on Monday, January 13, 2020

If you are an old soul, you probably remember drive-ins. The magical experience of being in your own car, private but still in public, is an experience that this movie theater aims to continue giving to its guests. In addition, there is a park nearby where you can play a few sports for a while before settling into the drive-in experience with some popcorn and soda. The parking spots in the drive-ins are angled forward so everyone can watch a movie comfortably. You need to use your FM radio channel to hear the movie, which is a very clever idea.

West Wind Solano Drive-In

Address: 1611 Solano Way, Concord, CA 94520, United States

Website: West Wind Solano Drive-In

Opening hours: 6pm - 12pm (daily)

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2. Newhall Community Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Newhall Community Park is a popular place frequented by locals during the night, and you can see lots of families having a great time here. There are plenty of amenities provided for free including picnic areas complete with tables, playgrounds for your little ones, well-maintained restrooms, free parking, and soccer fields. In addition, there are trails nearby where you can also go on an exciting hike along the top of the hill, and enjoy the lovely scenic views there. If you have a pup, there are dog parks here where they can run and play with each other.

Newhall Community Park

Address: 1351 Newhall Pkwy, Concord, CA 94521, United States

Website: Newhall Community Park

Opening hours: 6am - 7pm (daily)

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3. Ellis Lake Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This huge park spans a whopping 10 acres (4 hectares) of well-maintained rolling lawns as well as a beautiful lake where you can feed the ducks, go fishing, or watch the turtles swim out of the water to bask in the sunlight. There are two play areas for children, where they can use the slides, swings, and monkey bars to their heart’s content. You can take a relaxing walk or a fun jog around the periphery of the park.

Ellis Lake Park

Address: 1736 Clayton Rd, Concord, CA 94520, United States

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 7am - 7pm (closed on Tue)

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4. Shiva Murugan Temple

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Shiva Murugan Temple, Concord on Saturday, January 23, 2021

If you are interested in Hindu temples, this is a wonderful place to visit and pay your respects. Although this temple is dedicated to the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva, there are also multiple statues of different Hindu gods here. The temple has three priests who are always there to help you pray. Spend some time in solitude and pray for all the evil in the world to be destroyed, as this temple is great for personal meditation.

Shiva Murugan Temple

Address: 1803 2nd St, Concord, CA 94519, United States

Website: Shiva Murugan Temple

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 1pm - 5pm (closed from Mon - Fri)

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5. Don Salvio Pacheco Adobe

Don Salvio Pacheco Adobe
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Junglebunny925 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Built in 1835, this historic house was built from adobe which is Spanish for mudbrick. Finished with incredibly detailed woodwork and impeccable tile work imported from Spain, this home showcases the beauty of Spanish civil work. The home can be visited and is open to the public. If you are interested in Spanish architecture, it can be a treat to learn about the elements used in building this house.

Don Salvio Pacheco Adobe

Address: Concord, CA 94520, United States

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6. Contra Costa Canal Trail

Inline skating
Source: Pixabay

Biking, inline skating, horseback riding, and of course walking; Contra Costa Canal Trail is a great place for a good physical workout. Contra Costa Canal Trail is also wheelchair accessible, but don’t be fooled by the asphalt surface making maneuvering a breeze, Contra Costa Canal Trail has its fair share of up and downhill terrain. The 14-mile (23-kilometer), horseshoe-shaped route follows the quaint Canal and covers the park, urban, and neighborhood areas of Concord, as well as neighboring Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Martinez. Built during the 1930s to provide crop irrigation to what was then a rural area, The Contra Costa Canal is a wonderful community asset and the trail that runs parallel is one of the most popular pathways in the Concord park system.

Contra Costa Canal Trail

Address: Check website for map

Website: Contra Costa Canal Trail

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7. Waterworld California

Water park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Uri Tours used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Dive into excellent water action at Waterworld California. Get your heart racing with a 70-foot (21-meter) plummet down a water slide or float leisurely down a lazy river or ride the tide in a refreshing wave pool. All these water-filled activities are available at Waterworld California and so much more. A family-friendly environment, Waterworld California also offers attractions for kids only, like the Lil’ Kahuna’s Waterworks, with mini-water slides and tipping buckets, and the interactive water-fueled playground, Treasure Island.

Waterworld California

Address: 1950 Waterworld Pkwy, 94520 Concord, CA

Website: Waterworld California

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8. Pixieland Amusement Park

Dragon roller coaster
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user https://www.flick... used under CC BY 2.0

Pixieland Amusement Park is a right of passage for most Concord kids. Little tykes can spend the day squealing with excitement on the dips and curves of the Dragon Roller-coaster. Their imaginations can run wild as train conductors when they ride the rails on the Pixieland Express. Be ready to take that photo, as they take on the role of pilots; flying high in the Red Baron Airplane. The bright and colorful Pixieland Amusement Park is perfect for the 10 and under set. Such a treasure trove of fun and excitement you may have to pry their tiny hands from the exit gate.

Pixieland Amusement Park

Address: 2740 E Olivera Rd, 94519 Concord, CA

Website: Pixieland Amusement Park

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9. Todos Santos Plaza

Source: Photo by user Geraoma used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Todos Santos Plaza is located in the heart of downtown Concord. Todos Santos Plaza is a city block-sized traditional Mexican-style plaza and community green space first established in 1869. Todos Santos Plaza hosts many local gatherings, like the award-winning Music and Market Series, an event with live musical performances and one of the best farmers markets in the area.

Todos Santos Plaza

Website: Todos Santos Plaza

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10. Markum Nature Park & Arboretum

Nature Park & Arboretum
Source: Pixabay

Founded in 1981, Markum Nature Park & Arboretum is the brainchild of a few Concord residents who adored gardens and wanted to share that enthusiasm with the rest of Concord. Their goal was to transform a section of the city into an island of nature’s beauty. Today, visitors come to marvel at the quiet loveliness Markum Nature Park & Arboretum possesses.

Markum Nature Park & Arboretum

Address: 1202 La Vista Ave, 94521 Concord, CA

Website: Markum Nature Park & Arboretum

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11. Concord Pavilion

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user TonyTheTiger used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Tucked cozily among a series of pretty sloping hills, Concord Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater that has experienced a resurgence in recent years. And with its comeback has drawn top musical acts and big crowds. Booking a diverse line-up that spans adult contemporary, rhythm and blues, country, and alternative rock, Concord Pavilion has something for all musical tastes.

Concord Pavilion

Address: 2000 Kirker Pass Rd, 94521 Concord, CA

Website: Concord Pavilion

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12. Mount Diablo State Park

Mount Diablo State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MARELBU used under CC BY 3.0

A quick 15-minute drive from Concord, Mount Diablo State Park is a 20,000-acre (8,094-hectare) park with breathtaking landscapes and beautiful wildlife. But it’s the majestic Mount Diablo, the park’s namesake, that draws the crowds. Explore remote areas on horseback, or take a free-wheeling bike ride along Mount Diablo State Park’s impressive rock formations. If you’re really adventurous, hike to the park’s 3,849-foot (1,173-meter) summit!

Mount Diablo State Park

Website: Mount Diablo State Park

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13. Black Diamond Brewing Company

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Renee Altrov used under CC BY-SA 4.0

To get a taste of the Concord local flavor, Black Diamond Brewing Company is a welcoming watering hole offering award-winning craft beers. Black Diamond Brewing Company’s brew crews create new concoctions; known as their 15 Barrel Series, because only 15 barrels of each beer is made, then guests vote each month on which they like best. Whatever new batch of beer gets the most votes is added to the regular line-up of Black Diamond Brewing Company’s ales.

Black Diamond Brewing Company

Address: 2470 Bates Ave C, 94520 Concord, CA

Hours: Monday to Friday, 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Website: Black Diamond Brewing Company

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14. Ghost Golf

Miniature golf course
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomas R Machnitzki used under CC BY 3.0

Ghost Golf is a one-of-a-kind golfing experience, offering an 18-hole indoor miniature golf course, with the added feature of a haunted graveyard theme and spine-chilling special effects. As you play your way through the spooky graveyard, you’re met by scary animatronic figures, as well as ghostly lighting and sounds. Other thrills at Ghost Golf are the arcade games, in particular, the Egyptian Mummy shooting gallery.

Ghost Golf

Address: 4383 Clayton Rd, 94521 Concord, CA

Website: Ghost Golf

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15. Downtown historic walking tour

Concord, CA, USA - panoramio (4)
Source: Photo by user MARELBU used under CC BY 3.0

With its aim to preserve and share the history of the city of Concord, The Concord Historical Society offers a downtown historic walking tour. Twenty-eight significant places make up the circuit and visitors can learn the importance of each one. Highlights include the city’s first firehouse. Opened in 1892, its cast-iron bell summoned firemen and signaled curfew.

Downtown historic walking tour

Address: Check website for map

Website: Downtown Historic Walking Tour

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Concord strikes the right chord

Ideally located in the San Francisco Bay Area with easy access to many major freeways, Concord is within a one-hour driving distance of the Pacific Ocean and the Napa Valley wine country. The wonderful public gathering spots, fun family attractions and Concord’s many quiet neighborhoods and 21 distinct parks, all add to the city’s small-town air.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Catherine has written professionally for over 10 years, and a sizable amount has been travel writing. Her desire to see the world was sparked at a very young age. Growing up, there were many family...Read more

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