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4 Great Escapes Near Pleasanton For You and the Family

4 Great Escapes Near Pleasanton For You and the Family

The name “Pleasanton” says it all, doesn’t it? If you can’t find a place to relax, enjoy time with the family, or to unwind with friends, you’re not trying!

To help you along, here are four great local escapes worth checking out as the weather begins to warm. We guarantee you’ll enjoy them:

niles canyon railway pleasanton

Niles Canyon Railway, 6 Kilkare Rd., Sunol

A museum is one thing, but what about a museum that actually comes to life? One that you can interact with? One that lets you journey back in time to a history we’ve left behind? That’s what the Niles Canyon Railway offers.

Scenic trail rides through Niles Canyon on historic trains is a great way to spend a day. Add in rides that feature beer and wine tastings, educational rides, and much more and you’ll find that there are many ways to enjoy these rides on the rails.

Lions Wayside Park, First and Neal Sts., Pleasanton

Life in Pleasanton just wouldn’t be the same without Lions Wayside Park, one of the premier gathering places for people in the community. The Friday night concerts are of course a major highlight and draw people from throughout the region, but this park is worth visiting on any day of the week. Nice open space, good spots to picnic, and a great spot to throw around a Frisbee and catch some sun.

G&M Farms, 487 E Airway Blvd., Livermore

A little fun in the outdoors with the family is often just what the doctor ordered, and that’s just what you can enjoy at G&M Farms. Enjoy a cornfield maze, a pumpkin patch (both seasonal), farm animals to interact with, pony rides, and much more. They also do field trips for school classrooms. This is a great place to escape with the family, get outdoors for a little while, and maybe even learn a little something (in a fun way).

Rubino Estates Winery, 1188 Vineyard Ave, Pleasanton

A stunning, sprawling facility that looks like it could have been plucked right out of Italy and dropped here in California, the Rubino Estates Winery has won awards and accolades for a reason. Come for a tasting of their wines, or take a tour with a Duck Boat excursion through the vineyards. It’s a lot of fun and full of gorgeous sights to behold. And of course, there are fantastic food and wine pairings to be enjoyed.

5 Great Places in Pleasanton For Valentine’s Day Dinner

5 Great Places in Pleasanton For Valentine’s Day Dinner

There are so many fantastic things about Pleasanton, we could write a dozen articles about them. In fact, we’ve probably written close to that many about our amazing community!

valentine's day dinner idea

Every Valentine’s Day, we’re reminded of another to add to the list: It’s a terrific place for a romantic dinner.

With that in mind, here are five of the places our patients recommend for a good romantic meal. Perhaps we’ll see you at one of these establishments on Valentine’s Day evening! 

Barone’s (475 St John St) 

Cozy, small and romantic, Barone’s makes for a great date night any time of year – so naturally, it’s a good Valentine’s Day destination. The food is good, the atmosphere is nice, and the service is almost always great. You can’t go wrong with their cocktails, either. Great place to snuggle up with a loved one! 

Lokanta (443 Main Street) 

If you’ve never indulged in Mediterranean food before, let Valentine’s Day be your first experience with it. Lokanta specializes in Greek, Turkish, and other regional fare, and it’s quite delicious. They have very nice cocktails to get your dinner started right, and just about every dish is a winner. Most importantly, the atmosphere is open and inviting, making it a great place to unwind with loved ones.

Forno Vecchio (680 Main Street) 

A fine glass of wine in a comfortable environment, a romantic ambiance, and servers who take care of you without bothering you? Those are ingredients for a good special night out, and Forno Vecchio provides them all.

They deal in traditional Italian fare of the fine variety, along with unusual specialty items like squid ink. And do not forget the dessert, because it’s fantastic. The Lava Cake is to die for!  Italian is always a good choice for a romantic dinner, and Forno Vecchio does it right. 

Oasis Grille & Wine Lounge (780 Main Street)

Wine & steak, delicious gyros, tender curry dishes and tasty cocktails: yes, this is a great date night destination. The dim lighting and elegant décor gives this place a romantic vibe. Expect a mix of Mediterranean and Afghan food, all of it cooked to perfection and reasonably priced. And do NOT skip on dessert, because it’s fantastic here!

Nonni’s Bistro (425 Main Street)

Open, modern and elegant, Nonni’s offers a decidedly contemporary dining experience with modern European food and flavor. (For the record, we recommend the duck.)

The vibe here is sleek and active, making it a good stop for couples who prefer to feel “on the go” rather than laid back. Excellent soups, good cocktails, and reasonable prices.  A worthy Valentine’s Day date night destination.

5 of Pleasanton’s Best Christmas Light Displays

Pleasanton is a town filled with the Christmas spirit, so to help you and the family enjoy the sights of the holidays, we thought we’d help you find some of the best light displays in town. 

These recommendations are based on home displays from last year, which means it’s possible some families may not decorate their houses again this year – though that’s doubtful, since it’s a tradition for many.

Also, in the interest of being a discrete, we won’t be giving you exact addresses. Instead, we’ll point you to the block where you can find these homes.

Believe us, once you get nearby you won’t be able to miss them! So without further ado, go check out these displays once Christmas light season is here:

Heart Ave.

On the 1200 block of Hearst Avenue, you’ll find a light display that is truly a must see. We can’t imagine how many thousands of lights were needed to create this – not to mention all the light-up candy canes – but we’re impressed at how it all comes together. If you enjoy looking at great displays, you’ll want to see this one.

Calle Reynosa 

The densely packed Christmas lights on the 2600 block of Calle Reynosa are like a shimmering parade of bright characters, shapes and trees.  Driving by during the day won’t even give you a hint of all the lights you’ll see here, so pack the kids into the car after dinner and head down when it’s dark. This is an impressive display!

Chelsea Ct. 

Chelsea Court in Pleasanton has got to be on your holiday visit list this year, if the display that was there last year is any indication. With a house outlined in glorious lights, a HUGE lawn feature you have to see to believe, and even a dazzling walking path that seems to take you into a Winter Wonderland, do not skip this one! 

Hawaii Ct. S 

If you want proof that you don’t have to spend a small fortune to have a great display, take a gander at the display at Hawaii Court South. It’s one that combines bright lights with traditional decorations and plenty of focus on the lawn for something your family will enjoy seeing this holiday season.

5-reasons-switch-li

Gray Fox Circle

The folks at the 800 section of Gray Fox Circle clearly know that people enjoying driving by nice Christmas displays, because theirs seems to be made specifically for drivers cruising by and seeing the sights.

Blinking messages, a lighted path, fun characters – it’s a great display that makes Pleasanton look even more festive than it already is.

Pleasanton is such an amazing town we’re sure we’ve missed more than a few, so if you know of a great Christmas display we should see (or you just want to show off your own) let us know in the comments!

5 Places to Discover the Outdoors Near Pleasanton

5 Places to Discover the Outdoors Near Pleasanton

We all love the summer, but there is something special about autumn, when the weather cools a bit and the long sleeves come out.

It’s a great time to get outdoors and discover what our region has to offer – and if you love escaping to Mother Nature, the area around Pleasanton has a LOT to offer.

Here are our five suggestions for places near Pleasanton where you can get a great taste of the outdoors:

1) Cull Canyon Regional Park

If you like to escape to the outdoors now and then, it’s hard to beat Cull Canyon Regional Park. Located in Castro Valley, this park has great trails and a fantastic swim lagoon that your kids will love – and it is staffed with lifeguards for their safety!

Many locals consider this an overlooked gem, so keep this secret between us, okay?

2) Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

You can’t escape to the outdoors in Pleasanton without keeping the Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park in mind! You’ll find it off Foothill Road, and you’ll be quickly taken in by the massive 5,000-plus acres of gorgeous natural land in this sprawling park.

There is lots of room to roam thanks to the extensive hiking trails, and if you’re really want to go on an adventure, the park links to 150 miles of interconnected trails in the Interpark Regional Trails system that winds through the region. 

3) Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area

Think you have to take a long journey to experience some lovely Mother Nature? Think again. You won’t have to travel far to enjoy this outdoor experience.

Found at 2500 Stanley Boulevard, if you love fishing, boating, trails, or just relaxing on a beach, you’ll enjoy Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area. It’s most popular during the summer months, but is just as fun to visit in the autumn. 

shadow-creeks

4) Sunol Regional Wilderness

There are parks and then there is Sunol. This place is BIG. If you like to get completely immersed in Mother Nature when you go for a hike, look no further than this massive, expansive park. Located off Geary Road, this park is close to 7,000 acres of pastoral hills, herds of grazing cattle, and stunning vistas. It’s enough to take your breath away.

5) Del Valle Regional Park 

Del Valle Regional Park is great because it packs a lot into its 4,400 acres, so no matter what you’re into when it comes to the outdoors, you’ll find it here.

This park features a five-mile long lake and many miles worth of hiking paths, plus a resort area, swimming lakes, picnic grounds, horseback riding, and lots more. It’s easy to spend a whole day here (and then some).

4 Amazing Charitable Organizations Near Pleasanton To Support

4 Amazing Charitable Organizations Near Pleasanton To Support

We believe Pleasanton is one of the country’s best places to live and work, and we know we are not alone in that opinion.

valley humane society

One of the reasons for that is the fact that the town is filled with amazing people doing amazing things – and yes, that includes some outstanding charitable organizations. Here are four that deserve your support:

Valley Humane Society

One of the best known animal welfare organizations in the region, the Valley Humane Society aims to find homes for animals in need, educate pet owners, provide an array of programs for pets and pet owners, and generally make life better for our furry friends.

They have operated in the Tri-Valley region since 1987, and have done so without receiving any tax dollars or money from national humane organizations. 

The Valley Humane Society welcomes donations and volunteers. Volunteers can help care for or foster animals, help with customer service, help run youth programs, and more. 

Children’s Healthy Smile Project

As a dental office in Pleasanton, we can get behind this one! The Children’s Healthy Smile Project is dedicated to promoting good oral health in children. The group provides education kits to children of all ages, offers support for the Head Start program, and other efforts.

The Children’s Healthy Smile Project relies on corporate donations as well as donations by individuals.

Troops Direct 

Operating out of neighboring San Ramon, Troops Direct specializes in providing equipment to soldiers in need serving overseas.

Offering more than just food and clothing, Troops Direct also sends medical supplies, hygiene products, and even generators. That is their entire mission: to offer support to those serving overseas with the goods and supplies they need.

Abode Services

Working from nearby Fremont, Abode Services has a simple yet difficult mission: to help eradicate homelessness.

Their method of doing that is to find and provide housing for families that are at risk, and to re-home families that have found themselves homeless. The end goal is to keep families together and get them back on track – in a home. 

Abode Services accepts donations of goods and monetary donations, and they also enlist the services of more than 800 community volunteers. They have a wealth of volunteer positions available, from prepping and service meals to tutoring, administrative support, and more.

These four organizations are all worth your attention, and they are only the start. Pleasanton has some of the most generous people you’ll find, people who enthusiastically give their time and attention to those in need. There are many people doing great work in this area, and we couldn’t be prouder of that fact.

5 Fun Family Afternoons in Pleasanton

5 Fun Family Afternoons in Pleasanton

Now that it’s summer, families are looking for things to do – here are five local fun family afternoons you and your family will enjoy: 

Music at Lions Wayside Park

The Pleasanton Downtown Association makes it easy to have fun and FREE summer nights with the family, thanks to its Concerts in the Park series.

The series is underway right now and continues through the end of August with music that ranges from rock and alternative to ‘80s hits, R&B, classic rock and pop, and much more.  

pleasanton farmers market

Pleasanton Farmers Market 

Food shopping isn’t supposed to be fun, but the Pleasanton Farmers Market provides more than just another food shopping experience.

With music, activities for children – the “Diaper Derby” gets even the smallest children involved in the fun – and some of the friendliest people in the region, it’s easy to spend a relaxing Saturday morning here. And with all the cafes nearby, you can make a day of it.

You can even help out your friends and neighbors by donating food to the Open Heart Program.  

Pleasanton Fairways Golf Course / Pleasanton Golf Center 

This nine-hole irons course is perfect for players just learning the game, though even experienced players will enjoy working on their short and mid game here.

This is an open, family-friend course that is ideal for an afternoon out with the kids. Even if you don’t want to dare the course, there is a driving range here so the kids can have fun whacking golf balls for a little while.

If you want to introduce the younger family members to golf, this fun short course at the Fairgrounds is the way to do it. 

Museum on Main

The Museum on Main in Pleasanton is more than just a way to learn about the rich history of the Tri Valley region, it’s also a great place to take the family on a summer day.

They feature family programs like M.O.M.’s Reading Time and Downtown Detectives, programs for students and schools, and fun events. Keep your eyes peeled for A Taste of the West, 1890s: A Wild West Evening – tickets are selling fast – and the Ghost Walks held throughout October.

With lectures, lots to see and learn, and more, you’ll regret not visiting sooner.

151st Scottish Highland Gathering and Games

This is going to be a great way to cap off the summer. This annual celebration at the Alameda County Fairgrounds is taking place September 3-4 this year.

As always, it will feature games, music, entertainment, competitions, food, races, showmanship, and much more. It may be a celebration of Scottish culture and heritage, but believe us, it’s an event everyone can enjoy no matter their heritage.

6 Places in Pleasanton to Buy Gifts for Special Occasions

6 Places in Pleasanton to Buy Gifts for Special Occasions

flowers pleasanton

Pleasanton and the surrounding area is filled with fantastic locally-owned gift shops. Here are six of our favorites:

Berry Patch

Since 1994, Berry Patch has been one of the area’s best places to get your hands on the work of local artisans. The wide array of gifts (which includes toys, crafts, and other hand-crafted works) changes constantly, making each visit a new adventure in gift buying.

The Pleasanton Weekly has rated them the best place to buy a gift five times since 2009, so you know they’re doing something right!

Click to read!

Click to read!

Clover Creek

With a wide array of gifts you won’t find anywhere else and a staff that is quick to help you find something, Clover Creek is a great stop for those shopping for a gift that will stand out from the crowd.

They specialize in home décor items, so if you have a family member who needs some wall or shelf space filled with something cute, Clover Creek should be a stop on your list.

Brookstone

Brookstone is a chain best known for its interesting gadgets and lifestyle items. If you want something quirky but useful, this is the place to get it.

Think of it like a grown-up toy store, but not the risqué sort ala Spencers. Fun technology, helpful gadgets, and a ton more make this a year-round place to pick up a gift you giftee will actually use.

Rick’s Picks 

Packed with closeout deals on a load of brand names, you can never quite predict what Rick’s Picks will have in stock. Furniture. Clothing. Home entertainment. Decorative items. Purses. Kitchen goods. Glassware.

It’s an impressive selection that is constantly changing, and the items here are appropriate for any time of the year. You might even do some shopping for yourself!

Main Street Designs

Located in Livermore, Main Street Designs specializes in home décor and antiques, along with clothing and apparel, jewelry, collectibles, and more.

If your giftee likes things with a vintage twist, Main Street Designs may have what you’re looking for. They’re locally owned and their walls are packed with items, so you should find no shortage of potential gifts here.

Alden Lane Nursery

This Livermore nursery is, as you’d expect, wall-to-wall flowers and plants of all types, but what you might not expect is its fabulous gift shop. Outdoor accessories, yard decorations, and hand-made treats are all great options that are sure to please almost anyone. Plus, all those flowers mean you’ll be set come Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Pleasanton is such a great place to eat, live, and work, it’s no surprise that it’s also a great place to shop!

6 Summer Concerts Near Pleasanton For the Whole Family

6 Summer Concerts Near Pleasanton For the Whole Family

pleasanton concert in park

Music lovers in and around Pleasanton are going to have a GREAT month this June, because our area is packed with fantastic concerts that are suitable for the entire family.

Here are six to keep your eyes on (and the sixth is actually more than a dozen concerts extending into July):

June 3 – OTR, Concert in the Park

June opens with a bang when OTR brings a mix of rock and roll, R&B and dance from the 1970s to today to Lions Wayside Park, located on the corner of First Street and Neal Street.

This is the kickoff to the 2016 Concert in the Park series put together by the Pleasanton Downtown Association, and it’s going to be a great time!

June 10 – The CoolTones, Concert in the Park

The Pleasanton Downtown Association’s Concert in the Park series is really going to “swing” on June 10 when The CoolTones bring their big band swing to town.

This band brings a whopping 18 musicians to stage for a sound that is as big as it is fun. The show starts at 7pm and is happening at Lions Wayside Park, located on the corner of First Street and Neal Street.

June 11 – Rudy Colombini & The Unauthorized Rolling Stones

Who says you need to spend $100+ to see an authentic Rolling Stones experience? This Stones tribute act has been around for 15 years for a reason: they pack in a lot of showmanship, fantastic musicians, and some of your favorite songs of all time. The show is at 8pm at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore.

June 13 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bankhead Theater

For more than 50 years, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has brought the sounds of New Orleans to the world, conjuring up infectious rhythms, uplifting horns, and songs that will make you want to sing and dance.

In other words, this will be a great night out! Enjoy the show at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, starting at 7:30pm.

June 17 – Crawdad Republic, Concert in the Park

Another Concert in the Park, this time with the folk and bluegrass of Crawdad Republic. This band’s soaring melodies, clever storytelling and fantastic musicianship will have the whole family dancing! As always, the show is at Lions Wayside Park, located on the corner of First Street and Neal Street.

June 15-July 4 – Alameda County Fair

This is one of the region’s biggest events. The Alameda County Fair draws loads of people to the area to take in food, music, games, horse racing, and much more.

This year’s epic fair will have fantastic FREE concerts almost every day, including Tom Kiefer from Cinderella, Tony Toni Toné, a Queen tribute, Eric Burdon & The Animals, a Beatles tribute, country superstar Joe Nichols, Tower of Power, Great White, Smash Mouth, LeAnn Rimes, Kool & The Gang, a Journey tribute, The Guess Who, and loads more.

It’s music overload all month at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, and overall, it’s going to be a gorgeous, music-filled month in Pleasanton this June. Get out there and enjoy it.

5 People You Didn’t Realize Were From Pleasanton

Pleasanton is home to many things. Great people. Beautiful parks. Friendly local businesses. Great restaurants. And much more.

john madden pleasanton ca

What you might not realize is that it is also home to some incredibly talented celebrities. Here are five you may not realize are (or were at one time) your neighbor:

John Madden, sports broadcaster

There are few names in sports bigger than John Madden’s. He is a living legend, the Babe Ruth of broadcasting, and a man so recognizable he could be carved onto Mt. Rushmore.

He retired from broadcasting in 2009, but his name is still known to new generations of sports fans thanks to the Madden series of video games, which are some of the most popular in the world.

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

Though born in New York, the creator of the hit comic strip Dilbert made his way to California fairly early in his career.

It was here in California that he started working the office jobs that inspired his comic strip, which is about the frustrations of an affable office worker named (you guessed it) Dilbert.

Gabrielle Union, actress

Actress Gabrielle Union is known for roles in movies like Bad Boys II, Cadillac Records, and Top Five, among many others, but here in town we like to think of her as a local girl who made good and became a fantastic talent.

Union was born in Nebraska, but moved to Pleasanton with her family at a young age. 

Paula Creamer, professional golfer

Born in Mountain View and moving to Pleasanton at an early age, Paula Creamer is just 29 but has already made her mark on the world of professional golf.

She was one of the best amateurs ever to play the sport, now she’s a decorated pro. Creamer has been ranked as high as #2 in the world, won the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, and has won a dozen other tournaments and counting.

David Garibaldi, drummer 

David Garibaldi’s work with the highly influential Tower of Power has helped make him, and the group, legends in the world of music.

Their hits like “So Very Hard to Go” are still beloved today, and Garibaldi himself is a highly decorated musician. Not only are his instructional videos some of the most popular out there, he is also a 2012 Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame Inductee.

Even more impressive? This only scratches the surface. We just didn’t have room to include everybody!

14 Things You Didn’t Know About Pleasanton, CA

You already know that Pleasanton, CA is a fantastic place to live. You know that it’s a great place to shop and work (and to see your dentist). You know it’s a fantastic town in which to have a good time.

But we bet at least a few of these quirky facts are things you DIDN’T know about our amazing community. 

alfred-pleasonton-large

1) The town was meant to be named after Union army cavalry Major General Alfred Pleasonton, with two O’s, but a U.S. Postal Service employee made a typo and Pleasanton was born!

2) Pleasanton was preceded by a town called Alisal, known as “The Most Desperate Town in the West.” In 1894, it became part of Pleasanton.

3) The town was once home to Phoebe Apperson Hearst, mother of William Randolph Hearst, the media magnate who was spoofed in Orson Welles’ film classic “Citizen Kane.”

4) The highest recorded temperature in Pleasanton history was an astounding 115 degrees, recorded in September of 1950.

5) The space occupied by Comerica Bank at 600 Main Street had previously been a hardware store for over 100 years. It closed its doors in 2004.

6) George Hearst, U.S. Senator and father of William Randolph Hearst, once planned to locate a race horse farm here.

7) In 2009, Newsmax named Pleasanton one of the Top 25 “Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns” in the United States.

8) The top employer in Pleasanton is Kaiser Permanente, a managed care consortium that employs nearly 4,000 people in the region.

Click to read!

Click to read!

9) The Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack at Alameda County Fairgrounds is the oldest horse racing track in the United States.

10) Registered voters in town are almost evenly split, 32.1% registered as Republicans, 38.4% as Democrats. The remaining are Decline to State.

11) The crossroads of I-580 and I-680 actually mirror the crossroads of Native American trade routes in the region, but this was not discovered until the 20th Century. 

12) Both of Pleasanton’s two high schools have been ranked among the top 400 high schools in the nation by Newsweek.

13) Pleasanton has three sister cities: Blairgowrie and Rattray, Scotland, UK; Canada Fergus, Canada; and Mexico Tulancingo, Mexico. And yes, “sister cities” is an actual political and diplomatic designation.

14) The Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department has the Centennial Light, the world’s longest lasting light bulb, at 4550 East Avenue in Livermore. It has been lit for an astonishing 113 years.

We’ve always enjoyed being located here, but knowing this facts makes us even happier to call Pleasanton home.

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