Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Walnut Creek, CA!
Welcome to Walnut Creek, CA! Just 25 miles east of San Francisco, Walnut Creek is a commuter town that has developed a distinct identity. The city is lauded for its parks and opportunities for outdoor recreation and is easily accessible from San Francisco or Oakland via the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The city has become one of Central California’s most charming communities, with stunning natural beauty, unique cultural attractions, and a diverse collection of restaurants, wineries, and craft breweries. Visit Walnut Creek today and see for yourself what makes this city so special!
Nature and Gardens
Walnut Creek has several unique attractions ranging from museums and wildlife exhibits to formal gardens and historic ranches. The Lindsay Wildlife Experience is one of the city’s most beloved and a great activity for all ages. The museum features both live animal and natural history exhibits and also doubles as a wildlife hospital that provides free veterinary care to native California wildlife. Visitors have a chance to learn about animals like birds of prey, reptiles, bats, and tarantulas. and they also have a rotating schedule of daily educational programs.
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The city is also known for its collection of beautiful gardens. Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery is a world-renowned 3.5-acre garden that houses an array of cacti, succulents, and other drought-resistant plants. The garden is open year-round, and there is always something blooming no matter what time of year you visit. If you have a green thumb, you can purchase plants from the nursery, which also offers gardening tips as well as landscape design services. Nearby, The Gardens at Heather Farm also has formal garden displays including a rose garden, a native plants garden, a butterfly garden, and even a medicinal herbs garden. Best of all, The Gardens at Heather Farm are free of charge!
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ranching was one of the dominant industries of Walnut Creek, and thousands of settlers flocked to the area. One of those settlers was Frank Borges who purchased 700 acres for a cattle ranch in 1899. Today, the Old Borges Ranch is one of the most well-preserved examples of historic Central California ranching and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The ranch is located within the Shell Ridge Open Space and is maintained by the City of Walnut Creek. Some of the historic buildings that are preserved include a barn, a blacksmith’s shop, and the ranch house, which also doubles as the visitor’s center. The ranch is free to the public, and also offers free ranger-guided monthly tours.
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Furthermore, Shadelands Ranch Museum is operated by the Walnut Creek historical society and gives visitors a glimpse at what life was like in the city at the turn of the 20th century. The museum is located in the former mansion of a Walnut Creek pioneer and offers tours and educational programs for the public. They also host events throughout the year such as a summer farmer’s market, and a car show.
Parks and Open Space
Walnut Creek has more open space per capita than any other community in California, and residents take great pride in their parks and open spaces. Mount Diablo State Park encompasses Mount Diablo which is Walnut Creek’s most prominent natural landmark. The 20,000-acre park includes plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping. Visitors can hike or drive to the 3,849-foot summit where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys. On a clear day, you can see views of The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park. You can also learn more about the history of the mountain at the Summit Visitor Center.
Nearby, the Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area is located within Diablo Foothills Regional Park. The park features multi-use trails, picnic areas, ball fields, and basketball courts. There is also a swimming pool which is open during the summer. Moreover, Briones Regional Park is a 6,000-acre park just northwest of Walnut Creek. The park is ideal for hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing, and you might even see some cows grazing on open ranch land. Hike to the top of Briones Peak for breathtaking views of Mount Diablo and the surrounding landscape.
Restaurants, Craft Breweries & Wineries
Walnut Creek is a paradise for foodies and there are several restaurants you simply must try. World Famous Hot Boys is a bay area staple, specializing in fried chicken and comfort food dishes. Their chicken sandwich was voted the Best Chicken Sandwich in California by Yelp in 2021. Some of their other mouthwatering dishes include tenders, wings, and chicken etouffee. Lokanta Mediterranean Grill and Bar is another popular eatery located in downtown Walnut Creek. They offer a sophisticated menu of Anatolian, Greek, and Mediterranean fusion cuisine. They also have a full bar with an eclectic menu of wine and cocktails.
If you’re looking for drinks, you have fantastic options for both breweries and wineries. Calicraft Brewing Company is one of the city’s top-rated brewpubs and offers a wide selection of beer ranging from IPAs to Kolsh and Lagers. Their beer garden is the perfect spot to mingle with locals, and they also have a rotating selection of food trucks if you get hungry. Furthermore, Rotator Tap Room is another highly regarded pub that features beer from local breweries and has trivia on Wednesdays. For wine, check out Prima Vini Wine Merchants for an unparalleled selection, or head to Captain Vineyards for wine tasting in an idyllic setting.
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