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Pleasanton

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Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is one of the wealthiest cities of its type, with many upscale restaurants and historic districts. Due to the area's Mediterranean climate, vineyards are abundant in parts of the city.

Understand

Pleasanton is not the kind of city where one is likely to be stressed by the circumstances. Although Pleasanton downtown can be a lively at times, it is also a peaceful place without the same traffic jams, honking horns, and other stressful features of larger cities.

Name

Pleasanton is not even Pleasanton's real name. It was supposed to be incorporated as Pleasonton, named after the major general. However, when Pleasonton and several other towns wanted to be called the same name (such as Pleasanton in Texas), they actually spelled it as "Pleasanton", what it is today.

Apart from that, Pleasanton was originally known as Alisal, and has been known as Murray Township at times as well.

These days, Pleasanton has become the accepted name of the town, as most locals assume the name is a portmanteau of the words "pleasant" and "town".

History

Pleasanton has changed dramatically over the years, once being a popular location for bandits and now being one of the wealthiest cities in the country. The area began to be developed in 1844, and was established in 1850.

Some of the original landowners, such as Kottinger, have streets named after them. Naming streets after landowners is common in Pleasanton, even in more recent housing developments.

The city began to boom in the 1910s, when it became one of California's prime centers for filming, much like that of Hollywood today. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, for example, was filmed in 1917 in Pleasanton. However, the population began to take off in the 1960s, and the population more than tripled to 18,000 in 1970.

Pleasanton's population has continued to grow, and now more than 80,000 people live in Pleasanton. It has a large historic district with a downtown, along with historic homes and church between First and Third Streets.

Location

Pleasanton is west of Livermore and south of Dublin in the Bay Area in California. It is only a couple hours away from San Francisco, less than an hour from Oakland, and a few hours from the state capital, Sacramento. It is surrounded by mountains, including Mount Diablo to the north. Most mountainous regions are protected as East Bay Regional Parklands.

The town is fairly close to Santa Clara County, an area well-known for technology. Some Pleasantonians commute to areas in the South Bay and the Peninsula, while others live and work in the Tri-Valley.

Pleasanton is also only a couple hours from the Napa Valley Wine Country. Therefore, parts of the town and nearby Livermore have several square miles of vineyards, especially in the southeast. Mansions and wineries are scattered across this region.

In other words, Pleasanton is a good medium between several major regions, and tourists will find it a decent jumping-off point for the coast, San Francisco area, Silicon Valley, the Central Valley, and the Napa/Sonoma region.

People

Pleasanton is a somewhat diverse city. Although two-thirds of the population is white, more than twenty percent of Pleasantonians are Asian. About ten percent of the population is Hispanic. Unlike many diverse cities, however, there are no specific cultural communities. Instead, most of the town's population blends in, and you will find people of numerous nationalities in close company.

According to Wikipedia, non-Hispanic Whites make up about three-fifths of the population, non-Hispanic Asians make up 23% of the population, and those who consider themselves to be Hispanic make up about one-tenths of the population. Unlike many other cities in the Bay Area, though, the African-American population is small, making up less than 2% of the population.

Apart from 1 Stoneridge Creek, a retirement community, Pleasanton has a young population. Due to the high cost of living and nearness to jobs in Silicon Valley, many who retire eventually move to cheaper locations in other parts of the country.

Climate

Pleasanton's climate, although Mediterranean, is not far from a desert climate. Precipitation can be more than 20 in (510 mm) per year in wet years, but only about 5 inches a year in dry years. Most of the rain occurs during the winter months.

Pleasanton heavily relies on irrigation to keep the trees and gardens alive.

Pleasanton's climate varies depending on the year. For example, in 2013-2015, it experienced California's extreme drought conditions, and local reservoirs almost completely dried up. However, in the winter of 2016-2017, the reservoirs filled, and in Lake Oroville about a hundred miles to the northeast, the reservoir overflowed onto the emergency spillway, which then broke.

Temperatures can pass 110 °F (43 °C) in summer, but can drop below freezing in winter. The best months to visit are April, May, and October, when temperatures are reasonable and there is still almost no rain.

Like many places along the Pacific coasts, June can be a hotter month than usually expected. June is the second highest month for record temperatures in Pleasanton, behind September. July and August get moderately hot almost every day in Pleasanton, but do not often get to the same record high temperatures as June and September.

The highest temperature Pleasanton has ever reached officially is an oven-hot 115 °F (46 °C), although in the east of the town where temperatures are generally the most extreme, it can get even hotter.

Visitor information

For visitor information, feel free to visit the 2 Pleasanton Library. Located near Old Bernal Avenue, the library has a main information desk where they answer questions. One can also visit the nearby 3 Civic Center Building for information about the town. However, these buildings are eventually going to be moved to the new civic center, which will be on Pleasanton Avenue. They are planned to be merged into one main building, along with the police station, near Bernal Community Park.

Numerous bookstores and other stores around Pleasanton sell a Pleasanton history book, which goes through the history of the city in detail.

Get in

By plane

Although a regional airport is located in Livermore, the best airports within range of Pleasanton are in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. These airports, with good traffic, should be less than two hours driving distance from Pleasanton.

San Francisco Airport

San Francisco Airport (SFO) is the largest of these airports. However, from San Francisco one must get to Pleasanton - this involves taking several busy freeways with numerous complex intersections. San Francisco Airport would definitely be challenging for those who have not been to the area before.

Oakland Airport

Oakland Airport (OAK IATA) is a smaller airport in Oakland, California, significantly closer to Pleasanton. The airport has been significantly upgraded and now has a decent expressway that connects it to the rest of the area. The loop road at the airport also makes getting in and out relatively easy.

Getting back from Oakland Airport, once you're on I-580 east, is fairly simple.

San Jose Airport

San Jose Airport (SJC IATA) has also been upgraded to a major airport in recent years. During afternoons, the I-680 (the freeway that connects San Jose to Pleasanton and Concord) can take hours driving northbound.

By car

Car is, for the most part, the best mode of travel for getting into Pleasanton.

Freeways

There are two freeways in Pleasanton: I-580 (northern side), and I-680 (western side). There roads branch off from I-80, which in turn crosses the United States.

I-580 and I-680 can get terribly busy, however. For example, I-680 from San Jose to Pleasanton, which should only take about forty minutes, can take well over an hour. Both freeways are steep and somewhat twisty outside of the town as well, however, only worsening the traffic problems.

Other roads

CA-84 is a California highway which is going through road work, which will continue into the 2020s. They are expanding the road from a two-lane road to a four-lane expressway. It goes along the eastern boundary of Pleasanton near Livermore, and meets Pleasanton roads at Vineyard Avenue, Stanley Boulevard, and Jack London Boulevard (Stoneridge Drive).

Several roads connect Tracy with Livermore, from which one can get to Pleasanton. These include I-580, along with Tesla Road (J2), Altamont Pass Road, and Patterson Pass Road. Many of these country roads, however, are single-lane and twisty in places.

On the west side, a twisty road called Niles Canyon Road (part of CA-84) connects the Fremont area with Sunol, a town to the south of Pleasanton. From Sunol, one can take Foothill Road, Pleasanton-Sunol Road, I-680, or CA-84 to get to Pleasanton.

Several roads in Dublin continue into Pleasanton under other names: Dougherty Road becomes Hopyard Road, Tassajara Road becomes Santa Rita Road, San Ramon Road becomes Foothill Road, Fallon Road becomes El Charro Road, and Hacienda Road crosses the I-580.

By bicycle

Due to the hilly terrain, most roads into Pleasanton are either too narrow for bike lanes or are freeways, so there are not many good opportunities for biking into Pleasanton. The best roads with bicycle lanes are Pleasanton-Sunol Road in the south and Vineyard Avenue in the east.

By BART

The Dublin/Pleasanton and West Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations offer routes to Oakland and onward to San Francisco and San Francisco International Airport. (Map to right, Pleasanton is in the far east)

BART trains are quite fast (about 50 mph), similar to the speed of cars when traffic is good. As you can see on the map to the right, most of the BART trains go to San Francisco and Oakland. The Dublin/Pleasanton line eventually connects with the Fremont lines, goes through Oakland, under the San Francisco Bay, through San Francisco, and ends in Milbrae. There are numerous stations, however, where the train will stop for a few minutes each time. It then goes on for a few minutes, and stops again.

There have also been BART-related crimes.

By train

The Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) is a train service that goes from Pleasanton to places nearby including Stockton and San Jose. It only runs 4 times a day each direction - southbound in the morning and northbound in the afternoon.

By bus

There are connecting local buses. For example, Bus 10R runs from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to downtown Pleasanton (continuing to Livermore) with a 15-minute frequency during the day.

Get around

The city is fairly easy to navigate - the roads are laid out in a gridlike pattern with very straightforward intersections.

By foot

Downtown

Pleasanton has a very walkable and compact historic downtown area. The center of downtown is Main Street, from Bernal Ave on the south (anchored by City Hall on Old Bernal) to Arroyo del Valle on the north, about eight blocks, and the various side streets on either side of Main. The Pleasanton Downtown Association provides directions on how to get to downtown from various points. The historic residential district also has very walkable streets, although there steep hills in this section of town.

Northern Pleasanton

Northern Pleasanton was once a swamp, so when the area was developed, canals were dug. Along the canals are 4 trails for cyclists and walkers. However, many of the canal banks collapsed during the 2016-2017 rainy season, and maintenance and closures continue through 2017.

The trails to avoid are those near I-680, for they are certainly not peaceful.

Other navigation

Except for the 5 Iron Horse Trail and other trails mentioned above, navigating by foot outside of downtown is difficult. Pleasanton is miles wide and miles from north to south, so it can take hours to get from Hacienda Business Park to downtown alone. Although sidewalks are found along roads around Pleasanton, they are rarely walked on except just before and just after school.

By car

Driving is relatively easy in Pleasanton, and parking is plentiful. I-680 skirts the western side of the urban area with three exits (Sunol Blvd, Bernal Ave, and Stoneridge Dr) and I-580 defines the northern boundary of the City of Pleasanton with four exits (Hopyard Rd, Hacienda Dr, Santa Rita Rd, and El Charro Rd). Going south on Santa Rita Rd, after about 2-3 miles south of I-580, it turns into Main St, which leads to downtown. Going south on Hopyard Rd, it turns after 3-4 miles south of I-580 into Division St, which leads shortly to Saint Mary St, which terminates at Main St in downtown.

Pleasanton, especially since the creation of Hacienda Business Park, has numerous wide roads that are very easy to drive along. Parking lots are spacious, especially in shopping malls, due to flatter ground and plenty of extra space. However, parking in downtown is tricky - especially along Main Street.

Parking

If you want to get to downtown by car, it is best to know where to park. Generally, don't try to park along Main Street or First Street, since these roads are narrow and busy, making them hard to park on. Minor streets with better parking are often only a short distance from busy, congested roads.

Main Street and downtown in general can be disastrous for parking during the Alameda County Fair, when people park in downtown to avoid parking fees in the fair parking area itself. Parking can also be a problem, especially in minor streets, during the fall, when fallen leaves cover parking spaces and trees cover lighting and signage.

Generally, parking in the Hacienda Business Park region is located in shopping malls. Parking lots are large, with more room than there are cars.

Driving

Major roads in Pleasanton include (these roads are two lanes on each side at least at their widest point):

  • Santa Rita Road: goes from I-580 to downtown Pleasanton, becoming Main Street at the southern end.
  • Hopyard Road: runs somewhat parallel with Santa Rita Road, and eventually becomes Division Street and leads into downtown Pleasanton
  • Stoneridge Drive: begins near Stoneridge Mall, goes over I-680, crosses northern Pleasanton, and eventually becomes Jack London Boulevard in Livermore (near Livermore Outlets)
  • Bernal Avenue and Valley Avenue: two names for different parts of the same road. The whole road makes a loop around the center of the city.
  • Stanley Boulevard, First Street, and Sunol Boulevard: three names for different parts of the same road. Sunol Boulevard goes from I-680 to downtown, First Street crosses downtown, and Stanley Boulevard goes past Shadow Cliffs and the quarries to Livermore
  • Owens Drive: runs somewhat parallel with I-580 in northern Pleasanton

Minor roads, excluding surface streets in housing developments:

  • Main Street: slow road, better for pedestrians than cars
  • Peters Avenue: a good bypass route around the slower parts of Main Street
  • First Street is listed above under Stanley Boulevard
  • Saint Mary Street and Division Street: connect Main Street and Peters Avenue to Hopyard Road
  • Del Valle Parkway: road which follows Del Valle Creek on the northern side of downtown
  • Pleasanton Avenue: this road originally connected Bernal Avenue and Saint Mary Street, but is going to be extended in the near future to the new civic center
  • Vineyard Avenue: goes from Bernal Avenue to CA-84 (Isabel Avenue) in Livermore wine country.
  • Black Avenue: connects Santa Rita and Hopyard Roads a few blocks north of Del Valle Parkway
  • Pleasanton-Sunol Road: connects Pleasanton near Sunol Boulevard to downtown Sunol

By bus

Several transit companies serve the Pleasanton area. The main bus operator is WHEELS, which goes to Dublin and Livermore, as well as the BART stations. The County Connection has a few buses in Pleasanton. There is also reverse peak service from Pleasanton to Modesto, traveling to Modesto in the morning and returning to Dublin/Pleasanton Bart station in the afternoon; the fare is $11 one-way or $13 round-trip (must be in the same day).

By bicycle

Once in Pleasanton, cyclists will note the city's good cycling network. Several trails, for walkers and cyclists, are found along canals in the northwest of the city.

Work has been done on creating a bicycle network in downtown, but so far it has been unsuccessful since the roads are mostly too busy for cyclists. There are bicycle racks on West Angela Street (near the intersection with Main Street) and more bicycle racks by the Firehouse Theater.

Plans are also being made to connect the Pleasanton and Livermore bicycle networks, since Livermore also has a good cycling network. As of 2018, a paved trail is being constructed along East Vineyard Avenue in Livermore, from which a dirt trail runs parallel with western Vineyard Avenue into Pleasanton.

See

Overview

Downtown Pleasanton

Pleasanton has numerous historic sights in the downtown area. These are generally in two sections: the commercial section along Main Street and the residential section along First and Second Streets.

The commercial district on Main Street is about half a mile long. This is centered at the intersection of Angela and Main Streets, near the Farmer's Market. However, it extends to the north from this intersection as well, including a major junction where Ray Street, Saint John Street, and Main Street meet (Oasis and the Rose Hotel are at this intersection). Pedestrians are often seen strolling through downtown, often before or after having a meal at a restaurant.

The residential district, the historic side of which is southeast of Main Street, is not as long as Main Street but has more depth. If one goes southeast from Main Street, First Street marks the transition from commercial to residential, which continues to be historic into Second Street and on to Third Street. After this point, the houses are more recent constructions, although some of them are still very beautiful.

Other attractions are somewhat out-liers, such as Kottinger's Barn and Museum on Main. These are generally historic buildings which have since been converted into something they originally weren't. The Firehouse Arts Center, for example, was a fire department building before it was transformed into a theater and art gallery in recent years.

Country areas

Until the civic center project is completed, there will be few parks and gardens around downtown Pleasanton. However, groups such as the East Bay Parks District have purchased significant portions of land in the area, which are now open to the public.

These parks give outsiders and city inhabitants an idea of what the Pleasanton area used to look like before more recent developments. The parks are characterized by poor ranch country - the reason you won't find many farms in the Pleasanton area today.

Mostly, the country areas are either oak forests in canyons and cooler, wetter places, and open grassland in more isolated, drier locations. Pleasanton Ridge is a good example of this combination - often, one side of a ridge will be completely covered in oak trees, and the other side is almost barren.

Shadow cliffs is a notable exception, since it is situated along the Arroyo Del Valle and several lakes. This means that trees can grow in the area, while they could not survive in other areas because it is too dry.

Due to Pleasanton's location (nestled between Livermore, Dublin, and Sunol), there are few possible areas for parkland in comparison to its neighbors. For parkland, the best option is the area south of Livermore, which includes 4,000-foot mountains like Mount Hamilton, and hundreds of square miles of parkland in places like Henry Coe State Park.

Museums & historic sights

  • 1 Pleasanton Commercial District, Main Street (Follow Santa Rita road south from I-580, or take Sunol Boulevard east from I-680.). The commercial district of downtown Pleasanton is based around Main Street, a slow two-lane road with shops and restaurants. The road is better for pedestrians than drivers, since the road gets very busy. Some of the buildings are older than others - new buildings are still being added along Main Street, while others have long histories as various companies. The best and most expensive of restaurants are generally in downtown Pleasanton, although there are some other good restaurants in other parts of the City. One can explore downtown for free, but businesses are mostly on the expensive side.
  • 2 Pleasanton Historic Residential District, Second Street (Take First Street to Neal Street, and take Neal Street in the direction of the homes). Along with the historic buildings in commercial district of downtown Pleasanton, there are several blocks of well-maintained older homes which are accessible along Neal Street to the south of downtown. Particularly around Lighthouse Baptist Church, there are several homes dating back to the 1800s. Many of these buildings have nice gardens, along avenues of tall trees. The area has a lot of steep hills, similar to that of San Francisco, so walking around the area could be strenuous to some.
  • 3 Museum on Main (Pleasanton Museum), 603 Main St (Go along Main Street, near Blue Agave), ☎ +1 925 462-2766. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. This museum features Pleasanton's history with numerous historic items, maps, and more, some of which date to Native American times. There are also exhibits for things around the area, such as Pleasanton's filming history. These change every few months. Free, donations welcome.
  • 4 Kottinger's Barn, 200 Ray Street, Pleasanton, CA (Take First Street to Ray Street; turn onto Ray Street towards downtown Pleasanton). Kottinger's Barn, built in 1852, was once a jail that held such famous bandits prisoner such as Joaquin Murrieta. The building's thick walls and barred windows are an interesting contrast to the small shop and potted plants which now exist at the location.
  • 5 Pleasanton Sign Arch, Main Street just north of Division Street. The inscription readsː "Originally installed by the Women's Improvement Club in 1932, the Pleasanton Sign have become a familiar landmark and prominent symbol of the community. In 2005, the sign underwent a complete restoration, and was rededicated by the City Council on April 8th."
  • 6 Abandoned Railroad. Before being rerouted to the northwest of downtown Pleasanton, the railroad used to run right through the downtown area. You can still see the railroad crossing signs on West Angela Street, for example, in the Farmer's Market. Some of the railroad tracks are still visible near the Firehouse Theater, and a longer section of abandoned railroad can be seen along Sunol Boulevard to the south of downtown Pleasanton.

Parks

  • 7 Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, Foothill Road (Take Sunol Boulevard out of Pleasanton; when you reach the entrance to the Castlewood community, make a left on Foothill Road and follow it for about one mile.). This regional park features the mountainous ranching country of the Diablo Range in California. The park has miles of rugged country, including oak forests and grasslands. The highest ridges are about 2,100 feet; most of the ridges are at least 1,000 feet.
  • 8 Bernal Community Park, 7001 Pleasanton Ave. (Take Valley Avenue to Pleasanton Avenue (South). This part of Pleasanton Avenue is under construction, and will eventually connect with Bernal Avenue near downtown.). Bernal Community Park is part of a larger plan to move the civic center from Old Bernal Avenue to Pleasanton Avenue towards the south of the city. Although this new civic center has not been constructed, the local park has been constructed. It includes a small area of newly-planted oak woodlands, along with a sports park. Free.
  • 9 Alviso Adobe Community Park, 3465 Old Foothill Rd. (west of Foothill Road about 0.5 miles north of Bernal Ave), ☎ +1 925 931-3479, e-mail: alvisoadobe@cityofpleasantonca.gov. W-Su 10AM-4PM. Opened in 2008, this restored community park gives visitors a glimpse of the history of the Amador Valley, including interpretive displays of early Ohlone culture before the Spanish arrival, the years of Ranchos managing herds of cattle on the 9,000 acres (3,600 hectares) Rancho Santa Rita Mexican Land Grant, and a replica of an American Meadowlark Dairy in the early to mid-20th century. The star focus of this interpretative park is a rare original American adobe house, constructed in 1854 by Francisco Alviso, that was continuously in use until 1969. The Alviso Adobe is restored and on display furnished as it would have been in the 1920s. Visitor center/dairy has activities for kids; grounds have tables for picnics. Parking at south end. Free.
  • 10 Callippe Preserve (Callippe Golf Course), 8500 Clubhouse Dr. (Take Sunol Boulevard south, take a left onto Pleasanton-Sunol Road, turn left on Happy Valley Road, and make a right onto Westbridge Lane. Follow the road until it ends at a parking lot in the golf course). Callippe Preserve is known to most Pleasantonians as a golf course; however, there is a nearly 4-mile trail around the golf course and local ranching areas. The trail can get muddy in winter, though, and is not easy to find. But it does give those from outside of Pleasanton an idea of the local flora and countryside in general. Trail is free.
  • 11 Shadow Cliffs, 2500 Stanley Boulevard (Take Stanley Boulevard east toward Livermore). The park was once part of the quarry, but the excavated land is now Shadow Cliffs Lake. It includes a couple miles of trails around the lake. However, be prepared for the strong barbecue odors encountered around the grills near the lake.
  • 12 Augustin Bernal Park, 8200 Golden Eagle Way (Golden Eagle Way can be accessed from Foothill Road). This is a Pleasanton city park located next to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. It is similar in almost every aspect to its neighbor, except that it's smaller.

Arts

  • 13 Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave (one block east of Main St, opposite Division St, in the downtown), ☎ +1 925 931-4850 (Information), +1 925 931-4848 (Box Office). Opened in 2010, the Firehouse Arts Center is the City of Pleasanton's historic 1929 Fire House One renovated and expanded into an arts center featuring the 230-seat Firehouse Theater, Harrington Gallery of fine arts, two large arts classrooms, and a grand lobby for receptions and events. The transformed facility also offers a pedestrian connection from Main Street to the expanded Lions Wayside Park.
  • Numerous murals. There are several beautiful murals and wall drawings scattered around downtown Pleasanton. Near Strizzi's Restaurant is a 14 mural of the Tri-Valley. Another mural, portraying a street scene, is located at 15 Valley Plumbing.

Do

Overview

Every summer Pleasanton hosts the Alameda County Fair, the main repeated event in Pleasanton. However, Pleasanton has numerous other events, including on the music scene, which has continued to grow in recent years.

Pleasanton hosts many activities along Main Street. Such activities include the Third Thursdays Art Walk: these are important, even for those who are not attending the events, because they often result in Main Street or Angela Street road closures.

Pleasanton, like neighbor Livermore, has a surprisingly strong jazz scene. Major jazz events include the monthly Inklings concerts, which are free and open to the public.

Arts & entertainment

  • 3rd Thursdays Art Walk, Downtown Pleasanton (From 580: Exit Santa Rita, head south following signs to downtown. From 680: exit Bernal, head east following the signs to downtown.), ☎ +1-925-400-8190. 6:30PM-9PM. The 3rd Thursdays MerchantArts Walk is a collaborative event bringing together local downtown merchants, arts groups and area artists in an effort to continue adding interesting and lively events to Downtown Pleasanton. It's a nice walk, on a nice evening, and an opportunity to join the community, support local artists and help this community thrive. Free.
  • 1 Alameda County Fair (Alameda County Fairgrounds), 4501 Pleasanton Avenue (Entrances along Valley Avenue near Koll Center Parkway). The fair has been at Alameda County Fairgrounds every summer since 1912. You can also plan a morning & go behind the scenes to experience the exciting world of thoroughbred racing at the Eddie Rich Racing Stable. There are car shows and horse races at the fairgrounds annually.
  • 2 Jazz at Inklings (Pleasanton Jazz Society), 530 Main Street (Concerts are held in the Inklings Events Room). 7-9PM on most concert nights. In the Events Room (Common Room) behind Inklings Coffee & Tea, jazz concerts are held, generally once a month. The Tri-Valley Jazz Trio performs with various musicians from around the area. Information about upcoming concerts can be found at pleasantonjazzsociety.com and trivalleyjazz.org. Free.
  • 3 Concerts in the Park, 4501 First St (Near Pleasanton downtown). The concerts are held weekly on Friday nights in the summer. They feature a wide range of musical genres and are open to the public at Delucchi Park. People often come several hours early to get a spot in the park. Free.

Golf & country clubs

  • 4 Callippe Golf Course, 8500 Clubhouse Dr. (Take Happy Valley Road from Pleasanton Sunol Road.), ☎ +1 925 426-6666. A golf course, restaurant, and hiking destination in the south of Pleasanton. In the Happy Valley region, the countryside is beautiful. You can also hike in the region.
  • 5 Castlewood Country Club, 707 Country Club Cir (Accessible via Castlewood Drive), ☎ +1 925 846-2871. A first-class country club located in the Foothills community in western Pleasanton. For those who have money to spend and to want to have the finest experience possible in Pleasanton, this is the place to go. It is situated on the side of Pleasanton Ridge, not very far from the regional park, although it is not along the road to the park.
  • 6 Ruby Hill Country Club, 3400 W Ruby Hill Dr (Accessed from Ruby Hill Boulevard or Ruby Hill Drive). Another first-class country club, this time in the wine country in eastern Pleasanton. It is in a gated community.

Relaxing

Although Pleasanton isn't a beach town, there are still places to take time relaxing. Pleasanton's historic residential district is nearly always peaceful - especially along Second Street and onwards, you could almost think that no-one was living there.

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park and Shadow Cliffs Regional Park are not the best places to relax. For relaxation in parklands, the best place to go is Livermore. In Livermore, 6 Sycamore Grove has beautiful trails featuring woodlands, historic buildings, and hills in the south. There are numerous benches around the park, so feel free to bring a snack and enjoy the peacefulness of the sycamore and olive groves.

Pleasanton and Livermore are working on a trail network for cyclists and pedestrians. Portions of Livermore's trail network are already complete; the trails mostly contain gentle slopes in nice countryside, ranchlands, and vineyards - a good area to escape the busyness of ordinary life. The trail network is accessible from the Sycamore Grove Staging Area. When the Pleasanton section is complete along 7 Old Vineyard Avenue, the trail network in the region will grow even more.

Buy

Once the headquarters of Safeway Stores (before they were purchased a few years ago), Pleasanton abounds in grocery stores. There are two Safeway Stores in Pleasanton, along with a Trader Joe's and a Ranch 99. Stoneridge Mall is a large mall in the north of town. It is near Hacienda Business Park, like Rosewood Plaza. Downtown Pleasanton is, of course, to the south.

  • 1 Gold N Time, 3500 Bernal Ave # 135. Small shop that sells watches.
  • 2 Jewelers Gallery, 614 Main St. One of two jewelry stores on Main Street.
  • 3 Pleasanton Farmer's Market, West Angela Street, Pleasanton, California. Saturday mornings. Farmer's Market operates every Saturday morning on the section of West Angela Street between Main Street and First Street.
  • 4 Rick's Picks, 719 Main St. It is the kind of store where you can find all kinds of things, odd little bits and pieces, for reduced prices. Numerous bargains.
  • 5 Rosewood Plaza, Rosewood Drive, Pleasanton, California (Near Santa Rita Road). Rosewood Plaza is a neighborhood center with several stores. Inexpensive.
  • 6 Stoneridge Mall, 1 Stoneridge Mall Rd (Take Stoneridge Drive to Stoneridge Mall Road. Follow Stoneridge Mall Road). Main shopping mall in Pleasanton. Enclosed regional mall with Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears, etc.
  • 7 Studio 7 Art Gallery, 400 Main St. Art gallery store which features paintings of local country scenes.
  • 8 Towne Center Books, 555 Main St. It's the main downtown bookstore. The store is divided into two sections, with adult books in the front, and children's books and games in the back.
  • The city also has a Wal-Mart, Kohl's, and Home Depot in the north of the town. There are also two Safeway stores, both towards the southern side of town.

Eat

Pleasanton has a wide range of restaurants, particularly along Main Street. What is mid-range for Pleasanton would probably be considered expensive in many places, due to Pleasanton's high cost of living.

Budget

  • 1 Albertos Cantina, 435 Main St. Popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Pleasanton. Inexpensive.
  • 2 Chicago's Umpires Grill, 6003 W. Las Positas Blvd, ☎ +1 925-462-1678. Enjoy a delicious Italian Beef or any of the creative sandwiches this Chicago style eatery has to Offer. Famous not only for its food, but also as the place leading thoroughbred jockey, Martin Garcia, once carved sandwiches.
  • 3 Frontier Spice Indian Cuisine, 411 Main Steet. Frontier Spice serves excellent Indian food.
  • 4 Kasper's, 4275 Rosewood Dr, ☎ +1 925 463-2617. Ste 27. Part of the Oakland-based hot dog stand.
  • 5 Rancho Grande Taqueria, 2707 Hopyard Rd. Mexican restaurant. Less than $10 for a main course.
  • 6 Sultans Kebab, 6654 Koll Center Pkwy #205. Around $10 for an entree.

Mid-range

  • 7 Blue Fox Cuisine, 5681 Gibraltar Drive. Indian cuisine. Although only $10 for an entree, it's a little more when you add a few dollars for bread and rice..
  • 8 Fontina Restaurant, 349 Main St., Suite 150 (Near Peet's Coffee). Fontina is an Italian restaurant in downtown Pleasanton.
  • 9 India Garden, 210 Rose Ave (Just off Main Street). In the $10s for an entree - of course, rice and bread would be more.
  • 10 Oasis Lounge, 780 Main St (Across from Rose Hotel). Serves Mediterranean food and drink in downtown Pleasanton.
  • 11 Pastas Trattoria, 405 Main St. Italian restaurant in downtown Pleasanton.
  • 12 Prime Poke, 349 Main St. Hawaiian fish restaurant. Generally in the low $10s.
  • 13 Wayne's Sushi Bistro, 3500 Bernal Ave #130. A Japanese restaurant that's towards the outskirts, rather than in the center of town.

Splurge

  • 14 Baci, 500 Main Street. Pasta dishes are generally $20 or $30; most seafood/steaks are more than $30.
  • 15 Barone's Restaurant, 475 St. John St. (Just off Main Street). It's an upscale, expensive restaurant in downtown Pleasanton with event space. Entrees can cost nearly $40.
  • 16 Blue Agave, 625 Main St.. Upscale Mexican food in downtown Pleasanton.
  • 17 Hap's Original, 122 West Neal St. Hap's has an old school cocktail sign visible from Main Street. From there you might think it's an old watering hole until you walk up to the restaurant, and the upscale nature of the establishment becomes evident. This is an American Steak House, with fantastic steaks and somewhat pricey side dishes. Meals are ala carte. Stop in the bar for a Manhattan before dinner. Moderately expensive.
  • 18 Lokanta Restaurant, 443 Main St. Lokanta is a high-end restaurant in downtown Pleasanton. Lokanta serves Mediterranean food, primary Greek and Turkish, and is open at both breakfast and dinner.
  • 19 Nonni's, 425 Main Street. European food with French, English, and Italian elements. Most dinner meals just under $30.
  • 20 Strizzi's, 649 Main Street. Serves traditional Italian food. There are other locations in Livermore and Fremont.
  • 21 Tri-Valley Bistro, 519 Main Street. American food, mostly non-vegetarian dishes. Ranges from low $20s to low $30s.

Drink

Pleasanton is at the edge of Livermore wine country. Eastern Pleasanton, in particular, is somewhat similar to Napa Valley Wine Country.

  • 1 Ruby Hill Winery, 400 Vineyard Avenue (Just of CA-84, or take Vineyard Avenue out of Pleasanton). Beautiful, upscale winery in the east of Pleasanton. The region is much like that of Napa and Livermore Wine Country, backed by vineyards and mansions.
  • 2 Rubino Estates Winery, 1188 Vineyard Ave. (Along Vineyard Avenue; closer to Pleasanton than Ruby Hill). Much like that of Ruby Hill Winery.
  • 3 Cellar Door, 4469 Railroad Avenue. Wine and snacks.
  • 4 Pairings Cellars, 310 Main St. Wine and snacks.
  • 5 The Hop Yard American Alehouse & Grill, 3015 Hopyard Rd, ☎ +1 925 426-9600. Lots of beers on tap, mostly American microbrews but including imports. Good food that is nothing to write home about (burgers, salads), but the beer is worth the trip. Outdoor seating fills up in the warmer months. Prices are very reasonable.
  • 6 Inklings Coffee & Tea, 530 Main Street. Inklings Coffee & Tea serves coffee, tea, soft drinks, and some snacks. In the back is the Common Room, where monthly Tri-Valley Jazz Trio concerts are hosted. Prices are what you would expect at Peet's or other coffee shop.

Sleep

Pleasanton's hotels are mostly in the north of the town, although the Rose Hotel is in the downtown.

Budget

  • 1 Motel 6, 5102 Hopyard Rd, ☎ +1 925 463-2626, fax: +1 925 225-0128.

Mid-range

  • 2 Courtyard Pleasanton (Marriott Pleasanton), 5059 Hopyard Rd, ☎ +1 925 463-1414, fax: +1 925 463-0113.
  • 3 Four Points by Sheraton Pleasanton, 5115 Hopyard Rd, ☎ +1 925 460-8800.
  • 4 Larkspur Landing Pleasanton, 5535 Johnson Dr, ☎ +1 925 463-1212, toll-free: +1-877-527-5778, fax: +1 925 463-6080, e-mail: pleasantonll@larkspurhotels.com. Outdoor spa, fitness room, laundry facility and free shuttle within 5-mile (8 km) radius.
  • 5 Pleasanton Marriott, 11950 Dublin Canyon Blvd. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
  • 6 Residence Inn Pleasanton, 11920 Dublin Canyon Rd, ☎ +1 925 227-0500, toll-free: +1-800-331-3131, fax: +1 925 828-1199.
  • 7 Sheraton Pleasanton Hotel, 5990 Stoneridge Mall Rd, ☎ +1 925 463-3330.
  • Summerfield Suites Pleasanton Hotel, 4545 Chabot Dr, ☎ +1 925 730-0070, fax: +1 925 730-0075.
  • Wyndham Garden Pleasanton Hotel, 5990 Stoneridge Mall Rd, ☎ +1 925 463-3330, fax: +1 925 463-3315. Adjacent to Stoneridge Mall.

Splurge

  • 8 Rose Hotel, 807 Main Street, Pleasanton, California. Four-star hotel in Pleasanton downtown. Beautiful historic building located near Oasis Grill and Lounge. Expensive.

Stay safe

Roads

Cars

On the whole, Pleasanton is a safe city. The most dangerous locations in Pleasanton are toward the edges of the city - Vineyard Avenue, on the east of the city, has a high speed limit and turns without good curbs, and accidents have occurred around certain corners.

When driving in country areas, deer will often jump over a high fence onto the road, and that can be problematic when someone is driving along that piece of road. The same is true with raccoons and other smaller animals, but of course this does not pose so much danger to drivers.

Bicycles

Cyclists should be careful about going on the wide, country roads, for sure - people often drive recklessly and often crash into fences or anything along the sides of the road. Also avoid cycling in downtown - the roads are busy, cycling lanes (if they exist!) are narrow, and pedestrians often walk along the sidewalks. Cycling is best done on the numerous bike trails around town.

Crime

Pleasanton seems, unless you know the Pleasonton story, to have reason behind its name - it is one of America's safest towns. Even at night, you could walk in almost any part of the town with no worry whatsoever about crime. The little crime in the area generally comes from inhabitants of larger cities in Alameda County.

One problem in Pleasanton and Livermore is drunk driving. With numerous wineries in the area, people will often drive from one to another and drink at each one, and their condition rapidly deteriorates, sometimes leading to serious accidents when they drive home.

Generally, although the city is very safe, the safest parts of town are in the downtown area.

Wildlife

Outside of Pleasanton is probably more dangerous than inside the city. The East Bay has small colonies of mountain lions, although these generally stay away from populated places and parklands, at least during the day.

When you see a mountain lion and it is acting threateningly towards you (which isn't very common, by the way), act the opposite way you would act to a bear. With bears, advice is often to make yourself as small as possible. However, with mountain lions, your best chance is to scare them off. By making yourself look large and by throwing stones, the mountain lions are most likely to work out that you're more powerful than they are, and they will go away.

Rattlesnakes can also be a problem outside of the city itself. Generally, you can avoid rattlesnakes by walking in the center of trails (so you can see them from afar off). However, if you do see a rattlesnake, make sure it's not coiled. If it's not in a good position for attack, you'll have time to get away from the rattlesnakes. If the snake is coiled, you can know that the snake is angry and ready for attack, so get away as fast as possible. Do not attempt to take pictures of the snake within several feet of it. Rattlesnakes can spring surprisingly far and use their venom before you can get away, so make sure you are extremely careful in any parks and country areas.

Connect

Wi-fi

Pleasanton downtown has its own wi-fi. Most restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels will also have their own wi-fi. The area is also covered by XFINITY internet connectivity for those who have an XFINITY account.

News

There are several local newspapers, such as the 8 Independent newspaper based in Livermore, and the 9 Pleasanton Weekly newspaper based in Pleasanton. A magazine commonly seen at storefronts and coffee shops is the 10 Alive Magazine, linked here to the Peet's Coffee location with Alive magazines in Pleasanton.

The Independent and the Pleasanton Weekly also have websites were the news articles can be found without charge.

Cope

Medical care

There is a major hospital and 11 heliport along northern Santa Rita Road. It is the main hospital in town.

In Dublin just across the I-580 (on Tassajara Road) is a 12 ValleyCare Urgent Care center. This is useful for those who have sudden ailments, although there are often long waits for care and the urgent care center does not do major operations - just relatively simple care.

Go next

  • Livermore is in some ways similar to Pleasanton, but is also vastly different. While Pleasanton has many historic sights, Livermore has an abundance of wineries, vineyards, and large areas of mountains and parks. The city has about 8,000 more people in Pleasanton, and is an interesting contrast.
  • San Francisco, in many ways, need not be explained. It is the home of several piers, cable cars, and the Golden Gate Bridge, and is less than two hours from Pleasanton - in good traffic.
  • San Jose is one of California's largest and fastest-expanding cities, with a population of more than a million. It is home to several museums, along with Alviso, a coastal town which was once a thriving port but is now the home of a nature reserve.
  • Concord is, along with Walnut Creek, an area with many shops and more nightlife than Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley region.
  • Sunol is a small village south of Pleasanton with some unique attractions. One of these is the locally-famous Sunol Water Tower, which is for a few hours on some days, and the passenger train which runs from Sunol to Niles on weekends.
  • Mount Diablo is a dramatically-situated mountain to the north of Pleasanton. Although it is less than 4,000 feet, its prominence enables it to be seen from as much as a hundred miles away.
  • Mount Hamilton is a tiny village located on a 4,000-foot mountain and is only accessible by a couple of slow, twisty roads. There is a scientific observatory at the top, along with a museum and a gift shop.



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