The charming city of Antioch is part of the East Bay San Francisco area and enjoys prime position sitting on the San Joaquin River. Antioch is known as the gateway to the California Delta which is also the section where the San Joaquin and the Sacramento Rivers join before flowing into the Pacific Ocean. As a result, you can expect some gorgeous vistas over the waterways around Antioch as well as picturesque scenery in this part of Contra Costa County, which has long had a tradition of agriculture due to the abundant and fertile lands in the area.
Just an hour outside of neighboring San Francisco, Antioch is often said to be one of the best places to live in the East Bay area thanks to its waterside location, abundance of greenery, and interesting history.
Lets explore the best things to do in Antioch:
1. Mangini Museum Agricultural Museum
Antioch is known for its tradition of agriculture, and with that in mind a visit to this farm and museum is a must-do activity for anyone wanting to know more about the history. The farm and museum first opened in 1998 and takes visitors back to a time when Antioch and the wider Contra Costa County were made up of sprawling ranches and farmland. At the farm you will find verdant gardens to walk through as well as a classroom where you can learn about food nutrition and the philosophy of how to live off the land. As this is a working farm you will also find agricultural equipment on display, including period artifacts and other historical items of interest.
2. Delta Discovery Cruises
The city of Antioch sits in the water, so what better way to see the city than by taking to the river and enjoying the views? Delta Discovery Cruises take visitors from the historical port of Antioch and continues on for a trip around the bay where you will get to see the marina and the city at its best. The cruises here are run all year round, so whenever you visit you can go for a spin and get a view of the best of the local seasons in Antioch.
3. Somersville Towne Center Farmers Market
If you happen to be in Antioch from Spring to Fall then you shouldn’t miss the chance to sample all the best produce from the area at the Somersville Towne Center Farmers Market. The market is located at the Somersville Towne Center shopping mall, and is supplied by farms in the area that have a wide range of local fruits and vegetables, and you can enjoy Contra Costa County’s agricultural roots firsthand here, even if you are in the center of the city. All the produce here is certified and checked so that it comes straight from local growers, so you won’t get a fresher or more delicious farm experience in Antioch.
4. Antioch El Campanil
El Campanil actually means ‘The Tower of Bells’ and is known in Antioch for being a theater located in the historic downtown area of the city. The theater first opened its doors in 1928 and has hosted some famous names over the years including Debbie Reynolds and The Three Stooges. The theater has a capacity of over 1,000 spectators and there is a stage here where you can enjoy live performances, as well as a single screen cinema. Check the local listings to see what’s on when you are in town, or simply stroll by to get a look at this historical gem up close.
5. Lynn House Municipal Art Gallery
The Lynn House Municipal Art Gallery is not to be missed if you are in the Antioch area and love art. The house is dedicated to promoting the work of local artists, and with that in mind you can expect to find a range of rotating exhibits here that span a wide variety of periods and styles. If you want to know even more about the history of art in the Antioch area then you can take a guided tour of the gallery with one of the local staff.
6. Antioch Historical Museum
For those who want to know a little more about how this city got started, head over to the Antioch Historical Museum where you can learn all about the vibrant history of this part of the United States. At the museum you will find detailed exhibits that will fill you in on the past incarnations of Antioch, and there are collections of period memorabilia and antiques, as well as photographs, local stories, and other historical items of interest.
7. Black Diamond Coal Mines
Black Diamond Coal Mines is a historical preserve which has quite an impressive history, dating from as far back as the 1860s. Mining was an important industry in Antioch’s past, so with that in mind, take in some of the history here on a tour of the preserve which spans over 3,000 acres of land. As well as being a spot of important historical significance, you can also enjoy the landscapes around the mines with a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming, and you can also bring a picnic here and take in the views.
8. Prewett Water Park
For anyone wanting to cool off in Antioch, a trip to the Prewett Water Park is not to be missed. The park was first opened in 1966, and now has five different pools for all different ages and levels of ability. There are slides that add to the fun of the water park as well as inflatable items and other water games, or if you prefer to stay on dry land then there is also a skate park located at the same venue.
9. Antioch Marina Complex
If you want to rent a boat or catch a cruise in Antioch then you need to head to the Antioch Marina Complex which dates back to 1988. Here you will find a range of berths and boats and there are even yacht cruises which visitors can sign up for if you want to take in the scenery in style. For something a little more low-key you can rent a smaller craft and take to the water yourself.
10. Antioch Dunes Wildlife Reserve
Antioch Dunes Wildlife Preserve is known for being a sand dune habitat that sits just outside of the city of Antioch along the southern shore of the San Joaquin River. The reserve is a protected area of land that is full of endangered species than includes both plants and insects, such as indigenous butterflies. The refuge was first opened in 1980 and is open for visits in line with official tours given by the refuge staff.
11. Sherman Island
Located at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, Sherman Island is just two kilometers to the northeast of Antioch, and offers a great day out if you are looking for some laid back island living. You can get to the island via the Antioch Bridge, and once there you will find wetlands as well as the picturesque Sherman Lake. Many visitors flock to the island just to visit the lake, which is particularly popular thanks to its abundance of water sports. If you are an adrenalin junkie then you can have a go at windsurfing here and kite boarding is also on offer if you are feeling even more adventurous.
12. Montezuma Hills
Lying to the north of Antioch across the Sacramento River are the Montezuma Hills, which offer a great option for a day out of the city. The hills are known for their hiking trails and there is also a lion and tiger sanctuary here named Wildlife Companions, which helps to rehabilitate former zoo or show animals. Bird watching is a common pastime if you make it out to the hills, and you can also take in the amazing Shiloh Wind Power Plant wind turbines here which are helping to harness the natural bluster of the hills to provide sustainable energy for the surrounding area.
13. Contra Loma Regional Park
Contra Loma Regional Park spans over 700 acres in Contra Costa County and has an 80 acre reservoir in Antioch. As such, visitors and residents alike flock here for the fishing opportunities in the reservoir which include an abundance of local species. There is also a swim lagoon at the reservoir which is open in the summer months and is fully lifeguarded so that you can swim in safety. Biking around the park is also popular, as is hiking.
14. Lone Tree Golf Course
Those looking to take in a game of golf while in Antioch need look no further than the Lone Tree Golf Course where you can enjoy an 18 hole public course. The greens here lie on the side of the Mount Diablo State Park and first opened in 1934. As well as traditional courses you can also expect sand based greens and there are gorgeous views to be had here if you happen to visit around sunset. Whatever your skill level, there are holes here to test all abilities, and visitors as well as residents are welcome to enjoy a game.
15. San Joaquin River
The San Joaquin River has the honor of being the longest river in Central California and is flows through Antioch before filtering out into the Pacific Ocean. The river has a history of providing water to residents of the San Joaquin Valley for over 8,000 years, and with that in mind a stroll along its historic banks is not to be missed while you are in Antioch. Not only are boat tours and cruises available on the river, but you can also indulge in fun activities like fishing.