Brentwood is a city with a population of about 60,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area of Contra Costa County.
Once known for agriculture and farming, today it offers pleasant weather, a central location only 55 miles from San Francisco, and an attractive landscape with stunning views of Mount Diablo.
In Brentwood, there are many parks, recreational areas, cultural attractions, restaurants, and shopping centres, like Sand Creek Crossing Shopping Center, Lone Tree Plaza and The Shops at Fairview.
Several festivals and events take place in the city throughout the year, including the Art Wine & Jazz Festival and the Artists Open Studio Tour.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Brentwood, California.
1. Learn About Local History at the East Contra Costa Historical Society
The main goal of the East Contra Costa Historical Society is acquiring, preserving and displaying items of historical significance to the region for all to enjoy.
The museum is located in the Byer-Nail House, constructed in 1878 and once the home of John and Letitia Byer. The exhibits within the house include an assortment of old photos, documents and artefacts.
On-site there are several other historical buildings. The tool shed showcases a variety of farming tools, old pictures of agricultural life, antique radios, and old phones.
Some of the items displayed outside the shed include refurbished fire engines, Model T Ford Trucks, a clamshell dredger, and a caboose.
The Eden Plain Schoolhouse, built in the late 1860s, features old school desks and an original school bell.
2. Spend a Day on the Greens at Brentwood Golf Course
Whether you are a beginner or a pro, Brentwood Golf Course is suitable for all skill levels. The 27-hole championship course has been voted the best in the area.
Situated in the foothills of beautiful Mount Diablo, the course also features a driving range and a putting green. Lessons are available.
Nines is the golf course’s casual eatery with stunning views. It serves appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and has a fully stocked bar.
3. Spend a Day Outdoors at Round Valley Regional Preserve
With approximately 2,000 acres of green space, Round Valley Regional Preserve is one of the best places in Brentwood to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities.
Hiking, biking and horseback riding on the park’s trails are among the activities visitors like to participate in. As you explore the park, you’ll see many interesting things, including old farm equipment, plus a variety of flora and fauna.
Grassland and woodland areas are two of the natural landscapes you’ll come across in the park. Rabbits, frogs, toads, foxes, turtles, golden eagles, and the San Joaquin pocket mouse, are some of the wildlife species you may catch a glimpse of.
If you would like to spend more than a day in the park, camping is available.
4. Browse the Brentwood Farmers Market
Farmers’ markets are a staple in California, and Brentwood is no exception. Once a week, throughout most of the year, the Brentwood Farmers’ Market takes place in the city. Many vendors come out to sell a wide variety of items.
Locally-grown fruits and vegetables are the main draws to the market, but there’s so much more. Hummus, mushrooms, seafood, tamales, eggs, cheeses, homemade bakery items, crafts and hot food offerings, are just some of the things you will find.
5. Dine on Fine French Cuisine at Scotties Shutters Brasserie
At Scotties Shutters Brasserie, you can enjoy fine French cuisine, in an urban, chic atmosphere.
Lunch and dinner are served daily, and fresh, organic ingredients are used in the preparation of each dish. The menu offers a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, pasta dishes, seafood dishes, classic entrees, and scrumptious desserts. An extensive wine menu is also available.
On certain nights of the week, you can enjoy your meal to the sounds of live, local jazz.
6. Relax and Unwind at Sawa Spa
At Sawa Spa, the focus is completely on you. With an array of relaxing treatments that use modern techniques, combined with traditional Native American practices, you’ll get the ultimate pampering experience.
On-site are four treatment rooms, an outdoor spa area and a terrace. Some of the treatments available include facials, wraps, massages and manicures.
7. Learn About Local Conservation Efforts at the John Muir Interpretive Center
John Muir was a man keenly involved in the conservation of nature and the John Muir Interpretive Center is dedicated to him and the legacy he left behind.
The exhibits on display showcase the natural history and wildlife of the area. You can also learn about the Los Vaqueros Watershed and its role in providing quality water to half a million people in the region.
The Augmented Reality Sandbox is a hit with children. This hands-on exhibit uses digital effects that allow users to create realistic topographic features.
8. Visit the Hannah Nicole Vineyards and Winery
At the celebrated Hannah Nicole Vineyards and Winery, you’ll get the ultimate local wine experience.
Situated in the beautiful foothills of Mount Diablo, this winery works hard to keep the history behind winemaking alive and well.
Start your visit with a guided tour of the vineyards and learn about what goes into the winemaking process from start to finish. You’ll end your tour at the winery where you’ll meet some of the people involved in creating the property’s famed wines.
After the tour, head to the tasting room where you can sample a variety of wines, including sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, and rose.
Throughout the year, many events are held at the winery including concerts, dances and barbecues.
9. Catch a Show at the El Campanil Theatre
Built-in 1928, the historic El Campanil Theatre in nearby Antioch showcases live entertainment throughout the year.
When it comes to the celebrities who have performed at the theatre, rumours swirl but the autographs on the dressing room walls are certainly an indication of who’s graced the stage over the years.
Concerts, ballet, comedy acts, orchestra performances, and live theatre are just some of the shows that take place at this venue. International films are also showcased from time-to-time.
10. Enjoy Fun for the Whole Family at Rockin’ Jump
At Rockin’ Jump in Brentwood, visitors of all ages can have fun and get fit. This indoor trampoline park features a variety of trampolines. You can simply jump and flip to your heart’s content or join in a game of trampoline dodgeball.
Also at this park is a stunt bag arena and a slam dunk zone.
11. Escape into Nature at the Dow Wetlands Wildlife Habitat Preserve
Situated on 470 acres along the San Joaquin River, the beautiful Dow Wetlands Wildlife Habitat Preserve in Antioch is an interesting natural space to explore.
The area features tidal, grassland and upland marsh habitats home to more than 100 species of birds and animals.
As you explore the area using the walking trails, you’ll be able to observe wildlife from several viewing decks. A large beaver pond is also on site.
12. Go on an Exciting Journey with Delta Kayak Adventures
With Delta Kayak Adventures in Antioch, you can embark on a variety of adventures, either on your own or with a seasoned guide. Whether you choose to go solo or with a group, all equipment is provided.
Some of the tours you can take include kayak fishing or paddling to specific locations, such as Browns Island, the Mokelumne River and Tinsley Island. Moonlight kayaking is also popular.
13. Indulge in Top-quality Cuisine at Vic Stewart’s
Relaxed but sophisticated is the type of environment you’ll enjoy when you dine at Vic Stewart’s. This steakhouse-type eatery features a stylish western interior with wood tables and fireplaces.
There’s something for every taste on the extensive menu and dishes are made with the highest-quality ingredients available.
Besides steak and other grilled favourites, some of the items you’ll find on the menu, include appetizers, salads, soups, seafood dishes, pasta dishes, and burgers. Vegetarian options are also served.
Outdoor dining is available and happy hour takes place every night in the Roddy Room.
14. Explore the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
At the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, you can learn about local history and explore a pristine wilderness area.
This historic site is home to several old coal and sand mines, and the ruins of three former mining towns.
You can explore these sites on your own, or take a tour with a knowledgeable guide who’ll provide insight into what life was like when the mines were still in operation.
Within the preserve, there are also more than 60 miles of trails suitable for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. As you explore the park, you might spot some of the wildlife that lives there, including foxes and mountain lions.
15. Get a History Lesson at The Antioch Historical Museum
Nearby Antioch has a long and interesting history on display at The Antioch Historical Museum. This museum is located in the former county high school and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The exhibits showcase the history and culture of the town and the surrounding area.
Some of the exhibits include the Native Peoples’ Display and a variety of artworks. Temporary exhibits are also featured from time-to-time.