Located on the eastern edge of the greater San Francisco metropolitan area, Livermore is a city of about 85,000 residents that’s particularly well-known for its large national laboratory.
The city sits along the I-580 corridor that connects San Francisco and Oakland to the west and north to the state’s Central Valley and inland cities like Stockton and Modesto.
For those who’d rather not stray too far, there’s plenty to do within city limits, but day trips to San Francisco and the nearby wine-producing regions are popular as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Livermore, California.
1. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Discovery Center
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of the area’s largest employers. Though much of the facility is off-limits to the prying eyes of nosy visitors, it features a Discovery Center chock-full of unique and educational exhibits designed to engage inquisitive minds.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Discovery Center is a great place to spend a few hours when the weather isn’t conducive to outdoor activities. It’s generally a big hit with young and old visitors alike.
Due to the sensitive nature of much of the research conducted onsite, you’ll need to sign up for a guided tour in advance.
2. Del Valle Regional Park
Though San Francisco has more than its fair share of cloudy and rainy days every year, Livermore’s weather is generally sunnier and more conducive to outdoor activities like hiking, bicycling, and watersports.
Del Valley Regional Park is just a 20-minute drive from the city center. It is an excellent option for activity minded nature lovers interested in enjoying the great outdoors without traveling to the larger state and national parks in the region.
For those who’d prefer to spend a night or two under the stars, the park features more than 100 individual campsites, many of which have water and electrical hookups.
When it was built more than 125 years ago, Ravenswood was the summer home of a prominent local citizen enamored with the area’s natural beauty.
Though it has undergone several renovations and upgrades over the years, much of the home is now in near-original condition. It’s a popular venue for special events like weddings and professional photoshoots.
The grounds include impressive gardens and orchards, and outbuildings like a carriage house and cottage.
Guided tours are conducted by docents clad in authentic era garb a few times a month. Check their website or give them a call to reserve your spot.
4. Shiva-Vishnu Temple
Tucked into an unassuming corner of suburban Livermore, the Shiva-Vishnu Temple is one of the area’s most unique cultural attractions.
For those who stumble upon it by chance, it often comes as a surprise to encounter such an ornate and impressive example of Indian architecture in such a traditional California neighborhood.
The temple’s pyramid structure is adorned with a variety of Hindu deities. Inside, there’s an expansive hall and large kitchen that churns out tasty vegan meals.
The temple is located on Arrowhead Avenue in Livermore, not far from the downtown area.
5. The Bankhead Theater
As one of three distinct components that make up the larger Livermore Performing Arts Center, the Bankhead Theater is a popular live entertainment venue that’s been open for more than a decade.
The theater was created to provide access to performing arts to members of the community.
Since it opened its doors, the theater has offered a variety of year-round productions that run the gamut from kid’s performances, contemporary music, and stand-up comedy to dramatic theater and chamber orchestra.
Many performances include local talent, and a number of free shows are typically offered throughout the year.
The theater is located on First Street in Livermore.
6. Centennial Light Bulb
After visiting one of Livermore’s quickest and quirkiest attractions, many visitors utter the timeworn phrase, “They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.”
According to those knowledgeable in obscure local lore, the Centennial Light bulb in Livermore has been continually burning since it was originally installed in 1901.
By some estimations, that means it has given off light for more than one million consecutive hours, making it a true marvel.
The bulb can be found inside the city’s historic fire station on East Avenue. Though it’s been a trusty beacon for more than a century, it’ll definitely go out someday, so stop by and take a look while you can.
7. Sycamore Grove Regional Park
At nearly 900 acres, Livermore’s Grove Regional Park is one of the city’s largest recreation spaces.
The park is located on Wetmore Road and offers outdoorsy visitors an array of recreation options, including biking, walking, running, and horseback riding.
One of the park’s centerpieces is the 2 ½-mile paved trail that winds through several natural environments. There’s also a much shorter loop trail that’s an excellent option for those traveling with little ones.
From the park’s trails, it’s common to see a variety of wildlife species. There’s also a picnic area featuring covered seating and restrooms, just a stone’s throw from the parking area.
8. Wente Vineyards
North-central California’s Livermore Valley is home to many award-winning wineries, and Wente Vineyards is one of the oldest.
The vineyards were founded nearly 150 years ago and are still owned and run by the 5th generation of the original family.
For those who’d like to get a behind-the-scenes look at how grapes are transformed into a tasty and intoxicating beverage, winery tours are a great option.
Tours come in a variety of lengths and may include sections of the farm during the harvest, and the production and bottling facilities. Of course, there’ll also be tastings paired with bread and cheese.
9. Hops & Sessions
Featuring pleasant outdoor seating and a comfy taproom that is among the area’s most popular, Hops & Sessions is a trendy culinary attraction founded in Livermore in 2018.
Hops & Sessions is the valley’s first pour-your-own taproom; guests serve themselves from a variety of tasty beers without having to wait for their server to help.
Regardless of your tastes, you’ll enjoy reading about each beer’s ingredients, flavor profile, and alcohol content before deciding which to choose. For those who’d rather have small portions of numerous beers, flights are available.
Hops & Sessions is located on First Street in Livermore.
10. Story Coffee
Tucked away on Maple Street in Livermore, Story Coffee is one of the city’s coziest coffee houses.
It’s smaller than some of the area’s other coffee shops, but it features comfy seats, good lighting, and an all-around pleasant ambiance, making it an excellent choice for those looking to catch up with an old friend over a cup of gourmet coffee.
Story Coffee’s simple menu is printed directly on the wall. It includes no-frills favorites like straight-up hot coffee as well as contemporary additions like cold brew, lattes, and fraps.
Their coffees tend to pack a bigger caffeine punch than some of the competition, so drink accordingly.
11. Brushy Peak Regional Preserve
Municipal parks and other green spaces of varying sizes are in no short supply in and around Livermore.
Brush Peak Regional Preserve is part park and part nature preserve, but unlike others that permit adventurous visitors to venture off the trails, in Brushy Peak, you’ll need to stay on well-marked paths, because it’s home to some protected plant species.
The preserve features several family-friendly trails, but previous visitors have noted that shade and seating areas are few and far between. If you’ll be visiting during the summer, you’ll want to bring a good hat, sunblock, and plenty of water.
Brushy Peak Regional Preserve’s entrance is located on Laughlin Road, just a short drive from the city center.
12. Livermore Wine Trolley
Truth be told, winery tours and tasting events are a lot more fun when you don’t have to worry about driving home.
Thankfully, for those who’d rather not squander a memorable experience because they’ve been selected as the designated driver, there’s the Livermore Wine Trolley.
The wine trolley gives wine lovers a number of guided day trip options. The tour’s providers have partnered with dozens of area wineries to offer guests year-round access.
Tours get underway in downtown Livermore in the late morning and include multiple tours, lunch, tastings, and round-trip transportation.
Sunset dinner tours are occasionally offered as well.
13. Lizzie Fountain Park
Located at the corner of First Street and South Livermore Avenue in downtown Livermore, Lizzie Fountain Park is the city’s most easily accessed municipal park.
It’s a popular meeting place for locals in the evenings and on the weekends. During the summer months, the park’s fountain features a popular splash pad that’s a big hit with little ones looking to cool off.
For parents who’d rather not get wet, there are some close-by seating areas that allow them to see all the action while staying dry.
The park is close to many popular evening attractions like bars, restaurants, and theaters.
14. The Livermore Art Association
Located in one of the city’s most historic buildings on 3rd Street downtown, the Livermore Art Association is dedicated to preserving and showcasing works by local artists.
The association’s galleries include paintings, ceramics, photographs, and sculptures. They are regularly open to the public for part of the week and on the weekends.
The facility’s hours vary but are often extended significantly during the season when the local farmer’s market is held on K Street.
It’s a great stop for those interested in checking out amazing work without paying the large entrance fees usually found at private museums and galleries.
15. Livermore Valley
Though Livermore is more rural than its big-city neighbor across the bay to the west, heading into the stunning Livermore Valley is a fun day trip option for those interested in distancing themselves from the area’s notorious hustle and bustle.
The valley is just a short drive from the downtown area and is characterized by rolling hills, extensive vineyards, and top-notch eateries.
Though the region’s 50+ wineries are among the biggest draws, there are also a number of renowned craft breweries located along the valley’s ‘Brew Trail.’
Many visitors looking to make the most of their time combine outdoor activities like hiking in the morning with an afternoon or evening winery tour and tasting.