Pittsburg is a small city of about 63,000 people situated in Contra Costa County along Suisun Bay.
Its location in the San Francisco Bay Area means that Pittsburg has easy access to the major city of San Francisco, which is only 37 miles away. In fact, it’s considered to be a suburb of the larger city. San Jose and Sacramento are also within an hour’s drive of Pittsburg.
Pittsburg is known for its pleasant atmosphere. The weather is agreeable year-round, the scenery is lovely, and there are plenty of well-maintained parks and green spaces.
The city is also home to many restaurants, cultural and historical attractions, and shopping areas such as Atlantic Plaza Shopping Center, Somersville Towne Center, and Highland Square.
Several festivals and events take place in Pittsburg throughout the year, including the Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Pittsburg, California.
1. Learn About the City’s History at the Pittsburg Historical Museum
Since 1961, the Pittsburg Historical Museum has operated with the primary goal of acquiring, preserving and sharing various items related to the history of the city.
Over the years, the museum has grown substantially to include many artefacts, photos, documents, maps, and reference books. Exhibits include the Sports Hall of Fame Room, the Military Room, and the Theater Room.
There are also a number of items for sale at the museum, including mugs, t-shirts, and afghans. Many events take place throughout the year, and visitors are welcome to participate.
2. Spend a Day Outdoors at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
Part historic site, part outdoor paradise, the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is the perfect place to spend a day getting fresh air and exercise and learning a bit about the area’s history.
The preserve features former coal and sand mines along with the remnants of several mining towns. You can explore on your own or join a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide who can provide information about the site.
Also on site are more than 60 miles of trails suitable for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. As you explore these natural areas, keep an eye out for local wildlife, including mountain lions, foxes, and a variety of bird species.
3. Dine on Italian Fare at La Veranda Ristorante Italiano
La Veranda Ristorante Italiano is a family-run Italian eatery in the centre of Old Town Pittsburg. Not only is the service friendly and the atmosphere inviting, but the food is also delicious and made with the freshest ingredients available.
The extensive menu features a wide range of options, including appetizers, soups, salads, pasta dishes, and entrees such as seafood cannelloni, lasagna, and chicken Parmesan. A wine bar is on-site, and happy hour takes place throughout the week.
4. Take the Kids to Pixieland
Situated in nearby Concord, Pixieland is an amusement park with an assortment of themed rides and activities for children. An antique carousel, Tea Cups, Red Baron Airplanes, Frog Hopper and the Pixieland are just a few of the rides on site.
When hunger strikes, you can head to the café, where you’ll find all the foods kids love, like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and various milkshake flavours.
5. Attend a Live Show at El Campanil Theatre
Since 1928, the historic El Campanil Theatre has graced the waterfront in the downtown area of nearby Antioch.
This celebrated theatre is rumoured to have hosted many well-known celebrities. The only evidence of their having been there is their signatures scrolled on the dressing room walls.
These days, the theatre showcases a variety of live shows throughout the year, including concerts, ballet, comedy shows, and theatrical performances.
Concerts by the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra and Motown with Top Shelf Classics are just some of the past shows. Throughout the year, international films are also shown.
6. Visit the Galindo House and Gardens
Galindo House and Gardens in Concord is a well-preserved estate dating back to the mid-1850s. Once the family home of Francisco Galindo and Maria Dolores Manuela, today it’s one of the last Victorian ranch houses still standing in the county.
Currently, the interior of the home is a museum open to the public. Inside, you’ll be able to explore the rooms and see artefacts related to the Galindo family and see what life was like in that period.
The exterior of the house features 1.5 acres of beautiful, well-maintained gardens. Guided tours of the property are available on certain days of the week.
7. Hit the Greens at Lone Tree Golf & Event Center
A popular golf destination in the region since 1934, the Lone Tree Golf & Event Center is a mildly-challenging course suitable for all levels of golfers.
This 18-hole, par-72 course is situated in a scenic area near Mount Diablo State Park and features stunning vistas. The course itself features rolling fairways with the occasional challenge to make your game more interesting.
On-site, there’s a pro shop, driving range, chipping green, and putting green, and lessons are available.
Champions Bar and Grill is a laid-back lounge serving a wide range of delicious options. You can enjoy your meal outdoors on the patio.
8. Spend an Afternoon Browsing Todos Santos Plaza
As a combination of public green space, entertainment area, and shopping district, the Todos Santos Plaza is a popular gathering place in Concord.
Once the Town Square, today, it’s where residents and visitors go to take in local festivals and events, browse little shops, enjoy a meal in one of the eateries, or simply relax amidst the trees.
A playground and picnic areas are also on-site, and a farmer’s market is held once a week.
9. Escape into Nature at the Dow Wetlands Wildlife Habitat Preserve
The Dow Wetlands Wildlife Habitat Preserve in nearby Antioch covers 470 acres of protected land along the San Joaquin River.
This tidal and upland marsh habitat features scenic vistas and a wide variety of plant and animal life. More than 120 species of birds and animals make their home here, including turtles and otters.
There’s a network of nature trails on site, and as you make your way along, you’ll find viewing decks from which to get a better view of the area, and benches to relax on. Also on site is a beaver pond and large grassland area.
10. Take an Excursion with Delta Kayak Adventures
Kayaking is a popular activity in the Pittsburg area, and Delta Kayak Adventures in nearby Antioch is where you can rent the equipment you need to embark on your own adventure or go with a knowledgeable guide.
If you decide to set out on your own, the company will supply you with all the gear you need. Whether you set out in search of a new favourite fishing spot or simply want to enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with kayaking, Delta Kayak Adventures will help you get there.
Some of the best areas to kayak in this region are Browns Island, Tinsley Island, Mokelumne River, and the Dow Wetlands.
11. Watch the Car Races at the Antioch Speedway
For an afternoon of adrenaline-pumping fun for all ages, The Antioch Speedway is the perfect place to go.
Watch a variety of race cars, including limited editions and hobby stocks, race down the gravel, oval track towards the finish. The fast-paced excitement will have you on the edge of your seat as the cars swerve, spin out, and avoid near-crashes in their attempt to reach the finish line.
12. Try Something Different at Paradise Skate Roller Rink
While roller skating may not sound like a typical vacation activity, Paradise Skate Roller Rink ensures the experience is so fun that you won’t be able to resist a family outing at the rink.
Situated in nearby Antioch, the roller rink hosts public skates that offer an enhanced experience featuring disco lights and lively music. Not only will you have a blast, but you’ll also get a great workout.
Also on site is a snack bar and arcade with a wide variety of games.
13. Enjoy an All-American Meal at Lumpy’s Diner
Lumpy’s Diner is more than just a neighbourhood diner: it’s a place where families and anyone looking for all-American comfort food can sit down and enjoy a delicious meal served by friendly staff.
Meals are served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the menu, you’ll find many items, including appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and a wide variety of shakes.
14. Escape the City at Contra Loma Regional Park
If you’re looking for a beautiful spot to spend a day relaxing away from the city, Contra Loma Regional Park is the perfect place to kick back in nature or participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Within this 780-acre park area, you’ll find a large reservoir that’s a popular swimming hole with residents and visitors. There’s a sandy beach on its shores, and lifeguards are on hand.
Other activities that you can participate in include hiking, cycling, and fishing for species like catfish and trout. If you would like to spend the night in the park, camping is also permitted.
15. Markham Nature Park and Arboretum
The lovely botanical garden at the Markham Nature Park Arboretum is continually evolving. Currently, this peaceful nature area features a wide variety of plants from all over the world and is a popular place to get away from the noise and crowds of the city.
While some areas of the garden are well-maintained and cultivated, other parts are still in a very natural state that is made even more charming with the Galindo Creek flowing through.