Contrary to popular belief, there’s much more to East Bay than Oakland and Berkeley. Though those cities are often the stars of the show, the sunny side of the Bay offers miles and miles of city, parks and scenic vistas to explore!
As the Bay Area’s largest region, you would never be able to explore the whole area in one day. So we put together a 24-hour guide to Oakland, a 24-hour guide to Berkeley, and now, a 24-hour guide to the rest of the East Bay’s hidden gems — from Walnut Creek all the way down to Livermore.
Take a road trip south with us to learn more about local history, recreation, wineries and, most importantly, eateries!
9 a.m. | Coffee in San Leandro
Our first stop is a coffeehouse in San Leandro so we can caffeinate for our trip! We have a couple local options that we love in particular.
Photo courtesy of Zocalo Coffeehouse
Since 1996, this neighborhood coffee house has been serving as San Leandro’s living room. Since the beginning, they’ve been offering up their own small batch roasted coffee, and house made sandwiches and salads inside a space designed for local artists, literary talents and musicians to share their passions. Stop by and you’ll get a feel for the community that you couldn’t get anywhere else.
This Berkeley born institution now has locations all over the country, but we have a soft spot for the Bay Area cafes. Peet’s basically built the region’s coffee culture as we know it today, so stop in, grab a cup and sip for a while.
10 a.m. | Breakfast + History in Hayward
If you’re craving a savory breakfast, stop in Hayward at The Cannery Cafe! Located inside the HAHS Museum or History & Culture, this café is all about community — from pleasant company and conversation to delicious food and drink. Featuring ingredients from local farmers, ranchers and community members, your brunch will be a dream come true in terms of both taste and sustainability!
After you eat, explore the museum for a lesson in Hayward and East Bay history and modern culture. For a small admission cost, you’ll leave with unforgettable knowledge of the region, and you’ll have the opportunity to take a paid Docent Led Tour or Curators Tour through some of their most impressive exhibits.
12 p.m. (Option 1) | A Park + A Train Ride in Fremont
For family trips, we recommend heading to Coyote Hills Regional Park after breakfast. Then head into Fremont where you can hop on a scenic ride with Niles Canyon Railway!
In this public use park, you’ll find nearly 978 acres of marshland and rolling hills covered in grassland. The most popular visitor activities in every season are bicycling, walking, bird watching, jogging, nature exploration and picnicking. You’ll also find the 2,000-year-old Tui Bun Ohlone Village Site, a Nectar Garden filled with butterflies and birds, a Wildlife Refuge and the 12-mile Alameda Creek Trail.
Niles Canyon Railway is a living history museum run by The Pacific Locomotive Association, Inc. And when they say living history, they mean their trains are fully operational so hop on in Fremont and ride nine miles east to Sunol. Depending on the season, the train offers round trips leaving at 11:20 a.m. and 1:20 p.m. from the Niles station. February through March and September through October you can ride on the first and third Sundays of every month, but during the summer you can ride every Sunday.
12 p.m. (Option 2) | Livermore Valley Wine Country
If you’re looking for a different scenic option, head to Livermore Valley Wine Country where you’ll find more than a few vineyards and wineries to love!
Photo courtesy of Murietta’s Well Estate Vineyard and Bryan Gray
Wente Vineyards is Livermore’s premier destination for summer concerts, festive events and, you guessed it, wine! At the Vineyard Tasting Room, you can tour the historic sandstone caves and enjoy a special tasting indoors or on the Terrace Patio during the spring and summer. Or stop by the Estate Winery & Tasting Room and sample a few of their best bottles. For something extra special check out their regular and seasonal classes and studio offerings!
Forty years ago, owners Nancy and Garry Rodrigue began their winery before Livermore had blossomed as a wine region. Their hands-on process ensures quality every step of the way. You can decide for yourself inside the Tasting Room which was once the family’s horse barn. Grab a seat in the heart of the vineyard and you can enjoy nine pours in the classic flight.
Murrieta’s Well is a stunning estate vineyard with a rustic farmhouse tasting room and miles of views. As one of California’s original wine estates, they’ve been growing grapes since the 1800s. Whether you want to spend time outside in the Club Lounge, on the patio or inside at the Tasting Bar, reservations are recommended and can be booked online here.
The tasting room at Las Positas is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. There, you can learn more about owners Lisa and Lothar Maier who just purchased and reinvented the land in 2006 and you can sip a few artisan wines in their beautiful, old-world setting.
After more than 30 years of friendship and a contagious wine bug that seems to be going around in Livermore, friends Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi began plans for Dante Robere in the early 2000s. From humble beginnings with a small Zinfandel vineyard in Dan’s backyard to today’s vineyard with over six acres, the winery has produced some of the region’s best Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Touriga, and Barbera. Stop by to visit the tasting room on Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon!
5 p.m. | Dinner + Drinks in Walnut Creek
As the day winds down, head north to Walnut Creek, just east of Oakland. There, you’ll find some amazing dinner destinations and places to sip brews from a few of East Bay’s finest.
Photo courtesy of Calicraft Brewing Co. and Thomas Dang Vo
Sunol Ridge is inspired by co-owner Christopher M. George’s home and ranch in the hills of Fremont-Sunol. The restaurant and bar bring all the spirit and atmosphere of the ranch to Walnut Creek, so it’s the perfect place to stop for dinner after being in those hills! Including their house-brewed beers, the team offers 54 beer and wine taps alongside a jaw-dropping menu of grass fed burgers, poke plates, Rainbow Trout and more. Make a reservation online to ensure you get a table.
Kanishka’s is a hip, cozy gastropub that serves innovative plates inspired by Indian global cuisine and pairs them with carefully selected craft beers and a curated wine list. On the menu, you’ll find infused tastes from India, China, the southern United States, and others — and you’ll definitely be craving more in the weeks to come.
Founder Blaine Landberg was introduced to the culture of craft beer at family gatherings as a kid and started brewing his own in a UC Berkeley dorm room. Since opening Calicraft in 2012, the brewery has become one of the Bay’s most creative, using California-grown ingredients like star thistle honey, Cluster hops and anise hyssop. Grab dinner beforehand because they only offer snacks, but don’t miss out on Calicraft’s sparkling ales (and all the other options of course).
Never stop exploring!
The East Bay is huge and offers so much to see, do and taste. Share your go-to destinations with us. Then, spend a day in Oakland and Berkeley with our other 24-hour guides!