Best Things To Do In Livermore (California) – Livermore, a community of about 85,000 people on the eastern edges of the greater San Francisco metropolitan area, is best known for its massive national laboratory. The city is located along I-580, which connects San Francisco and Oakland to the west with the state’s Central Valley and inland communities like Stockton and Modesto to the north.
There’s much to do within city limits for those who don’t want to wander too far, but day trips to San Francisco and the adjacent wine-producing regions are also popular.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Livermore is a premier shopping, dining, and tourism destination. It is home to the San Francisco Premium Outlets, as well as the Livermore Valley Wine Region and an award-winning historic downtown shopping center. Livermore also has a plethora of possibilities for people looking for home furnishings, automobiles, sporting items, camping equipment, and much more.
Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Kate Spade, Burberry, and Prada are among the more than 170 outlet stores at San Francisco Premium Outlets. The premium stores are one of California’s most popular locations, attracting millions of shoppers from across the world looking for the best bargains on luxury goods.
Locals’ favorite destination, on the other side, is downtown Livermore. Enjoy world-class amenities while shopping in a small-town American setting. Dine at restaurants that serve globally inspired and regionally upgraded menu items.
Stroll among historic buildings, water fountains, art galleries, boutiques, and gift shops. For good luck, rub Charlie the Horse’s nose, make a wish at one of the fountains, or learn about Livermore Valley wine country while sipping a delicious cup of tea or espresso at one of the local cafés.
Unwind at one of the beauty and day spas after a day of shopping and dining, or catch a movie or a play at one of many popular downtown nightspots. The Livermore Rodeo Parade, the Livermore Valley Wine Country Downtown Streetfest, and the Holiday Sights and Sounds Parade are all held downtown throughout the year.
Livermore Valley Wine Country is one of the country’s oldest wine districts. Wente Vineyards and Concannon Vineyard are industry trailblazers. The region now contains over 50 wineries, which provide beautiful backdrops for weddings, conferences, concerts, marathons, and events like the Harvest Wine Festival and Holidays in the Vineyards.
Livermore is the place to go for a great day or week out with friends and family, with a range of activities, shopping, and dining options.
What are the best things to do in Livermore (California)?
Livermore, California, is a city in the tri-valley area that was named after local rancher Robert Livermore in the 1840s. It features several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own personality. It’s known for its many vineyards and superb wines, as well as its hiking trails and arts and cultural scene.
Residents like the relaxed atmosphere, top-rated schools, nearby entertainment, gorgeous parks, and community gyms. Affordability of housing is also a major reason why people choose to stay in Livermore.
Livermore is a lovely and bustling community in the East Bay region known as “The City of Happiness.” Many popular outdoor activities are available locally for tourists. From wine-lovers’ experiences beyond the tasting room to outdoor excursions, and from the best trails to the achievements of world-renowned scientists, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re new to the area or just passing through, here are the top 25 best things to do in Livermore (California):
1. Livermore Valley
The picturesque Livermore Valley in California is about 35 minutes east of San Francisco and is a wonderful place to visit for a weekend or longer vacation. Livermore caters especially well to foodies, including over 50 wineries vying for your custom.
Beer fans will be pleased to learn that there is a fun Brew Trail that will take you to some of the valley’s top craft brewers. The valley also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking, as well as approximately 300 days of sunshine every year. Downtown Livermore has a diverse range of restaurants, shops, and nightlife options making it one of the best things to do in Livermore (California).
2. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Discovery Center
While in the Livermore Valley, pay a visit to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Discovery Center. The Discovery Centre aims to encourage children’s curiosity and enthusiasm in science by providing hands-on interactive activities, while parents may learn about the National Laboratory’s critical work in state security.
Throughout the school year, the Discovery Center offers Science Field Trips for Fifth Graders on weekday mornings, and is open to the public from 1pm to 4pm Tuesday through Friday. Due to security concerns, booking a guided tour of the Laboratory is required well in advance of your visit.
3. Del Valle Regional Park, Livermore, California
Del Valle Regional Park invites outdoor enthusiasts to come enjoy over 300 sunny days each year by offering year-round camping, hiking, and water activities. The park is located about 10 miles south of Livermore, making it one of the best things to do in Livermore (California) and it’s also ideal for a day excursion or a longer camping stay.
A gorgeous five-mile lake in the centre of the park offers swimming beaches, sailing, windsurfing, and boating. The Visitor’s Center, which is open from June to September, offers a range of family programs. Campers can choose from 150 campsites (21 with water and power), as well as four small paddocks for equestrian campers at the Little Chaparral Equestrian camp.
4. Livermore Shiva-Vishnu Temple
The majestic Shiva-Vishnu Temple, nestled in the center of a peaceful suburban portion of Livermore, comes as a bit of a surprise. The temple has a beautiful Gopura, which is typical of Hindu temples in Southern India (an ornately decorated pyramidal tower over the main entrance).
The Shiva-Vishnu temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Bay Area, with representations of all Hindu holy deities. When you first enter the temple, you’ll find yourself in a large hall where religious ceremonies are held. The temple also serves as a cultural center, with two large commercial kitchens where tasty vegetarian meals are served for devotees.
5. Sycamore Grove Regional Park
Over 840 acres of outdoor recreational space makeup Sycamore Grove Regional Park, where you can join the locals in a variety of outdoor activities. The park has a 2.5-mile paved trail that connects the two park gates and is particularly popular with hikers and bikers, making it one of the best things to do in Livermore (California).
There are several additional trails to explore on foot, by bike, or on horseback — a dedicated parking place for horse trailers is accessible at the Wetmore Rd entrance. You can enjoy a relaxing walk along the 0.6-mile Magpie Loop (easy) or get a good workout on the 4-mile Valley View Loop. A beautiful picnic space is available, and facilities and parking are available at both exits.
6. Ravenswood Historic Site
The Ravenswood Historic Site, which was built in 1891 as Sir Christopher Buckley’s summer residence, is a popular wedding and other celebration location. The main house has been lovingly restored, and it is accompanied by a Carriage House and Cottage, which are all surrounded by sweeping lawns, orchards, vineyards, and gardens.
On the second and fourth Sundays of each month, you can visit the historic estate and take a free guided tour (led by costumed tour guides). The visits last around an hour and cover the 1885 Cottage, the 1891 Main House, and the stunning gardens.
7. Bankhead Theater
The Bankhead Theater, one of three venues that make up the Livermore Performing Arts Center (LVPAC), debuted in 2007. LVPAC strives to make the performing arts accessible to all members of the community by providing affordable tickets, family-friendly events, concessions, and some free performances.
The Bankhead Theater focuses on music of many genres, but you may also enjoy dance, theater, comedy, and even acrobatics. The Livermore Valley Opera, the Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre, the Pacific Chamber Orchestra, and the Cantabella Children’s Chorus are among the resident companies. The Bankhead Theater also frequently sponsors touring concerts as well as local community artists.
8. Wente Vineyards
Wente Vineyards was founded in 1883 by C.H.Wente, and is one of the oldest vineyards in the Livermore Valley. The vineyard is still managed by fourth and fifth generation family members, who are carrying on the family tradition of creating great wines.
Choose from a variety of available tastings, tours, and classes to customize your visit to the vineyards. A Harvest Tour, which involves witnessing the new harvest being harvested and processed, is at the top of the list of activities. You could still enjoy a vineyard tour, a Sunday Cheese and Wine Pairing in the Cellar, or a delicious Food and Wine Pairing Dinner in The Restaurant if you visit outside of harvest season.
9. Darcie Kent Vineyards
One of many reasons to visit the Darcie Kent Vineyards in the Livermore Valley is to appreciate both wonderful wine and great art. Darcie Kent is a fifth-generation vintner and artist that not only designs great wine labels but also makes fine wine.
When you visit the vineyards, you’ll be able to sample a variety of their exquisite wines in the light and airy tasting room, which also serves as a gallery for the artist’s original paintings. Frequent wine and culinary events are held in the vineyards, which makes it one of the best things to do in Livermore (California).
10. Brushy Peak Regional Preserve
Brushy Peak Regional Preserve is a huge green park where nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts can go walking, hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Because the park is home to a variety of rare flora, you are requested to stay on the trails and keep your dog on a leash at all times.
Hikes for everyone, from short family walks to longer, more demanding loops, are available. Hikers should be aware that all of the paths are in open land with minimal shade; sunscreen, a hat, and lots of drinking water are recommended. If you want to trek up to Brushy Peak’s summit, you’ll need to book a guided hike.
11. Altamont Beer Works
Altamont Beer Works, located in the midst of the Livermore Valley wine region, offers a refreshing and tasty alternative beverage. From Tuesday through Sunday, you are welcome to visit their hand-crafted taproom and try a few of their artisanal handmade beers, which are all prepared on site and served out fresh and vibrant.
There are ten rotating beers on tap, and light refreshments are available for purchase. Several India Pale Ales, the Rich Mahogany Red Ale, and their Berry White, enhanced with fresh berry flavors, are among the most popular beers available.
12. The Steven Kent Winery
The Steven Kent Winery was founded in 1996 with a stated mission: to create world-class cabernets and Bordeaux varietals using the near-perfect Livermore Valley “Terrior.” The winery presently produces a number of highly coveted limited-edition reds as well as a couple of white wines, including the Merrillie chardonnay and the Lola white Bordeaux mix.
Every day between 12 noon and 4.30pm, you can sample some of their exquisite wines in the Barrel Room, and serious enthusiasts can schedule a guided wine tasting of their most extraordinary small-batch wines in the Reserve Room, which is available every weekend. To receive frequent updates on all of their wine events, you can join their Wine Club.
13. McGrail Vineyards and Winery
McGrail Vineyards & Winery is known for leveraging the favorable Livermore Valley “Terroir” to create a variety of fantastic cabernets and a few appealing full-bodied chardonnays. The McGrail family thinks that there should be no such thing as wine snobbery, and that anyone, whether a wine aficionado or not, is invited to come and sample their products.
From their hilltop tasting room, you may take in spectacular views, visit the vineyards, or even bring a picnic. Regular activities at the winery include Friday Night Live (wine, music, and dancing) and Saturday Yoga in the Vineyards.
14. Lizzie Fountain Park
Lizzie Fountain Park, located in the middle of downtown Livermore, is a popular gathering spot for locals. On hot summer days, the Lizzie Fountain in the park’s center is a popular draw for small children. You can bring a book and spend some time relaxing on one of the shaded chairs while watching the children’s antics.
When the scorching California sun sets, the main water jet is encircled by a splash pad with numerous smaller jets, which are ideal for little guests to enjoy. People can be found sitting around the fountain in the evenings before going to a show or dinner at one of the adjacent theater restaurants.
15. Concannon Vineyard
The Concannon family has been growing grapes and producing great California wines in the Livermore Valley since 1883, making them one of the country’s oldest family-owned vineyards.
Visitors are welcome to explore the winery’s vineyards, barrel room, and, most importantly, the Tasting Room, where you may enjoy a flight of their award-winning wines while being guided by a professional wine host, which makes it one of the best things to do in Livermore (California).
A Library Tasting, which includes a guided meal and wine pairing, is available for those who want a more in-depth experience. You may expect to taste exquisite red and white varieties that are wonderfully balanced.
16. The Livermore Wine Trolley
You can sample as many excellent Livermore Valley wines as you like without worrying about who will drive you home. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the year, the Livermore Wine Trolley offers fully guided day trips to three fantastic Livermore Valley vineyards.
Wine Trolley tours has collaborated with 25 wineries in the Livermore Valley to provide you a day of fun, sampling, and wine education as you sample some of the region’s most characteristic wines. Your day trip begins at 11 a.m. in downtown Livermore and includes lunch as well as tasting prices. Special Sunset Vineyard Tours (with wine pairing meals) are also available from time to time.
17. Livermore Food Tours
Livermore Food Tours are led by a group of passionate foodies who love nothing more than showing locals and visitors around some of the city’s best restaurants. When you join up for one of their tours, you can expect to visit five or six different restaurants (depending on the one you choose) and get a behind-the-scenes look as well as a sample of their handcrafted delicacies.
The walking tour covers roughly a mile of terrain downtown at a leisurely pace that is suitable for most people. Along the route, your guide will give you an overview of Livermore’s history and you will have the opportunity to sample a variety of cuisines, teas, and wines.
18. Murrietta’s Well Winery
When you visit Murrietta’s Well Estate Winery, you’ll be surrounded by vineyards that date back to the 1800s, when cuttings from the world-famous French vines of Chateau Margaux and Chateau d’Yquem were transplanted to the Livermore Valley.
The original historic gravity flow winery, which now houses the estate’s Tasting Room, can be visited today. You can arrange a Tasting Experience (in the Tasting Room or on the patio, where under 21s are welcome) or an engaging Food and Wine Experience, that includes a vineyard tour and seated food and wine tasting in the barrel room.
19. Retzlaff Vineyards
Retzlaff Vineyards is pleased to deliver a selection of award-winning wines made entirely organically in their certified organic vineyards. Landscaped gardens and large lawns surround the vineyards, providing the ideal setting for a relaxing picnic with friends and family.
You can try the daily Full Flight of five estate wines or the Deluxe Full Flight, which includes one of their reserve wines, at the Tasting Room. On a Barrel Tasting, the estate also offers the chance to sample young “wines in the making.” A guided Saturday tour of the historic property, the vineyard, and the straw-bale garden is available for those interested in learning more about organic wine production.
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20. Bent Creek Winery
The Bent Creek Winery is surrounded by vineyards and the gentle hills of the Livermore Valley, making for a lovely location. In 1997, the winery began as a single little syrah vineyard, and by 2002, the owners were producing their own small-batch wines exclusively from grapes grown in the Livermore Valley.
Visit their tasting room to sample some of their current wine releases, which include many red and white single-cultivar wines, a number of mixes, and three dark and delicious ports. Joining their wine club, which offers regular complimentary tastings and other special events, makes perfect sense.
21. The 3 Steves Winery
The 3 Steves Winery was founded when three buddies (all named Steve) decided to turn their small-scale wine-making hobby into a full-fledged business. The winery now focuses on leveraging the Livermore Valley’s near-perfect wine-growing conditions to produce an ever-expanding selection of superb California wines.
The three friends grow some of their own grapes on the property and import other high-quality fruit from regions where each variety thrives. From Thursday to Sunday, you are invited to visit the vineyard for a casual tasting and picnic in their family and dog-friendly grounds.
22. Centennial Light Bulb
If you’re looking for something truly unique to do while visiting the Livermore Valley, stop by Fire Station #6 to witness the world’s longest burning light bulb. This extraordinary light bulb has been blazing since 1901, equating to almost one million hours of illumination.
Shelby Electric Company in Ohio produced the Centennial Light, a typical carbon-filament bulb. When you go, you’ll note that the bulb has lost a lot of its original 30-watt or 60-watt power in the last 117 years, and it now looks more like a little nightlight. Visit it while you still have the opportunity.
23. Livermore Art Association Gallery
The Livermore Art Association (LAA) shares space with the Livermore Heritage Guild at the historic Carnegie Building on 3rd Street. The LAA Gallery features paintings, jewelry, pottery, and photography by area member artists in a range of mediums and styles.
You can visit the gallery from 11.30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, or combine your visit with some shopping on Thursday evenings at the Farmer’s Market, when the gallery is open until 8 p.m. Similarly, the gallery opens early on Sunday mornings (10 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.) to align with the K Street Sunday Market.
24. Posada, Livermore, California
Posada Restaurant in Livermore is the place to go if you want mouthwatering, fresh, and delectable Southwestern cuisine. The family-owned restaurant has extended its dining room and added a popular wine bar with a wide selection of Livermore Valley wines.
You have the option of dining in the calm ambience of the Santé Fe themed dining room or on the covered patio area. Chef Eduardo’s famed short ribs with blackberry mole poblano, grilled oysters Posada, and their signature mahi-mahi tacos with watermelon salad are among the house favorites. From Wednesday to Sunday, the Posada is open.
25. The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
Every item on The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards’ daily-changing menu has been prepared with the finest and freshest locally sourced organic vegetables. The Restaurant has focused on presenting simply prepared dishes that do full justice to the beautiful sustainably farmed ingredients, much of which come from the Estate Beef program, and the Wente Estate Garden, since its beginning in 1986.
Fresh, inventive California food with subtle French and Italian influences may be found here. A Vineyard Table lunch, an incredible three-course meal and wine pairing event available Friday through Sunday, is one of the greatest ways to taste the food. From Tuesday to Saturday, The Restaurant is open for dinner.
Please keep in mind that some attractions may be closed temporarily or require prior reservations
The picturesque city of Livermore is only 45 minutes from the San Francisco Bay Area, yet you couldn’t be more distant from the hustle and bustle. Visitors can participate in a variety of activities, from spending a weekend in nature to a variety of excellent dining alternatives.
The heart of Livermore is full of local attractions, and visitors are invited to take advantage of them. One of California’s best wine-growing regions is the greater Livermore Valley. Livermore is also home to the San Francisco Premium Outlets, superb restaurants, and the Bankhead Theater, which has a busy performing arts, opera, and symphony calendar.
The pleasant, dry climate of Livermore makes it excellent for leisure activities such as wine tasting and biking. Cool off in the evening in Livermore’s refurbished downtown eateries, entertainment venues, and historic buildings, which feature exhibits, displays, and special events that highlight the city’s ties to the past.
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