I’m keeping it light over here on Walnut Creek Lifestyle for the holidays. Lots of “Happy this” and “Merry that,” and peace and good tidings to all. But, I couldn’t let this one thing I learned slide – consider it a late Christmas gift, or a wonderful way to kick off 2019!
Downtown Walnut Creek has officially installed WiFi services in the heart of the city. It’s called “ConnectWC” and it covers the section of downtown bordered by Civic Drive and Mt. Diablo Blvd., to N. Main and Locust St. This will fill in all the gaps of downtown that don’t currently have WiFi service.
If you’re trying to connect to WiFi downtown, select “#WalnutCreek” on your phone or other device, and surf away! Your eyes will light up when you see those bars connect!
There’s one event – a holiday, even, if you stretch that definition – that takes place each Fall that all adult should take part in. It’s not Thanksgiving. Not Halloween. It’s the German beer event known as Oktoberfest! The festival has become so popular, that pretty much every town has their own version.
Even here in Walnut Creek, we have an Oktoberfest event, and it’s taking place this coming weekend! This year, it will be held at Civic Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can head there to drink copious amounts of beer, eat great food, and meet fun people! This is the 4th annual Walnut Creek Oktoberfest and will span all 16-plus acres of the park.
At the Walnut Creek event, there will be a Biergarten, Microbrews, gourmet food, live music, Autobahn and vendors. All ages are welcome to the Kids Zone but the beer areas will be the main draws. Best of all, tickets are FREE.
Oktoberfest, of course, originated in Germany and is celebrated widely in cities like Munich and Berlin, where people dress up and stand on tables and drink beer all day. I actually had the pleasure of attending Oktoberfest in Munich back in my 20’s – lots of drinking, a carnival…and I really don’t remember much else. Walnut Creek’s isn’t quite as celebrated, but it’s still a good time! Hope to see you there – lederhosen and dirndls not required, but encouraged!
Summer is winding down and the kids are headed back to school! But, that doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. Make sure you end your summer in the right fashion by taking advantage of some of these fun, cheap, and local events coming up in the next few weeks!
1. Best in Show Sunset Screening (Duboce Park, 8/23 @ 6 pm)
Food trucks, BYO dog, movies at sunset, in San Francisco? Is this a dream? What a great way to finish out summer with the family before sending the kiddos back to school. Maybe you’ll even run into me and my Weim Bodie out there! More info here.
The latest “selfie-friendly pop-up,” as it’s so perfectly described here, is Candytopia! It sold out shows in Southern California and will start making its NorCal debut in early September. Make sure you get tickets as soon as possible – I went to the last one (29 Rooms) and it was unforgettable!
3. Family Art Day (Shadelands Art Center, 9/8 @ 10 am)
The Shadelands Art Center is hosting a 4-hour set of art-making, dancing, music, and more for FREE. It’s open to the public and they encourage entire families to come. The theme is “Art is Magic!” so you know it will be interesting. They will have drinks available for purchase on-site.
4. Off The Grid Twilight Campfire Party (Main Post Lawn, 9/20 @ 5 pm)
Look, if you haven’t been to an Off The Grid event yet, you’re missing out. San Francisco is the King of Off the Grid get-together’s, and this one will be no different. Join masses of people, food trucks, drink vendors, and live music for a little campfire party in the Presidio at twilight!
5. National Public Lands Day! (National Parks, 9/22)
Do you always want to go to the local National Parks, but don’t want to pay exorbitant entrance fees? Then Sept. 22nd is the day for you. Explore hikes, lakes, and more at any of the nearby National Parks for FREE! National Public Lands Day is one of the few days of the year in which it’s free to visit any of the parks. Here are the ones in California.
There’s nothing better than a summer night in the Bay Area. We’re spoiled with perfect weather here, and it means we can spend every evening outside, enjoying the twilight with drink in our hand and a happy hour entree on our plates. It also means it’s time for Summer Concert Series season!
You don’t have to stray too far from home to get to the closest concerts. There will be four free performances outside The Lesher Center, starting with a show this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. All shows go from 5:30-7 p.m. and will sell beer, wine and snacks:
June 21: Mariachi Mestizo
June 28: The Sons of the Soul Revivers
July 12: Tumbledown House
July 26: The T Sisters (highly recommend this one – love their sound!)
If you like what you hear in July at The Lesher Center, carry on that momentum into August with Broadway Plaza’s Summer Concert Series. These will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Event Plaza, and they are also free to the public:
Aug. 16: Kalimba (The Spirit of Earth, Wind & Fire)
Aug. 23: Caravanserai (The Santana Tribute)
Aug. 30: Bee Gee’s Gold (The Tribute)
Lastly, if you want to venture a bit outside of Walnut Creek, check out our neighbors’ Summer Concert Series in Pleasant Hill’s Plaza in front of Jack’s Restaurant & Bar. The shows take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and are, of course, free!
July 5: Fleetwood Mask
Aug. 2: Top Shelf Classics
Sept. 6: Illeagles
No matter which series you choose – or if you try out all three – you’re sure to have a good time jamming to some fun music! Let me know if you visit any of these shows, and how they are!
If you’ve lived in Walnut Creek long enough, you’ll remember Pinky’s Pizza and its old location across from the current Trader Joe’s. That was the place to go for pizza after swim meets, soccer games and school functions. When it shut its doors many years ago, it seemed like the next in a long line of Walnut Creek classics to be chased away by inflated costs.
Luckily, Pinky’s was spared. It re-opened a new location across from the Post Office in downtown Walnut Creek a few years ago. The pizza tastes exactly the same (some like it, some hate it…I am personally not a fan of the cheese, their own special blend), but they’ve come back with more TV’s, fewer arcade games and a revamped menu and bar.
For whatever you think of the pizza itself, you can’t beat the friendly staff and environment that has made Pinky’s a favorite among locals for decades. Nowadays, Pinky’s is actually a really cool place to watch sports, as they have enough seating inside and a little outdoor seating area as well. They make sandwiches, salads and wings now, too.
Pinky’s is definitely more grown-up now with the bar scenario and their awesome Happy Hour (Monday-Friday from 3-6 pm), but still caters to kids. Any kid 12 and younger can get a free ice cream, and there are still plenty of classic arcade games in the corner for them to play with.
Whether it’s the nostalgia, the service, the fact that Pinky’s has survived the Walnut Creek rent crisis, or the food itself, Pinky’s is still a downtown fixture. Hopefully, it’ll remain a place for after-Little League pizza and Warriors-watching for years to come (and provide a closer option than Rocco’s).
Are you looking for a fun, free, family-friendly event this weekend? Check out the Harvest Block Party tomorrow (Fri., Nov. 17) from 3-7 p.m. It should be a real hole-in-one!
The Boundary Oaks Golf Course is hosting the party, which is free for Walnut Creek residents. They will have games for kids, a pie-eating contest, live music, pumpkin decorating, and food and drinks. Even if you don’t live right next door, you can swing on over to a beautiful venue to take part in the free (!) festivities (again, as long as you’re a Walnut Creek resident).
You don’t have to be a golfer, either, to appreciate Boundary Oaks. And you don’t have to be a neighbor to appreciate free events like this, just a Walnut Creek city resident! It’s a perfect way to keep your kids entertained for a few hours and mellow out before the weekend.
Boundary Oaks is at 3800 Valley Vista Rd., over by Arbalado Field and Northgate High School. For more information, you can call (925) 943-4775, or visit their website.
Looking for something to do on a lazy weeknight in Walnut Creek? Maybe craving another local live music show after your BottleRock or OutsideLands weekends? Well, you’re in luck!
Broadway Plaza is hosting its Summer Concert Series every Thursday night of this month. Each concert is free and open to the public from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
You’ve already missed one show on August 4th, but you can still catch:
Foreverland on August 11th
Mustache Harbor on August 18th
Tainted Love on August 25th.
Also, don’t forget the Party in the Plaza on September 1st: it’s a special event featuring a concert with Mark McGrath and Pop Rocks! For more information, click here.
This year’s event will be located in Broadway Plaza’s brand new Event Plaza, which is near Macy’s and the newly opened Broadway Lane.
They don’t allow outside food or beverage, but will sell both at the shows! Of course, you could always wander over to pretty much any bar or restaurant for a drink or a bite afterward from that location, too.
Walnut Creek continues to find cool ways to get its people outside this summer – enjoy and have a great time! Just bit bummed about not bringing my cooler, but maybe that keeps it free!
Fringe Flower Co. in Walnut Creek is not your typical flower shop. With their unique designs, highly-green approach and free delivery to the nearby Kaiser hospital, Sarah and Jeanne do everything differently.
They were two florists who met by chance, conquered a big wedding together, and then decided they wanted a brick and mortar location in the area.
Last year, they founded it and opened up Fringe next to George’s Giant Hamburgers. And now, they’re really in business.
Both Sarah and Jeanne are from the Bay Area and are committed to a holistic business. They source their florals from premium flowers and local growers. Additionally, they work with recycled containers, compost, and deliver leftover florals to community groups, among other philanthropic efforts.
If you ever need a floral arrangement for an event or a wedding, make sure to give them a call! Deliveries can be made online, over the phone or via walk-in, and Fringe specializes in weddings, events, and corporate accounts.
They are open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturday’s from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.