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Courtesy of Visit Concord


This East Bay town mixes global dining with craft beer and cool green spaces

An hour’s drive from San Francisco and the Napa Valley wine country, the town of Concord has the Bay Area’s cosmopolitan perks—international dining, a vibrant open-air town square and a flourishing craft beer scene—combined with tranquil reserves offering easy nature escapes, and miles of cycling and walking trails.

You could actually spend weeks sampling your way through Concord’s global culinary scene. At Brasas Do Brazil Churrascaria, waiters bustle around the dining room slicing rotisserie-grilled meats off of huge skewers and onto diners’ plates. Try bites of sirloin (picanha), beef ribs, lamb chops and chicken hearts, all cooked Brazilian-style over an open flame. Dip into the flavours of Myanmar at Aung MayLiKa, which serves up traditional Burmese dishes such as colourful tea leaf salad, rich coconut noodle soup and fish baked in honey. When your taste buds crave Indian spices, head to Swagat for vindaloo, masala, tandoori and biriyani. Or dine South American–style with a meal at Lima. Start with a pisco sour—a traditional Peruvian cocktail made with lime and egg whites—and then move on to stir-fried lomo saltado pollo or seafood ceviche.

As with most Bay Area cities, Concord has an energetic craft beer scene. Epidemic Ales’ warehouse-style brewery turns out red ales, IPAs and a bourbon-barrel-aged vanilla stout,  while a movable feast of food vans supplies the food. E.J. Phair Brewing Company focuses on hearty pub fare—burgers, fried pork schnitzel, fish & chips, and beer-flavoured cheese nachos—and a revolving beer selection that includes Shorty’s Revenge, a hoppy amber ale. The Hop Grenade Taproom is the place for hard-to-find beers such as Pliny the Elder, citrusy sours and fruity ciders. Behind the bar, a live radio studio produces The Brewing Network beer podcast.

Concord embraces its natural side, too. For huge views, head to the 20,000-acre Mount Diablo State Park, whose peak stands at 3,849 feet; the park has hiking and cycling trails (including a circular walk to a waterfall), picnic sites and Rock City, a group of unique sandstone rock formations. Next, explore the rose and camellia gardens at Markham Nature Park and Arboretum, or wander among the dozens of species of native and planted trees on more than two miles of paths. Hop on a bike and pedal the Iron Horse Regional Trail, a 32-mile paved path that follows the right of way of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Or follow the Contra Costa Canal Trail, which shadows the route of a 1930s' canal and connects to the grassy hills of Lime Ridge Open Space.  

On Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings, browse at the Concord Farmers’ Market to find freshly picked fruit and vegetables, just-laid eggs and sweet-scented flowers. The market is held at Todos Santos Plaza, a Mexican-style public square built by the city’s pioneers in 1869. It’s Concord’s fair-weather gathering place for live music, people-watching, and meeting up with friends and neighbours. Culture and architecture fans, meanwhile, should also see the shows at Concord Pavilion, an amphitheatre designed by Frank Gehry. 

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes—San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine.

"I left my heart in San Francisco, High on a hill, it calls to me."  –singer Tony Bennett

The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation. 

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