13 Hidden Gems to Discover in and Around Pleasant Hill, CA


Enjoy unforgettable hidden gems around the Pleasant Hill area.

Uncover a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences in the Pleasant Hill area, finding top-rated things to do during a jam-packed adventure. Whether you're traveling with your family or looking for new activities as a resident, we've got you covered with off-the-beaten-path attractions.

Scenic view of a field with a wire fence and trees beneath blue skies at Mt. Diablo State Park
It can be hard to find quiet, open spaces these days. Great for photography, a walk with your dog, or taking some time and space to relax by yourself. Beautiful panoramic views of the east bay and. Mt. Diablo.
Credit: Cristina Anne Costello

1. Open Space & Views at Dinosaur Hill Park

Even on a vacation packed with activities, sometimes you need to relax, and enjoy the wide-open spaces. Ideal for the whole family, even the pooch. Photographers -- bring your cameras to capture the sweeping scenery.

The peace, the quiet, and the views! Not far from the center of Pleasant Hill in Lafayette, CA you’ll find a place for the whole family to explore. Stroll through Dinosaur Hill Park, locally called “Dino Hill,” feel free to bring a picnic. We want visitors to the park to be aware that Dino Hill is more of a hiking and walking attraction. They do not have a traditional playground, and youngsters may be disappointed to learn there are no dinosaurs here.

But, that doesn’t mean your little ones should be discouraged from dino hunting on the hills!

Painted hand prints on a white wall from the I Heart Art Studio.
The I Heart Art Studio is a great way for families to expose or explore making art! If you’re in town for a bit, check out the afternoon summer camps. Great opportunity for parent time!

2. I Heart Art Studio

Parents, teens, and children will equally enjoy I Heart Art Studio. Self-described as “a creative space for discovery, joy, and community” the center offers both digital and onsite art classes for all ages. For your youngest children, ages two to four, they offer Sensory Playtime in their backyard space.

Be advised, they may get a little dirty from playing with paints and other materials! So if you’re planning other outings afterwards -- you may want to plan a pitstop back at your lodgings, or at least carry a change and wipes.

Visit their website for more information regarding times and activities.

The exterior of the USS Hornet Museum.
The USS Hornet is an Essex-class aircraft carrier built for the United States Navy in World War II. It’s a treasure of American naval, maritime, military, and space-related history.

3. The USS Hornet Museum: Sea, Air, & Space Museum

The museum’s mission is to use their collections, exhibitions, and programming to educate visitors about “history, science, technology, and service.”

This could be a great addition to your time in Pleasant Hill. Not just for the WWII history buff, the NASA enthusiast, but also students interested in their STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) courses. Potential visitors should consult with the museum's website to confirm times, events, and docent-led tours.

4. See’s Candies

See’s Candies, has been a California treasure since 1921! Sooth your sweet tooth and remember to take some home. With two locations in Pleasant Hill, See’s Candies certainly has your sweet tooth and your chocolate cravings covered! Since 1921, See’s Candies have been a part of California culinary history. Their fine confections are offered by the piece or by the box.

If you’re visiting us from the East Coast you may not have a See’s close to you back at home. Make sure to pick up a box to take back home. Consider bringing back a box of sweets to your loved ones and colleagues as a sweet souvenir!

You can find See’s at their Contra Costa and Crossroads locations.

5. Lesher Center for the Arts

Located in nearby Walnut Creek’s downtown arts district, just minutes from Pleasant Hill, the Lesher Center for the Arts has been providing culture and artistry to the community in this location for over 30 years. Make sure to arrive early, allowing plenty of time to find your seats and get comfortable.

If you are planning your trip in the future make sure to check out offerings, showtimes, and tickets at their website.

The center also offers tours of the backstage and other unique views of life in the performing arts.

The outside entrance of Red Door Escape Room in Concord.
Red Door Escape Room, also located in neighboring Concord offers you a chance to experience the heart-pounding rush you get from your favorite thrillers, ghost stories, or other adventures.

6. Red Door Escape Room

Is this family-friendly fun? Yes! All skill levels are encouraged to select from their menu of experience-level escape adventures and plan their escape. Include a Red Door Escape Room experience on your must-see list with you stay in Pleasant Hill!

Check for times and book early. Because locals and guests to the region are both fans!

Musicians playing in an orchestra at a venue near Pleasant Hill.
What’s your jam?

7. The California Symphony

The California Symphony has made its home in Walnut Creek, CA since 1986. They perform a variety of melodious work -- both Classical, Contemporary, and even Pops. The symphony is lucky to have native Californian, Donato Cabrera, as music director and maestro of our internationally respected group of musicians.

8. Toyota Pavilion at Concord

Whether you’re planning a trip around one of the many headliners and top performers that come through the East Bay Area, or pick up tickets on the fly when you arrive, you made the right decision to stay in Pleasant Hill.

We don’t want to drop hot names here, but you can check the Toyota Pavilion at Concord website to see who’s next on stage! Hurry though, if you see that must-see performer don’t wait, book tickets now!

The Paso Nogal Park sign with a background of a spacious outdoor area, surrounded by trees.
Paso Nogal Park sets the perfect scene for an outdoor adventure with your best canine bud!

9. Paso Nogal Park

Traveling with your furry companions? The picturesque Paso Nogal Park is a dog's green haven with a fenced-in space, where your four-legged best friends can play fetch to their heart's content. Take a break by the designated picnic spots of the park, taking in the surrounding nature and calming atmosphere.

10. Soldier's Memorial Monument

Located in Downtown Pleasant Hill, the Soldier's Memorial Monument pays homage to local military heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I, World War II, and the Korean conflict. History buffs, veterans, and active military members can explore a piece a Pleasant Hill history at this memorial site, paying their respects to the men and women who served our country.

11. John Muir National Historic Site

Travel back in time at the John Muir National Historic Site, exploring the home of the legendary conservationist. This breathtaking location showcases the history and culture of the late 1800s, as well as John Muir's legacy, featuring black-and-white photographs, a windmill, farm wagon, and more.

12. Model Railroad Society

Nestled in Walnut Creek, the Model Railroad Society is just a seven-minute drive from Pleasant Hill. Locomotive enthusiasts will enjoy attending a train show, which occurs at least once a month. Marvel at an intricately made display, where moving miniature trains come to life with detailed terrain.

13. The Garden at Heather Farms

The Garden at Heather Farms is a Contra Costa County must-visit, featuring six acres of stunning flowers. Stroll through vibrant floral displays, capturing Instagram-worthy moments with a meadow-like backdrop. Don't miss making your way to the Climate Discovery Garden area, showcasing the growth of colorful flowers in a climate-friendly setting. The gardens are open on a daily basis, running from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Sunday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

With so much to see and do in and around Pleasant Hill, you’ll see it’s better when you stay here! Make us your base to explore the region, or just hang out like a local and make yourself at home.

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