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


Enjoy unforgettable hidden gems around the Pleasant Hill area.

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!

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.

Get ready to have a wet, wild, blast when you plan an all day white water rafting excursion in the East Bay Area!

6. All Day White Water Rafting

Have you white water rafted before? Yes! Then you know the excitement that’s in store for you. Did you answer no? Then get ready for adventure.

You’ll be outfitted with all the gear you need, then set out for a thrill ride like no other. Take in the majestic scenery of tall trees and pristine country while you can! Because once you hit that white water the fast-paced fun begins.

Check with the company you choose to book with regarding ages, heights, and other specifications before you book your tour.

7. ATG Escape Rooms, Online & In-person

Try an experience with ATG Escape Rooms, suited for all levels, including families. They offer a selection of physical, in-person escape rooms in their location in nearby Concord.

But, if you’re looking for things should inclement or rainy weather disrupt your plans, they proudly offer a selection of online experiences. That should keep the kids -- and the gamers in your family -- entertained.

Make sure to book early if you’re planning an in-person experience!

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.

8. 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!

9. Local musicians, and your favorite headliners, love performing in these local venues!

What’s your jam? You’ll find a great selection of live music right here in Pleasant Hill, or in the East Bay region where we’re located. Check out some of these exciting sounds and spots when you stay in Pleasant Hill as a guest!

What’s your jam?

The California Symphony is Classically Californian

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.

Toyota Pavilion at Concord: Plan Your Trip Around International Headliners

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!

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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