Welcome to Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek was a city historically known within the region as a transportation hub. Located at the northern edge of the San Ramon Valley, it once served as a major county stop for the Sacramento Northern Railway and as a branch line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Though those two particular transit routes have since faded into historical obscurity, it seems the destiny of Walnut Creek was always to be a transit hub. Today, the city sits at the intersection of several county transportation lines, several Bay Area Rapid Transit lines, and Interstate 680 and State Highway 24.
Lay of the Land
Walnut Creek is located in the center of Contra Costa County, just 16 miles east of the city of Oakland. Positioned at the northern edge of the San Ramon Valley, Walnut Creek is also just south of Concord, just east of Lafayette, and also surrounded by several smaller rural county communities. Like every city in the county, the Walnut Creek Skyline is dominated by Mount Diablo to the west.
With a total population of 66,900, Walnut creek is one of the largest cities within the county. In addition to being located along the intersection of several regional transportation lines, the city is also positioned close enough to edge of the county to serve as a bedroom community for San Francisco and Oakland. This has resulted in an average household income of $75,759 and an average home value of $588,600.
While not necessarily a planned occurrence, circumstance and basic geography have conspired to make Walnut Creek a regional transit hub. On the traditional ground side, the city is located at the intersection of Interstate 680 and State Highway 24. Interstate 680 is a major regional roadway which connects San Jose and Sacramento, while State Highway 24 connects directly to the Oakland area.
The city is also home to a Bay Area Rapid Transit terminal. The terminal connects to BART stations in the San Francisco Area as well as to the BART station located in Pittsburg in the eastern section of Contra Costa County. Finally, the city is also served by County Connection’s. County Connection’s provides a series of shuttles and bus lines which connect most most of the cities in the east and central sections of the county, including Concord and the cities in the San Ramon Valley.
Despite the size of the city, Walnut Creek has the downtown region of a much smaller and tighter knit community. The area features numerous renovated and remodeled locations in addition to a plethora of parking spaces which contrast nicely with the historic locations and original structures. The area also features a wide range of retail locations, ranging from tiny, locally operated secondhand stores, to sprawling storefronts operated by high end nationally recognizable chains. The dining side of things is equally diverse, with everything from local food trucks to high end ethnic eateries equally represented.
The downtown region is also the site of numerous events and community programs. These include programs such as the lamp post adoption program which is designed to promote community ownership and togetherness or the locally sponsored farmers market. It also includes programs designed to facilitate local musicians through live performances and local artists through traditional gallery displays. Events include a wide range of seasonal activities and less formal weekly street festivals designed to showcase local artisans and food truck operators.
Finally, despite serving as a minor metropolitan area and de facto regional transportation center, Walnut Creek is also home to over 2,800 acres of open space. The Shell Ridge Open Space Preserve, Diablo Foothills Regional Park, and Lime Ridge Open Space preserve are all located at least partially within the city limits. Additionally, Briones Regional Park sits just to the west of the city. These locations are on top of the dozens of locally managed and operated park and recreational locations available for general public use.