Resting at the foot of 3,849-foot Mount Diablo, the neighboring communities of Walnut Creek and Concord anchor San Francisco's East Bay region. Both have vibrant downtowns and an abundance of shopping possibilities, including 1.4-million-square-foot Sun Valley Shopping Center in Concord and downtown Walnut Creek's Broadway Plaza, an open-air shopping center encircled by topiaries, sculptures and European-styled fountains. The focal point of downtown Concord is Todos Santos Plaza, which encompasses an entire city block and is known for its farmers market, free summer concerts and large number of surrounding restaurants. East Bay event venues include the highly acclaimed Lesher Center for the Arts as well as the third-largest opera company in the Bay Area. Walnut Creek alone boasts more than 100 restaurants and nightclubs.
Walnut Creek and Concord are about 30 miles from Oakland International Airport, which is served by all major airlines, offering nonstop flights to many destinations. Along with taxis, there are multiple shuttle services at approximately $50/person and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) goes directly from OIA to several destinations in Walnut Creek.
Among the meeting venues in East Bay are Walnut Creek's 338-room Marriott Hotel, which has 17,000 square feet of meeting space and can host a meeting of up to 400 people. Complementing the Marriott are the 161-room Holiday Inn Express and the 24-room Diablo Mountain Inn. Concord meetings hotels include the 324-room Crowne Plaza, with 26,300 square feet of meeting space, the 329-room Concord Hilton, with 19,000 square feet of function space, the 194-room Clarion, with 5,400 square feet of space for meetings, the 122-room Best Western Plus Heritage Inn, which has 2,500 square feet of function space; and the 142-suite Hyatt House, which offers 1,830 square feet of function space.
Non-hotel meeting venues in the East Bay area include Concord's 8,000-seat outdoor SleepTrain Pavilion arena, and in Walnut Creek Shadelands Art Center Auditorium can host a meeting of up to 350 people; Civic Park Community Center has a capacity of 250 people; Heather Farm Community Center's Lakeside Room can accommodate 200 people for a meeting; and the Oak View Room at the Walnut Creek Downtown Library can seat 150 people.
The possibilities for special events in the East Bay area range from massively fun activities for several hundred at Waterworld California, to a refined and elegant reception for 300 at Boundary Oaks Golf Course. At Lindsay Wildlife Museum receptions are held in a hall with displays of 50 species of live California animals that are being sheltered by the museum. At Heather Farm Garden Center groups of up to 150 people can use either the Camellia Room, with floor-to-ceiling windows opening on to Mt. Diablo and the gardens, or The Rose Garden, which features thousands of roses continuously blooming from May through October. And the Lesher Center for the Arts features the 785-seat Hoffman Theater, the 297-seat Lesher Theatre and the 133-seat Knight Stage theater, along with the Hofmann Rotunda, and Bedford Gallery (a capacity of 250).
Both Concord and Walnut Creek provide some excellent group-friendly restaurants. Scott's Seafood Grill and Bar, with its beautifully appointed private rooms, can host from 10 to 250 people. Sasa, situated in the historic 100-year-old building that for many years housed the Walnut Creek Meat Market, prepares Japanese influenced dishes from around the world, with an emphasis on a unique variety of fresh seafood delivered daily from Tokyo's world-famous Tsukiji fish market and Oahu's Auction block. Lark Creek Walnut Creek serves seasonal farm-fresh American fare in a light and airy atmosphere around an exhibition kitchen. And Vic Stewarts, located in the Walnut Creek's historic 1891 train depot, is an award-winning steak, seafood and pasta restaurant.
Together the cities have more than 100,000 acres of accessible open space and nearly 600 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.