Play & Swim at Pleasant Hill Park
Visit Pleasant Hill Park, one of the city’s primary destinations for families. The park is huge and well kept, maintained by the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District. Featuring expansive lawns, BBQ pits, and picnic areas, the park is a great place to host parties. It’s perfect to bring kids or play sports, including several playground structures, a sand pit, a baseball field, basketball courts, bocce ball courts, and a fenced-in area for toddlers. Many of the park’s open spaces are surrounded by gorgeous redwood trees, providing plenty of shade. Attached to the park is Pleasant Hill Aquatic Park, featuring two public pools and a spray-ground. Come for exercise during lap swim or one of the facility’s water fitness classes, or sign your kids up for swim lessons and bring them to play during recreation swim. The park is also attached to Pleasant Hill’s Teen Center and Senior Center.
Bike the Contra Costa Canal Trail
Contra Costa Canal Trail meanders around Contra Costa County, connecting Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Walnut Creek, and Concord. It runs alongside the Contra Costa Canal, which has been supplying water to local crops since the 1930s. The paved trail is open for walkers, runners, bikers, skaters, people in wheelchairs, and even horses. It is four miles long, connecting to schools, shopping centers, public transportation, and quite a few local parks, including Las Juntas Park, Larkey Park, Heather Farm Park, and Lime Ridge. Take the trail to get a scenic tour of the Contra Costa suburbs, or use it to get to one of the regional trails it connects to, like the California State Riding and Hiking Trail, the Briones-to-Mt. Diablo Trail, the Iron Horse Trail, and the Delta De Anza Trail. See a map of the trail here.
Attend an event at Diablo Valley College
Diablo Valley College is one of the best community colleges around, ranking among the top five transfer schools in California. The school hosts many events that are open to the public, including culinary events and live performances. The dance department hosts a winter and a spring production every year, and the music department puts on a series of evening concerts and free daytime concerts. The drama department also produces five shows each year, including at least one musical. Other reasons to visit include the chance to see the school’s Art Gallery, its Garden and Greenhouse, or one of its library exhibits, which are curated by students and may feature anything from art to historical items.
Visit The Brookwood Park Labyrinth
Brookwood Park is a six-acre park featuring a picnic area, BBQ pits, a playground, and a basketball court. The main draw of this spot, though, is the Brookwood Park Labyrinth. The labyrinth took almost a year to design and fundraise, finally completed by a group of volunteers in June 2015. The concept was conceived by people from Kindred At Home Hospice, intended as a space to host a yearly service for families with members who have been through hospice care. Throughout the rest of the year, it serves as the perfect public place for peaceful meditation.
Bring Your Dog To Paso Nogal Park
Paso Nogal Park is a popular spot to bring pups. It features plenty of grassy space for dogs to run around with each other, and benches for owners to relax on. There is a small fenced area for dogs under 25 pounds to play safely, and another fenced area for big dogs, too. The park has a decent amount of shade and a small parking lot attached. Trails lead off through the hills surrounding the park, leading to gorgeous views of Mt. Diablo. The park also features another side that is not open to dogs. People primarily visit Paso Nogal for its dog park, so if you choose to visit the other half of the park, you’ll likely find peace and solitude. Unfortunately, the park is not open on Sundays.
Attend The Art, Jazz, & Wine Festival
Pleasant Hill’s Art, Jazz, & Wine Festival is an annual fall event, featuring free music, lots of wine and beer, and arts and crafts. The festival is put on by the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Merchants and the City of Pleasant Hill blocking off Downtown Pleasant Hill’s Crescent Ave for the two-day celebration. This year’s event will feature an expanded Kids’ Zone, including a rock climbing wall, live theater shows, water balls, a bouncy house, face painting, a clown, and a musician. Watch the recap video from 2014 and browse through past years’ photos for a taste of what to expect. If you want to get involved behind the scenes, reach out to volunteer at the festival.
Visit Dinosaur Hill Park
Referred to by locals as Dino Hill, this park is hidden around the bend of Taylor Boulevard. It features 13 acres of open space for visitors to explore, hiking around and enjoying beautiful views of the east bay and Mt. Diablo. The park is accessible only on the northbound side of Taylor, featuring a small parking lot connecting to its two trails. The park is a popular spot to watch sunsets or 4th of July fireworks, and a notorious haven for high schoolers to hang out. As rumor has it, there is a nearby abandoned house to explore on spooky nights.
Explore Downtown Pleasant Hill
One of the most popular places to visit in the city is Downtown Pleasant Hill. The downtown area features plenty of restaurants, shopping, and places to pamper yourself. Come downtown to see a movie at the Century 16 theater or browse through one of the area’s primary stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Golfsmith, Hyatt House, Michaels Arts & Crafts, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Ross Dress for Less. Downtown Pleasant Hill is the main location for the city’s events and holiday celebrations, including a summer concert series, car shows, the 4th of July 5K and parade, and the Light Up the Night winter holiday celebration. Watch this video for a taste of the downtown scene.
Play Some Games at Rodgers-Smith Park
Rodgers-Smith Park is small, clean, and well maintained, spanning 4.5 acres. This spot is likely to offer more privacy than other parks in the city and it’s a good alternative if you’re looking for a more mellow experience than that of Pleasant Hill Park. It’s a popular spot for picnic events, like company picnics and birthday parties, featuring a reservable picnic area with BBQ pits. It also offers a softball field, a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, and lighted bocce courts.