Located just 35 miles east of San Francisco, Tri-Valley is a great destination for a weekend away in the Bay Area. The region is home to California’s oldest wine region, a variety of outdoor activities and recreation spaces, and an award-winning shopping and dining scene.
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Tri-Valley comprises three valleys – Amador Valley, Livermore Valley and San Ramon Valley – and encompasses the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and the Town of Danville.
The region is not as well known as Napa Valley or Sonoma County, but it offers a variety of things to do in the charming towns just outside of San Francisco. It’s the perfect place for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to escape the city.
We visited Tri-Valley on our California road trip and found it to be a very laid-back, fun and diverse region to explore. It had the perfect mix of rolling hills, wineries, great food and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors!
We found plenty of fun things to do in Livermore, Pleasanton, Danville and all the other towns in Tri-Valley. Find our tips and highlights below!
The towns of the Tri-Valley region are located next door to each other, so you can base yourself in any of the towns while exploring the area. The drive between Livermore in the southeast and Danville in the North of the region is only 30 mins.
We visited them all during our stay in Tri-Valley and found each one to be a little different from the other.
As the most populous city in the valley, Livermore, California is a very popular place to visit. Located on the eastern edge of the region, it’s home to the main wineries of Livermore Valley. In the downtown area, you’ll find independent shops, delicious restaurants, and a buzzing vibe with live outdoor music on the weekend around the Lizzie Fountain Park.
Livermore is home to the Pacific Chamber Orchestra at the Bankhead Theater and local galleries and exhibitions at Livermore Art Association. It’s a popular destination for art and culture lovers! The town is also home to the famous San Francisco Premium Outlets, a popular destination for shoppers who want to visit California’s largest outdoor outlet center.
There are plenty of things to do in Livermore area beyond downtown. The surrounding world-class wineries can be explored by car or on a vineyard tour with Livermore Wine Trolley tours.
But it’s not all about wine either! There are a number of other active Livermore tours to choose from and plenty of hiking, paddling and biking opportunities in Del Valle Regional Park, Sycamore Grove Regional Park and Brushy Peak Regional Preserve.
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Located in the Amador Valley, Pleasanton is one of the smaller cities in the Tri-Valley area. It’s situated between Livermore and Dublin and is a very likable place with bike-friendly paths, historic buildings, al fresco dining, boutique stores and coffee shops lining the main street.
Often considered one of the best places to live in America, Dublin straddles the intersection of two main highways in the Tri-Valley area. Its central location and easy access make it a great destination to base yourself while exploring the region.
Dublin has a bit of everything, from park spaces to shops and nearby restaurants which make it a great place to visit.
The charming town of Danville is another popular destination in Tri-Valley. Located in San Ramon Valley, it offers a has a nice blend of upscale dining and shopping with friendly locals and a variety of special events throughout the year.
It’s also particularly known as a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, with trails, parks and spacious green areas not far from town. It’s also the closest town to the park entrances for Mount Diablo a popular outdoor playground in the area. There are plenty of things to do in Danville, no matter what your interests.
Best Things to do in Tri-Valley
There are plenty of things to do in Livermore, Pleasanton, and Danville when visiting Tri-Valley. Each town offers its own attractions, a plethora of restaurants and activities that you can explore during a visit to this San Francisco Bay Area.
To make it easier to plan a visit, we’ve grouped them all into one list below.
Go Wine Tasting
With over 50 wineries in Livermore Valley Wine Country, there are lots of options for every palette. Each winery is unique in its own way and offers a different wine tasting experience. Despite being lesser known than the nearby Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, the Livermore Valley region is rich with history and flavour.
It’s one of the oldest wine regions in California dating back to the late 1800s when pioneer winemakers C. H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore recognized this area’s wine-growing potential. Today, Livermore Valley is home to many award-winning wineries creating high-quality wine, and housing kind-hearted, dedicated winemakers.
You can check out the Livermore Wine County map below to plan your wine route or visit Livermore Valley Wine County Association to find wineries and tasting rooms offering your favourite varietals and visit options. Don’t miss our favourites below, featuring a couple of Livermore’s sustainable vineyards and wineries!
Wente Vineyards is, arguably, the most iconic winery in Livermore, California. Founded in 1883, the historic estate of Wente is the oldest continuously operating family-owned winery not just in Livermore Valley but in the whole country. Wente is a certified sustainable vineyard and winery by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, an impressive achievement that’s uncommon in the industry. Their sustainable practices focus on water conservation, regenerative farming practices, reduction of carbon emissions and energy expenditure, and other sustainable initiatives throughout the supply chain.
Wine Tastings at Wente start at $30/per person. Their tasting room has an outdoor patio where you can enjoy a tasting flight paired with light snacks from the onsite restaurant. For wine lovers, wine tasting at Wente is definitely one of the best things to do in Livermore, California.
Concannon is the second largest winery in Livermore, CA producing more than 30,000 cases on an annual basis. The winery is well known for its Petit Sirah and its iconic California Cabernet Sauvignon.
Concannon was among the first seventeen California wineries to become certified sustainable and adhere to the best sustainable practices to this day.
The tasting room at Concannon is open Thursday through Monday and while reservations are encouraged to guarantee your table, they are not required. Tastings start at $25/per person.
Darcie Kent Vineyards
Located just east of town, Darcie Kent Vineyards is one of the best wineries to visit around Livermore, CA. It’s much smaller than Wente and Concannon and is family-owned and operated. The estate is located in the heart of Livermore Valley Wine Country and is run by the fifth generation vintner and artist, Darcie Kent.
Darcie and the team at Darcie Kent Vineyards are committed to forging and sustaining a world-class, family-owned estate winery. They grow, barrel, and bottle all of their own wines.
Their tasting room is located outside the historic barn overlooking the vineyard. At $20 per person, tastings at Darcie Kent offer an affordable way to try their award-winning wines.
Join a tour with Livermore Wine Trolley
If you can’t decide which wineries to visit while in Livermore or don’t want to spend hours doing the research, consider joining a tour with Livermore Wine Trolley. It’s an easy way to get around to some of the best wineries in Livermore Valley in a short time.
The trolley takes you around to a range of vineyards including Concannon Vineyard, Las Positas Vineyards and Garre Vineyard and more.
The knowledgeable tour guides can help you understand a bit more about the region and the wines you’ll be sampling. They offer a group tour, private guided tour or special tours for birthdays or corporate events.
We didn’t get to experience this tour firsthand, but heard that the Livermore Wine Trolley is one of the most fun things to do in Livermore, California!
Follow the Tri-Valley Beer Trail
Tired of wine? Don’t fret, because there is no shortage of craft breweries in California’s Tri-Valley. There are lots of options in each town, so you can find a spot for a refreshing pint no matter where you are staying. A Friday night enjoying a pint here is definitely one of the best things to do in Livermore, CA.
During our visit we enjoyed a tasting flight at the Altamont Beer Works, a craft brewery in Livermore that focuses on fresh, clean beers, specializing in balanced ales. Altamont Beer is part of the Tri-Valley Beer Trail and features a rotating set of food trucks and themed events throughout the year.
Visit Cafes on a Tri-Valley Caffeine Trail
The Tri-Valley Caffeine Trail is a collection of cafés, coffee houses, and tea rooms in the Tri-Valley that you can visit during your time in the region. Each cafe comes serves up something different, from coffee creations to sweet boba tea, great artisanal teas.
Follow the Ice Cream Trail
There is a trail for everything in the Tri-Valley and ice cream is no exception. There are more than 10 different ice cream parlours, creameries and gelato spots in the Tri-Valley, dotted around all the major towns. Pick one that’s closest to your dinner spot to enjoy a delicious dessert on your visit.
Meadowlark in Pleasanton is one of the most iconic spots, serving up unique flavoured soft serve in town. Uji Time Dessert is a Japanese-inspired spot serving up ice cream, mochi, matcha, milkshakes, and tea. And Icicles offers great vegan options.
Get Outside and Enjoy the Hiking Trails
Take in the View from Mount Diablo
Located just northeast of Danville, Mount Diablo is one of the region’s most popular attractions and is not to be missed. The mountain rises to 3849 ft (1173 meters) above Mt Diablo State Park, offering an incredible lookout over the hills.
You can drive all the way to the summit, where you’ll find a visitor center and observation deck with panoramic views across the valleys below. If it’s a clear day you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
There are lots of hiking trails, mountain biking and camping options in the park. And if you happen to be visiting in Spring, it’s also a great spot to see some beautiful wildflowers.
Del Valle Regional Park
Del Valle Regional Park is another popular hiking destination in Livermore, CA. The park covers 4316 acres of large green space. Its main feature is the 5-mile long lake. There are many activities to enjoy in the park, including paddle boarding, boating, kayaking, horseback riding and hiking.
You can take a long hiking trail from the northern shore right from the parking area. The Del Valle Lake Trail offers incredible views over the open space as it meanders along the northeastern shore. For another spectacular hike, you can try the Del Valle Ridge Trail which is further south and begins from the edge of Del Valle Road just before the park entrance. This was our favourite trail in the park as it offered great views of the lake and the valley below.
There is a main marina area and campground on the southeastern shore. The park is a popular destination with locals and out of towners in the summer. It’s totally worth a visit to Del Valle Regional Park on a sunny day, with plenty of kids activities for the whole family to enjoy a weekend amongst nature.
Best Restaurants in Tri-Valley
One of the fun things about the Tri-Valley is that there are so many great places to eat and sample some of the best local food. From modern restaurants to trendy organic cafes, you’ll find a bit of everything in the region. Here are some of our favourite spots
Located just one block up from Lizzie Fountain Park in Downtown Livermore on Railroad Ave, Range Life is a Michelin Bib Gourmet restaurant owned and run by the award-winning chef, Bill Niles. This chic spot specializes in seasonal and modern American cuisine, sourcing ingredients from local growers, farmers and ranchers. It’s a popular spot, so be sure to make reservations ahead.
Sideboard is a cozy cafe in downtown Danville, serving up everything from breakfast to lunch to dinner. We came here for breakfast and loved their focus on local, natural, organic and sustainable ingredients. Even the coffee beans are ethically sourced! The cafe has a lovely outdoor seating area and is part of the Tri-Valley Caffeine Trail, so it’s a worthy stop.
Danville Harvest is a rustic bistro known particularly for its fresh organic ingredients sourced from local farms around Danville. Head Chef Paul Durias brings to life his passion for sustainable farm-to-table food with a creative menu. There is a large outdoor heated patio area, which makes it a great brunch or lunch spot. The menu also features homemade cocktails and a huge whiskey selection if you visit for dinner.
Locanda Amalfi is an authentic Italian restaurant and a popular choice in Pleasanton. Open for lunch and dinner, this bright place features incredible Mediterranean food made with local ingredients. Like any true Italian restaurant, Locanda’s pizza and pasta are the top choices, with wine and cocktails to match.
Meadowlark Dairy is a must-stop in Downtown Pleasanton on the famous Tri-Valley Ice Cream Trail. This place was founded in the early 1900s with the dairy built-in 1968. So, it has a long-standing history and is known as one of the best ice cream shops in Pleasanton. Meadowlark features a drive-thru (or walk-up) service offering unique flavours of traditional soft serves ice cream and other dairy products.
Located on Livermore Ave, Wingen Bakery is one of the best bakeries in Tri-Valley. After selling their home-baked sourdough at local farmer’s markets, the Wingens finally opened their own store in 2021. They now bake fresh bagels, sourdough loaves and pastries, along with coffee, loose leaf tea and wine.
The Press Cafe
With two locations, one in Pleasanton and one in Livermore CA, The Press Cafe is a great place for lunch during your trip to the East Bay Area. Focusing on an artisan approach to food, the cafe uses best local, seasonal and organic ingredients and offers a great lunch menu. Their open-face toasties are to die for and they also make a mean Matcha Latte!
Where to Stay in Tri-Valley
While there are plenty of places to stay in Livermore Valley, and other parts of Tri-Valley, we really enjoyed our stay at Aloft in Dublin. We found the location to be perfect for exploring the region. We were 20 mins away from Danville and 15 mins away from Livermore Wine Valley.
Located between Dublin and Pleasanton, this modern hotel is in a convenient spot to explore the incredible valleys and surrounding wine region. It’s a very clean and sleek hotel with splashes of color throughout with funky art pieces and rugs.
They offer a range of rooms ranging from King Suites to family-friendly options. It’s also pet friendly, which is perfect if you’re planning on bringing along your four-legged friend for the weekend.
Aloft is a LEED Certified hotel with a long list of sustainability initiatives, including zero waste single-use plastic policy, bulk amenities, reclaimed water re-use system, water refill station, recycling initiatives, low flow toilets, and more. They have 4 EV Charging Stations, including 2 Tesla Destination Chargers and 2 others, which was ideal as we were traveling around California in a Tesla rental car and loved that we could charge up while parked at the hotel overnight.
Some of the other features we liked were the outdoor pool, grab-and-go breakfast every day and a room service bot named Boltr and an Alexa in every room.
Our visit to Tri-Valley was so much fun! We found the region to be very underrated and full of gems to be discovered. It’s a perfect destination to visit if you are looking for affordable wine tasting, great food and outdoor activities. Tri-Valley offers all that and more!
Disclaimer: Big thanks to Visit Tri Valley and Visit California for hosting us during our time in Tri Valley. As always, all opinions expressed in this article are our own.