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  • Writer's pictureMeghana Gowda

Exploring Tri-Valley: A Scenic Journey Through California's Hidden Gem

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Welcome to the heart of California's charm, the one and only Tri-Valley. Nestled in the embrace of the San Francisco Bay Area, this hidden gem is about to become your new favorite escape. Imagine a place where urban sophistication meets the laid-back charm of the countryside. This region effortlessly balances the hustle and bustle of city life with the tranquility of sprawling vineyards and rolling hills.

Located just 35 miles east of San Francisco, Tri-Valley gets its name from the three major San Francisco Bay Area valleys - San Ramon Valley, Amador Valley, and Livermore Valley which comprises the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and the town of Danville. The region is a perfect blend of small-town coziness and big-city excitement. It has the winery, the scenic trails, and the kind of food scene that will make your taste buds do a happy dance.

In this blog, I will be your guide, uncovering hidden gems, sharing stories, and showcasing the unique flavors that make Tri-Valley a destination worth exploring. So, buckle up for an adventure that promises a taste of the good life, a touch of local magic, and a whole lot of California soul. Let's dive into the heart of Tri-Valley and discover what makes this corner of the world so special!


Getting to Tri-Valley is a breeze! If you're flying in, Oakland International Airport is your go-to, just a short hop away. You can also fly into San Francisco International Airport, pick up a rental car, and drive. If you are road-tripping, Cruise down I-580 or I-680, and you'll find yourself amidst the rolling hills and vineyards in no time. For city dwellers in San Francisco, a quick drive across the Bay Bridge is all it takes to escape the urban buzz and enter the laid-back charm of Tri-Valley. So, whether you're in for a flight, a drive, or a scenic commute, Tri-Valley is closer than you think, ready to welcome you with its California warmth.


Tri-Valley offers a range of accommodations to suit every taste and budget, ensuring your stay is as delightful as the region itself. If you're into the vineyard vibes, consider charming bed-and-breakfasts nestled among the rolling hills, offering a cozy and intimate experience. For those seeking a touch of luxury, there are upscale hotels and resorts with spa facilities, providing a perfect blend of comfort and indulgence.

If you're an outdoor enthusiast, check out boutique inns close to hiking trails or scenic parks. For a more urban experience, choose accommodations in the vibrant downtown areas of cities like Pleasanton, Livermore, or Dublin, where you'll find a mix of trendy hotels and boutique options.

We stayed at Pleasanton Marriott, located conveniently off the highway and in between Tri-Valley towns.  With its prime location, It has easy access to the picturesque Livermore Valley wine country and a range of local attractions. The Market Cafe at the hotel offers a complimentary daily breakfast. The restaurant also serves an Ala carte menu of Northern California cuisine with the local Pleasanton and California wine. The hotel's fitness center, pool, and business amenities ensure that both leisure and business travelers have everything they need. Overall, The Pleasanton Marriott provided a memorable stay with a perfect mix of luxury, accessibility, and hospitality.

For those seeking a tranquil and luxurious stay in close proximity to the vineyards, I recommend Purple Orchids Resort and Spa.



  • Danville - Downtown Danville is a charming center of the area. It is a quaint haven where historic charm meets modern vibrancy. Stroll around the town along the tree-lined streets, explore boutique shops, and savor the diverse culinary scene. Stop by Flaunt Boutique to shop for unique clothing, jewelry, and fun home accessories. Check out Cottage Jewel an amazing antique store. And take a picture of the Danville Oak Tree - estimated to be 350 years old a historical landmark of the town. Do not miss the tree lighting during the holiday season.

  • Pleasanton - Downtown Pleasanton is a delightful blend of small-town charm and urban energy. This town has a deep history connected to the racehorse Seabiscuit, bandits, brothels, and ghost stories. Many of the buildings in the town are connected by secret underground tunnels, many of which collapsed when the streets were first paved. Take a leisurely stroll along Main Street, where you'll find a mix of boutique shops, cozy cafes, a farmers market on Saturday, and vibrant local businesses, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that captures the heart of this East Bay gem. You can also see streets lined with fall colors during autumn. 

  • Livermore - Explore the vibrant pulse of Downtown Livermore where historic charm meets modern allure. With its lively mix of boutiques, eateries, and cultural spots, the downtown area exudes a friendly atmosphere, making it the perfect place to wander, shop, and savor the local flavors. Also, check out all the murals scattered across the Downtown Livermore.


Nestled in the scenic hills of Danville, the Blackhawk Museum stands as a captivating homage to automotive history and cultural heritage. It was established in 1988 by businessman and philanthropist Kenneth Behring. The museum initially focused on showcasing Behring's extensive collection of automobiles, including rare and historically significant models. Over the years, the museum expanded its scope to encompass not only classic cars but also a diverse array of exhibits that celebrate the intersection of automotive design, art, and culture.

The museum features six exhibits: the Classic Car Collection, Art of Africa, Pat’s Compact, Into China, World of Nature, and Spirit of the Old West. The museum's ambiance, coupled with the passion evident in the meticulously curated displays, made my visit a memorable experience. Whether you are a car enthusiast or someone seeking a taste of the past, the Blackhawk Museum is a captivating destination that transcends the ordinary, inviting you to marvel at the beauty of these timeless machines.

Blackhawk Museum,  3700 Blackhawk Plaza Cir, Danville, CA 94506

Open Friday - Sunday

10 am - 5 pm

Entry fee - $15


Hiking in the Tri-Valley area is a nature lover's delight, with an abundance of scenic trails that showcase the region's diverse landscapes. From the rolling hills of Pleasanton Ridge to the picturesque trails around Livermore's vineyards, there's a hike for every skill level. Explore the lush greenery of Del-Valle Regional Park or take in panoramic views from atop Mount Diablo State Park. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the Tri-Valley offers an array of hiking options that immerse you in the natural beauty of this Northern California gem.

  • Del Valley Regional Park - Del Valle Regional Park, nestled in the heart of Livermore Valley, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its expansive reservoir, the park offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and lakeside picnics, while its network of hiking and equestrian trails helps to explore the surrounding rolling hills and take in breathtaking views. There are spots with views and to relax even without hiking.  We went to Del Valle Marina and Lake Del Valle East Beach and stopped along the way for the sunset on the rolling hills at the Sunset View- Del Valle Ridge Trail. The entrance fee to the park is $6, you can stop at Del Valle Ridge Trail about a mile before the park for hiking trails and views without entering the park.

View of Mt. Diablo from Sunset View - Del Valle Regional Park

  • Mt. Diablo State Park - Mount Diablo State Park, located in the East Bay region of Northern California, is a natural treasure offering diverse outdoor experiences. Rising 3,849 feet above sea level, Mount Diablo provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Golden Gate Bridge on clear days. The park features an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, rock formations, and opportunities for wildlife observation, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike. The entrance fee to the park is $10. The best time to visit is during spring, you can see the green rolling hills and also the poppy superbloom. The road is windy but the journey is marked by scenic viewpoints offering breathtaking vistas of the surrounding valleys, rolling hills, and, on clear days, distant mountain ranges and the San Francisco Bay. 


Embarking on a bike ride through Livermore wine country is a delightful journey that blends the love of cycling with the enchanting allure of California's wine country. Pedaling along the scenic routes, you are treated to rolling hills adorned with vineyards, creating a picturesque backdrop for every turn of the wheel.

We rented an electric bike from Pedego in downtown Livermore and started our journey.  With the gentle hum of electric assistance, we can effortlessly traverse the rolling hills. The eBike's pedal-assist feature allows for a leisurely journey while soaking in the tranquil ambiance of the vineyards. 

The cost is about $50 for two hours or $75 for a full-day bike rental. There are other tours too, like the one we did a guided bike tour through wine country, visiting the winery and wine tasting. It's a perfect fusion of outdoor exploration, wine tasting, and the joy of riding, creating an unforgettable experience for both cycling enthusiasts and those seeking a leisurely way to discover the beauty of Livermore's wine country.


One of the best-kept secrets in the Tri-Valley region is the Livermore Wine Country.  Nestled in the picturesque Livermore Valley, the wine country offers a captivating blend of rolling vineyards, historic wineries, and a warm Mediterranean climate. Renowned for its award-winning wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, this region invites everyone to savor exquisite flavors while enjoying breathtaking landscapes.

The Livermore Valley Wine Country is one of the oldest wine regions in California and there are over 50 with tasting rooms offering different wine tasting experiences.

We peddled through the wine trails of Livermore and visited two of the region's finest wineries. 

  • Murrieta’s Well - Murrieta’s Well is one of California’s original wine estates and has been growing grapes since the 1800s. The vineyard was started with cuttings from the famed Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux vineyards in France. The tasting room, housed within a century-old structure, exudes historical charm. The accompanying historic barrel room adds a touch of authenticity, while the vibrant patio, adorned with live music, infuses the visit with a lively and convivial atmosphere, creating a perfect blend of heritage and contemporary enjoyment. Murrieta's Well offers a diverse range of wine-tasting experiences, from the exquisite Wine & Food Pairing (which we did) where each sip is complemented by carefully crafted culinary delights, to the leisurely Sunday Brunch that combines delightful morning fare with exceptional wines. For those seeking a more active and scenic adventure, the Sunset Hike lets you to explore the vineyard's beauty as you sip on fine wines, creating a multifaceted and memorable visit for every palate and preference.

  • Concannon Vineyard - Concannon Vineyard is one of the founding families of the California wine industry. Recognizing the remarkable resemblance of Livermore Valley to the premier terroirs of France, James Concannon became one of the first to craft Bordeaux-style wines, leaving an enduring legacy in the history of winemaking. It is the second-largest winery in the area and home to America’s first Petite Sirah. Concannon Vineyard captivates with its quaint and picturesque setting, featuring a Victorian house, vine-covered pergolas, historic wine cellars, and a charming barrel room. Every corner of the winery beckons with capture-worthy moments, creating an ideal destination that seamlessly combines the pleasures of wine appreciation along with enjoying the perfect outdoor setting.


Tri-Valley is not only known for its rolling hills trail or wine trail it also has an Ice Cream trail, a Caffeine trail, and a Mural walk. 

Satisfy your sweet tooth on the Ice Cream Trail, a delightful journey through local creameries serving up scoops of creative flavors in the sun-drenched California afternoons. Ice-Cream Trail Map

Meadowlark Dairy

Embark on the Caffeine Trail in Tri-Valley, where cozy cafes and artisanal roasters fuel your day with a jolt of java joy. Caffeine Trail Map

Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture with Mural Walks, wandering through streets adorned with colorful murals that tell stories of the community's history and creativity, making each stroll a visual feast. Mural Guide


Tri-Valley is one of the best places to catch fall foliage. You will be surprised to see the explosion of autumnal colors starting early October through December. I have listed the locations of the places where we saw the beautiful fall colors.

  • Pleasanton Downtown

  • Livermore Wine Country (Wine Trail)

  • Sycamore Grove Park

  • Ravenswood Historic Site

  • Iron Horse Trail

  • Livermore Downtown

  • Sunset Neighborhood Park/Parkway Park (Arroyo Bike Trail)

  • Vineyards (Concannon Vineyard, Murrieta's Well)

You can find the complete details about where to find fall colors in the Tri-Valley here!!


The Tri-Valley stands out as a culinary haven, making it the best place to eat in the Bay Area. From gastropubs and farm-to-table eateries to authentic Italian and innovative sushi spots, Tri-Valley encapsulates the essence of culinary diversity. Renowned for its commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients, the restaurants in this area boast an irresistible fusion of flavors. Whether savoring a gourmet meal with a view in Livermore's wine country or exploring the charming streets of Pleasanton for a cozy pub atmosphere, Tri-Valley provides a gastronomic adventure that caters to every palate.

Here are some of the places where we ate during our visit to Tri-Valley.

  • Oyo - Oyo cooking is inspired by the term “muxalace” which suggests a pot of diverse flavors and heritages while trying back to its Guyanese origins. Oyo cooking incorporates dishes from the Caribbean, West Africa, South America, and Eastern Asia. We tried Fried Green Plantains, Dhalpuri Roti, Pholorie, and Paella de Vegan. Everything was delicious, highly recommend trying Fried green plantains and Paella.

  • Nonni’s Bistro - Modern European cuisine served in a refined space with a casual vibe & sidewalk tables. Makes a perfect breakfast spot.

  • Ruby & Roses - It is a legendary historical estate that has been transformed into an elegant dining experience. I loved the ambiance, decor, music, food, and service. We got Spicy ciopino pasta and Tamale ravioli.

  • Burma Burma - This was my favorite. They serve some of the best authentic Burmese food in the Bay Area. We got the Burmese samosa, Palata, Pineapple fried rice, and Mixed vegetable curry. I recommend everything, it was delicious.

  • Monica’s - A local favorite. It is located in what was formerly one of Livermore’s earliest wineries. They serve hearty breakfasts, sweet bakery treats, and savory lunches every day of the week. Must try Burgers and Cinnamon rolls.

  • Piatte - Traditional Italian trattoria with an open kitchen & pizzas from a stone-hearth oven. Must try pasta, pizzas, wine, and Tiramisu.

  • Inchin's Bamboo Garden - Indian & Chinese foods share the menu at this contemporary local chain featuring Asian art. They serve Indo-Chinese food, which is popular in India. Must try Veg Manchow soup, Chinese Bhel & Crispy Chili Baby Corn.

Hope this guide helps you plan your visit to Tri-Valley and explore this California's Hidden Gem!!


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