Walnut Creek is often referred to as “The Jewel of the East Bay” with its sweeping mountain vistas, extraordinary weather, and exceptional shopping, food and entertainment.
Some of the City’s shining gems include the downtown’s bustling dining scene, independent shops, the 16.5-acre Civic Park, easy access to the many health and fitness clubs that have sprouted up over that past several years, and the outdoor shopping center, Broadway Plaza, featuring 77 retail businesses. And a special entertainment ‘gem’ that shines brightly within downtown Walnut Creek is the 1,200 seat Lesher Center for the Arts. Look for more information about the Center’s Rudney Plaza which will be unveiled later this summer! This expansion will provide an outdoor stage for all to enjoy.
Then there are the amazing little gems . . .
There is no doubt, downtown Walnut Creek is geographically desirable by most standards. Easy access to BART makes the downtown accessible via the free trolley which chauffeurs you to and from BART. Over 120 restaurants scattered throughout the downtown offer menus from around the world. Make a reservation to dine al fresco at your favorite restaurant including over 20 temporary pop-ups on downtown streets and private patios. The Sunday morning downtown Farmer’s Market is a big hit each week and is the perfect place to shop for fresh, local produce and artisanal treats.
Walnut Creek is one of the few East Bay cities that has its own downtown business association. Walnut Creek Downtown (WCD) is a non-profit association made up of over 650 downtown business members. The organization’s mission is to work with its members, partners and community to promote and enhance downtown business vitality. The WCD staff of four accomplishes this goal through advocacy, beautification, events and marketing efforts. Businesses outside the downtown area may join as Associate Members for an annual fee of $500.
WCD’s collaborative work with various community partners such as the City of Walnut Creek, the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau and Diablo Regional Arts Association create programming and events for residents and visitors to enjoy all that the downtown has to offer.
WCD is long known for its beloved signature community events including Walnut Creek First Wednesday’s, Walnut Creek Uncorked, Oktoberfest, Holiday Stroll, and Walnut Creek on Ice. Due to Covid-19, 2020 events are on hold. WCD Executive Director Kathy Hemmenway says, “Sadly, many of our popular downtown events have been canceled for the year, but we plan to be back stronger than ever when it is safe to do so.”
Because events are the largest revenue source for WCD, they decided to launch a Go Fund Me Charity so they can retain staff and continue offering events, and economic and marketing support to downtown businesses during this critical time. Another recent WCD fundraising effort was the creation of the Walnut Creek Together campaign. WCD launched a popular apparel fundraiser selling baseball caps, tanks and t-shirts. All proceeds benefit Covid-19 recovery for downtown businesses. To learn more about these two fundraising opportunities or to learn about other WCD programs visit www.walnutcreekdowntown.com.
Walnut Creek – your Jewel of the East Bay is a city to be proud of. Embrace it! Shop and dine locally! Residents, visitors and your business community – together – continues to make your downtown shine.
By Kerry Inserra, Assoicate Director Walnut Creek Downtown Business Assoc.