Walnut Creek is a city located in the Contra Costa County of California. It is in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 16 miles east of the city of Oakland. It is a hub for its neighboring towns because it is located at the junctions of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose (Interstate-680) and San Francisco/Oakland (SR-24). Walnut Creek is also accessed by BART, the Bay Area Regional Transit. Walnut Creek has a total population of 70,127 per the 2020 census.
The development of Walnut Creek was stimulated by the arrival of Southern Pacific Railroad service in 1891. On October 21, 1914, Walnut Creek and the surrounding area were incorporated as the 8th city in Contra Costa County. As of 2010, The racial makeup of Walnut Creek was 78.7 percent White, 1.6 percent African American, 0.2 percent Native American, 12.5 percent Asian, 0.2 percent Pacific Islander, 2.5 percent from other races, and 4.2 percent from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.6 percent of the population.
Walnut Creek’s warm summer Mediterranean climate is typical of California’s interior valleys. In summer, high pressure results in full sunshine and almost no precipitation. Days start cool but quickly warm up, with high temperatures generally in the 80s Fahrenheit. Temperatures of 100 °F or hotter occur numerous times during heatwaves, however. Winters are mild with some rainfall.
There are many great places to visit in Walnut Creek. The Lesher Center for the Arts is the City’s Performing and Visual Arts Center. It provides a variety of entertainment options in its three theaters. The Bedford Gallery is housed in the Lesher Center for the Arts and provides programs such as “Art Mornings” and educational tours. The Lindsay Wildlife Experience, located in Larkey Park, displays live wildlife in California at its Exhibit Hall and operates a nationally recognized animal hospital and rehabilitation center.
The Shadelands Ranch Museum is a 1903 redwood-framed home designed by early Walnut Creek pioneer Hiram Penniman. It is a museum of numerous historical artifacts, many of which belonged to the Pennimans. It also maintains a rich archive of Contra Costa and Walnut Creek history in its collections of old newspapers, images, and government records. The museum is in the National Register of Historic Places and belongs to the city, but is operated by the Walnut Creek Historical Society.
The Gardens at Heather Farm is a six-acre hillside next to Heather Farm Park. Twenty-three demonstration gardens are living classrooms for children and adults, showcasing landscape styles and plants adapted to our Mediterranean climate. Ruth Bancroft Garden features hundreds of cacti and succulents found in the garden planted by Ruth Bancroft. Bancroft’s late husband’s family had established a fruit farm in the Ygnacio Valley more than 100 years ago. The house and the grounds for the events can be reserved.
Walnut Creek is served by its daily newspaper, The East Bay Times. Walnut Creek TV is the city’s government-access TV channel that covers local government and community events.