Prepare to Be Charmed by This East Bay Gem: A Guide to Pleasanton


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Pleasanton is a city with a colorful past. From its days as a dusty, Wild West stagecoach stop, it has blossomed into a town filled with art and family adventure. Discover everything the City of Pleasanton has to offer, whether you plan to stay for a while or are just riding through!

Kottinger Barn - Pleasanton



Tawny Park
Grab some frozen yogurt or another treat from the quaint Vintage Hills Shopping Plaza and walk across the street to Tawny Park. This park, complete with play structure, is nestled near a large, grassy playing field and basketball court.

400 Tawny Dr.
Pleasanton, Ca

Mission Hills Park - Pleasanton


Mission Hills Park
Beneath the shade of this park’s senior willow trees is the perfect place for a family picnic. Kids love the old wooden bridge and the creek that winds beneath (playing billy goats gruff is still a favorite game!). With multiple play structures and sloping hills, the kids will have plenty to explore and lots of room to run. But the best, and most memorable, feature has to be the 50-foot metal slide. Even parents have to give it a try!

600 Junipero
Pleasanton, Ca

Veteran’s Plaza Park
After a morning at the Farmers’ Market or browsing boutique stores, your kiddos may need a minute to climb and run. The downtown park is parallel to busy Main Street but still offers a peaceful reprieve, and it is surrounded by large pine trees for optimal shade. (Psst! If you’re walking from Main, take W. Angela Street towards Peters to grab some Tully’s coffee, first!)

550 Peters Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

bmx_park_pleasantonPhoto: Ryan D. via Yelp

BMX Facility
Your aspiring BMX pro will love this hard-packed dirt course. Enter the parking lot from Stanley Blvd for the easiest access (parking lot available). But, if you’re looking for a hiking or biking adventure, keep in mind that the park actually feeds into the Shadow Cliffs Regional Park via dirt trails. You could even begin at the entrance on Park Entrance Road off Vineyard and venture through the creek on two wheel or two feet.

3320 Stanley Blvd.
Pleasanton, Ca

Shadow Cliffs - Pleasanton


Amador Valley Community Park
4301 Black Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

Kottinger Village Park
4100 Vineyard Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

Meadowlark Park
8200 Regency Dr.
Pleasanton, Ca

Nielsen Park
3755 Stoneridge
Pleasanton, Ca

Meadows Park
3301 W. Las Positas
Pleasanton, Ca

Oakhill Park
4100 Muirwood Dr.
Pleasanton, Ca

Sutter Gate Park
4801 Sutter Gate Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

Valley Trails Park
3400 National Park Rd.
Pleasanton, Ca

Vintage Hills Park
3301 Arbor Dr.
Pleasanton, Ca

Woodthrush Park
5099 Woodthrush Rd.
Pleasanton, Ca

Walnut Grove Park
5150 Northway Rd.
Pleasanton, Ca

Towne Center Books - Pleasanton



Towne Center Books
Who doesn’t love an independent, homegrown bookstore? Walk through the historic building smack dab in the heart of Main Street and browse for big name authors and local titles, alike. The creaking floorboards and musty paper scent only add to the old world charm, but it’s the children’s section in the back, filled with unique toys and books, that makes this little store a must-visit.

555 Main Street,
Pleasanton, Ca

Color Me Mine - Pleasanton

Color Me Mine
Grab a piece of naked pottery from the shelf, a palette of colors, and sit outdoors with your friends to paint! What better way to unwind and get creative? If you’re looking for something to break the mold of routine birthday parties, consider hosting your child’s next party here.

310 Main St., Suite B,
Pleasanton, Ca

Kottinger Farm
The old Kottinger Farm was built in 1852 and it still stands today in downtown Pleasanton. The building remains a destination for field trip students and citizens curious about the city’s past. Up until very recently, the barn served as a home for Milfleur—a shop full of home accessories and dried flowers. But a large note was found on the door (1/25/15), noting that the long-time tenant has moved. Keep an eye open for new attractions. But when it reopens, also keep watch for for the notorious ghosts!

200 Ray St.
Pleasanton, Ca
Online: Online:

Shadow Cliffs 2 - Pleasanton

Shadow Cliffs
In a town of folks who love their dogs, a local pooch-friendly swimming hole is a must. You should keep your pups on leash while walking the trails of Shadow Cliffs, but everyone knows once you cross the bridge over the stream and veer off to the right, you’ll end up at doggy paradise. Owners and dogs love gathering here to chuck a retrieving buoy into the lake and let their furbabies play. Disclaimer: there is no fancy dog park gate. When approaching the water hole, unleashed dogs will run to greet your (leashed) dog or little kiddo. If your pup is leash aggressive, this is not a good place for you. Dog-lovin’ dogs only, and mind your little ones, as there will be plenty of wagging tails at face level!

Park Entrance Rd,
From Bernal: Turn Left on Vineyard; Left on Park Entrance Rd.

Pleasanton Library

The Pleasanton Library
With its high ceilings and many rooms of towering bookshelves, walking into the Pleasanton Library as a kid feels a bit enchanting. The children’s section is in full swing with events and reading programs. Check out their website for upcoming fun!

400 Old Bernal Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

Concerts in the Park
This evening summer series of al fresco music has become so popular that die-hard fans know that you must reserve your patch of lawn in the morning, Pleasanton’s Concerts in the Park,featuring an eclectic mix of music from rock, blues and big band to 50’s and 60’s oldies, soul, and Latin rock, are the place to be on Friday summer nights. (The tradition also includes walking to the drive-thru dairy across the street for soft serve!)

First St. & Neal St.
Pleasanton, Ca

Murphey's Paw - Pleasanton


Murphy’s Paw
Spend a little bit of time around Pleasanton and you’ll see a wonderful array of dogs. You’ll also find a shop downtown dedicated to pampering your pet. Murphey’s Paw has everything from organic dogs treats to fast-drying doggy nail polish. If you happen to bring your dog with you, they can drink some water and have a treat while you shop.

410 Main St.
Pleasanton, Ca


Gay Nineties Pizza
Another old building with ghost legends, the home of Gay Nineties Pizza was once a Wells Fargo stagecoach stop and brothel, built in 1864. Check out the yellowed newspaper clippings from days of old along the walls while you eat the best pizza in town. Got a bun in the oven that needs some convincing to come out? Franks Special pizza has been known to induce labor in dozens of impatient mommas to be.

288 Main St.
Pleasanton, Ca

bar_baci_pleasantonPhoto: Baci Bistro

Baci Bistro & Café
Enjoy delicious food in an elegant setting, indoors or outdoors. In an atmosphere that’s just formal enough to meet with friends and feel like you’ve treated yourself, but also isn’t too snooty to bring the kids, this Italian restaurant gives you the best of comfort and class. Even the water is filled with fruit!

500 Main St.
Pleasanton, Ca

new_leaf_marketPhoto: New Leaf

New Leaf
This little grocery store is an amped up version of Whole Foods—fresh, organic living at its best. Whether you’re looking for an alternative for white flour flour or simply something sweet that you won’t regret later, this place has thought of everything when it comes to living without chemicals. (Try the dried mulberries!)

Vintage Hills Shopping Center
3550 Bernal Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

Blue Agave Club
This restaurant, with its lights strung over the outdoor seating area, will make you feel like you’re visiting a beautiful Mexican villa. Exquisite Mexican food awaits you and your ninos within!

625 Main St.
Pleasanton, Ca

Lokanta Mediterranean Bar & Grill
Another treat along the main strip of Pleasanton are the Mediterranean flavors of Lokanta. We bet your little dancers will also also enjoy the restaurant’s European music!

443 Main St.
Pleasanton, Ca

New York Pizza
For those of you looking for a quick bite to eat, you can’t pass up the downtown NY Pizza. New York Pizzas are everywhere, but there’s just something different about this one. The crust is the perfect mix of crisp and fluffy and the owners have taken obvious care in making sure the ingredients they use are fresh. Buy yours by the “slice” (two large slices on the same plate count as one). It also comes with a free soda!

690 Main St.
Pleasanton, Ca

Meadowlark Dairy - Pleasanton



Meadowlark Dairy
The good ol’ drive-thru dairy is home to the best soft serve you’ll ever try, and your kids will get a kick out of the drive up service. Your car’s tires ring the buzzer for attendance and you can shop for milk, eggs, drinks, and of course the legendary treats from the convenience of your car. Or try the walk-up line if you’re wandering downtown on foot.

57 W. Neal St.
Pleasanton, Ca

Just add the topping of your choice! Cool, sweet and refreshing frozen yogurt for a hot day. Bring this treat across the street and let the kids run wild at Tawny Park (mentioned above).

3500 Bernal Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

the-english-rose_tea_housePhoto: The English Rose

The English Rose
Have a tea party with plates of petite treats at The English Rose. The tearoom is filled with every treat, lacy doily or frill a little girl could desire. While you’re downtown, pop in for a tea tasting event.

163 W. Neal St.
Pleasanton, Ca

Let your littles choose from 10 different fat-free frozen yogurt flavors and sprinkle it with fresh fruit. If someone is not in the mood for yogurt, try a crepe or creamy gelato!

600 Main Ste., Ste F.
Pleasanton, Ca

—Aly Brown

Did we miss your favorite kid-friednly spot in Pleasanton? Tell us in the comments below! 

All images by the author unless otherwise noted.

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