Orinda in Oakland
Orinda is a wealthy suburban refuge of most of the lawyers and bankers in Contra Costa County in the state of California. It's kid-friendly (i.e. extremely dull for most travelers) and teeters on plunging into the 1950's at any moment.
Orinda is a wealthy suburb in the Bay Area (California), with 6-figure salaries and million-dollar homes being the norm. Its position on the east side of the Oakland Hills gives it a pleasant eucalyptus-scented atmosphere without the icy fog of the western side in Berkeley and Oakland.
As with most American suburbs, it doesn't cultivate much of a tourist industry. Visitors may not feel unwelcome, but definitely won't be catered to.
Orinda has a BART station , which is in the middle of town. BART and Highway 24 bisect the town, leaving the Orinda Village to the north and Theater Square to the south.
Orinda is served by two County Connection buses that go to Orinda and Laffayete Bart, Orinda Library, Orinda Library, Orinda Village, Mt.Diablo State Park, Moroga & St. Mary's college as well as all around Orinda. Bus #106 goes to Orinda Bart, St. Mary's college and Mt. Diablo while bus #206 goes to Laffayete Bart, Orinda Bart, Orinda Library, Orinda Village & St. Mary's College. The Cal Shakes free shuttle stops at Orinda Bart & goes to the Shakesphere Festival ninety to thirty minutes before shows start. Highway 24 is the car highway that goes to Orinda.
- California Shakespeare Theater, 100 Gateway Boulevard (first exit after Caldecott Tunnel on Highway 24; free shuttle from Orinda BART station), (510) 548-3422. Tu-Sa 8PM, Su 4PM (Jun-Oct), . This beautiful open-air theater, nestled under the eucalyptus trees in the Siesta Valley just east of Berkeley, features traditional and experimental performances of Shakespeare's plays as well as contemporary works. Picnic dinners available for purchase, or you can bring a picnic of your own. The grounds are open two hours before showtime, which is a great time to have a dinner and some discussion. Possibly one of the best evening activities in the Bay Area. $30-$50 (discounts for children and seniors available).
- Orinda Theater, 2 Orinda Theater Square, (925) 254-9060, . The historic Orinda Theater offers movies shown in a fabulous full size art-deco main theater! One of the better movie house experiences in the Bay area. Located in Theater Square.
- Theater Square, . Theater Square contains a number of boutiques and shops.
- Casa Orinda. A stellar restaurant.
- Yu Sushi. A small hole-in-the-wall Japanese Sushi restaurant with supremely wonderful sushi-rolls.
- La Piazza. A fire-stove Italian restaurant. Serves wonderful pizza and pastas.
- Europa. Tasty Hof Brau.
- Nation's Giant Hamburgers. Decent hamburgers, spectacular breakfast. Also a local hangout for many of the young inhabitants of Orinda.
- La Cocina Mexicana, 23 Orinda Way, (925) 258-9987. Superb Mexican cooking at reasonable prices - not the same old Tex-Mex stuff either! Try the tamales, which are made from an old recipe on-site.
There are very few places to drink in Orinda. Pretty much the only bar in Orinda is The Casa Orinda.
- Casa Orinda. An upscale Orinda historical landmark. Possibly the best bar in town.
- Lafayette - A mostly residential town that offers interesting dining opportunities and is home to the Lafayette Reservoir, a great spot for hiking or jogging.
- Berkeley - Located on the other side of the hills, Berkeley has a well-deserved reputation as a kooky bastion of liberal activists. More importantly to the traveler, it offers an excellent selection of bars and restaurants.