The Livermore and Tri-Valley Traveler’s Guide

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Livermore Valley has long been one of the historic centers of the California wine industry, but today, Livermore sits atop many wine lovers’ bucket lists, bottling gorgeous Chardonnays, Cabernets, and Petite Sirahs, to name a few. A handful of towns, like Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, and Danville, each offer unique attractions and some great dining opportunities—all less than an hour outside San Francisco.

Where to Stay

Image Source: TripAdvisor

The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort and Spa
4549 Cross Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 606-8855
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 73 reviews
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From the comfort of your room at Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort, sweeping views of the hotel’s very own olive grove can be seen, from which they make their own olive oil. The oil is used at the spa, too, which offers a full menu of massage and facial services. The Purple Orchid is an exceptional retreat from the daily grind, where guests enjoy a complimentary gathering hour each evening with hors d’oeuvres and wine, as well as a sumptuous breakfast each morning served plated in the dining room.

Insider tip: For a full-on luxury experience, book the spacious Vintner’s Estate Suite, which includes breakfast in bed.

Image Source: The Rose Hotel

The Rose Hotel
807 Main St
Pleasanton, CA 94566
(925) 275-5112
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 150 reviews
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Conveniently located right in downtown Pleasanton, no detail goes unnoticed at the classically elegant Rose Hotel. In keeping with the name, bouquets of roses adorn the lobby, and you’ll even find a fresh rose in each suite. Complimentary breakfast is available each morning, served with Peet’s coffee, and guests are welcome to stick their hands in the cookie or candy jar all day long.

Insider tip: Bring multiple pairs of shoes: The hotel will polish them overnight, placing them outside your door with the newspaper each morning.

Image Source: Pleasanton Marriott

Pleasanton Marriott
Dublin Canyon Rd
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 847-6000
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 237 reviews
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This pet-friendly Marriott offers sleek, modern comfort while celebrating the local wine industry (a variety of Livermore bottles are ready to be uncorked at the bar). In addition to a fully equipped fitness center, this mainstay has a lovely outdoor swimming pool, framed by cabanas and comfortable red chaise lounges. The rooms are spacious and well appointed for business or leisure.

Insider tip: You can’t go wrong with the view, whatever the direction. To the east, you can see city lights, and to the west, rolling hills. Many guests do, however prefer rooms overlooking the pool, as they tend to be the quietest.

Where to Eat

Image Source: Yelp

Khyber Pass Kabob
7467 Village Pkwy, Ste 9
Dublin, CA 94568
(925) 828-6000
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 25 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Khyber Pass Kabob is all-too-easy to miss, but once you find it, you’re in for a colorful, yet homey, experience. The restaurant serves traditional Afghan cuisine, and as the name suggests, specializes in kabobs, but they also have an extensive vegetarian menu. The food is a well-kept local secret for the gastronomically adventurous.

Insider tip: Locals love this place, and that means lines, since they don’t take reservations. The easiest way to skip the wait is to arrive at 11 a.m. for opening and enjoy an early lunch.

Image Source: Yelp

The Last Word
2470 First St
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 493-7293
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 7 reviews
Reservations: Not required

The Last Word takes the traditional American bar into the twenty-first century. A friendly neighborhood bar, but with a sleek, trendy feel, The Last Word cooks up classic American comfort food with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients. They’re famous for the cocktails, but also have an awesome wine-on-tap program.

Insider tip: Like old-fashioneds? They make five different versions. Try the Oaxacan, which replaces bourbon with mezcal.

Image Source: Sabio on Main

Sabio on Main
501 Main St
Pleasanton, CA 94566
(925) 800-3090
TripAdvisor: 3.5 stars, 11 reviews
Reservations: Not required

You can build up quite an appetite after a day of wine tasting, and Sabio on Main is an easy place to kick back and unwind while satisfying your cravings. This inventive tapas bar puts an international take on traditional Spanish fare, with dishes like grilled Spanish octopus and rum-glazed Kurobuta pork belly. Wash everything down with a glass of wine or an artisanal cocktail.

Insider tip: You might be inclined to overlook a tapas joint for brunch, but Sabio serves up one of the best in town. Their decadent cinnamon brioche French toast with brûlée marshmallow is a must.

What to Do

Image Source: Yelp

Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site
Danville, CA 94526
(925) 838-0249
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 35 reviews

Escaping to wine country is hardly a new concept, and celebrated American playwright and Nobel Prize-winner Eugene O’Neill felt the same way. O’Neill took residence in a home outside Danville during his peak creative years, and it was here where he finished Long Days Journey Into Night. His “Tao” house is decorated with Chinese accents, and today, the National Parks Service maintains the site for future generations.

Insider tip: Don’t plug it into your GPS. The only way to access the house is by a free shuttle that leaves from downtown Danville. Make sure to plan in advance, as you won’t be able to drive there on your own.

Image Source: Tri-Valley Beer Trail

Tri-Valley Beer Trail
Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Danville, CA

Wine Country doesn’t have to be all about wine. In fact, the Livermore area is home to sixteen craft and micro-breweries, offering a full spectrum of flavors from light lagers to hearty stouts. If you have to pick one brewery, stick with Altamont Beer Works. They craft some great brew, but make sure to try their double IPA, if that’s your style.

Insider tip: Visit Tri-Valley has even created a handy printable passport, and if you collect a stamp from each of the breweries, you can claim a free T-shirt at their visitor center in Pleasanton.

Image Source: Yelp

Callippe Preserve Golf Course
8500 Clubhouse Dr
Pleasanton, CA 94566
(925) 426-6666
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 3 reviews

The eighteen-hole Callippe Preserve Golf Course is a premier golf destination in the Livermore area, and an active alternative to experiencing the majesty of wine country, with breathtaking views to be found at each tee.

Insider tip: You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy Callippe: they have team of golf instructors available, should you wish to hone some skills before teeing off with your pals.

Image Source: Yelp

The Winemakers Studio at Wente Vineyards
5465 Tesla Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 456-2450
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 49 reviews

The entirety of California is indebted to Wente Vineyards for their innovations with Chardonnay. Their winemakers have been at the forefront of the industry since the winery’s inception in 1883, and now, Wente is welcoming guests into their Winemakers Studio, Thursday through Sunday, to show the work that goes into each and every bottle. Guests can choose from a variety of experiences, from a blending class to a wine and cheese pairing seminar.

Insider tip: If your nose is up for the challenge, book the Wine Aroma Discovery. For even the most refined wine enthusiast, it can be a rather humbling experience, but you’ll enjoy the nuances of wine even more once you’ve completed it.

Image Source: Yelp

Concannon Vineyard
4590 Tesla Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 456-2505
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 58 reviews

One of Livermore’s most historic properties, Concannon combines a variety of tasting experiences with a knowledgeable staff who will guide you through the estate and talk through each variety. Or, if you just want to kick back on the stunning and sleek outdoor porch, the Underdog Wine Bar is a great place to sample from an international wine list.

Insider tip: Concannon Vineyard is famous for its Petite Sirah (as well as their Cabernet). Make sure to taste one of their many wines, including their Port-style dessert wine.

Image Source: Yelp, facebook

The Steven Kent Winery
5443 Tesla Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 243-6440
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 24 reviews

When Steven Kent Mirassou founded his winery in 1996, he was on a mission to create a Cabernet on par with the greatest in the world. With his flagship, called Lineage, he’s crafted one of the finest wines in Livermore, certainly capable competing on a global stage. Today, the winery welcomes visitors year-round to its rustically elegant tasting room, where top-notch educators introduce you to the intricacies of Livermore Valley wine.

Insider tip: While Livermore may be famous for its reds, don’t skip out on the whites: The traditional Bordeaux grape Sémillion does particularly well here, and Steven Kent’s “Lola” (a blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc) proves just that.

Whatever the reason to visit, a trip to Livermore offers a quaint, full-bodied alternative to the usual mainstays of the region; enjoy your trip to this cozy corner of northern California.