Fringed with freeways and light-industry along the bayshore, capped with the East Bay Regional Parks’ network of nature trails, with a world-famous university in-between – that’s a quick sketch of the region due east of the city. The Berkeley campus of the University of California offers a warren of shops, pubs and fast-food, along with superb bookstores and music stores. Slow food holds sway in Berkeley’s gourmet ghetto, served with a mantra of “local, seasonal and sustainable.’’ Oakland boasts baseball’s Athletics, basketball’s Warriors and football’s Raiders, plus an entertaining mix of live music, pubs and boating marinas at Jack London Square. Over the tawny hills, cattle still outnumber cars in places and Mount Diablo dominates the skyline.
The Tri-Valley area of Pleasanton, Livermore, Danville and Dublin boasts classic and historic small towns, one of America's oldest wine regions, an emerging craft beer scene, and the center of sunny, 'local' California.