Benicia is a quaint little waterside town in the northeastern section of the San Francisco Bay Area. With great restaurants and cafes, art galleries, and bay views, it’s a delightful afternoon getaway for Bay Area dwellers. Here are a couple of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Benicia.
The First Street Cafe is a nice little restaurant in downtown Benicia that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m particularly fond of their soup-salad lunch combos. The Cafe has a laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere, and they also regularly host musical performances upstairs.
Benicia’s First Street and the surrounding area are also home to a number of beautiful art galleries, including the Benicia Plein Air Gallery and Lindsay Art Glass. In fact, Benicia is home to one of the most active arts communities in the Bay Area, with over 200 artists. To celebrate this creative culture, the city hosts an art walk every second Saturday. The next Art Walk will be held on June 8th.
Beyond downtown, you can also find some of Benicia’s “hidden” beaches. For instance, follow West Sixth St. to its end at Cove Way and then turn left. One block later, at Elaine Way, you’ll see a Public Access sign, which points the way to a staircase that leads to the bay. This little beach opens on to stunning views of the Carquinez Strait and the Carquinez Bridge.
The Glass Beach, located at the Twelfth Street Park, is another beautiful spot that is famous for the abundance of sea glass on its shores. It’s the unexpectedly beautiful product of years of garbage dumping along the coastline.
Getting to Benicia
- From Sacramento: Take I-80 West to I-680 South.
- From San Francisco: Take I-80 East to I-780 East.
By public transportation:
- From the San Francisco and the East Bay Area: Take BART to Pleasant Hill or Walnut Creek and then take Sol Trans bus 78 to Benicia (Monday through Saturday) OR Take BART to Walnut Creek and then take Sol Trans bus 80s to Benicia (Sundays).
- From the North Bay Area: Check the Sol Trans bus schedules for routes that may serve you.