Historic East Bay hidden gem
On the northern bank of the Carquinez Strait, Solano County’s waterfront community of Benicia is a beloved favorite for young families and empty nesters. This bayside town is home to a vibrant community of artists, decadent eateries with sprawling waterfront seating, and one-of-a-kind antique shops. Many homes in Benicia are built in an attractive Craftsman style, often with a subtle ode to the Victorian era such as a hint of shingled siding or pastel facades. Most homes have three to four bedrooms, which is ideal for growing families.
Families are often drawn to this part of the San Francisco Bay, attracted to its slower pace of living, proximity to the city, and deeply-rooted history. Highly-active community members work together to foster an inclusive environment and a strong neighborhood identity.
Benicia’s culinary scene is complex and nuanced. You can enjoy scallops in the historic home of a former seafaring captain at Sailor Jack’s or experience contemporary cooking in an Old World atmosphere next to the stained glass window at Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar. American cuisine gets an Italian twist at Bella Siena Restaurant and Bar. This brick-walled establishment pays homage to namesake Siena, Italy, but their menu is a hybrid of California cooking and traditional Italian favorites. Plus, whether you grab a seat at the bar with a stunning, panoramic view of the Carquinez Strait or sit by the firepit on their courtyard patio, dinner at Bella Siena is a luxurious experience from drinks to dessert. For a shot of espresso, stop by Rrags Caffe or swing by One House Bakery for a freshly-baked pastry to-go. Trendy FARM & FLOUR resides in a white brick, farmhouse-chic corner store. Their menu of signature coffee and tea drinks—such as an iced honey oat milk latte and hibiscus tea sodas—pairs well with their seasonally-flavored baked goods.
Benicia’s locally-driven economy is perfect for mom-and-pop shops and bright-eyed entrepreneurs. Get a fresh cut and color at Rooted Beauty Studios, browse curated collectibles at The Steffen Collection, or peruse stunning artworks at Benicia Plein Air Gallery. Indoor shopping center The Tannery Building has a plethora of boutiques to browse, including gift shops, unique apparel retailers such as Pink Arrow Boutique, and fine art galleries. 1st Street is teeming with charismatic cafés, locally-owned eateries, and consignment shops.
While Benicia isn’t a thriving hotspot for nightlife, this family-oriented community always has something to add to the calendar.
The Benicia Certified Farmers Market brings fresh produce and artisanal goods to the community on Thursday evenings. Each year, Benicia celebrates Independence Day with the Torchlight Parade on July 3rd and Picnic in the Park with fireworks on July 4th. If the extensive selection of vintage shops on 1st Street isn’t enough, The Benicia Peddlers Fair, which began in 1963, brings 300 hand-picked antique and art dealers to the streets of Benicia, where you’ll find vintage furnishings, jewelry, and so much more. Kick off the holiday season with 1st Street merchants at the Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting.
Benicia Unified School District is home to several well-renowned educational facilities that place students at the forefront of knowledge acquisition with a challenging yet engaging curriculum. Since the school district consists of only seven regional schools, children receive an attentive, personalized education.
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