I was inspired this week when I read Richard Eber's article on Halfway to Concord titled, "10 things that make Concord a great place to live". He starts by explaining his weariness of seeing Concord advertised as "near Walnut Creek" — as if this is the city's biggest selling point.
"As a resident of Concord since 1979, I happen to like the place," writes Eber. "Granted, Concord has changed a lot from being a sleepy little town where one could leave your dog unattended outside Diablo Foods while shopping."
He also includes a chart from 2010 of the quality of life index in Concord compared to California and the nation. It clearly shows that we've got it good here, with higher rankings in almost every category. The downside of Concord? Earthquakes and a lower mortality rate, apparently.
So, in the spirit of sharing the joy of living in Concord, here's my top 10 list:
1. Todos Santos Plaza
I completely agree with Eber here. Even before I lived in Concord, I would always admire the beauty of the square, especially at night when the buildings and trees are glistening with lights, or at dusk on a summer evening when your dinner is accompanied by the music of a local band playing in the park.
2. Free parking
This is higher on my list than Eber's, but that's probably because I lived in Los Angeles for five years and then Oakland. Not only is parking free in Concord, but it's also usually pretty ample.
3. The view of Mount Diablo
Driving back home heading east on Highway 24, it's an unparalleled delight to see Mount Diablo rising before me. The way the sun falls on the mountain in the early morning and at sundown is breathtaking.
4. The cost of living
Young families come here because they can afford to live in a house, rather than a cramped apartment, with a real yard and space to grow.
5. Discovering hidden gems
Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County with 30 square miles inside its borders. It seems that there is always some place new to stumble upon, from independent comic book stores to parks to places to eat or sample a Concord-brewed beer. If you have a suggestion for a "hidden gem" that deserves a mention on Concord Patch, please leave a comment here for the "Hidden Gems" column.
6. Food, food and more food
The dining options in Concord are varied, ever-changing and plentiful. Some of my favorites include EJ Phair, Tower Grille (on days warm enough to sit on the patio), Benihana (for special occasions), Hanabi Sushi, Sugar Plum Cafe (for weekend breakfast), El Faro (for a quick burrito — the Monument or the Chile Colorado), Zambur Bar and Grill and Los Montanas. As Eber mentions, the abundance of Mexican food is enticing too. How many taquerias are there in Concord? It seems as if it would be impossible to tally them all.
7. Taking BART
Need to get to the city, the airport, Oakland or Berkeley? It's easy — and relatively comfortable since Concordians get to nab a seat before hordes of commuters get on the train at the Oakland stations.
8. Panama Red and Half Price Books
This is my go-to pick-me-up treat: a cup of tea from Panama and a browse of the shelves at Half Price Books. It never fails to cheer me up and always feels like a treat. My book shelves at home, however, are now overflowing.
9. Everything Under the Rainbow
This thift store benefiting the Rainbow Community Center is only open Thursday to Saturday, but packed full of treasures. Manager Jimmy is a delight and extremely talented at dressing the small shop. Stop by Everything Under the Rainbow, which is on Pacheco Street behind the plaza, and experience the Christmas lights and display before the season is over. Grab a bargain while you're there too!
10. How much people here love Concord
What can I say? It's contagious.
What do you love about Concord? Share your thoughts in the comments below.